Friday, February 13, 2009

Muslims Long for Heaven

I was reared in a strongly conservative culture where hell was discussed a lot. We longed for heaven. Now, Christians have it so good that we rarely discuss heaven or hell. Muslims are different and I can see why. No Valentine's Day celebrations are allowed.

The Arab News reports that in Saudi Arabia, opposition to Valentine's Day has the imprimatur of the state: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice intensified its vigilance over flower, chocolate and gift shops to confiscate items related to Valentine's Day, a perennial crackdown on a holiday perceived by many to be both Western and immoral.

These do not sound like the actions of a civilization confident in its own superiority. In a speech Egyptian cleric Hazem Shuman sounds even less confident: Imagine that the Prophet Muhammad is standing before you, and so are the Jews and the Christians. The more you celebrate Valentine's Day, the more the Jews and Christians are happy, and the more the Prophet Muhammad is sad. The more you do this, the more the Jews and the Christians gloat at us, while tears flow from the Prophet's eyes. Do you want to make the Prophet sad and the Jews and Christians happy?!

He makes the prophet sound like a man in trouble. He says: People, if Muhammad Ahmad Ibrahim holds a party, and George Mikhail whatever holds a different party, [Muhammad the Muslim] will wear the same clothes as [George the Christian], both will buy dresses for their wives from the same shop, both will seat their wives on the stage for all the people to see, both will book a hall in the same club, both will invite single men and women and have them intermingle, both will hire a band, musicians, and female singers and dancers, and both will have crowds intermingling outside the club. If you are invited to Muhammad's party, how would you distinguish it from George's party?
No wonder they long for paradise.
PS If you do not understand God's grace and mercy, you might even mistake Islamic legalism and grim adherence to these standards as being admirable. On one of my trips to the Holy Land a friend was constantly admiring Muslims because they prayed five times each day. I told him those prayers were to a god of revenge and that Jesus showed us a tender Father.

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