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Reform Magazine | August 20, 2017

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A Muslim’s Jesus

A Muslim’s Jesus

In the second of this series hearing insights into Jesus from people of other faiths, Anjum Anwar brings an Islamic perspective to the Gospels

At the tender age of 11, in the late 1960s, I was given my very first copy of the Bible at secondary school. It was a Gideons Bible. This was probably the tradition at the time, though if copies of the Bible or the Qur’an are given to school pupils today, it would be seen as proselytising. No one in my family had read the Bible before, but I remember reading it every night and then putting it under my pillow.

I loved reading the stories about the life of Jesus (peace be upon him) and learning how they differed from my own scriptures. We were also told the stories in our religious education classes at school, and during Christmas holidays I would watch King of Kings and Jesus of Nazareth, soaking up the culture and the narratives portraying the life of Jesus according to Christian tradition. Later on, I would take the journey to retrace Jesus’ steps, the Stations of the Cross, with my good friend and brother, Canon Chris Chivers.

Jesus is spoken of in the Qur’an. It relates his miracles, some of which are not mentioned in the canonical Gospels. The Gospels recount Jesus’ death and resurrection but these are not part of the Qu’ran, so when I read the Bible I make a conscious effort not to read it through the prism of my own scriptures. This helps me to understand my Christian friends a little better and to appreciate how they perceive the Gospels. From my understanding, the Gospels were written by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Gospels are the works of many people from various times. I read the Gospels as stories about Jesus’ life through the lens of many different people.

The Gospels also mention many women too, and I was informed at a conversation with Professor Kate Cooper that it is possible St Luke’s Gospel was written by a woman, because Luke contains quite a few stories with women in, such as Martha and Mary, the two sisters of Bethany.

I view the four canonical Gospels as containing the messages of Jesus, his life, his death and his resurrection, written by various men. I believe that the Gospels contain the essence of God’s message, but are not the word of God, as I believe the Qur’an to be.

My own scriptures tell me that when the Qur’an speaks of the Gospel it is referring to what was revealed to Jesus, not what was written about him later by various “earthly men”. We Muslims
are informed that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament have been corrupted, so what we have
today is evolving interpretations of Jesus’ message according to various people. …

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This is an extract from the July/August 2016 edition of Reform.

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