Suggested Readings/Recitations and Supplications/Prayers

As indicated in the Day of Dialogue Program Overview and Outline, an A Common Word local gathering is often fittingly begun and concluded with a reading/recitation and/or supplication/prayer from the Christian and Islamic faiths, as appropriate. In so doing, the riches of our spiritual traditions can be observed and shared, complimenting other forms of dialogue which center on scripture or doctrines or matters of daily life.

The following are some suitable readings from the respective scriptures and wider religious literature of both traditions, as well as some potential opening and closing prayers. These are only examples, and each group will want to make selections based on its own context and needs.

Muslim Readings/Recitations[1]

We have assigned a law and a path to each of you. If God had so willed, He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good: you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about.

(The Qur’an, Surah al-Ma’ida 5:48)

[Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book, except with those of them who act unjustly. Say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you; our God and your God is one [and the same]; we are devoted to Him.

(The Qur’an, Surah al-‘Ankabut 29:46)

People, we created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.

(The Qur’an, Surah al-Hujurat 49:13)

You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace among yourselves.

(Hadith, Sahih Muslim)

Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day (i.e, Day of Judgment) should not harm his neighbor. Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously. And anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should say what is good or keep quiet.

(Hadith, Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Shall I inform you of something that holds a higher status than fasting, praying, and giving charity? Making peace between people, for verily sowing dissension between people is indeed calamitous.

(Hadith, Kenzel Ummal)

Muslim Supplications/Prayers[2]

O Lord, grant us mercy from You, and provide a right course for us in our affair.

(The Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf, 18:10).

O my Lord! Open for me my chest. And ease my task for me. And make loose the knot from my tongue, that they understand my speech.

(The Qur’an, Surah Ta’ha, 20:25-28)

O Allah! Put affection in our hearts, set right the matters between us, guide us to the ways of peace, save us from the darkness [and turn us] towards the light; save us from all kinds of indecency, the apparent as well as the hidden; and bless our hearing, our seeing, our hearts, our spouses, and our children; and turn in mercy upon us. Indeed, You are the One who greatly accepts repentance, One who is repeatedly Merciful.

(Hadith, Al-Hakim)

There is none worthy of worship except Allah, The fore-bearing, the all wise. There is none worthy of worship except Allah, the Lord of the Exalted Throne. There is none worthy of worship except Allah, the Lord of the skies and the Lord of the earth, and the Lord of the Distinguished Throne.

(Hadith, al-Tirmidhi)

O Allah, You are pure, I praise You and testify that there is none worthy of worship besides You. I seek forgiveness and pardon from You. If there was good talk in the gathering, this dua will seal it and if there was futile and vain talk, then this dua will recompense for it.

(Hadith, al-Tirmidhi, Tagrib)

O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in this life and the next. O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religious and worldly affairs, and my family and my wealth. O Allah, veil my weaknesses and set at ease my dismay. O Allah, preserve me from the front and from behind and on my right and on my left and from above, and I take refuge with You lest I be swallowed up by the earth.

(Hadith, Ibn Majah)

Christian Readings[3]

A lawyer asked (Jesus) a question to test him: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

(Matthew 22:35-40)

(Jesus said): “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

(John 13:34-35)

An argument arose among (the disciples) as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”

(Luke 9:46-50)

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

(Luke 10:25-37)

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

(1 Corinthians 15:16-20)

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[f] these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

(Philippians 4:8-9)

Christian Prayers

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(A prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)

God be in my head, and in my understanding.
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking.
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking.
God be in my heart, and in my thinking.
God be in my end, and in my departing.

(Sarum/Salisbury prayer)

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever.

(Prayer from A New Zealand Prayer Book)

O God,
you love justice and you establish peace on earth.
We bring before you the disunity of today’s world:
the absurd violence, and the many wars,
which are breaking the courage of the peoples of the world;
militarism and the armaments race,
which are threatening life on the planet;
human greed and injustice,
which breed hatred and strife.
Send your Spirit and renew the face of the earth;
teach us to be compassionate toward the whole human family;
strengthen the will of all those who fight for justice and for peace;
lead all nations into the path of peace,
and give us that peace which the world cannot give.

(A prayer from Zaire)

From the cowardice that dare not face new truth.
From the laziness that is contented with half truth,
from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
good Lord deliver us.

(A prayer from Kenya)

Lord Christ,
at times we are like strangers on this earth,
taken aback by all the violence, the harsh oppositions.
Like a gentle breeze, you breathe upon us the Spirit of peace.
Transfigure the deserts of our doubts,
and so prepare us to be bearers of reconciliation wherever you place us,
until the day when a hope of peace dawns in our world.

(A prayer of Brother Roger of Taize)


[1] The act of recitation of the Qur’an in its original language (Arabic) is of particular importance for Muslims. The word Qur’an itself means “the Recitation” and act of reciting it is seen as sacred and a form of blessing. Following the recitation, a translation and word of interpretation may often follow. In addition to the Qur’an, Muslims also draw wisdom and guidance from a second scriptural source known as “hadiths.” Unlike the Qur’an, which is believed by Muslims to be the Word of God, hadiths are reported sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammed. Rather than one book, the hadiths have been collected in various texts within the Sunni and Shi’a traditions.

[2] The daily ritual prayer performed by Muslims is known as “salah” and consist of physical actions and verbal statements. However, in addition to these required prayers Muslims are also highly encouraged to render personal supplications known as “dua.” These can be offered either extemporaneously or according to an established form derived from the Qur’an, a hadith of the Prophet Muhammed, or composed by scholars and sages from later generations. Like other faith traditions, Muslim have unique etiquettes pertaining to how they make du’a, and care should be taken to ensure this is appropriately respected in the interreligious context.

[3] The “New Testament” refers to a collection of Christian scriptures which refer either to the life and ministry of Jesus (Gospels), or to the communities which were formed by the earliest followers of Jesus (Epistles).

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