With the New Year upon us, we as a community will be faced with new challenges. One of these will undoubtedly be interfaith dialogue. In fact, more than likely this dialogue will be between Christians and Muslim, especially in The West, North Africa, and The Middle East. Usually, this theological tension comes from The Trinity and how Muslims approach it. This is a (relatively) minor aspect of interfaith dialogue because this, in Christianity is still monotheism, in reality this is an argument on who defines monotheism. The end result is and will always be, “we are monotheists”. In 2015, changing the narrative on two aspects of Christianity and Islam; The Resurrection and Jesus as “the Son of God”
The Resurrection is a topic that is barely touched in interfaith dialogue but, is core in Christianity. There is a narrative in Christianity that Islam does not believe in The Resurrection, which is partially correct. Muslims actually do believe in The Resurrection, the disconnect is in the timing of The Resurrection. In The Qur’an(19:33) Jesus says, “And peace is on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised”. This is an important ayat for many reasons. Christians and Muslim believe the birth of Jesus is important, maybe not worth celebrating to Muslims, important nonetheless.
As Christianity proclaims Jesus is the literal Son of God, Islam makes no such claim. But there is a connection to Islam and Christianity in this statement. If one believes, Jesus is the Son of God, by default, Jesus has to have a mother. This is where Islam comes in, for The Qur’an labels Jesus “the son of Mary”. Jesus is called “the son of Mary” numerous times in The Qur’an.
“And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proof and strengthened him” (2:87). “Jesus. the son of Mary, confirming what came before him in the Torah” ( 5:46). Jesus, being the son of Maryam, is an indisputable fact in Christianity and Islam. And one in which Muslims and Christians should focus on in order to build stronger relationships.
Obviously, this is a sensitive matter and needs to be approached with care and insight. Interfaith dialogue is a constant effort that needs to be actively sought after. This issue arises when religious people repeat the same questions and give the same answers. Muslims do not believe Jesus is the Son of God and Christians believe Jesus was crucified, these are theological facts. But, in 2015 the narrative and explanations on these topics needs to change in order to foster understanding and respect.
Additional note from The Muslim Vibe: We encourage our readers to make an effort to engage with people who have different faith backgrounds, and to learn about other religions, cultures and ideas. Often as Muslims we accuse the world of misunderstanding us, but we too are guilty of misunderstanding much of the world and its people. Whether you choose to mark Christmas day or not, you still probably have a day off work, so its a good time to extend the hand of love towards all, in the name of God.