Egypt: Tour Egypt Monthly: Never Mind, Just Crossing the Moon: Muslim Religion, Why I Keep Going Back

Never Mind, Just Crossing the Moon

Arnvid Aakre

The moon was hanging almost new in the dark night while glimmering stars crowned the celestial floor. Above the garden, palm branches whispered an ancient hallelujah song and underneath, some Europeans and even more Egyptians sat on "plastic straw mats" with strong Neolithic colors. It was good company after a long day of work.

I've always been fascinated by Egyptian evenings when the moon has reduced itself to a slim crescent, as here one can actually imagine oneself sitting in the moon - due to its more horizontal angle. This indulgence in whimsical imagination isnt possible, where the same moon is hanging nearly vertical.

This same relaxing moon is also one of Islam's identifying symbols.

On the east bank of the Nile, in the town of Luxor, I noticed the same moon as part of a symbol combination on top of many houses. The combination was totally new for me, as this was a "relaxing" moon and the Christian cross-united in one image. Sometimes the cross was standing inside the moon, other times the moon was combined in the center part of the cross - while still more combinations were around. Those who have been to the Coptic Museum in Cairo have most likely seen the same symbol there.

To most Egyptians, as an European with white skin and blond Hair, I "belonged" to the Christian part of the Egyptian united Muslim-Christian symbol. My Islamic friends always said to me, when ever religious topics came up: "Malish, Allah Wahed" ("Never mind, it's the same God").

These statements did not exactly match the mental picture I had brought with me of religion.

One of my friends in Luxor is the grand Sufi Sheikh here, famous for helping anyone in need - so Muslims and Christians both come to him for help and advice. One day I went up to him and told him that I had to become Muslim. He looked at me without believing, and then said: "Are you stupid?"

To this he instantly added: "do you really believe God needs a paper, you know Islam - so why those papers?" After explaining my personal reasons, he answered: "okay, but then you must promise me something first". In the second before he continued, I expected he would say something "traditional" - but he said: "If you want to know more than you know about Islam - never listen to a Muslim". I was baffled, but he continued: "Nobody can tell you the whole truth, so read, think and evaluate for yourself. Allah talks best directly or through his holy books".

After some weeks I went to Al Azhar in Cairo, the Moslem university there, and a short time after, I had the papers in hand.

Did my life change? Not much - the same moon is hanging above.

Still something changed, and that's the reason for this story.

So what was the change?

Well, before my Egyptian Muslim friends used to say to me "Malish, Allah Wahed" - now it's my Egyptian Christian friends who say "Never mind, it's the same God".

To me this shows a vibrant, life-loving culture that did not end with its ancient history. On the contrary, it's all very much alive - just ask the man in the moon and you will see.

Types of Travel to Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

Neil Bush Family Visits El Gouna by Hazel Heyer

Party Time in Ancient Egypt by Ilene Springer

Camel Trekking in the Sinai by Joyce Carta

Nuweiba by Jimmy Dunn

Egyptian Hajj Painting by Sonny Stengle

Where Have All the Pharaohs Gone by Anita Stratos

Marvelous Melokiyah by Mary Kay Radnich

Exploring Isis by Catherine C. Harris

Never Mind, Just Crossing the Moon by Arnvid Aakre

Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn

Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes

Book Reviews Various Editors

Hotel Reviews By Jimmy Dunn & Juergen Stryjak

Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman

Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich

The Month in Review By John Applegate

Egyptian Exhibitions By Staff

Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad

Nightlife Various Editors

Egypt On Screen By Carolyn Patricia Scott

Restaurant Reviews Various Editors

Shopping Around Various Editors

Web Reviews By Siri Bezdicek

Prior Issues

July 1st, 2001
June 1st, 2001
May 1st, 2001
April 1st, 2001

March 1st, 2001

February 1st, 2001

January 1st, 2001

November 1st, 2000
October 1st, 2000
September 1st, 2000
August 1st, 2000

July 1st, 2000

June 1st, 2000

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