Shadia: Passover a common belief for both Muslims, Jews

Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C.

April 18, 2012|By Mona Shadia

By now, you know that I'm a Muslim who mingles with Jews.

But the other day, I took it a step further and attended a Passover Seder at my friend Jazy's home. Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover.

Seder means order. The feast consists of various specific foods, prayers and the retelling of the story of the Prophet Moses (who is also a prophet in Islam) who liberated the Israelites from ancient Egypt's brutal Pharaoh.


Yes, even though I'm Egyptian and very proud of my country, its history and civilization, I know that Pharaoh was no good.

And that's why we believe God sent Moses to save the people of Israel from his brutality. We believe Pharaoh wanted to kill the newborn boys of Israel.

We believe Moses, as a child, was saved by a member of the Pharaoh household, where he was raised by Pharaoh's wife. Unlike Pharaoh, who wouldn't believe in God, we believe his wife was a woman of faith.

We also believe the story of Passover, which is when Moses was able to cross the sea with the people of Israel. And we believe God handed him the Torah.

If you're starting to question whether I'm really Muslim or Jewish, let me clarify: I am Muslim.

We just share the same stories. The story of Moses is one of the first stories I learned as a child. Uncle Beautiful taught it to me.

But why do we share the same stories?

I asked my favorite imam, Waleed Basyouni, who lives in Texas, that question. He is a frequent guest speaker, nationally and internationally. He is also a member of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America-Fatwa and Research Committee, and an advisor to numerous Islamic societies around the U.S.

Basyouni told me the answer is simple: We share the same God. Duh.

"It shows that our book wouldn't contradict the other books because they come from the same source," Basyouni said.

And the reason the Quran retells the story of Moses and others is because Moses has rights over us as Muslims, and the stories allow us to recognize other people's struggles.

"It teaches us that we should never be the oppressor in our lives," Basyouni said.

Even though Seder is traditionally held on the first night of Passover, the one I attended was just a day before the last night.

Jazy wanted to bring together some of her Jewish and non-Jewish friends to share in this ritual.

It was a potluck-style Seder.

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