Claims Visiting Sheik who says Christians should be tolerant of Muslims; Boko Haram and ISIS are not representation of Islam
A US-based Islamic preacher, motivational speaker and prolific writer, Sheik Ahmed Mohammed Awal, has said that in spite of Islam being the fastest growing religion in the world, misconceptions and misunderstandings have caused the religion to be secondary, violence oriented, and always at the back seat.
The Islamic preacher said the prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ are both prophets of God, and that Mohammed is the comforter Jesus Christ mentioned in John 14:15–18, a claim that Christians worldwide would refute.
“If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray for the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; but you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you,” he quoted John 14: 15-18, a verse Christians worldwide know to be in reference to the Holy Spirit of God.
The Sheik spoke to thousands of Muslims at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia on Sunday, July 9, which marked the Liberian Muslim community’s first international Islamic Outreach Program, called Dawah, under the theme: “Peace, Reconciliation, and Religious Tolerance.”
The Sheik is in the country as a guest of several Islamic organizations, including the Al Noor Committee, the Liberia Muslim Women Network, the Muslim United to Invite Scholars and the Sisters in Islam, among others.
Sheik Awal claimed that the original text of the Holy Bible, which was written in Hebrew, mentioned the name of the prophet Mohammed, but the English versions called him the “unlettered prophet,” citing Isaiah 29:12: “And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
He stressed that Islam is a religion of peace, “and the way Muslims pray, prostrate and stand, were copied from the prophets, including Jesus Christ.” He said Abraham, Moses, and Joshua of the “Old Testament in the Holy Bible” prostrated to pray to God.
He quoted Genesis 17:3; Deuteronomy 4:30 and Joshua 4:15 as some of the many scriptures where prophets prostrated in prayer to God. The Sheik further argued that even Jesus Christ prostrated to pray, as indicated in Matthew 26:39 and Mark 14:35.
The Sheik frowned on the statement that Muslims worship the black stone in Mecca, which used to house over 360 gods.
Sheik Awal said the pilgrimage to Mecca to worship is scripturally sound, quoting Isaiah 21:13, which said: “The oracle about Arabia. In the thickets of Arabia, you must spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites.”
The black stone is a rock set into the eastern corner of the Kaaba, the ancient building located in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, he said.
Meanwhile, the Sheik said Boko Haram and ISIS are not a representation of Islam because the Quran strictly prohibits the killing of another man.
He challenged Muslim and Christian leaders in the country to lead the process of national peace, reconciliation and religious tolerance among Liberians. He explained that religious leaders who command hundreds of worshipers at their places of worship have critical roles in ensuring the maintenance of lasting peace in Liberia.
Sheik Awal also wants the introduction of a regular interfaith dialogue in Liberia to enable people from various faiths understand the religions of others as a means of erasing the misconceptions and misinformation that are responsible for the problems in the country.
“We in America normally open our mosques under a theme called the ‘Open House’ where people of the Christian, Jewish and even atheists come in to read and understand the Islamic religion. Do not shut the door of your mosques to them, it also belongs to them,” he noted.
Sheik Awal also admonished Liberians to see the 14-year civil conflict in the country as a wake-up call for them to cultivate the doctrine of peace and reconciliation in their hearts.
In order to ensure lasting peace and reconciliation in the country, he urged Liberians to ensure the provision of quality education to the youth to shift their minds from hatred to love for their fellow Liberians.
Meanwhile, five persons publicly converted to Islam on Sunday after the Sheik’s presentation.