This is the second in a series of reflections Dr. Cragg prepared on Islamic themes. More will be added in weeks to come.
John Hubers, PhD
The purpose of these studies, which it is hoped to continue from September, 1957 to June, 1958, is to provide material for intellectual and spiritual activity in the Churches and to serve them in their attitudes and duties towards Islam today. There is a very real relationship between a growing mind in Christ and a growing expressiveness towards Muslims.
A STUDY IN THE FATIHAH
How right it is to begin here in. any series of Islamic studies. The first Surah of the Qur~an is truly “The Opener.” It leads at once into the Bismillah, the most characteristic of all Muslim invocations with its reliance upon the most frequent and tremendous of the Ninety nine Names of God — “Al-Rahman al-Rahim.”
It is always a problem where and how to begin in any great matter. You remember how majestically Shakespeare solved it in Hamlet, with the challenge of a disturbed sentry: “Who goes there?” and immediate intimations of things untoward impending, and the central question as to who in truth it is who goes distractedly across the stage of life. What is this prince of Denmark and what are we “sprawling between earth and heaven.”
But when you open the Qur’an you are no less impressively and surely introduced by the Fatihah into the intent and content of the whole book. It is right to see in this the first Surah an inclusive introduction to all that is characteristically Islamic. Here is what most appropriately belongs in and with Islam.