Islam's Jesus

Islam's Jesus

Islam's Jesus

Islam's Jesus

Synopsis

Accessible and readable. Spotlights an important theological theme in a way that both illuminates its internal development in Islamic thought and presents it as a helpful basis for interreligious discussion. The topic is very much in need of teaching and discussion and is a fine example of 'common ground.'"--John Renard, author of Islam and Christianity

Contains valuable and fascinating material about how classical Muslim theologians treated various aspects of Jesus and, in particular, the role of Jesus in Islamic eschatology. Saritoprak brings new insights from contemporary Turkish thinkers to bear on the issues raised by the Jesus figure in Islamic narratives about the Last Days."--Marcia Hermansen, author of Shah Wali Allah's Treatises on Islamic Law

A refreshingly easy read that makes a complex world of theology and interfaith relations accessible and enjoyable for readers of all backgrounds."--Jonathan Brown, author of Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World

Few people realize that Jesus was a prominent messenger of God in Islam and that Muslims believe in the return of Jesus. Even among Muslims, it is not well known that there are diverse interpretations of references to Jesus in the Qur'an and the Hadith. Aiming to remedy this, Islam's Jesus takes a bold yet candid look at the highly charged topic of Jesus's place in Islam, exploring some of the religion's least understood aspects.

Examining multiple intellectual traditions, Zeki Saritoprak makes clear the reality of pluralism in the history of Islamic religious scholarship. Actively engaged in efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and harmony, Saritoprak thoughtfully argues that the shared belief in Jesus presents an excellent opportunity for understanding between Muslims and Christians. Together, they constitute more than half of the world's population, and such understanding may be a foundation for peace.

Excerpt

After September 11, 2001, the world, particularly the Western world, witnessed a tremendous rise in interest in Islamic studies, including works about what Muslims believe and practice. This book explores one of the most important themes of Islamic theology: Jesus and his role in this tradition. Not many people in the West comprehend how Jesus is understood by Muslims generally, nor do they understand the role of Jesus in the Qur’an. After one of my lectures to an audience of about seventy people, I discovered that only one person in the audience knew that a chapter of the Qur’an was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus. A similar experience occurred when I presented a lecture about Jesus in Islam to a different audience. I found that only about 10 percent of the audience knew that Jesus was a prominent messenger of God in Islam, and only 2 percent knew that Muslims believe in Jesus’s eschatological descent, or the return of Jesus. The media coverage of Reza Aslan’s book Zealot, which equates Aslan’s Jesus with Islam’s Jesus, drives home this point further. The book is about the historical Jesus and has nothing at all to do with the Islam’s Jesus, who, as I hope to show in this book is, in reality, not at all dissimilar from Christianity’s Jesus.

Even among Muslims, it is not well known that there are diverse interpretations of references to Jesus in the Qur’an and the Hadith, a fact that can provide inspiration for pluralism. The present work aims to illuminate Islam’s rich theological engagement with the figure of Jesus; work of this nature can lay the groundwork for Muslim-Christian dialogue. The focus of this book involves many questions for both Muslims and Christians. How does the Qur’an speak of Jesus? What is the place of Jesus in Islamic theology? What do Muslims believe about the coming of Jesus at the end of time? Can beliefs about Jesus provide common ground for Muslims and Christians? What is the Islamic approach to dialogue between Christians and Muslims?

It is important to note that as a scholar, I am trained in classical Islamic theology, which is composed of three major themes: divinity, prophethood, and . . .

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