Every year, millions of Muslims around the world make the religious journey known as Hajj to Mecca. As one of the five 'pillars' of Islam, Hajj is a requirement for Muslims to perform at least once in a life, if physically and financially able (Qur’an 2:196ff). Muslims consider their sins forgiven due to their paticipation. Some make the pilgrimage more than once.
A few days ago, a Muslim friend and I were about to share our thoughts on sin and forgiveness in Islam and Christianity, but we were interrupted. Later that evening, he sent me the words of a prayer which he treats as the number 1 best prayer to seek forgiveness (See picture). Since it is recommended by the prophet of Islam, he recites it everyday. The translation is as follows: “O Allah, you are my Lord. There is no god but you. You created me and I am your slave. I am abiding by your covenant and promise (to follow) as best as I can. I seek refuge in you from the evil I have committed. I acknowledge your favor upon me and I confess my sin. So forgive me because no one forgives sins except you.”
This prayer is mentioned several times in the books of traditions with some variations. My Muslim friend asked me if Jesus recommended anything like this or if Jesus prayed for forgiveness for the sins of his followers.
Does America need Islam? Salam Al Marayati, the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, DC published an article, "The Key to Defeating ISIS is Islam" on September 18 in the Huffington Post. (The link is posted at the end of my response). He claims, "America needs Islam -- not to convert people to the religion, but as the antidote to the toxic and threatening ideology of ISIS.” I disagree completely with his statement.
Is a church with a big building and high attendance a sign of success? According to Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, almost half of Christians in the USA (49%) say church attendance is "somewhat" or "very" important, but half (51%) say it is "not too" or "not at all" important. The younger we are, the worse the numbers get. Only two in 10 adults under the age of 30 believe church is important; more than a third take an anti-church stance.
The world is watching with horror as Islamic State jihadists in Iraq crucify Christians, behead children, and bury victims alive. When Christians flee ahead of their advance, the terrorists then steal their homes and businesses. They mark them with a red, painted U-shaped symbol with a dot above the center. This is the 25th letter of the Arabic character set (pronounced "noon"), equivalent to the Roman letter N.