Rebuilding Muhammad’s Interfaith Alliance: Putting the Covenants into Action
Now that you’ve learned what the Prophetic Covenants are, and something about their history and their relevance to today’s world, it’s time to begin imagining how to put them into action. The plan below is only one possibility out of many; the first steps toward completing it can be taken either by interested groups or by committed individuals. If you wish to use this course simply as a source of information, that’s entirely acceptable—but if you feel you are ready to take the giant step from thought to action, then read on.
Muhammad’s Interfaith Alliance
by Charles Upton
In the Constitution of Medina, Muhammad created a Muslim/Jewish alliance against the attacks of the Quraysh; in his Covenants with the Christians of the world he commanded all Muslims not to attack but rather to defend peaceful Christian communities. Following the spirit of the Medina Constitution and the explicit commands of the Prophetic Covenants, we can do the same thing today: the three major Abrahamic religions can band together to plan non-violent mutual aid and defense against attacks on our places of worship, as well as against anti-religious propaganda and slanderous assaults against one or more of the God-given faiths. Those powerful interests in today’s world who want to weaken and control the religions always talk about how the faiths can be protected from each other; they have little to say about how the faiths can be protected from them. When the Covenants Initiative made its debut at the Christian/Muslim Dialogue hosted by the Bilal Mosque in Lexington, Kentucky in 2013, one of the members of the congregation, whose accent told us that he was from the Indian subcontinent, told a highly enlightening story: “On certain nights in my home town,” he said, “unknown parties would throw pig carcasses into mosques and slaughtered cows unto Hindu temples; this made it virtually certain that there would be Muslim/Hindu riots the next day.” It was obvious to him that the slaughtered animals had been placed in those houses of worship not by Hindus or Muslims, but by unidentified third parties. Obviously not all attacks on places of worship are agent provocateur actions like this; certain religions obviously have an ingrained enmity for each other based both on historical precedents of long standing and contemporary social conditions. Such enmities, however, can easily be exploited by outside forces. Joachim Hagopian, in “Divide and Conquer: The Globalist Pathway to New World Order Tyranny,” says this about the application of the famous “divide and conquer” tactic to the creation of interreligious conflict:
The retention of power [is furthered] by utilizing a deliberate strategy of causing those in subordinate positions to engage in conflicts with each other that weaken and keep them from any unified effort to remove the status quo force from power….This divide and conquer stratagem was frequently repeated by European colonial powers typically pitting competitive tribal, ethnic and religious factions against each other to ensure they would not conspire to revolt against the ruling imperialists. In Asia the British took full advantage of Moslems versus Hindus in India as well as creating conflict between Indians and Pakistanis.
Bringing the “divide-and-conquer” strategy up to date, Dr. John Andrew Morrow observes, in his article “From Salafism to Sufism:”
The globalists have long been committed to full-spectrum dominance. That includes controlling all opposition and playing all cards against each other; liberals vs. conservatives, Christians vs. Muslims, Sunnis vs. Shi’is, Sunnis and Shi’is vs. Sufis, whites vs. blacks, the native born vs. immigrants and refugees. In short, everyone against everyone else. For the political strategists of the globalists, radical Islam and moderate Islam are parallel tracks. They are simply ideologies deployed to advance their agenda. They are means to an end.
Nonetheless, in proposing that the Abrahamic religions band together to form mutual aid and defense societies, we don’t want to give the idea that the faiths should begin to think of themselves as armed camps. The Covenants of the Prophet Foundation has no intention of involving itself in questions of how places of worship should provide the appropriate level of physical security; such questions need to be dealt with by the religious communities themselves on a case by case basis, either alone or in consultation with their own national or regional leadership, other local congregations of their own faith or of different faiths, various interfaith organizations etc. The kind of defense we are talking about is not based primarily on armed security but on vigilance, the sharing of relevant information, and developing a clear idea of the position of religion in today’s world and the forces and attitudes that people of faith must contend with. If the congregations who have decided to explore avenues for mutual aid do not feel that they are presently living under a clear threat of violence, let them look beyond the possibility of physical attacks to the reality of ideological and cultural attacks, which can sometimes become so all-pervasive that they drop out of conscious awareness, while continuing to intimidate believers and undermine faith. As for how the forces and attitudes presently arrayed against religious faith might be addressed, below is our own humble attempt to answer this question.
Our plan for putting the Prophetic Covenants into action to rebuild Muhammad’s interfaith alliance requires that interested individuals consider acting as an Active Graduate by taking and passing the Course Test and helping to start Covenants of the Prophet Study Groups. Understand that the Active Course Graduate in no way represents the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation, but has simply chosen, on his or her own responsibility, to make use of the materials the Foundation has provided.
The Study Groups in turn will be tasked with appointing Study Group Representatives to liaison with masjids, churches, synagogues and interfaith organizations, and (if appropriate) to propose that Interfaith Mutual Aid and Defense Groups be formed, who will ideally be in a position to sponsor a number of programs. Let us make clear at the outset that the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation has neither the resources or the desire to manage or direct these activities. Our role will be limited to: 1) Disseminating and updating the Covenants of the Prophet Training Course; 2) Acting as a clearing house for receiving and forwarding information and reports (entirely voluntary, in no way obligatory) from the Study Groups and the Mutual Aid and Defense Groups, especially when these promise to be useful or inspiring to other such groups elsewhere; 3) Making ourselves available, if asked, to answer any questions or provide our opinions on any issues that may arise; 4) Making presentations at various venues, if invited. Beyond these functions, which we will endeavor to carry out to the best of our ability, you’re on your own.
It only remains for us to emphasize once again that for you to adopt our plan to rebuild Muhammad’s interfaith alliance is only a suggestion. You know your own circumstances better than we do; it is entirely possible that you might come up with an entirely different way of applying the Covenants of the Prophet to interfaith work and the advancement and renewal of Islam. The Covenants are nothing if not inspirational—so if they inspire you to see a new way forward that we’ve never thought of, then more power to you. Feel free to let us know about any plans you come up with that you believe might be useful to others; we’ll be sure to spread them far and wide.
1} The Duties of a an Active Course Graduate
An Active Course Graduate is anyone who has completed the Covenants of the Prophet Training Course through LESSON 6, passed the concluding test, and volunteered to share it with others. His or her duties would include:
A} To share the Course with any interested Muslim peer.
B} To share the Course with his or her masjid, if the Active Course Graduate judges that the imam is likely to be receptive, as well as with whatever interfaith organization the Active Course Graduate may be associated with. The Covenants of the Prophet Foundation will provide the Active Course Graduate with materials that will help him or her introduce the Foundation and the Covenants Initiative to his or her imam, including the awards presented by the Islamic Society of North America and the Congress of the United States to our founder and chairman, Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam).
C} To consider forming a Covenants of the Prophet Study Group composed of Muslims to assimilate the Training Course and discuss its implications.
2} Potential Duties and Responsibilities of a Covenants of the Prophet Study Group
It will be up to each Study Group to decide which of these duties to commit to at any given time. In the case of outreach to Christians, the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation will provide, by way of introduction, our letters of support from Eastern Orthodox Christian patriarchs, the proceedings of the Caux Round Table conference on the Covenants co-sponsored by the Vatican, the article on the Covenants that appeared in Christianity and Crisis, expressions of support from Jewish organizations, etc. Some of these may be found in APPENDIX: ADDITIONAL COURSE MATERIALS.
A} Once a study group is formed and has familiarized itself with the Training Course, the group appoints a Study Group Representative; this Representative can be, but does not have to be, the same Active Course Graduate who proposed the formation of the Study Group.
B} The Study Group Representative explores the possibility of his or her masjid formally sponsoring the Study Group.
C} The Study Group Representative, representing either his or her masjid or the study group as an independent entity, reaches out to one or more interfaith organizations, asking if these organizations, or any representatives from non-Muslim congregations, would like to see the Course and/or invite the Study Group Representative or one of his or her colleagues to make a presentation introducing it.
D} The Study Group Representative, representing either his or her masjid or the study group as an independent entity, reaches out to at least one Christian and one Jewish congregation in his or her area, proposing a one-time meeting to consider the feasibility of setting up ongoing meetings so as to discuss possible approaches to mutual defense against attack by anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian or anti-religious elements, and offers the Covenants of the Prophet Training Course as an explanatory introduction. Many if not most Christian and Jewish congregations will probably first want to review the Course before agreeing to a first meeting; this should be encouraged.
E} When speaking to a non-Muslim congregation of one of the Peoples of the Book, the Study Group Representative will offer them the following PLEDGE OF SUPPORT, either as a representative of his or her masjid, if the imam is willing, or of his or her Covenants of the Prophet Study Group, if the group is willing. (The Study Group Representative is also free to approach this congregation as an independent individual, though under these circumstances the Representative must make it clear both to the Study Group and to the congregation in question that he or she will not be representing the Study Group, the masjid, or any other entity, but exclusively the Covenants of the Prophet Study Course and his or her own conscience.)
The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, which he tells us were composed under the direct inspiration of Allah, command all Muslims to defend from their enemies any Christians, Jews or other Peoples of the Book who are not actively at war with Islam or giving aid and comfort to Islam’s enemies, until the coming of the Hour, the end of the world. As Muslims [or as a Muslim], we (name of group)[ or I (name)] consider this command to be legally binding upon us [me] today. Therefore we [I] hereby pledge to provide whatever aid, protection or defense may be in our [my] power to the Peoples of the Book [or Christians, or Jews, or Christians and Jews] here present, if they signal that they are open to receiving it. We [I] make this pledge unilaterally, in the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, requiring nothing in return. Praise to be to Allah, the Creator and the Omniscient. Glory be to Allah, the Loving and the Gentle, the Benevolent and the Protector, the Generous and the Just. May blessings and peace be upon the Noble Prophet, Muhammad the son of ‘Abd Allah, and upon all his family; may greetings of Peace and the Mercy and the blessings of Almighty God be upon all here present; may He protect and strengthen us in all our undertakings, open our hearts to receive His guidance, and purify our intent to put that guidance into action.
F} If, after familiarizing themselves with the Covenants of the Prophet Training Course, the leaders or members of one or more non-Muslim congregations express a willingness to come together at least once with other Peoples of the Book to explore the possibility of setting up ongoing meetings to discuss mutual aid and defense, the Study Group Representative will help organize and facilitate this initial meeting.
G} The Study Group Representative is invited, but not required, to report on the activities of his or her group to the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation, and to provide whatever contact information the individuals that he or she is interacting with have authorized to be shared. This would allow the Foundation to share whatever good ideas the Study Group might develop with other such groups.
3} Some Possible Activities for a Mutual Aid and Defense Group according to the Letter and the Spirit of the Covenants of the Prophet
A} Seeking, sharing and archiving information on threats and attacks against Muslim, Christian and Jewish places of worship, both locally and around the world, plus those against other traditional religions, as well as stories of positive and inspiring responses to these challenges.
B} Seeking, sharing and archiving ideological attacks by secularists, atheists, materialists and Satanists on religious belief, faith-based morality and the existence of God, as well as stories of effective responses to these attacks.
C} Determining what social issues Muslims, Christians and Jews can agree to support or oppose without becoming involved in inter-religious polemics. Feeding the hungry? Serving the homeless? Opposing unjust war? Protecting the environment? Planting trees? Setting up community gardens? Working against pornography, sex trafficking and the oppression and exploitation of women and children? Opposing the mechanization of human reproduction and the robotization of humanity? Supporting faith-based food banks and other services for the poor? What issues are the Abrahamic faiths most likely to agree upon 100%?
D} Seeking, sharing and archiving cutting-edge developments in science—for example, in such areas as brain research, near death studies and advanced physics—that give solid evidence for the existence of the soul, the existence of the akhira and the existence of God.
E} Helping maintain and repair each other’s buildings.
F} Supporting each other’s programs designed to care for the material needs of the faithful by volunteering time and/or donating professional services.
The above ideas in no way exhaust the possible actions of the Mutual Aid and Defense Groups. Every group should brainstorm to determine what issues and activities best suite their own needs and those of their communities and their partner congregations. Feel free to report on any of your activities to the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation, concentrating particularly on good ideas that might be replicated in other Mutual Aid Groups, interfaith organizations, masjids, churches and synagogues, especially in terms of creative responses to common problems and inspirational ideas for new ways to disseminated the Covenants and apply them to improving interfaith relations. Please don’t feel obligated, however, to report to us; we are not overseers but facilitators, not a steering committee but a clearinghouse for the spread of inspirational and practical ideas.
4} If You Want to Pray
It is always a good idea to begin any important action with prayer; therefore we suggest (but certainly do not require) that any meeting of the Covenants of the Prophet Study Group begin with salawat on the Prophet, according to any form that’s familiar to the participants, followed by du’as for strength and guidance.
As for meetings of the Mutual Aid and Defense Group, if participants from different faith traditions wish to pray in each other’s presence we see no reason why they shouldn’t, unless this violates the conscience of any of the participants. However, it is the opinion of the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation that people of different faiths should not pray each other’s prayers; acknowledging that we all worship the One God is not the same thing as practicing each other’s religions.
5} Possible Additional Activities for a Mutual Aid and Defense Group
A} Consider doing a media outreach about your activities.
B} Ask your public or university library to stock the books listed in Section 7.
C} Purchase and make gifts of these books to your Imam, your professors or your local interfaith leaders.
D} Share the Covenants of the Prophet Training Course with anyone you think might be interested.
E} Invite someone from the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation to speak to your masjid or local interfaith organization.