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The Lords Prayer - in Islam

Joan Booso
(Footnotes Mine) Central to Christian worship both personal and in congregation, across almost all denominations, is the recitation of the Lords Prayer; also known as the Our Father. It is the prayer that Jesus (upon him be peace) reportedly taught to his disciples as the foremost way in which they should address God (Great and Glorious be He) in prayer. The prayer originates from the new Testament of the Bible. It is a source of debate as to whether the specific Biblical passages concerned relate to a complete prayer to be repeated verbatim or whether it was meant simply as a guide to worship. Islam is a religion which started with Adam (upon him be peace) and therefore accepts all the prophets of the Jews and Christians as its own. It also thereby accepts the previously revealed monotheistic holy Books ie the Bible, the Psalms and the Torah, but considers that they have become corrupted1 over time either by accident or on purpose; hence requiring the final revelation of the Glorious Qur an. The Quran calls itself Muhaiman - the Guardian - the guardian over previous scriptures. In keeping with all the aforementioned, therefore, when we look closely at the message conveyed by the Lords Prayer, it can be clearly seen that is in keeping with worship of the One God - as in Islam. There are differing variations (versions) as to the exact wording, some utilizing more archaic language with others attempting to put it into modern terminology. I learned a fairly representative version as a child, which is as follows:
Tis by no means is suggested the Holy Bible - in its entirety - is defiled. In fact, a Quranic overview would have us believe the Holy Bible is dominantly genuine in text and conceptually sound save minor misgivings the Quran alludes and alleviates as its function of Guardianship over Sacred Scriptures demands.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the Power and the Glory, Forever and ever, Amen [Gospel of Matthew, 6:9-13] One may consider this prayer line by line and see the parallels of this Christian doxology with Islamic principles. Our Father, who art (is) in Heaven: The opening address of, Our Father can be viewed from two distinct perspectives; the first being a literal acceptance of the term father or it can be taken as a figurative expression as referring to the fountainhead and Lord of all. Those who believe that Jesus (upon him be peace) was the literal son of God who lived as a human on earth, then the former may apply when they use the term (it can be said that there is quite an amount of allegorical and metaphorical use in Christian writings). The latter applies to those who assign no physical attributes and are seeking to venerate God as being the ultimate, supreme, ethereal, omnipotent authority, alone without partner, equal or progeny- as in Islam. However, Islam does consider that God exists in the Heavens as well as existing throughout the created Universe and indeed beyond.2

Nevertheless, to speak of God as Father in Heaven is permissible in allegorical Semitic usage, since by Heavenly Gods transcendency and blessedness over worldly (universal) imperfections is alluded. The Prophet Muhammad[p] is reported to have said: whole creation is family to God, and the most beloved to God are those who benefit His family;- in another way of saying; God is the Lord of heavens and earth, wherein everything depends upon His Providence. He watches over His creation, sustains and protects it, as a father looks after his family.

Hallowed (holy, respected, revered) be Thy name: Muslims do not take the name of God lightly in their speech or writings. They are discouraged from using the name of God to swear oaths, although this can regrettably happen, and they are encouraged to treat the holy name with the utmost respect.3 Thy (your) Kingdom come: Muslims understand that this transitory life will pass and then they will be brought before God to be judged according to their worldly behaviour. They will be sent to Paradise (heaven) if their deeds are deemed worthy of this eternal bliss, and to the Hell-fire for their sins or transgressions. In either event the existence of the Hereafter belongs to God and we are subject to His rulings on our past actions. Thy (your) will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven: Islam teaches us that all our lives are pre-destined by God and that He has perfect knowledge of all our actions from birth to death. Man has free will to react to situations in life but everything is in accordance with Gods predestined decisions. It can therefore be said that Gods will is being done on earth. Man has trust in Gods will because of the qualitative attributes He possesses of Omnipotence, Omniscience, Wisdom, Mercy and Justice. In the heavens, the Angels spend all their time glorifying and praising God; by His leave they are able to question God but all their actions are again in perfect accord with Gods will and they never disobey Him in any way.4

In Semitism, name can also mean nature or character. God is different and separate (hallowed) from worldly (imperfect) ascription; to whom belongs the highest similitude and wholesome adoration: Lord of the heavens and of the earth, and of all that is between them; so worship Him, and be constant and patient in His worship: knowest thou of any who is worthy of the same Name as He? [Al-Quran, 19:65].

After God-gnosis (marifah) Our Father in Heaven and God-consciousness (taqwah) Hallowed be thy Name the most important aspect of faith is belief in Yawmul-Din (the Day of Reckoning), Darul-Aakhir (the Final Abode) or the Kingdom of God wherein only Gods will is carried out. And as Gods will is done in Heaven; so it ought be on His earth. Tis exactly what the Arabic word Islam designates; to surrender ones lowly inclinations in favor of God gratification and communal welfare bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to Gods earth [AlQuran, 5:48, 24:55].

Give us this day our daily bread: In Islam we are taught that our sustenance comes from God and that man must search for and earn this sustenance. There are two conditions for this provision from God, one is that it should be made available to man by God, secondly that man must search in the right manner to achieve this endowment of daily bread. It is a most valid point to highlight that mans provision in life is not always outwardly fair and just from his Lord. If the world was fair then the pious would be wealthy and lead trouble-free lives and the sinful would be impoverished; but so often in life the reverse happens. The realm of all justice and fairness lies with God in the Hereafter. Muslims therefore gratefully pray to God to thank Him and to receive His blessings, but need never be concerned that what they have is either not enough or be jealous or envious of anothers portion; because their full reward will await them in the final abode of the Hereafter.5 And forgive us our trespasses (sins, wrongdoings - some say debts), as we forgive those who trespass against us: We know God to be the Most Merciful and we seek His Mercy in all our works, but conversely we should also be merciful and forgiving to others because this in turn merits Divine Mercy being showered on us. We are told to show kindness to someone who owes us a debt and cannot repay; this characteristic enables us to be suitable for Gods blessings on our worldly relationships.6
Bread could mean physical sustenance and also spiritual guidance; both are alluded and both necessary in conjunction with the Lords Supper. The Glorious Quran relates: Prayed Jesus, son of Mary: O God, our Lord! Bestow us a repast from heaven that it be a feast for the first and the last of us and a sign (miracle) from Thee. And provide us our (daily) sustenance, for Thou art the best of providers! [Al-Quran, 5:114].

In Islam, sin is basically of two types; transgression against God and crime against men. In essence, sin against God is arrogance, whereas, sin against man is causing pain to others. The Prophet Muhammad[p] said: Allaah (God) has no mercy on one who is not merciful to men;- inasmuch as refusal to forgive fellow-men is equivalent to refusing forgiveness from God. Also, the Quran informs: Say (O Prophet): ...Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is towards God: He will tell you the truth of the things wherein ye disputed [Al-Quran, 6:164]. One inquires whence the Original Sin doctrine originated inasmuch as forgiveness comes without payment and if ransom be sought, forgiveness is no more! Real forgiveness is in pardoning the other without demanding dues.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: The Quran tells us that if we are given the grace of faith then we will be tested; indeed this world is completely a trial and testing ground from start to finish. We seek refuge in God, in our most fervent prayers, from the evil that exists to tempt us into sinful behavior. We pray for the strength of Gods care and protection to bring us out of all difficulties that we encounter in this life. We should always show patience in adversity, pray for guiding help and wait for the difficulty to pass.7 For thine (yours) is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever: As Muslims we believe that this life and the one after this all belong to God. Man has identified many names and titles by which God can be identified; demonstrating His infinite perfection, power and consummate majesty; as the glorious creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in between. Among many other names He is called the Tremendous, the Great, the All-Powerful and the Everlasting. This physical/material world in which we live is ephemeral, transient but Gods divine realm is eternal and never ending.8 Amen: This is the concluding statement in all Christian hymns and prayers, but is also used in Judaism and Islam. In Arabic it means so be it or verily, truly and it has its origins dating from the earliest Aramaic scriptures; it may even date back to
Temptation actually means trial and is the tool by which God differentiates righteousness from wickedness, saints from satans. No man shall receive his reward just out of profession; for faith without deeds is useless [James] The Quran states: He (it is) Who created Death and Life, that He may test which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving [Al-Quran, 67:2]. No goal is achieved in this world except through struggle and the same rule applies to the Hereafter. Along the narrow path to Paradise man is perpetually tempted to take shortcuts, even u-turns; only the constant and persevering in face of trial, ailment, ordeal, and suffering, are to reap the reward of their striving. The Glorious Quran states: Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil); but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere [Al-Quran, 2:155].

Another aspect of singing God-extolment is re-counting self-humility and subservience to God, and demonstrate the desire and need to lead religious lives. Dzikr (God re-countal), said the Prophet Muhammad[p], is the best of good deeds that purges the heart from dirt (evil) and likened one who remembers his Lord and one who does not remember Him to the living (in spirit) and the dead (of soul).

the times of ancient north Africa. Saying the amen brings to an end our conversation with and veneration of our Lord. In conclusion, one can find no incongruity in the text of this prayer with regard to Islamic teachings. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all derived from the same theological root, with certain ideological and doctrinal differences which set them apart. The Muslim seen prostrating to God in the Mosque shares so much common ground with the Christian to be found kneeling in the Church; yet outward appearances would seek to differentiate them one from another. The One God of Islam is the same Lord God of the Christian and Jews; a unifying bond exists because we are from God and to Him do we return. Our lives should be one of worship and praise until we die and stand before our Lord for judgment in the Hereafter.9
In all, the Lords Prayer is well placed in Islam, in fact, it is very much a Muslims prayer as Jesus[p] himself was Muslim in every sense of the word. It runs parallel to Surah al-Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Glorious Quran, which likewise serves as an ideal daily doze for everwandering human soul. Though the Lords Prayer finds exclusivity with Christians, Muslims should not shy away from benefitting thereof. A strikingly similar prayer is reported from the Prophet Muhammad[p], though through a weak chain, nonetheless is benedictory for our discussion: If any of you is or your brother is in any suffering, he should recount: Our Lord God Who art in heaven! Sacred is Thy Name, Thy command reigns supreme in heaven and earth; as Thy mercy is in the heaven: make Thy mercy in earth; forgive us our sins, and our errors; Thou art the Lord of good men: so descend mercy from Thy mercy and remedy from Thy remedy on this pain so that it be healed [Abu Dawud]. Indeed numerous similarities exist between Christianity and Islam but as it often occurs, commonalities go un-noticed being over-shadowed by those few and futile differences which are by no means irreconcilable if mutual willingness and flexibility be shown. The main hurdle in harmonious reciprocal relations between the two faiths is the question over the exact identity of Christ Jesus[p]. Despite the fact that it being the only other religion to own Jesus[p], Christians thanklessly disregard Islam only because it falls short in elevating Jesus[p] to deity; the kind of attitude the Lords Prayer seemingly dispels and which - in the right perspective - represents an ideal starting point in building better Christian Muslim understanding. Both Christians and Muslims - to varying extent - have been guilty of thumping their ideas upon the other and seeking to locate minute weaknesses in the opponents argument in order to lay waste their religion; whereas, the attitude demanded by religion - in light of the Holy Bible and the Glorious Quran - is of conferring your concepts with courage and force with equal strength to bear what the other has to say; wherein the ultimate goal is seeking nothing save the truth.