From: Zulkifly Yusuf
Former president of the Islamic Society of Columbus, Indiana
We would like to thank Aaron Edwards for taking an interest in Islam and the Quran with his Jan. 2 letter to the editor. We would like to reaffirm our stand that Islam does not permit, condone or promote violence. Islam abhors violence, and violence is only permissible in specific contexts such as self-defense or against oppression. A claim to the contrary is no more than a misunderstanding about the religion, where verses are taken out of context and lack the coherence aspect of the Quran.
The chapters and verses of Quran are to be read and understood through the sequence that the Quran currently has. Taking some verses out of context to deliver a specific message is not the right way to understand Islam. Even for a common Muslim, certain issues would require an explanation from scholars who have thoroughly studied and understood the core and meaning of each verse. We encourage Edwards to talk to us to understand any of the verses that he is referring to.
We as Muslims believe that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and the Arabic word for God is Allah. For us, Allah has no associates or sons, nor does he need any intermediary. He forgives sins as he pleases.
The Quran and Muslims have great reverence for Jesus and Mary. Jesus is considered one of the most honorable prophets, and all Muslims should believe in his message. A person is not considered a Muslim if he or she does not believe in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and the rest of the prophets.
Muslims believe that Mary is the mother of Jesus who conceived him without a father through God’s will. She is honored by being the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran, and the entire 19th chapter of the Quran was named after her. God exemplifies her as the ideal character of the believer.
We would like to encourage Edwards to refer to the letter by Fred Allman published Jan. 1 in The Republic about “Whether Jesus is God or a Human.”
We encourage those who are interested in learning about Islam to read the Quran; should there be any questions, we would be happy to help. We encourage Edwards and others to join us for interfaith dialogue opportunities to help understand the true message of Islam.
One of our Christian friends, Donna Keogh, who has learned more about Islam as part of early 2015 interfaith discussions, has this to say:
“While I know in my heart after getting to know a few local Muslims that Islam is a religion of peace, I looked to a guidebook I received at the Islamic Center this summer. … My own connotation of ‘violence’ is ‘bloodshed’ or killing and injuring. It is obvious to me in my limited knowledge of Islam that violence is intolerable.”
A great opportunity to learn more about Islam is to come to our interfaith forum at the Columbus Visitors Center at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20.