Those familiar with the Christian appellation of Jesus as “Word” should marvel at this.
But the point is this:
First, the Qur’an invites those we may consider to be its rivals – the competition as it were – to come work with it.
Second, the Qur’an offers a basis for such potential cooperation: shared belief, behavior, culture and experience.
So, let us not forget these two divine words: ‘Udwaan (Aggression – NO!) and Ta’awun (Co-operation – YES!).
An Entire Theory of National and International Cooperation
There is an entire political and sociological – not to say cultural and psychological – theory of group, national, institutional and international cooperation and joint enterprise here.
Again, what is most amazing is the loudness, the firmness, the authority and the clarity of these calls.
This phenomenon defies imagination and boggles the mind. In the absence of a more convincing explanation, it only serves to make the God-explanation stronger than ever and makes it unassailable by default: that it is God, and not a human source, that is behind it.
That means this book, Qur’an, with aayat after aayat of this kind, could have come only from one source: God Almighty.
These things then are among the most basic teachings of the Qur’an. I don’t know who else does or does not have them, but this is what the Qur’an teaches: Cooperation (Ta’awun) on a common platform of shared beliefs, views, goals and approaches.
And all this 1400 years ago? Not the most likely thing in human terms, wouldn’t you say?
We can understand this being a plank or an article or chapter in one of the major declarations or charters of a world body in the middle of the 20th Century like the United Nations.
But coming out of the mouth of an illiterate man in a cave in Arabia in early 7th Century? Simply does not make sense.
And that is what a miracle is: something that simply does not make sense in human terms.
Shared Culture of Fasting
So, based on this analysis, what do many cultures and religions of the world have in common? Qur’an says fasting – the shared culture of fasting, Siyaam as the Qur’an calls it.
Do Jews, Christians, Hindus and others have any kind of background or experience in fasting? Sure they do, says the Qur’an.
Is that assertion of the Qur’an independently verifiable in terms of historical records and data? Sure it is.
And the Qur’an makes a point of noting that shared background and experience of fasting among the earlier nations, societies and peoples of the world.
“O those who believe,” says the Qur’an addressing the followers of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. “Fasting is required of you, as it was required of those who were before you.”
In the language of the Qur’an:
Kutiba ‘alaikumus siyaamu kamaa kutiba ‘alal-ladheena min qablikum!
Make a special note of these words: “as it was required of those who were before you.” Give some serious thought to the clarity; the authority; the simplicity; and the historic authenticity of these words.
And then ask yourself: How did an illiterate man sitting in a cave nearly a millennium and a half ago ever manage to get any sense of this historical verity or truth in its full and sweeping spectrum?
And unless you rule out the existence and involvement of God totally and from the beginning – ab initio – what makes more sense:
- God is behind it?
- A least likely human being all of a sudden hit the biggest cultural, historical and so-called religious jackpot in the world?
Which one of these two explanations, would you say makes more sense to you personally? I mean purely in human terms, as a matter of common sense and simple logic and probability.
A World Day of Fasting
Following the clarion call of the Qur’an for cooperation based on our common cultural, religious and historical heritage, we say:
“People of the world, unite! People of different faiths and cultures and religions of the world, let us all come together to observe a World Day of Fasting!”
This September 27, 2008, Saturday.
In these troubled times, as the saying goes, let us work to create a new international and inter-cultural alliance of peace, love and hope for humanity among all the diverse and even competing segments of the human population on earth.
Let all of us human beings together celebrate a common World Day of Fasting – this month of Ramadan and every Ramadan thereafter.
Let us do so regardless of all the differences of race, religion, denomination, nationality, culture, territory and everything else that divide and consign us to special, unique and seemingly exclusive bins of history and geography.
Let us rise above our own special coordinates and configurations of time, space, belief and behavior, and come together as a united human race in the common enterprise of observing the World Day of Fasting together.
And let us do so in this most beautiful and blessed month of Ramadan 1429. And during every Ramadan thereafter.
That means, we hereby call upon all the non-Muslims of the world – all the Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and all others on this planet, in every part of the world – to let us all set aside Saturday, September 27, 2008, to fast together as one human family united in our fellowship of faith in God and in his Prophets and Books.
Let the world’s 5,000,000,000 non-Muslim men and women of all faiths, races, nationalities and political ideologies join their 1,500,000,000 Muslim brothers and sisters around the world in a joint World Day of Fasting.
In the midst of all that may divide and trouble us, in this 2008th year of the birth of our beloved Prophet Jesus, ‘Alaihis Salaam, let us stand united and holding hands on this island of commonness that the Qur’an has created for us, holding aloft the banner of our shared humanity and our joint cultural and faith heritage of Siyaam.
And in doing so, let us turn a new page in human history.
And let us – Muslims as well as non-Muslims everywhere, all the 6,500,000,000 of us or whatever our real number is – together write a new joint chapter of cooperation and shared enterprise in this most glorious, wonderful and divinely scripted book that we refer to as human life on earth: using the twin divine laws of Non-Aggression and Mandated Cooperation.