Tuesday, January 14, 2014

“Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” ― Muhammad

Today is a Muslim holiday, Maulid Day.  It is the day recognized by both Sunni and Shia Muslims as the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad—the founder of Islam.  However, as you can see from the photo at the right, Muslim women in Tanzania do not dress in the traditional all black as you see in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and other places in the middle East.  Our Muslim women wear bright, colorful, very Tanzanian dress, or at least the vast majority do.  Even in Bunda, there are one or two who wear all black, all over, but there are very few here.  There is much in Islam that is good and there are many Muslims who revere Jesus as a great prophet and many that see Christians as “people of the book” referring to the Quran which contains much of what we call the Old Testament in our Bible.  In the quote above, Muhammad is repeating much of what Jesus told us, that we are in effect, “resident aliens” here awaiting our return to our eternal home in the heavens—as the Apostle Paul said, to be “in this world, but not to be of this world.”  We can learn so much from other religions if we can get past the fact that extremists in any and every religion have done much that is evil.  Tanzania, as a nation, is about one third Christians, one third Muslims, and one third NTR or native tribal religion.  The area around Bunda is more like 45% Christian, 20% Muslim, and 35% animists or NTRs.  The Christians and Muslims work together, go to school together, and get along very well together.  Shaban’s little boy goes to the same Catholic school that Charlini attends.  There were some Islamist extremists who came to our area urging Muslims to hate Christians, and the Muslims here ran them out of town (literally) and told them never to come back with their messages of hate.  On a more personal note, as I have explained in other blogs over the years, the one man who done more to keep me alive and to see that our mission has flourished is Shaban, a Muslim.  Once, camping out in the Serengeti, I asked him one night why he, a Muslim, was doing so much to help us Christians.  He pointed to a tree and said that the tree was God.  We were one branch and he was another.  He then asked if I had any more questions.  I did not.  When I was in the hospital last February for a week having surgery on my prostate and in great pain, he never left my side and slept on the floor of my hospital room every night so I would never be alone.  His favorite music is Christian gospel.  As Christ himself said, “I have others who are not of this flock.” 
Post a Comment