On Sunday 7 September the young adults group of the Interfaith Encounter Association met in Jerusalem to discuss forgiveness in prayer and participate in the Week of Global Interfaith Dialogue. It was an especially meaningful meeting as it was Mila's last one she could attend because she flies to study in Cambridge, England, shortly. We wish her an enjoyable and thought provoking year.
The group was privileged to welcome a new Moslem participant, Ugel, a doctor from Turkey who works in Hadassah.
During the meeting we discussed the question as to whether G'd forgives those who have left the path and the difference between Islam and Judaism in this respect. Islam maintains that G'd does not forgive those who are idol worshippers and tells the story of Mohammad's uncle who despite being a protector of Islam in its earlier days, was still punished because he was a non-believer.
Judaism considers idol worship one of the 3 cardinal sins that one is to die rather than commit; however, there is little mention as to whether he is barred from forgiveness. It seems that a way of return (especially as s/he is still considered Jewish because Judaism is also a nationality) is still left open to the sinner.
We also discussed the difference between Islam and Judaism with respect to praying for another's salvation. While this is a norm in Islam it is quite rare (with the exception of praying for the ill) in Judaism.
In Islam and as far as I managed to detect, all the Moslems wishes, graces and blessings are shrived from the Quran. If we wish someone happiness there are verses in the Quran expressing that, to ask for a communal forgiveness there is the verse of God forgive me and my parents for they brought me up since I was little. I think this is the only forgiveness asking that is mentioned in the Quran and that an individual asks for forgiveness for others, of course there is the asking for forgiveness in the a-adeeth.
Further more we learnt that in Christianity and Judaism it is far more accepted to challenge G'd, and demand things of him, (in Christianity- in the Gospels - just like I forgave so you, G'd, should forgive! and in Judaism - Avraham who argues with G'd over the destruction of Sodom) whereas in Islam the attitude is one more of respecting, accepting G'ds mercifulness.
In Islam the Moslem can never ask god for anything in return for his behavior. The greatest blessing god gives a Moslem is the fact the God created him and that he made him a Moslem. So we can not ask Allah for anything in return.
The group would like to take the opportunity to wish a happy, healthy year to all participants and readers.
Prepared by Chananel Rosen & Salah Aladdien
Examples of past dialogues