"The rabbits' eye differs from that of the owl."
In 2013, the Minnesota Council of Churches and the Islamic Center of Minnesota began a dialogue series called "Prophets, Patriarchs, & People of Promise!"
In previous months, we had a dialogue on Abraham, the Angels, Adam and Eve, and last month on Prophet Muhammad, upon them peace and blessings. In March, we will continue our dialogue series with a dialogue on David, upon him peace.
For Muslims, all prophets are spiritual brothers, with Prophet Muhammad being the last and final messenger of God in this long chain of prophets. As a Muslim, I know of their stories through the Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
King David's honor and import spans religious traditions. In Judaism, he is remembered as the legendary second King of Israel and ancestor of the coming messiah. In Christianity, he is known as the forefather of Jesus and the psalmist. In Islam, he is a king and a Prophet revered for his righteous wisdom and willingness to stand against oppression.
Everyone knows of the David and Goliath story. According to Islamic teachings - the story has a beautiful dimension that is not discussed much. When David fought Goliath - it was not a fight of someone wanting to be a hero. David, upon him peace, was not someone with a savior complex. David, upon him peace, did not see his strength in face of Goliath, or Goliath's power in his face, but the whole journey was a journey of David's reliance on God's Strength and witnessing God's Greatness and Power over every power. The David and Goliath story is a story of a faithful few who witnessed the power and presence of God in their submission to His Commands after struggling to be true in word and deed to Him.
When Talut(David) set forth with the armies, he said: "Allah will test you at the stream: if any drinks of its water, He goes not with my army: Only those who taste not of it go with me: A mere sip out of the hand is excused." but they all drank of it, except a few.
Then when he had crossed it along with those who believed with him, they said: "This day We cannot cope with Goliath and his forces." but those who were convinced that they must meet Allah, said: "How oft, by Allah's will, Hath a small force vanquished a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere."
When they advanced to meet Goliath and his forces, they prayed: "Our Lord! Pour out constancy on us and make our steps firm: Help us against those that reject faith."
By Allah's will they routed them; and David slew Goliath; and Allah gave him power and wisdom and taught him whatever (else) He willed. And did not Allah Check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief: But Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds. These are the Signs of Allah: we rehearse them to thee in truth: verily Thou [O Muhammad] art one of the messengers. (Qur'an: 249-252)
This month, our conversation will be led by Dr. Cameron Howard, Zafar Siddiqui and Rabbi David Wirtschafter.
Cameron Howard is assistant professor of the Old Testament at Luther Seminary. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. Howard has published in a number of commentaries and journals including “New Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary” (Abingdon, 2010) and Word & World. She is a contributor to WorkingPreacher.org and EntertheBible.org, where she co-hosts the podcast series “Everything You Wanted to Know About the Bible (But Were Afraid to Ask)."
Zafar Siddiqui is a co-founder of the Islamic Resource Group (IRG), an educational outreach organization dedicated to building bridges between Muslims and people of other faiths. He currently serves as the director of interfaith and civic relations at IRG. Siddiqui serves on the advisory board of the Muslim Christian Dialogue Center (MCDC) at the University of St. Thomas. He is a member of the Twin Cities Interfaith Network (TCIN) and is active in several interfaith and diversity-related initiatives in the Twin Cities.
Rabbi David Wirtschafter has served congregations in California, New Hampshire, and New York, and is currently rabbi of the Ames Jewish Congregation in Iowa. Raised in Minneapolis, he graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in English literature and from Hebrew Union College in New York with an M.A. degree in Hebrew literature. Actively involved in interfaith dialogue, social justice, and community service, he is a playful storyteller and a serious scholar who has given presentations on a wide variety of topics. Much of Rabbi Wirtschafter’s current research focuses on troubling biblical texts and contemporary critiques of religion and on intelligent responses to both from within Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities.
If you cannot make it this month, watch for more dialogues in our series as we explore individuals revered as Prophets, Patriarchs, & People of Promise to learn and dialogue about Jesus (April 27) and Solomon (May 18). Upon them peace.
NOTE: In recognition of Easter Sunday, April's dialogue will break our regular pattern. Instead of the third Sunday of the month, we will gather together April 27th for a dialogue of Jesus.
Sunday, March 16
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Islamic Center of Minnesota
1401 Gardena Ave. NE
Fridley, MN 55432
Participants in the Muslim Christian Dialogue are invited to park on the street, in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Minnesota or in the parking lot of Totino Grace High School directly across the street.
Please foward to friends and family and spread the word. We hope you can make it and open your heart and listen to three great speakers!