Culture & Religion
April Sat 07, 2012
On Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate Easter. Here in Egypt, we have a celebration on the Monday after Easter called Sham el-Naseem, which comes from the pharaonic tradition. Since ancient times, before Christianity and Islam, the pharaonic people celebrated the coming of spring on this day. Every year it is the day after Easter, so most Egyptians connect the two. The fact that Easter is a time of celebration for Muslims as well should not be so surprising. The Quran and the Hadith, the book of sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, tell us to respect our neighbors, treating them with respect, whether they are near or at a distance. We also have many sayings that he who believes in Allah, God, and the Last Day must not harm his neighbors. We also have another saying, which says that when our neighbors celebrate festivals, we should respect this and share the happiness with them.Islamic tradition says that, when the Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet Mohammed, he insisted and reminded the Prophet from time to time to respect his neighbors. Mohammed also spoke about the relationship that a Muslim should have with his neighbors with respect to inheritance. We have an inheritance system in Islam, so that when a person dies, his money and property goes to his sons and daughters, but also to his neighbors, even if they are of another religion. Mohammed’s company decided this.The importance of Easter for us is more apparent today in the current political context of Egypt.After the revolution, Christians participate in our celebrations as Muslims and we participate with them. They come to attend their festivals and we attend theirs. The revolution made us feel that we all live on the same land and have the same goals, and if we Muslims and Christians who live on this land do not respect each other, we will fail.In Islam, we ask, why did God create us? We must believe that the reason God created us is to worship God and to think him. At the same time, as Muslims we know that God does not need our worshipping at all. He is able to discard us like nothing, and start again. Therefore, as Muslims, we respect the other two monotheistic religions, Christianity and Judaism. That is why we feel that Easter is a good way for us as Muslims to open another gate of peace and love, especially in these sinister times here in Egypt.
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