Who Out There Has The Truth? – OpEd


Twelve years ago the U.N. General Assembly proclaimed the first week of February as Interfaith Harmony Week for all religions with a resolution that recognized “the imperative need for dialogue among faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony, and cooperation among people.” 

So this Reform Rabbi offers to the religious public this article about religious TRUTH in the Qur’an.

All wise religions praise modesty; and modesty requires that religious believers do not claim that they or their religious beliefs are the one and only TRUTH. This is why the Qur’an states: “To each of you We (God) proscribed a law and a method. Had Allah so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (God’s plan is) to test you in what He has given you: so compete in all virtues as in a race. The goal of you all is to (please) Allah who will show you (on judgment day) the truth of the matters in which you dispute.” (Qur’an 5:48) 

“O Children of Adam! Indeed, We have bestowed upon you from on high [knowledge of making] garments to cover your nakedness, and [clothing] as a thing of beauty; but the garment of God-consciousness [modesty] is the best of all. Herein lies a message from God, so that man might take it to heart. (Qur’an 7:26)

Religious pluralism is needed in order that each religion can “compete in all virtues as in a race” and it is “Allah who will show you (on judgment day) the truth of the matters in which you dispute.”  “Once all humans were but a single community; then they disagreed (formulating different beliefs and rituals). Had it not been that your Lord had already so ordained, a decisive judgement would have been made regarding their disagreements.” (10:19)

Only in the next world will God judge every human being: “Indeed, the believers, Jews, Sabians, Christians, Magi, and the polytheists—God will judge between them all on Judgment Day. Surely God is a Witness over all things.” (Quran 22:17)

For kind, charitable and peaceful monotheists: “Indeed, the (Muslim) believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabians—whoever truly believes in God and the Last Day and does good will have their reward with their Lord. There will be no fear (of hell) for them, nor will they grieve.” (Quran 2:62 and 5:6) 

I believe that:
All roads that lead to God are good.
Provided that they also lead to Goodness.
But if they lead only to Truth
and not to Kindness, Love and Compassion,
Humility, Peacemaking and Righteousness;
Then they lead to a narrow minded fanaticism that takes God’s holy name 
and profanes it, desecrates it, and denies it.

The same basic message about loyalty to the one and only God who created the universe and requires all humans to live lives of kindness, modesty, faithfulness and justice is always repeated. The ritual and theological details of each religion do vary from religion to religion; but the basics always remain the same. 

As the great Muslim poet Jalal al-Din al-Rumi taught, “Ritual prayer can be different in every religion, but (Monotheistic) belief never changes.” (Fihi Mafih)  This will continue for Jews, Christians and Muslims until judgement day when “Allah will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute.” (Qur’an 5:48)

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

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