Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days


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THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT ISLAM – IDA GLASER WITH HANNAH KAY

This book is about reading the Bible in the context of Islam, rather than dialogue or evangelism. The authors draw upon international experience, and current involvement in the Centre for Muslim Christian Studies of which Glaser is the Director, in Oxford.

A multilayered Biblical framework is introduced through Genesis 1-11; human beings created in God’s image: but fallen, as with Cain, Babel and Noah’s neighbours in seeking land and power. The flood is God’s judgment, a reversal of creation. But in tension with his mercy, God accepts sacrifices and makes a covenant. This tension will be resolved in the cross.  Here is a pattern for understanding all sorts of people including Muslims. This leads to a critical comparison with the Qur’anic accounts of Cain and Abel, Babel and Noah.

The important second section focuses on the Transfiguration of Jesus in relation to Elijah, Moses, messianic expectations, and the cross. Jesus deals with the powers of evil, restores people to their right minds, and presents them to the heavenly Father. This prepares for a comparative study of parallel Islamic material.

In Part 3 is a study of Islam in the light of Genesis and the Transfiguration. The Qur’an refers to Elijah, Moses and other Biblical characters, and is the self authenticating revelation to the prophet Muhammad. In thinking about the Qur’an, Muhammad, the Ummah (community), Shariah (law), the authors recognize agreements with the Bible as well as differences: Jesus is referred to as Messiah but does not die on the cross or rise from the dead. Muhammad as The Prophet is given priority over Jesus.

Section 4, Transformation, states ‘the cross is the answer to the problems in human nature seen in the flood story’ It is the acceptable sacrifice.  In Islamic thinking, there is no need for this sacrifice as God can, by his mercy, simply forgive sin, and rescue Jesus from evildoers and take him straight to Paradise. I consider that the authors’ latter assertions need further sensitive examination by Christians and Muslims separately and together. This should not diminish the book’s detailed and delicate understanding of Islam within the embrace of God’s love for us all.

Donald Reece

Oxford