Monday, December 7, 2009

A visit to a Jewish Temple

In the name of Allah, The most Kind The Most Merciful

A couple of days ago, I and a few members of our local community visited a Jewish temple to give them a cake for Eid. Every Eid, we try and give cakes to the local Jewish and Christian congregations. It was an interesting experience. We got there early, and attended the last few minutes of their service (had to put on one of those caps). They were bowing a lot, which reminded me of the verse in Surah Al Baqarah addressed to the Children of Israel : 'And bow down with those who bow down'. There are many types of Jews out there, these were 'in the middle' : not the orthodox ones with the black coats and long beards, and not the extremely liberal ones. We were greeted very warmly, they seemed genuinely pleased to see us. After the service, they allowed me to speak for a few minutes. I spoke about our local community, and how we give cakes to our faith based neighbours on our festivals. I explained briefly the significance of Eid Al Ahda, without explicitly saying who was the son that Ibrhaim (AS) sacrificed. Rather than say the term 'Jews', I stuck to the term 'Children of Israel'. One of the things I said was that the sacrifice of Ibrhaim (AS) makes us think: 'Do not think what God can do for you, think what you can do for God'. I mentiond that the cake we got was kosher (laughter from the audience). I ended by saying that I hoped we could work together in those areas where we have common goals, like the existence of God, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of unborn life, and respect for parents. The Rabbi endorsed this after my speech, talking about working together to counter secular values.

Afterwards, we got to partake with the congregation with the aforementioned cake and coffee (good thing, I had not had time for breakfast). We had some interesting discussions. I was able to talk to a couple of people and explain to them that Moses is the most often mentioned person in the Quran. I learnt about the differences between kosher and halal meat, and why meat and dairy cannot be mixed. Throughout the whole time, we kept getting thanked for coming to visit, and for the brief speech I made. I got an invitation from a woman who runs an interfaith organization which works towards common goals. And I got to talk to a Jewish guy who has written a book about Evolution and Genesis, where he says there is no problem accepting both. It seems to boil down to the meaning of the hebrew word 'yaum', the same as the Arabic word, and whether it literally means 'day' or means 'period'.

I left feeling that we had got benefit out of it. May Allah accept this from us, and keep us sincere in our intentions, Ameen.


  1. How did you feel about the evolution and creation thing?

  2. I found it interesting. I mean Jews are closer to the Old Testament than Christains are, and yet there are at least some Jews out there who don't see it clashing with evolution. One would have though it the other way round.

    One thing which worries me is how almost all muslims who try and 'disprove' evolution simply mimic Christians. I once met an ex Christian who had become, if you can believe it, a Hindu. He said it was because he could not accept the views of Christians on science.

    From an Islamic viewpoint, Dr. Israr Ahmed - who is one of the best modern day Quranic scholars - has given a good explaination and reconciliation of the Islamic view of creation and evolution. If anyone is interested, I can dig it up on YouTube. In addition, hundreds of years before Darwin, Ibn Khaldun had said similar things about evolution.

  3. This is a very interesting post, made me think. :)