USA (MNN) — An advertisement in the United States has been greeted with praise and condemnation. This week, a major electronics retailer got flack for including with its circular advertising Thanksgiving Day sales a note saying "Happy Eid Al-Adha," a Muslim holiday, which begins this week.
According to the founder and president of Crescent Project Fouad Masri, Eid Al-Adha is a holiday created by Mohammed as he attempted to trace his roots back to Abraham. "He made the celebration to remember that Abraham took his son to sacrifice him to God, and God sent an angel with a sheep and the sheep was sacrificed instead of his son."
While this story is a familiar Bible story about Abraham and Isaac, Masri says, "This story is mentioned in the Quran, but it doesn't say the name of the son. Most Muslims will tell you [it was] Ishmael."
However, Masri doesn't use this verse to get into an argument over who the story was about. He uses it to ask a question: "What happened on the Adha? They will say, 'We're remembering that God redeemed the son of Abraham with a sheep.' We say, 'Great, we believe that God redeemed the whole human race through His lamb Jesus, the Messiah, who died on the cross.'"
Masri says there's a distinct difference between Muslim and Christian faith. "Now because we are saved, we can do good works, while in Islam you are taught to do good works so you might earn salvation in the future."
He says greeting Muslims with the words "Eid Mubarak" or "blessed celebration" can help open doors for outreach. When you do this, Masri says, give them a gift. "You can give them a Bible, an Arabic New Testament, or Farsi New Testament. Or you can give them the booklet, "Adha Injeel" which explains sacrifice in the Injeel, which is the New Testament."
Masri says it's effective, especially during this celebration. "We've seen people come to faith in Christ because of that celebration. Once they read the Biblical account and understand Jesus as their redeemer, they come to faith in Christ."