Hot Air has video of an invocation at the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee by Husham Al-Husainy, Imam of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center, a Shi’ite mosque in Dearborn, Michigan.
Here’s a transcript:
In the name of God the most merciful, the most compassionate. We thank you, God, to bless us among your creations. We thank you, God, to make us as a great nation. We thank you God, to send us your messages through our father Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed. Through you, God, we unite. So guide us to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom. Help us God to liberate and fill this earth with justice and peace and love and equality. And help us to stop the war and violence, and oppression and occupation. Ameen.
In mentioning “Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed” I expect that he sounded wonderfully generous and ecumenical to the assembled Democrats. But in fact, he was almost certainly invoking them in their capacity as Muslim prophets: it is mainstream Islam that all of these were prophets who taught Islam, and that the followers of Moses and Jesus corrupted their teachings to create Judaism and Christianity. The Qur’an says that Abraham was not a Jew or a Christian, but a Muslim (3:67), and depicts Jesus denying his own divinity (5:116) — and this, of course, is the Imam’s frame of reference. So what seems to be a gesture of ecumenical generosity is actually a declaration of religious imperialism and the delegitimization of other religions.
Also, imagine if a Christian priest or minister had prayed at a DNC meeting that those attending be guided away from the path of those doomed by God. In this, in any case, the Imam is echoing the Fatiha, the first sura of the Qur’an and most common prayer of Islam. It asks Allah: “Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.” The traditional Islamic understanding of this is that the “straight path” is Islam — cf. Islamic apologist John Esposito’s book Islam: The Straight Path. The path of those who have earned Allah’s anger are the Jews, and those who have gone astray are the Christians. The classic Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains:
Allah asserted that the two paths He described here are both misguided when He repeated the negation `not’. These two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why `anger’ descended upon the Jews, while being described as `led astray’ is more appropriate of the Christians. Those who know, but avoid implementing the truth, deserve the anger, unlike those who are ignorant. The Christians want to seek the true knowledge, but are unable to find it because they did not seek it from its proper resources.
This is why they were led astray. We should also mention that both the Christians and the Jews have earned the anger and are led astray, but the anger is one of the attributes more particular of the Jews. Allah said about the Jews,
[مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ]
(Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath) (5:60).
The attribute that the Christians deserve most is that of being led astray, just as Allah said about them,
[قَدْ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ كَثِيراً وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَآءِ السَّبِيلِ]
(Who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path) (5:77).
It is interesting to see the Democrats standing with heads bowed piously while the Imam Husham Al-Husainy prays, in veiled terms to be sure, for their conversion to Islam, and oh yes, for the destruction of Israel (“And help us to stop the war and violence, and oppression and occupation”).
UPDATE: Some people have questioned my quote from Ibn Kathir above, asserting that it is just one “extremist” interpretation, and that I am ignoring others. Allow me therefore to note that most Muslim commentators believe that the Jews are those who have earned Allah’s wrath and the Christians are those who have gone astray. This is the view of Tabari, Zamakhshari, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, the Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Ibn Arabi, as well as Ibn Kathir. One contrasting, but not majority view, is that of Nisaburi, who says that “those who have incurred Allah’s wrath are the people of negligence, and those who have gone astray are the people of immoderation.”