The third of a series of articles examining how we can respond to Muslims in the UK.
The advice in the old books of etiquette was that you don’t mention sex, religion or politics. If in doubt, talk about the weather.
This may be good for polite British society, but we had a few things to learn when we arrived in the Arab world! The weather was not a stimulating topic for conversation. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, we sometimes sympathised with Elijah who was pleased to see a cloud the size of a man’s hand! On the other hand, religion was always a topic of discussion.
So, when people from the Muslim world arrive in Britain, they are puzzled by our reluctance to talk about religion. They interpret our hesitancy in two ways: either we don’t know anything about our religion, or it doesn’t mean very much to us. They conclude if Christians are like that, then, it’s no wonder Allah revealed Islam as the last and greatest religion! Although, second and third generation Muslims have adapted a little to British ways, it is still generally true that we need to be a lot more upfront about our faith when working with Muslims. So, throw off those reservations! Be prepared to tell Muslims of the good things that God is doing in your life!
The normal Islamic view is that God is far off and unconcerned with human affairs. The much repeated expression ‘Allahu akbar‘ means God is greater – greater and beyond comparison with anything in creation. So remote, in fact, that He is considered unknowable. You can see how anyone with this worldview will be greatly impacted by any personal testimony you share of God’s power, blessing, and answer to prayer. What you say will speak volumes.
We need to be able to explain how our relationship with God works out in our lives – for Islam holds out no hope of such a relationship. In a spirit of love towards others and a heart of thankfulness to God, we need to be bold in testifying to the wonderful things He has done for us. Rather than feeling uncomfortable or changing the topic to talk about the weather, most Muslims will listen and respect us for it.
Written by AWM UK’s former Ministry Team Co-ordinator and edited, with permission, for the website.
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