When 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
While 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)
At 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 has been described as the greatest story ever told. A child born in a stable following a miraculous conception, who is visited by kings and shepherds, while being hunted down by a cruel king, it is a tale that has inspired film-makers, artists and poets.
Yet many elements of the story have been open to debate with even the Christian gospels giving contrasting accounts of the birth.
Karl-Josel Kuschel’s book, Christmas and the Quran, is a passionate endeavour to understand the different narratives given around the Christmas story (or stories) and put these in context. Kushcel, a Professor Emeritus of Catholic Theology at the University of Tubingen, puts forward an ecumenical message to help bridge differences between Christians and Muslims, both whom revere Jesus, or Issa in Arabic.
Kuschel’s book is divided into six sections, to explore the narratives of Jesus’ birth. The chapters are divided into the “Birth of Jesus in The New Testament”, “The Birth of Muhammad”, “The Birth of John the Baptist in the Quran”, “Mary – God’s Chosen One”, “The Birth of Jesus in the Quran”, and ends with “A Call for Dialogue”.
Kuschel uses the gospels of Mathew and Luke and Surahs 3 and 19 in the Quran as a framework to show the Muslim and Christian understandings of Jesus’ birth. Rather than highlight contradictions, Kuschel says that the stories illustrate the shared fundamental message in Islam and Christianity of God’s power and mercy.
He begins by acknowledging that the nativity has echoes of other creation stories in history, but the humble beginnings of Jesus – among other elements – make the Christmas narrative unique. It is preceded by the birth of John the Baptist, who will play a role later in both the Bible and Quran.
FULL ARTICLE FROM AL ARABY
(this is a follow up to an article that was posted earlier this week about a creative attempt to bring Muslims and Christians together to honor Jesus’ birth. Sadly, the gulf that divides us by mischaracterizations and accusations on both sides raised its ugly head when the play was staged)
(RNS) — Christmas Mubarak! A beautiful Christmas greeting from Muslims to Christians. In Arabic, mubarak means “blessed.”
So I was taken aback when “Christmas Mubarak,” a new play produced by my theater company in Chicago, unleashed right-wing anger on social media.
How can Muslims and Christians build bridges of understanding? So often conversations focus on that which divides us. I attempted to produce a conversation built on all that we share.
While those who attended the play found it both informative and inspirational, those commenting online didn’t need to see the show to have an opinion.
Some thought the play, which presents the story of Mary and Jesus as told in the Quran with musical accompaniment by a Methodist church choir, to be the end of times as predicted in “Chronicles of Narnia”: An attempt to create one world religion (“Chrislam”) so as to eliminate differences between faiths and dilute their respective meanings.
FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS SERVICE
CHICAGO (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
When people think about Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t the Quran, the central religious text of Islam.
Many people assume that the world’s major monotheistic religions differ greatly. But Islam and Christianity share some very basic ideas about who Jesus was and how he lived. The name Jesus is mentioned at least 25 times in the Quran, and many other references are made to the son of Mary or Christ the messenger of Allah.
Meanwhile, many details about the birth of Jesus match those found in the New Testament. Muslims, for example, believe in the Virgin Birth, and the Quran also calls Jesus the Messiah.
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The earliest texts of the New Testament are believed to have been written between 50 and 62 A.D. by Saint Paul. Muslims believe the Quran was revealed by God to Muhammad verbally through the angel Gabriel beginning in 609 A.D.
Similar to the Gospel of Luke, the Quran describes the conversation between the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, in which Gabriel tells Mary that she will have a child.
“O Mary! Allah gives thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of those nearest to Allah,” reads the Quran 3:45.
“Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, was an apostle of Allah,” adds the Quran 4:171.
FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE