25 November, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 03/26/2004
lebanon - islam
"Issa's" (Jesus's) crucifix fascinates today's Islamic intellectuals

The release of the movie "The Passion of the Christ" in Middle East Muslim countries opens the question on how Muslim see the crucifix. In Italy, for example, the crucifix in public places makes some Muslims intolerant and blasphemous. Elsewhere in the Islamic world, the Jesus who died on the cross and resurrected, the Jesus of Catholics, fascinates religious Muslims – above all poets, writers and contemporary intellectuals.

 Beirut (AsiaNews) – "Jesus's passion is essential to innovative modern poets; in this way they hope to give new life to language and society," said Tarif Khalidi, professor of Islamic history at Cambridge University during a seminar at the American University of Beirut. Tarif Khalidi is author of the book, "The sayings and stories of Jesus the Muslim in Islamic Literature" (Harvard). The book was recently published in Arabic by the Lebanese publishing housing, An-Nahar, under the title "The Gospel According to Muslims".

Muslims respect and honor Jesus in a special way. So much that when his name is said, one adds "peace be upon him". Officially for Islam, Jesus escaped death by using others as substitutes (cf. An-Nisà's Sura IV, "The Women").

During a seminar held in Beirut, Khalidi spoke about the "fascination that the figure of Jesus has had on the Muslim imagination" since antiquity.

When Islam speaks about Jesus, according to Khalidi, one must distinguish between two tendencies: firstlt, there is the "theological-prophetic" Jesus of the Koran who is considered the "Word of God", "His Breath", "Messiah", "Allah's Messenger"; secondly, there is the narrative or "mythical" Jesus, in terms of his life as told in the Muslim literature and in myths, "in the flesh and blood and in stories".

It is this very "mythological" aspect –that of Christ's passion, blood and resurrection –which interests Islamic intellectuals. Among them are three contemporary poets: the Sudanese Muhammad al-Fayturi, Palestinian Mahmud Darwish and Iraqi Badr Shaker al-Sayyab, inspired by Christ's "mythological" status as seen in his death and resurrection to save mankind.  For the poet, Al-Sayyab, "Jesus is a figure who is more in tune with nature and the seasons than Mohammad."

The images used by these poets to describe Jesus represent a challenge to the Koran, where nothing is said of his divinity and crucifixion. However, for these authors the main elements of the Christian faith "are too beautiful…to leave out." 

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/26/2004 qatar
Gibson's "Passion" arrives in the Middle East
03/26/2004 islam - christianity
Islam and Jesus: almost a "love affair" (profile)
03/12/2004 Lebanon
Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir says Gibson's film is not anti-Semitic
07/26/2004 MALAYSIA
"The Passion of the Christ" for Christians-only viewing
03/11/2004 PHILIPPINES
Bishops impressed by "The Passion": "Mel Gibson is like Mother Teresa"
"The Passion: A Great Instrument For Mission Work"
Viewers react to " Passion of the Christ"
Gibson's film inspires passionate interest in Aramaic
Passion of the Christ raises questions among Buddhist audiences
'Passion' opens despite Islamic objections
Gibson's "Passion" appreciated by Hindus, seen as antidote to fundamentalism
"The Passion" : Movie theaters booked by churches inviting non-Christians
After seeing "The Passion" Muslims start searching for the Gospel
'The Passion of the Christ': "A milestone in the cinema history"
south korea
"The Passion" welcomed by Protestants and Catholics
Malaysian Muslims offended by "The Passion"
"The Passion of the Christ" resounding success as moviegoers search for traces of anti-Semitism
"The Passion of the Christ" wins over non-Catholic youth
Pirated copies of "The Passion" used to evangelize
Archbishop Rosales: "Watch 'The Passion!'"
Gibson's "Passion" arrives in the Middle East
islam - christianity
Islam and Jesus: almost a "love affair" (profile)
Jim Caviezel: Under the make-up, a man of Faith
Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir says Gibson's film is not anti-Semitic
Bishops impressed by "The Passion": "Mel Gibson is like Mother Teresa"

Editor's choices
Paris Massacre highlights the failure of Muslim integration in Europe
by Catherine FieldThe attack in the heart of France highlights the crisis of Europe’s model of coexistence. Social unrest, poverty and marginalisation feed youth extremism and radicalisation. A New Zealander journalist, expert on expertise in religion and interfaith dialogue, talks about it after undertaking a journey through the French Muslim world.
For Nîmes imam, Islam should not be held hostage by extremists
by Hochine DrouicheFrench imams condemn the Paris terrorist attacks and disassociate themselves from violence committed in "the name of our religion." At the same time, they ask Muslim communities to dare leading a life of dialogue and friendship with Europeans, without fear or arrogance. For centuries, Muslims have ruled out reason from their religious life. The vice president of French imams bears witness.
AsiaNews marks 12 years: Persecution and hope
by Bernardo CervelleraDespite a worldwide increase of ignorance, indifference and superficiality, many signs of love and hope resist even in the most gloomy situations: the Iraqi mother who gives birth to her child in a refugee camp and smiles even though she has nothing; the Indonesian Muslim mother who blesses her son who became a Christian and a priest; the Chinese Christian families that welcome children thrown away because of the one-child law.


Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.