"It is not for the swan to teach eaglets to sing."
-French & Danish Proverb
The Minnesota Council of Churches and the Islamic Center of Minnesota began a dialogue series called "Prophets, Patriarchs, & People of Promise!"
We had a dialogue on Abraham, the Angels, and Adam and Eve, upon them peace and blessings. Our February dialogue was on Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings, and one of our speakers was Dr. Terrance Nichols who recently passed away. It was quite a shock to hear of his passing.
Those who knew Dr. Nichols, remember him for his kindness and being a great pioneer in interfaith relations. His talk on Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings, was extremely respectful. He welcomed the dialogue series on the Prophets, and asked me to include Prophet Moses, upon him peace and blessings, as well. It was sad to hear of his recent death.
In March, our dialogue explored Prophet David, upon him peace and blessings. We had three speakers from the three Abrahamic faith community to explore his life and mission. At the end of the program, some attendees were surprised that Muslims believed in the Biblical Prophets.
We continue this Sunday, April 27th, after Christians celebrated Easter on a dialogue of Jesus.
Who is Jesus?
Maybe it depends on who you ask…
Join us April 27 as we ask two well-respected local leaders familiar with the question.
Their answers may well surprise you.
Dan Collison is Senior Pastor of First Covenant Church, Minneapolis, a Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research Fellow, key organizer of the Minneapolis Multi-Faith Network, and the President of the East Downtown Council business Association in Downtown Minneapolis. He received a Doctoral degree in Ministry from Fuller Seminary (CA), a Master’s degree in Divinity from Bethel Seminary (MN), and a Bachelor’s degree from The Eastman School of Music (NY). Before becoming a pastor, Dan—and his wife, Holly—ran an adult foster care home for men with developmental disabilities where he learned the importance and rewards of servanthood.
Owais Bayunus originally from Pakistan, has traveled and lived in several Muslim countries from where he has gathered fresh information about Islam and the lives of Prophets of Gods and their meaning from the original sources. After graduating from Cornell, where he was first introduced to interfaith teachings, and as former President of the Islamic Center of Minnesota, and chairman of Interfaith Dialog, he has spoken several times on the life of Jesus (pbuh) and Mary, in Colleges, Schools and religious institutions in USA and Overseas. He has also written several articles on the life of this very remarkable person in the history of the World, revered by the adherents of both, the Worlds largest religion Christianity and the second largest religion Islam.
For those who cannot attend, below is an edited version of an article I wrote in the past.
According to Islamic teachings:
Jesus, son of Mary, peace and blessings upon them, is a revered religious figure and the bedrock of Christianity. He also is a venerated figure in Islam, the faith of some 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said: “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary, peace and blessings upon him. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”
Like Christians, Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, upon him be peace, and in his miracles. Jesus’ life and mission are mentioned in eleven chapters of the Qur’an. A few of the chapters are titled: Maryam (Mary the mother of Jesus); Imran (noble family of Jesus), and Ma’ida (the Last Supper). Jesus, upon him be peace, is glorified in the Qur’an and is referred to as “the Messiah,” “a Word of God,” and “a Sign of God.”
Muslims regard Jesus, upon him be peace, as one of the mightiest messengers of God. He and his supporter, John the Baptist, and John’s father, Zachariah, are two other prophets of God and are of an unbroken noble lineage going back to the patriarch of monotheism, Abraham. Peace and blessings upon them all.
His miraculous birth began when his maternal grandmother, Hanna, who was barren, prayed for a child to devote to God’s service. God answered her prayer by giving her Mary. The Quran calls Mary “the most honored woman among all nations.”
When Mary, upon her be peace, matured, Archangel Gabriel came to her and said: “‘O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and of (the company of) those nearest to God.’ “
Being a chaste virgin, Mary could not comprehend this news.
Gabriel comforted her by explaining that, when God wishes to create anything, He says, “Be,” and it is. Muslims find similarities between Jesus’ birth and that of Adam, peace and blessings upon them, who was created without a father or mother.
Jesus’ miraculous birth was a sign to people of the spiritual world who understood the spirit of the Divine Law. As Jesus, upon him peace, said in the Bible - he did not come to destroy the Divine Law, but to fulfil it, holistically.
The Laws of God were not meant for those in power to dominate the weak, but to protect the weak from the exploitation of the strong. During Jesus’ time, the laws of God were divorced from the spirit of God. The Laws became an end instead of a means to nurture hearts and aid humanity in their worship of God.
Like every woman, Mary, upon her be peace, suffered during childbirth, but her suffering was compounded by her fear of how she would explain her pregnancy to her noble family. Muslims believe Jesus, peace and blessings upon him, performed his first miracle in the cradle by defending his mother’s honor to her family and people.
Muslims do not believe in original sin or that Jesus’ death was atonement for our sins. Rather, Muslims believe Jesus’ mission was to repair the misapplication and abuse of the Divine Law, and complement the legalism of the Torah and the prevalent materialism at the time with humility and spirituality, which were missing in his time.
Like many prophets who were empowered by miracles to suit their time and circumstances, Jesus, upon him be peace, was empowered by God to communicate divinity not only in words but by many miracles as well. Jesus, the son of Mary, upon him be peace, said, “God has given me the power to give life to the dead, sight to the blind, sound to the deaf; but He did not give me the power to heal the fool of his foolishness.”
Muslims believe after plots were made to kill Jesus, upon him be peace, he was not crucified but raised to the Heavens like the Biblical figures Enoch and Elijah. It may surprise many to know that Muslims await the second coming of Jesus, this time he will come back again as a just ruler, like Moses and Muhammad, peace and blessings upon them. He will marry, have children and lead a war against the oppressors on earth and die a natural death.
Although there are differences between the Muslim and Christian view of Jesus, upon him be peace, the Qur’an repeatedly guides Muslims not to dispute with other monotheists over matters of doctrine.
Please join us this coming Sunday and bring your questions to our speakers.
Sunday, April 27
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Islamic Center of Minnesota
1401 Gardena Ave. NE
Fridley, MN 55432
Participants in the Muslim Christian Dialogue are invited to park on the street, in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Minnesota or in the parking lot of Totino Grace High School directly across the street.
Please foward to friends and family and spread the word.