It has been a great experience writing this series. Though I have really learned a lot, the thing I have benefited from the most is a new found sense of tolerance, not just religiously but in all departments. I truly feel that our differences can be our greatest assets if we want to come together as a human beings. So many people see things as an Us vs Them, so many people really live by categories as evidenced by my favorite comment which came from a conversation about this post here
I found the post disturbing. It would be like reading an article about Muslims written by Jews and vice versa. Those two things should never be combined [The Virgin Mary and Sufism] unless it is a comparison between the dervish way of life and the Christian way of life.
Ultimately I feel like so many masters have said that God Alone is Eternal. However I feel in our hectic times especially in America post 9/11 we need to focus on more places where we all come together. I cannot say i follow any religion specifically, but i was still saddened to see the hatred and disdain for Muslims that arose during the debates on the Muslim Community center being built a few blocks from ground Zero.
To things which saddened me greatly was when a person of color [who is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero] wearing a skull cap and wandering through the crowd was targeted with insults and nearly attacked by protesters for the offense of looking vaguely Muslim (read about it here). A legally naturalized American taxi cab driver from originally from Bangladesh was stabbed by a passenger for his religion. You can read about it here.
I feel the image of Jesus is where Christians and Muslims can come together. We do not have to agree on every thing, but the fact that both group venerate Jesus is enough to begin looking at each other as just people, not just as an ‘us’ or ‘them’. What we share in common is much more important. We have spent centuries highlighting our differences and that has not improve our relationship. I think it is time to try focus on our similarities. By focusing on our similarities however I mean the spiritual experiences, not doctrine or dogma. Within the confines of the spiritual experience there is a greater unity.
With that I thought I would mentions some of the things i read about that I found interesting while writing this series. The following quotes from “The Blessed Virgin Mary by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi, published by PIR Publications, INC ISBN:1-879708-04-3
- The very term quran appears to be non-Arabic in origin, related to the ancient Syriac word meaning recitation which the desert fathers used for their five times daily recitation from the psalms of David accompanied an oriental Christian tradition with prostration of repentance and submission and ancient Syriac Christian missionary sermons recorded in Arabic we encounter an imagery of Hellfire almost identical with certain Quranic passages.
- Both Muslims and Christians accept the virgin birth of the Beloved Jesus and both vast communities accept his mysterious bodily Ascension into paradise. Both traditions also faithfully await the palpable second coming of Jesus the messiah as he is referred to tin The Holy Quran.
- The prophet hood of Muhammad was perceived and confirmed when he was a boy according to Islamic oral tradition by a Christian desert father who descended from his Mountain retreat to pa respects to the young boy whose prophetic light he had received clairvoyantly radiating about the caravan camped for the night in the wilderness.
- Concerning the dispute over Christian trinitarian teaching we should bear in mind that the Eastern Church always refers to the Trinity as one in essence and undivided. There is absolutely no question here of three gods or of any essential division in the Divine Nature. Sheikh Muzaffer, once remarked there is no problem with the Trinity by which simply indicates the divine attributes Ya Rabb (The Godhead) Ya Rahman and Ya Rahim (The Ever Manifesting and Ever Descending Divine Compassion and Divine Mercy)
- The Holy Quran glorifies the name of the virgin Mary by always linking it with the name of her beloved son who is called Isa bnu Maryam, Jesus the son of Mary. In the Islamic funeral service the deceased is named with matronymic as a mark of respect for the beloved Jesus out of reverences for him souls will be address by their matrynomic when they are called to account on the day of Resurrection
- As Muslims we believe in the miraculous birth and the sublime spirituality of Jesus the holy Quran bears witness to the sanctity of Maryam as the blessed recipient o the divine revelation and as the virgin mother of the great prophet who she conceived and bore through the Power of God.