Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Professor Mona Siddiqui, a speaker on BBC Thought for the Day, is empathetic in her exposition of Christianity as well as Islam.  She introduces Muhammad as apostle of Law and Prophecy; ‘a prophet reveals the mighty hand of God in events; both the sign and the prophet are sacred.’ While quoting Quranic references to Jesus as prophet of the end times, she recognizes that the Gospel story of Jesus gives a critically prophetic view of the contemporary social order.

Her historical overview covers debates between Islam and Oriental Orthodox Churches. She presents Islamic monotheism, and Christian doctrines of the Trinity, incarnation and crucifixion.

The seventy Quranic references to Mary are an example to all believers.

Chapters 5, of Love and Law, and 6, Siddiqui’s personal reflections on the cross, are a goldmine for contemporary sympathetic dialogue amongst Christians and Muslims. ‘From an Islamic perspective it is Jesus’ humanity, the new consciousness he brought with his re-ordering of the social order, which continues to redeem us, not his death.’ Siddiqui quotes the letter to the Hebrews 10.16-17; ‘This is the covenant I will establish… I will put my laws in their hearts and write them in their minds, their sins and evildoing I will remember no more.’ She quotes Rowan Williams:  ‘Since God is the victim of human injury, then there is beyond all our sin a love that is inexhaustible.’  Also Ali Merad  ‘… the believer will experience victory over the forces of evil.  Islam refuses to accept the tragic image of the Passion… because it would imply that God has failed’.

Siddiqui has sat openly before the cross in Church; ‘while the cross speaks to me, it does not draw me in… there are other ways to come to redemption’.  The prayerful model should be pursued.  Muslims and Christians being at prayer in silence with each other.  Prayer is an illuminating companion to our theological understanding.

Donald Reece