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The People of the Faith

Jews: Ami in the Hebrew language means “my people” (i.e., the people of Moses or the people of the Jewish faith). The Jewish people are also known as the family of Israel, as Israel is another name for Prophet Jacob (pp). The word Israel means in Hebrew a person who strives and struggles (just as in the Muslim concept of doing jihad). In other words, Prophet Jacob's (pp) name — Israel — means “the straggler” or mujahid in Arabic. The word ami may be interpreted to mean all God's people, or all followers of the Jewish faith.

Muslims: Ummah in the Qur'aanic language (Arabic) is defined as the people (nation) of the faithful who have chosen to submit their will to the will of God. Notice the similarity between the words ami and ummah.

The foundation of the teachings of Islam is an affirmation of Judeo- Christian-lslamic values and law. The teachings of Islam state that there is no superiority of a people or a nation over other nations, except through the level of revering God, following His scriptures, and living by the model of all God's prophets, as manifested by the lifestyle and example of all of God's prophets. Muslims are taught that discrimination of any kind is a sin.


Jews: In the language of the Torah (Hebrew), the words neshek and neshah mean “interest.”[1] The word neshek literally means a bite. Some other passages also use the words rihit, tarbit, or marbit, which literally mean “increase” and are similar in meaning to the word riba used in the Qur'aan. The word noshem means lenders. Noshem is the term used when speaking of lending to the general public. The word lawah is used when speaking of lending to friends and family members, but not for commercial transactions.

Muslims: In the language of the Qur'aan, the word loan is qard, and it, too, is derived from the verb “to bite” (taking a bite from one's assets). To prevent any circumvention of the Judeo-Christian-lslamic law, Shari'aa, only one type of qard is allowed in Islam — the qard hassan, an interest- free (good or benevolent) loan that is extended for a good cause to the poor, the needy, or the distressed.

  • [1] Professor John Goldingay, Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California.
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