Faith and Values : Muslims, Christians have much in common

wk25-jan-muslim-christian-zayed-vaticanAll months tend to bring to mind the special events that occur within them; for the month of April, it is Spring and Easter.

Muslims also believe in Jesus, the son of Mary. As a matter of fact, from the 114 chapters that consist in the Holy Qur’an, the 19th one is named after his Mother, Surah Maryam, or Chapter Mary.

Within this chapter, the story of Jesus’s miraculous birth is told. He is mentioned many times throughout the Holy Qur’an. Millions of Muslims are also named after the son and mother, which is Isa and Maryam in Arabic. Thus, if studied, one will find many similarities with the Christian faith when it comes to Jesus, from his virgin birth to his miracles, i.e. curing the lepers and bringing the dead back to life.

The main differences between Muslims and Christians about Jesus regard his divinity and his death. Muslims honor Jesus as a great prophet of God who was not crucified, but taken to the heavens alive, and that he and will reappear during the end of time, the Second Coming of Christ.

A very interesting note is that Easter this year will be on April 21, 2019, which will fall on the Islamic date of the 15th of the month of Shaban, the birth anniversary of the 12th Imam, Muhammad al Mahdi. He is the great-grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE MORNING CALL 

What Would Jesus Do? 7 Things From A Muslim’s Perspective

post-121-wwjd-braceletWhen faced with certain situations, Christians often use the phrase ‘What Would Jesus Do’ as a reminder to them to behave in a manner that reflects their love for Jesus Christ. The phrase’ What Would Jesus Do’, or WWJD, can be traced as far back as the 19thcentury, when the evangelical Charles Spurgeon used it in his sermon, and in turn borrowed the concept from the early church’s Imitatio Christi (imitation of Christ). In its simplest form, it simply means following in the footsteps of Jesus, loving God and the neighbor, helping the poor and the needy. So it is not that hard to imagine what would Jesus do if he returned today.

There is a beautiful lecture by Robert Jeffrey at the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship Public Meeting during the Methodist Conference of 2006 in Edinburgh titled “Imitating Christ”, which goes in great depth as to what imitating Christ really means.

Muslims believe Jesus will return in the end of times to bring peace and justice to the world.

Only God knows what would Jesus do if he returned today. This list is purely my imagination. I am pulling a David Letterman and going in reverse order (except this is a list of 7, not 10).

#7: Tell TV Evangelicals and the mega churches to stop commercializing his name-just the same way he did to the money-making machines of his times.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS

Muslims love Jesus. So why does everyone think we hate Christmas?

MuslimConfusionAboutLoveOfJesus-640x640While most British Muslims might be indifferent to the celebrations underway this season, perhaps we can play a small part in reviving the generosity, kindness and true Christmas spirit associated with the holiday.

It’s Christmas time and so it hasn’t taken long for a national newspaper to run a feature implying British Muslims are poorly integrated for “refusing to celebrate a Christian holiday”. The irony of this pernicious Islamophobia, feebly hiding behind the banner of defending the Judeo-Christian values of our country, is that it is bereft of any meaningful understanding of Islam.

You see, the thing is, Muslims love Jesus.

In fact, the Prophet Muhammad said: “The dearest person to me in friendship and in love, in this world and the next is Jesus, the son of Mary.”

It may come as a surprise to many to learn that Jesus is mentioned in the Quran over 100 times, while the Prophet Muhammad, by contrast, is mentioned just five times. Described as the best woman ever to have set foot on earth, there is a whole chapter in the Quran named “Mary” and she is the only woman mentioned by name in the holy book.

It’s not just that Muslims love Jesus – we believe him to be one of the greatest messengers of god. We believe in his miraculous birth. We believe that god gifted him with the ability to bring the dead back to life, heal the leper and bring sight back to the blind and, like Christians, we believe in his second coming back to this world.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT (UK)

 

What a Muslim Could Teach Trump Supporters About Jesus

merlin_148323441_f8d6e8cd-6cc0-4408-bf02-86e6eac5fd60-superJumbo.jpgAt Bellarmine, an all-boys Catholic school in San Jose, Calif., I was often the token Muslim and probably the only person who began freshman year thinking the Eucharist sounded like the name of a comic book villain. I eventually learned it’s a ritual commemorating the Last Supper. At the monthly Masses that were part of the curriculum, that meant grape juice and stale wafers were offered to pimpled, dorky teenagers as the blood and body of Christ.

During my time there, I also read the King James Bible and stories about Jesus, learned about Christian morality, debated the Trinity with Jesuit priests and received an A every semester in religious studies class. Twenty years later, I can still recite the “Our Father” prayer from memory.

Growing up, I’d been taught that Jesus was a major prophet in Islam, known as “Isa” and also referred to as “ruh Allah,” the spirit of God born to the Virgin Mary and sent as a mercy to all people. Like Christians, we Muslims believe he will return to fight Dajjal, or the Antichrist, and establish peace and justice on earth. But it was everything I learned in high school that came together to make me love Jesus in a way that made me a better Muslim.

Even though I don’t personally celebrate Christmas, the season always makes me think of his legacy of radical love. This year, it’s especially hard to understand how Trump-supporting Christians have turned their back on that unconditional love and exchanged it for nativism, fear and fealty to a reality TV show host turned president.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Christmas in Lebanon: ‘Jesus Isn’t Only for the Christians’

merlin_148432497_9c8447a8-43eb-4c0c-b701-5ec992b4395f-superJumbo.jpgBEIRUT — The Iranian cultural attaché stepped up to the microphone on a stage flanked by banners bearing the faces of Iran’s two foremost religious authorities: Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, and Ayatollah Khamenei, the current supreme leader.

To the left of Ayatollah Khomeini stood a twinkling Christmas tree, a gold star gilding its tip. Angel ornaments and miniature Santa hats nestled among its branches. Fake snow dusted fake pine needles.

“Today, we’re celebrating the birth of Christ,” the cultural attaché, Mohamed Mehdi Shari’tamdar, announced into the microphone, “and also the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.”

“Hallelujah!” boomed another speaker, Elias Hachem, reciting a poem he had written for the event. “Jesus the savior is born. The king of peace, the son of Mary. He frees the slaves. He heals. The angels protect him. The Bible and the Quran embrace.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Ifty Rafiq: Being a Muslim at Christmas

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AS the build up to Christmas reaches its climax with last minute shopping on the agenda for many this weekend, Ifty Rafiq is prepared for the inevitable question.

“Growing up as a Muslim in Britain I often get asked, frequently with a note of either guilt or trepidation, “what do you do for Christmas?

“As though, upon coming into contact with a bauble or a candy cane, I might shrivel up or turn to dust, like a vampire eating garlic, or the Wicked Witch of the West getting wet.

“The short answer is, I celebrate Christmas too.”

He is not the only one. Contrary to what some believe, millions of Muslims around the world will join in the festive celebrations over the coming days, which includes recognising the birth of Jesus.

“Perhaps it’s a lesser known fact that Jesus is mentioned, directly and indirectly, 187 times in the Quran, including in an account of his birth,” said Ifty.

“In Islam, we believe that Christ was the penultimate prophet of God, before Muhammad.

“We have absolute respect and reverence for the life and teachings of Christ, whose messages are a fundamental guide to embracing compassion and tolerance.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NORTHERN ECHO (UK)

A new play, ‘Christmas Mubarak,’ mixes Christian and Muslim stories of Jesus’ birth

47119780_1969438653148464_6465564224604078080_o-1024x745CHICAGO (RNS) — The scene is familiar from many Nativity scenes arranged at this time of year: the Virgin Mary, cradling the newborn Jesus.

Then, the baby speaks, defending his mother’s innocence and declaring he has been appointed as a prophet.

That might come as a surprise to Christians in the audience of the new play “Christmas Mubarak.”

“Christmas Mubarak” premiered last weekend in Silk Road Rising’s basement theater at the Chicago Temple, home to First United Methodist Church. The theater company was formed after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to shape conversation about Asian and Middle Eastern Americans and became the church’s company in residence several years later.

With an ensemble cast of four playing all the characters and adding scholarly asides where Muslim traditions interpret stories differently, the show is — in its own words — the story of “a love affair” between Islam and Jesus, who is viewed as a prophet by Muslims.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS SERVICE