DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Opinion: Abraham's Accord; from Truth to Reality

Opinion: Abraham's Accord; from Truth to Reality

By Sadegh Haghighat, PhD in Religions and Comparative Mysticism

In all religions, there is a common moral rule that is expressed in various forms. The importance and pervasiveness of this rule in all religions has caused researchers in the field of religion and ethics to call it the "Golden Rule". The simple form of this rule is expressed as follows: "Whatever you like for yourself, like for others and whatever you don't like for yourself, don't like for others." This is the short phrase that the founders and leaders of all religions have advised their followers to observe, perhaps with a slight change in the form of expression. It doesn't matter who said this phrase first and whether the later prophets borrowed it from the predecessors or not; what is important is that all prophets have asked their followers to treat others as they would like to be treated.

In Abrahamic religions, this rule is placed next to the basic principle of servitude and worship of God and they complement each other. In Judaism, perhaps the most prominent commandments are the 10 commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. Of these 10 commandments, 4 commandments are about monotheism, and the other six commandments are about respecting the rights of others. The second part is: "Respect your parents, do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness against your neighbor, do not covet your neighbor's wealth and honor.[1]" All these commandments are in some way aligned with the golden rule, but the important phrase that is stated in Leviticus's journey from the Torah, in terms of the way of expression, is more explicit in confirming the golden rule. This phrase, which is sometimes referred to as "the commandment of love", is: "You must not take revenge and you must not hold grudges against people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself, I am God."[2]

In Christianity, the golden rule has a vivid presence along with worshiping and loving God, and these two are the summaries of all the teachings of the prophets[3]. When a Pharisee asked Jesus Christ what the highest commandments are, he answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and most important commandment of God. The second most important commandment is the same as the first one: love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.[4]" They continue to say that if you do these two things, you have actually done everything that the prophets asked you to do. The fact that Christ emphasizes these two principles out of thousands of Torah rules and laws and introduces them as a summary of the teachings of the prophets shows that the implementation of these two principles has a high place in the Christian man's achievement of eternal life and eternal happiness.

There are clear references to both of these rules in Islamic texts. The Holy Qur'an invites the followers of the other two Abrahamic religions to gather around what they have in common: Say, "O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah." But if they turn away, then say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].[5]"About the golden rule of ethics, it is also narrated from the Prophet of Islam that one day a desert wanderer asked him to teach him a practice by which he would enter paradise. And he replied: "Whatever you want people to do to you, do to them, and what you don't want others to do to you, don't do to them.[6]" In his advice to his son, Ali (Peace be Upon Him) the executor and successor of the Prophet and Caliph of Muslims, emphasizes this principle: "My son! Make yourself the standard of difference between yourself and others; so what you like for yourself, like for others, and what you don't like for yourself, don't like for others.[7]"

The true Accord of the followers of Abraham

Considering the emphasis of the founders of Abrahamic religions on observing the golden rule in addition to the principle of serving God, it is appropriate to interpret these principles as a true Abrahamic treaty that the followers of Abraham in these three religions are advised to regulate the relationship between themselves and God as well as themselves and Others act on them. Those who do so are in the covenant of Abraham, and those who act against them are out of this covenant. These people must either modify their methods according to these principles or be criticized and angered by other followers of Abraham. But it is unfortunate that in today's world, the term Abraham's Accord has been misused for political purposes and is used for a meaning that contradicts its true meaning.

On September 15, 2020, the two kingdoms of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a peace treaty with Israel in the presence of the President of the United States in white house. Trump, after signing this agreement, used the interpretation of Abraham's Accord for it in his speech, and after that, the Western media introduced any compromise with Israel as a part of this agreement. This issue was not limited to that period of time; rather, it became part of the US foreign policy literature towards the Middle East. In Joe Biden's recent trip to West Asia, one of the most important agendas was the realization of this treaty, and the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel was considered another step in this plan. In this view, the ideal form of Abraham's treaty will be realized when all Islamic countries compromise with Israel and have friendly relations; but "can the compromise of the Arab kings with the Israeli regime be considered a true Abrahamic Accord?"

Before answering this question, we must point out a fallacy in this political trend, and that is considering the Israeli regime and Judaism as the same. In other words, in the premise of the aforementioned political trend, the normalization of several Arab kingdoms with Israel means the establishment of peace between Muslims and Jews, and therefore it can be called an Abrahamic pact, while such a premise is basically invalid. Historically, Zionism is a European nationalist movement with a colonial background. The first Zionist movement was formed under the leadership of Theodor Herzl, which emphasized the element of nationality and not religion, and its goal was to rebuild the Jewish nation in the land of its ancestors. At the same time, Hertzel's words were strongly opposed by Orthodox Jews, who considered him a secular person. According to Carl Ernst, professor of religion at the University of North Carolina, it is a wonder that Zionism, which was a social movement led by secular Jews, today has become an important element of the identity of the Jewish religion. Based on this, the premise of this trend in equating the Zionist regime of Israel with Judaism is wrong. On the other hand, the behavior of several Arab kings who have taken such action against the wishes of their nations cannot be extended to the entire Islamic world. If these rulers were Palestinians and Israel had forced them out of their homes and villages, would they like their co-religionist ​​to make peace with the aggressor and recognize it?!

Israel's behavior with the Palestinians in recent decades also shows that Israel does not believe in the teachings of the Torah and only tries to use religion as a tool to achieve its goals. In fact, their behavior has violated all the commandments of the Torah, they have stolen the land of the Palestinians, committed many murders of women and children[8], violated the freedom and honor of the owners of the Palestinian land, constantly violated the neighboring nations of Palestine and has also occupied parts of the land of these neighbors. Now, how can reconciliation with such a regime, which is corrupt according to the religious and moral logic of the Torah, be considered the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant?!

If Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was alive now, he would have sought refuge from such an immoral and corrupt regime and would have made the same golden treaty the basis of peace between his followers and asked them to serve God in practice, not to be spiteful and love their neighbors as they like themselves. He never advised friendship with those who violated the most important Abrahamic commandments.

It is worth mentioning that in the turbulent history of relations between Abrahamic religions, from the time of the rise of Islam to the Crusades in the 11th to 13th centuries AD and then the colonial era and the post-September 11 era, when the mainstream media had reached the peak of Islamophobic sentiments, this is the first time that an American president uses such an interpretation and raises the concern of forming an Abrahamic peace in West Asia. The American government, who once used the interpretation of the Crusades for invasion of other countries after September 11, now that its policies in this region have failed and its efforts to help the corrupt Israeli regime have failed, wants to deceive the world by abusing religious concepts and to present itself as a peace-loving country, while US government is the biggest ally of Israel and is a partner in all the crimes of this regime.

Based on what has been said so far, any agreement in the field of reconciliation with the Israeli regime is satanic and is in complete contradiction to the true agreement of Abraham; a covenant that invites the followers of Abraham to serve only God and behave in interactions between themselves and each other in a way that they would like to be treated.

[1]  Book of Exodus 20

[2] Leviticus 19:18

[3] Matthew 22:40

[4] Matthew 39-37: 22

[5] House of Imran 64

[6] Kafi, volume 2, page 146

[7] Nahj al-Balagha Letter 31

[8] For example, we can mention the brutal massacre of Sabra and Shatila, which was carried out with the permission of the Israeli army and by its allies, in which between 700 and 3500 Palestinian civilians were killed.

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