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Biblical Influence on Arabic Thought

Walid Saleh, a professor of religious studies at the University of Toronto, has been researching the historical significance of Arabic-language Bibles and the interaction with Islamic writings in the medieval period.

One area of his research that Saleh finds especially intriguing: many 19th-century Arab novelists and poets were strongly influenced by these Biblical texts. As he explores the literary and liturgical interplay between the Bible and Arabic thought, Saleh has unearthed hitherto unknown intellectual and spiritual connections between these great cultures. As he observes, “This is a long and complicated story that’s not represented by our current political environment.”

This short article details some of Saleh’s research and we will look forward to finding more examples the dynamic influence between language and culture in forming religious expression.

Guidance and Light

This shows an Islamic starburst tile pattern (which traditionally symbolizes the spread of Islam throughout the universe), a lighted lamp and the first half of a verse (5:46) from the Qur’an which states:

Sample Images from "Guidance and Light" by Scott Rayl

“And We (God) sent, following in their footsteps Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which was before him in the Torah, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light…” (more…)

Challenging Islamophobia – A Christian Duty

In this article, Ray Gaston of Birmingham, UK argues for a radical interpretation and implementation of 1 Corinthians 13 in response to Islamophobia in the West.

…I want to present not an analysis or apology for Islam, I leave that to Muslims themselves, neither will this be a potted description of the practices of Islam for Christians. (There are other good resources for Christians to find out about Islam and to find out about the particular communities of Muslims that reside in the UK.) Instead I want to argue for a Christian praxis within this context of rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime. This praxis is founded upon two sources – one Islamic and the other Christian (more…)

A Christian Perspective on Eid al-Fitr

For many Christians living in non-Western contexts, Islam is a very present religious community. Outside of homogenous cultures, multi-faith communities share life together in meaningful ways. Through interaction with the religious identity of others, we can come to a fuller understanding of ourselves.

Eid al-Fitr is an Islamic holiday that is a celebration to mark the completion of Ramadan. It is a three-day celebration of purification and thanksgiving for Allah’s strength to complete the preceding month of fasting.

My question is, what can Christians appreciate from this celebration and how can we better understand ourselves in light of it? (more…)

A Biblical Reflection on Genesis 12:3 (LINK)

Below s a link to a piece describing the manner in which a Palestinian reads an oft-quoted piece of the Hebrew scripture and how his experience influences his interpretation.

A Biblical Reflection on Genesis 12:3

Dr. Naim Ateek

“On the day after Christmas, we went on a courtesy visit to the Israeli minister of religious affairs. Archbishop Tutu spoke “truth to power” and combined courage with candor. He told the minister about the importance of giving the Palestinians justice and freedom. As we were leaving the government building, we were followed by a man who kept repeatedly shouting the words at us, “Genesis twelve three; Genesis 12:3.” I could hardly wait to get home in order to look up the text in the Bible.”

Rev. Dr. Ateek is a Palestinian Christian pastor, teacher, and advocate. He founded the  Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center and has authored Justice, and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation


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