The Muslim ‘No’

Big_2b854456fbMichael Marder at The European:

Each of the three monotheistic religions, commonly referred to as ‘Abrahamic’, has its own affirmation of faith, a single statement held to be fundamental by its adherents.

In Judaism, such a proclamation is Shema (Listen), drawn from Deuteronomy 6:4. It reads: “Listen, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is One!” Observant Jews must recite Shemadaily—for instance, before falling asleep—and it is supposed to be the last thing they utter before dying. Even in the most private nocturnal moments and on the deathbed, Shemaannounces monotheistic creed, in the imperative, to the religious community, united around “our God” who is “One.”

Christianity, too, has its dogma going back to the Apostles’ Creed, dating to the year 150. Still read during the baptismal ritual, the statement of faith begins with the Latin wordCredo, “I believe” and continues “…in the all-powerful God the Father, Creator of heavens and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…” Credo individualizes the believer; not only does it start with a verb in the first person singular, but it also crafts her or his identity through this very affirmation. While the Judaic Shema forges a community through a direct appeal to others, the Christian profession of faith self-referentially produces the individual subject of that faith.

The declaration of Islamic creed is called Shahada, “Testimony.” In contrast to its other monotheistic counterparts, however, it commences with a negation.

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