How Christians should regard Muslims and Islam

All Christians are not the same. A wide range of beliefs is held and lived by various persons who call themselves Christian. And among Catholics, a wide diversity of beliefs and practices is also found. So when we consider Muslims and the Islamic faith, we should not assume that they all hold the same set of beliefs. Many different interpretations of the Bible are found among Christians. And many different interpretations of the Quran are found among Muslims. It is wrong for a Christian to assert a particular interpretation of the Quran, as if all Muslims believe that one interpretation.

See my post: Roman Catholic teaching on the Islamic Faith.

Vatican II: “the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God” (LG 16)

Vatican II: “The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.” (NA 3)

It is wrong to speak as if all Muslims were extremists, who oppose other religions and who justify violence to spread Islam. That is not true of all Muslims. It is not true of most Muslims in the U.S.

A Muslim who loves God and neighbor is pleasing to God. A Muslim who loves God and neighbor is in the state of grace, and is a child of God by spiritual adoption. They enter the state of grace by an act of love of God and neighbor. Everyone in the state of grace is a child of God by spiritual adoption, not only Christians.

Many Muslim women choose to express their faith in God by wearing a headscarf (called a hijab). This practice differs from the Catholic practice of women wearing a veil or mantilla at Mass. But in both cases, the woman expresses her faith in God by a modest article of clothing, which covers the head. It is hypocritical for Catholics to oppose the wearing of the hijab by Muslim women, when our own religion encourages women to cover their heads also. We should not be offended by the devote expression of religious faith by Muslims, as we all believe in the one God, who created Heaven and earth.

Can a Muslim, who knows about Christianity and the Church, but does not convert, still obtain eternal life in Heaven? Yes. A Muslim who loves God and neighbor enters the state of grace by that love. If he sins gravely, he can return to the state of grace by sorrow for sin out of love for God. When he dies in the state of grace, he certainly will have eternal happiness in Heaven.

At Medjugorje, the Blessed Virgin Mary was asked by a visionary, Who is the holiest person in Medjugorje? She replied that a particular woman, who is a devout Muslim, is the holiest. How can this be? Almost the whole town is Catholic Christian, and many priests and religious live there. See my post: Salvation for Muslims.

It is a sin for Catholics to assume that non-Catholics and non-Christians cannot enter Heaven, or that they do so only rarely. We are the invited guests of the feast. But many Catholics are publicly known to be obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin. Many Catholics sin against our own religion by heretical beliefs or by other objective mortal sins. So it is that many of the invited guests do not reach the feast of Heaven, while many other persons do.

[Matthew 22]
{22:1} And responding, Jesus again spoke to them in parables, saying:
{22:2} “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was king, who celebrated a wedding for his son.
{22:3} And he sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding. But they were not willing to come.
{22:4} Again, he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell the invited: Behold, I have prepared my meal. My bulls and fatlings have been killed, and all is ready. Come to the wedding.’
{22:5} But they ignored this and they went away: one to his country estate, and another to his business.
{22:6} Yet truly, the rest took hold of his servants and, having treated them with contempt, killed them.
{22:7} But when the king heard this, he was angry. And sending out his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and he burned their city.
{22:8} Then he said to his servants: ‘The wedding, indeed, has been prepared. But those who were invited were not worthy.
{22:9} Therefore, go out to the ways, and call whomever you will find to the wedding.’
{22:10} And his servants, departing into the ways, gathered all those whom they found, bad and good, and the wedding was filled with guests.
{22:11} Then the king entered to see the guests. And he saw a man there who was not clothed in a wedding garment.
{22:12} And he said to him, ‘Friend, how is it that you have entered here without having a wedding garment?’ But he was dumbstruck.
{22:13} Then the king said to the ministers: ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
{22:14} For many are called, but few are chosen.’ ”

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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5 Responses to How Christians should regard Muslims and Islam

  1. Matt says:

    How do you explain this quote from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:

    ‘Today (1950), the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world Power.’

    • Ron Conte says:

      Some Muslims are anti-Christian, and others are not. Some Muslims love their neighbor, and everyone who loves their neighbor is a child of God. We cannot treat our fellow children of God as enemies or strangers.

  2. Michael says:

    What are your thoughts on Muslim women wearing the burka Ron? . Completely different in my eyes fromthe respectful & humble wearing of the hijab.
    I feel the burka is more about Muslim men controlling their wives and has no place in religion or society.
    Do we ever see a depiction of the most humble,perfect woman who ever lived ( the blessed virgin)
    Wearing a burka?
    But as you say I cannot & will not judge every Muslim as evil or corrupt or wanting all Christians dead.I know may good Muslims who love God greatly & vice versa my truly horrible Christians.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I agree that the burka is categorically different. It is oppressive, not an expression of humble faith, like the hijab.

  3. Mark P. says:

    I have respect for Muslim women with the courage to wear their hijab. What a respectful, outward sign of their faith. It is a wonderful sign of humility and respect for God. Meanwhile, with summer here now, I see plenty of young women at Mass with flip flops, cutoff jean shorts, tight tank tops, etc. It got so bad last year that our priest had to remind people about proper dress. The men are no better. Come football season, there are plenty of men wearing football jerseys at Mass as if the Holy Sacrifice were a dinner of wings and beer at the local sports bar. Again, there is no longer a healthy “fear of the Lord” within the Church. Everyone feels like they are going to heaven because there is rarely talk of judgment or eschatology.

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