"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spot the Difference: 10 Things every Catholic and Muslim Should Do

American convert and writer, Yahiya Emerick (in RED), suggests ten easy things that every Muslim family can do to contribute to the betterment of Muslims and the establishment of Islam in the West.

In contrast, here is Salome Bintullah's (in BLUE) suggested ten things every Catholic should do and see the difference:
Muslim: Sponsor an Orphan
Before anything else, there are hungry Muslim children everywhere who have needs right now. There are several reputable relief agencies who offer orphan sponsorship programs that only cost from $20-$40 a month. You and I know that's nothing expensive on your part - so do it. Some agencies even offer automated withdrawal so you can send a letter once with a voided check and never have to fill anything out again. Doing this can make you close to the Prophet in Paradise.

Christian: Sponsor an orphan. Emerick recommends that Muslim families sponsor a Muslim orphan. We shouldn't restrict ourselves to Christian orphans, but it is true that there are many Christian orphans. All orphans can benefit from our assistance. There are many Catholic and other Christian orphanages that you can donate to regularly.


Muslim: Subscribe to at least three Muslim magazines
This is practically the only way you can keep abreast of issues important to the Muslims in the West. It also supports the budding Muslim media. Even if you don't intend to read the magazines, subscribe anyway. Someone around you will read or you can leave them with others. Make it at least three and try to subscribe for 2-3 years at a time.

Christian: Subscribe to at least three Catholic magazines. There are many great Catholic magazines, newspapers, and newsletters that you can subscribe to. You should put them somewhere in your house where you know they'll get read, like the coffee table or the bathroom (hehehe). Try to get a variety of publications, including apologetics magazines and devotional publications. I recommend This Rock, Envoy, and Magnificat. Also, subscribe to a Catholic mission magazine if you can find a good one.

Muslim: Go to the Masjid at least once a week for Salah
In the West today, nearly all of us have a Masjid within driving distance. Even if you don't go to the local Masjid for Jumu'ah because of your job, then go for at least one Maghrib a week or for Zuhr on Sunday. Whatever, just go at least once a week- WITH YOUR FAMILY. It's the only way that you and your family will consider the Masjid to be your place.

Christian: Go to church at least once a week for Sunday Mass, and daily Mass if you can. Prayer and scripture readings are important, and you get these every time you go to Mass. Try offering your communion for the conversion of Muslims.

Muslim: Give your children an Islamic Education
If your children go to public school, and there is no Islamic school nearby, then make sure they either get into some Sunday school program, or, if the local Masjid doesn't run it right, then pool together with some like-minded families and run your own program at somebody's house every Saturday or Sunday and conduct it the way you think it should be done. This is the minimum requirement for not losing your children to secular Christianity.

Chritian: Give your children a Catholic education. Unfortunately Catholic school is expensive now, so you might not be able to send your kids there. But you should do more than just enroll them in catechism classes; if the classes are anything like they used to be, they're not much good anyway. Make sure that you take some time at home to teach your children the Catholic faith.

Muslim: Buy books, cassettes and videos on Islam
Buy at least one book, audio or video produced by a Muslim company or author per month. Have you ever wished that there were better items for you and your family's pleasure? Unfortunately, Muslims don't support their own writers and artists very well. No one can make even a decent living if they want to write or produce for the Muslim market. That must change if you want to see wonderful products for you and your children. Just buy one thing per month. Either out of a catalog or from your local Muslim bookstore. For you it's only $5-$10 bucks, but collectively, it can encourage our creative and talented brothers and sisters to do more.

Christian: Buy books, CDs, and videos on Catholicism. There are so many great resources out there. Check your local church store or look at Catholic online stores.

Muslim: "Adopt" a convert
If you see any new Muslims at your Masjid, then partially "adopt" them into your family. The convert experience is basically one of isolation and loneliness. You'd be surprised to know that most converts are outright ignored by the people in the Masjid. Beyond a few pleasantries and handshakes, they are usually never made to feel welcome or accepted. They are often cut off from their non-Muslim friends and relatives so they are doubly vulnerable. A new convert should be invited into various peoples home for dinner a minimum of six times a month. Get together with others and make sure you all put the new convert on your guest list for any sort of gathering.

Christian: "Adopt" a convert. If you know someone who has recently become Catholic, devote some of your time to them so they feel welcome. A great way to do this is to volunteer to be someone's sponsor.

Muslim: Give the gift of the Quran
Keep three extra Qur'an translations and some literature in your home at all times. You never know when you'll find someone interested who wants to know more. Besides, your children read only and understand only English. (You wouldn't believe how many Muslim families don't have an English Qur'an translation in their homes! How will the child read it if they don't understand Arabic, and they never understand Arabic, even if their parents are Arabic speaking!)

Christian: Give the gift of the Bible. Keep at least three copies of the Catholic Bible in your home at all times. You never know when someone may want one! Paperback copies can be quite inexpensive, especially if it's just the New Testament.

Muslim: Go to one convention a year
Even if you have given up on them, you have to go. It's the only way your children will feel a part of a greater community of believers. Think about it and realize that you don't just go to a convention for your personal enrichment. It's about Muslim solidarity. Go to at least one every year. Couple it with your vacation plans or something. Just go.

Christian: Go to one convention or retreat per year. Even if there aren't any Catholic conventions in your area, local churches usually hold retreats. Build up that church family!

Muslim: Eat only Halal or Kosher Food
Besides all the religious aspects I could mention, which are the most important, by the way, there is another advantage. You solidify your identity and introduce to your family the concept that animals should not die cruelly (like they do in all American slaughterhouses) and that Muslims eat cleaner food. If there are no Halal meat stores nearby, you'll probably find a Kosher store. At least many of the Jews are not shy about Allah's commandment there and have established kosher markets everywhere.

Christian: Focus on internal purity, not external purity. All foods are clean for us. It's what comes out of our mouths that defiles us, not what goes in. We Catholics have many rituals, and there's nothing wrong with that. But you should focus on internalizing that faith as well. And of course, you should still eat a healthy diet.

Muslim: Create an Islamic environment in your home
Lastly, make sure you and your family have cultural-type items in your home in abundance that are associated with Islam or Islamic culture. Everyone in your home should have prayer beads, prayer rugs, kufis, Hijabs, (even if they're worn only for prayer), gowns, posters, wall plaques, stickers, logo-shirts, Islamic screen-savers on the computer, and on and on. You want to establish an identity in your home. Everything outside is totally un-Islamic. At least let the Islamic flavor be present inside.

Christian: Create a Catholic environment in your home. You should put up several crucifixes. Whatever religious artwork you have, and how much, is up to you. Make your home a "Catholic home" to the extent that you're comfortable. One great idea is to have a family altar or icon corner. Put a small table in a corner and give the family Bible pride of place on it. Also have other Christian items like crosses, rosaries, prayer cards, candles, incense, etc.

Muslim: Originally, there were only ten things on this list, but then a very important item came to mind but I just couldn't bring myself to delete any of the preceding items. But in the interest of simplicity, I'll keep the upper ten intact and mention this item as a separate issue because it's something that you don't really need to list with the other things.

This is extremely crucial:

Resolve to raise your family as Muslims
Don't be passive. Don't sit around and watch your spouse and children drift further and further away into disbelief and kufr. Would any of you like to be on their deathbed and then realize that they only left non-Muslims behind them? Imagine entering the great sleep with that realization on your heart!

These ten things can be done, with minimal trouble and fuss, by each and every Muslim family. Through these ten points nearly every purpose of Islam is served and you can finally feel that you're doing something in an organized fashion to help promote your healthy way of life and also to fulfill your responsibility to your Creator. Give it a try and see how easy these things really are. Then stick with it. You have no excuses for inaction anymore

Christian: Most importantly, resolve to raise your family as Catholics. The above ten points will help you to do that. Raise children who love being Catholic, worship God with all their hearts and are not afraid to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Thanks God I am a Catholic!

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