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Letters to the Editor 2/26

February 26, 2002

Religions have many similarities


To the editor:

The myriad of information provided by the media about Islam is rather bewildering. Although we are all creations of one God with same obligations and responsibilities, the focus these days is more on our differences than on our similarities. This prevents us from working together to enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong.

More so now than before, I feel compelled to enumerate the articles of faith of Islam to illustrate its similarities with other religions.

Islam's main message and beliefs are embodied in the scripture called Qur'an (believed by Muslims to be the exact words of God) which is further elaborated and explained by the sayings, actions and examples of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). In a theological sense, first and foremost of these beliefs is that there is only one, unique, incomparable God (called Allah by Muslims) and Muhammad is the messenger of God. A Muslim also has to believe in angels, all the prophets through whom God's revelations were brought to mankind, the scriptures that were revealed to these prophets and the day of judgment when individuals will have to account for their actions.

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The basic Islamic faith also includes the belief that God has complete authority over human destiny and there is a life after death, which is eternal.

Quran instructs (Chapter 3, verse 84) "Say: we believe in Allah, and what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the prophets, from their Lord: we make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)". Muslims thus recognize the prophethood of Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them) and have the same respect for them as they have for Prophet Muhammad. Muslims consider Islam to be the same truth that God revealed through all his messengers, a final message and summing up of all that was given before.

In every day life Islam stands for sanctity of human personality, teaches that all human beings are born sinless and confers equal rights without distinction of race, nationality or sex. In his last major sermon during the farewell Hajj (Pilgrimage) prophet Muhammad advised "All mankind is from Adam & Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action."

According to Islam faith in God, pure intentions and good deeds are the way to salvation. Muslims believe that on the Day of Judgment the entire human race will be resurrected, everyone will appear before almighty God and pay the consequences of his deeds in this life. This compels a true Muslim to pursue a life without crime, corruption, immorality and injustice.

Although Islam at times may appear strange to non-Muslims, I find interesting similarities between core values and principles of Islam and other major religions! I urge that we use these common beliefs the basis for better understanding and relationship between different faiths.

Syed Qasim Burmi

Hagerstown

Excellent care


To the editor:

In memory of Marion Richard Biesecker, we would all like to thank Western Maryland Hospital Nursing Home, all their staff and Dr. Roza's dialysis staff for the excellent care and quality of life given to our father and husband. They all became part of our family.

We would like to thank the Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home and staff for the caring and professional manner in which they handled everything. They made this time a pleasant and peaceful experience. We would also like to thank all the visitors who faithfully came to see him in the nursing home.

All the prayers, hundreds of cards, numerous food items, many flowers and visits and numerous memorial donations from the members of the Rouzerville United Methodist Church, Waynesboro Lioness Club, employees and residents of Quincy Home and Village, relatives, friends and neighbors were all greatly appreciated and truly helped to lighten our load.

Knowing that we have so many great friends has helped us through this time. Our many thanks to all of you from his daughters, Susan Barlup and Margaret Thompson and their families and his wife of 61 years, Helen G. Biesecker.

Margaret Thompson

Chambersburg, Pa.

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