Interfaith Understanding

Interfaith Understanding


ISNA, WHICH INHERITED THE INTERFAITH MANTLE FROM MSA, ITS root organization, continues to develop it. Interfaith sessions are integral to all ISNA events. And Sunday at the Convention was ISNA Interfaith Banquet day.

This year, Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam), an Aboriginal Canadian and member of the Métis Nation, delivered the keynote address.

While discounting the Islamic credentials of ISIS, Morrow pointed out that the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never described his system as a State, Caliphate, Sultanate, Republic or Democracy. On the contrary, he described it as an Ummah, Motherland, Homeland, Federation or Confederation. Thus, he said, the Prophet wanted to create a Union of Free People under the precepts derived from the Qur’an that he conveyed in the Covenants he made with Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians: freedom of movement, freedom of work, freedom of study, freedom of religion, and freedom of choice.

Dr. Morrow, who undertook the publication of the Covenant of Madinah (al-Sahifah al-Madinah), said that as a result of its publication in 2013, and the proclamation of the Marrakesh Declaration in 2016, later endorsed by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Muslims are becoming increasingly aware of the Covenant, Constitution or Charter of Madinah.

The Prophet proclaimed the Covenant 1400 years ago, to bring together Arabs, Jews, Christians, and pagans. In fact, the first thing he did after arriving in Madinah was to protect the rights of all citizens of his newly formed Ummah. He prepared a Constitution for his Commonwealth in consultation with all of his constituents – the first political charter in history governing the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.

According to the Constitution of Madinah, identity is not based on race, religion, kinship, class, gender, or tribal affiliation: it is based on membership in the Ummah. It is what we today call “citizenship” said Morrow, and quoted: “To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided.”
The Covenant, he said, clearly stipulates: “God’s protection is one.”

Dr. Morrow concluded: “I believe in the Ummah of Muhammad, the
Confederation of Believers that is based on the Covenant of Madinah and the Covenants of the Prophet; an Ummah based on justice, tolerance, and diversity.”