In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful
I must admit…I did watch the Royal Wedding ceremony this morning. I was already working overnight, and thus, it was not difficult to open up a browser window and watch the ceremony live. Apart from the pomp and ceremony, as well as the history behind the venue and scenery, I was struck by the similarity of the Anglican liturgy and Muslim prayers.
Take this as an example:
Bless, O Lord, this ring, and grant that he who gives it and she who shall wear it may remain faithful to each other, and abide in thy peace and favour, and live together in love until their lives’ end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life: send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy name; that, living faithfully together, they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge; and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Now, as a Muslim, my “Lord,” as in my God, is not Jesus Christ. Yet, if you mean “Lord” as Master or Leader, then Christ – as Muhammad – is my “lord.” I always call both Christ and Muhammad with the honorific title of Sayyidina, or “Our Master.”
Yet, still, the glorification of the Precious Beloved Lord, my God and my Savior, my Holy King to Whom I shall dedicate my life, and my soul, and my love, was quite beautiful. Yes, as a Muslim, I did not accept the references to the Trinity, but still, I enjoyed the multiple magnifications of God throughout the ceremony. I also liked the reading by the Princess’ brother, which called upon us to love and help one another.
It is around this that we in the faith community can come together. It is around our common adoration of our Holy God; around our common love for the King of Kings; around our common love for the Gloried One that we all can rally. This is why the Quran says that, sometimes, a just war can be conducted: to protect our houses of worship, such as Westminster Abbey [emphasis mine]:
Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged, and verily God has indeed the power to help them – those whom have been driven from their homelands against all right for no other reason that their saying, “Our Lord is God!” For if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, [all] monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques – in [all of] which God’s name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed [ere now].And God will most certainly help him who helps His cause: for, verily, God is Most Powerful, Almighty. (22:39-40)
Yes, we have differences in beliefs – some of them stark and quintessential – yet, nevertheless, in all of our houses of worship, in all our liturgies and homilies, in all our readings and chantings, in all our prostrations and exhortations, “God’s name is abundantly extolled.” And it is His Name that is Most Beautiful, Most Gracious, and Most Worthy of honor and praise above all others.
Why not focus on this commonality, this common word and love between us? Shall we not heed those crazed and wild voices in the wilderness, crying out for us to hate and malign each other? Shall we not heed those crazed voices who find glee in our mutual guile? Shall we not heed those crazed voices who stop at nothing to divide us along lines of fear, hatred, and rancor?
Indeed, we must.