“Indeed, God commands justice, doing good to others, as well as courtesy to close relatives. He forbids indecency, wickedness, and aggression. He instructs you so perhaps you will be mindful.” (16:90 )            “For every day on which the sun rises, there is a (reward from God) for the one who establishes justice among people.” (al-Bukhari)            “And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that [with your lives] you may bear witness to the truth before all humankind. . .” (2:143)            “Dispensers of justice will be seated on pulpits of light beside God.” (Muslim)            “Do not spread corruption in the land after it has been set in order. And call upon Him with hope and fear. Indeed, Allah’s mercy is always close to the good-doers.” (7:56)           “Even an ant in its hole and fish (in the depth of water) invoke blessings on someone who teaches people goodness.” (al-Tirmidhi)            “O believers! Remain conscious of God, and be with those who are truthful in word and deed.” (9:119)           “God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances, but He looks into your hearts and observes your deeds.” (Muslim)            “The parable of those who spend their possessions for the sake of God is that of a grain out of which grow seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains: for God grants manifold increase unto whom He wills; and God is infinite, all-knowing.” (2:261)           “Charity does not diminish wealth.” (Riyadh al-Salihin)            “Let there be a group among you who call ˹others˺ to goodness, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil-it is they who will be successful.” (3:104)           “Avoid cruelty and injustice...and guard yourselves against miserliness, for this has ruined nations who lived before you.” (Riyadh al-Salihin)            “Do not forget to show kindness to each other. Surely God observes your actions.” (2:237)           “(Allah) has revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one oppresses another.” (Riyadh al-Salihin)            “It is We who sent down this Reminder (al-Quran) and it is We who shall preserve it.” (15:9)           “The best among you are those who learn the Quran and teach it (to others).” (al-Bukhari)            “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” (2:152)           “There are two blessings that many people lose -- health and free time for doing good.” (al-Bukhari)            “Say: 'O My servants who have transgressed against your own souls, do not despair of God's mercy, for God forgives all sins. It is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.'“(39:53)           “Happy is the man who avoids dissension, but how fine is the man who is afflicted and shows endurance.” (Abu Dawud)            “And you love wealth with immense love.” (89:20)           “Being rich does not mean having a great amount of property, but (it) is being content (with what one has).” (al-Bukhari)            “Every soul is held in pledge for its deeds.” (74:38)           “Make things easy and convenient and don't make them harsh and difficult. Give cheer and glad tidings and do not create hatred.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim)           

Religious Groups At Sjsu Unite For Change

Could Jesus Christ become a focal point for both the followers of Islam and Christianity to work toward social change? asked a Christian scholar Thursday night.

An audience of 40 people, including a Christian scholar and the president of the Islamic Organization of North America, met to discuss how Christianity and Islam are working toward a common goal of improving social wrongs in society.

Robert Shedinger, an associate professor of religion at Iowa’s Luther College, said Christ could become common ground for the followers of the two religions to work toward social equality in the world.

Mustapha Elturk, president of the Islamic Organization of North America, said the two religions are similar and should work toward common goals.

Elturk said the two belief systems are natural partners for doing good in the world and when they come together, along with other politically active and religious groups, strides social justice can be made for all people.

“Social justice is work that involves everyone,” he said. “Religion and what you believe in will be settled on the day of judgment. I should be open to work with anyone that shares the same concerns in the place where we live to come together to fight these injustices that go on everywhere.”

Shedinger said this is a point he focuses on in his book “Was Jesus A Muslim?”

“If societal transformation towards greater levels of justice is inherent to what it means to be a Muslim and if societal transformation was inherent in the mission of Jesus, then guess what, Jesus was a Muslim,” he said.

Shedinger said this concept is difficult for Christians to accept because of their views on Christ as a religious figure and on Islam as a religion.

He said this thinking isn’t correct because Islam isn’t so much of a religion as it is a way of life of working toward justice and that Christ was not only a religious figure but also a political activist.

Karimah Al-Helew, a senior social work major, said she thought Shedinger’s ideas on religion were interesting because they mirror how Muslims view Islam.

“Hearing a Christian person speak about trying to take Christianity not just as a religion but rather as a way of life, which is how we view Islam,” Al-Helew said. “As Muslims, that’s how we view Islam. It’s not just a religion, it’s a way of life. Seeing that aspect presented from a person of the Christian faith was pretty cool. I like that.”

Lukogho Kasomo, a senior political science major, said she thought the lecture was interesting, but she never thought Jesus as a political reformer.

“This was the first time that I’ve heard this concept of Jesus as a Muslim,” Kasomo said. “Personally, I’ve, theologically I guess, seen Jesus as being radical in general. So, being for social justice in general.”

Al-Helew said political activism is something that’s a daily reality in the United States for the Muslim community and that others will work toward the common goal of bettering society.

“I hope that from this talk that people will see social justice and working for social change is a responsibility and not just an option,” she said. “This is your responsibility, which is how I see it as a Muslim. Fighting for social justice, change and finding equal rights for people that’s not something on the side, it’s something I need to make time for every day.”

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