In personal relationships, Muslims tend to live by the famous Arab proverb: “I against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world.” Trust is given first to the closest of relationships and diminishes with distance. Sadly, this well-known proverb accurately reflects the way relationships often work among Muslims.
In the West, trust is (generally) initially granted to others, and is lost when that trust is broken. In Eastern cultures, the opposite is true. People are generally viewed with suspicion from the start. Trust must be earned over time. In addition, the less you have in common religiously, culturally, and linguistically, the less trust there will ever be.
Trust is a precious commodity in the Muslim world. Telling “little white lies” may, at times, be acceptable to avoid shame and save face, so one may never know the true motives behind others’ words and actions.
Growing up in a very conservative Muslim family in Morocco, I learned to be suspicious of just about everyone – including relatives and close friends! My father taught us that it was dangerous to trust people, especially with personal information that could be used against us in some way. We ended up telling many “white lies” to others.
Then I met James, a British teacher at my university. He invited our small class to his home, and I met his wife and children. Over the course of the semester we had deep conversations about religion and culture and relationships. He was a kind, honest, and trustworthy man – in private as well as in public.
He told me how Jesus changed his life and how Jesus could change mine as well. It took me a long time, but I started trusting and following Jesus during my last year at university! James continues to help me grow in my faith to this day.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness Exodus 34:6
Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:21
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
When the spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13a
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! Psalm 40:11
...in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began...
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped…