Topics in Muslim-Christian Dialogue

Under the leadership of Dr. Terence Nichols and Dr. Adil Ozdemir, scholars were invited to write short commentaries on specific themes related to Muslim and Christian theology and spirituality. The fruits of this labor are presented below. 

Almsgiving, Property, Wealth

Christianity has, from its earliest beginnings, regarded voluntary giving to relieve poverty as a central religious and moral obligation.  It has understood the holding of private property to be a limited right, contingent on providing for the needs of others ...

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Angels and Satan

Angels in Christian belief are messengers and agents of God. The Hebrew word malak (messenger) is translated by the Greek term angelos (messenger), and by the English ‘angel.’ In Christian belief, however, there are good and evil angels; Satan is 

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Authority in the Community of Believers

The question of who holds authority in the community of believers, or the church, is the most divisive issue in Christianity. “Authority” in this sense includes both the authority to discipline members of the church (including authority to excommunicate) and ...

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Christian Diversity

There is an enormous range of diversity with Christianity. This leads to an obvious question: What do all Christians have in common? Baptism? A belief that the teaching of Jesus are important? Nothing at all? The answer could be any of these...

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Community of Believers

The devout followers of Jesus during his lifetime are referred to in the Gospels by two different terms denoting two different categories, namely "apostles" and "disciples."  The Greek word apostolos means one who has been sent forth ...

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Creation, Free Will, Adam, Sin

"Creation" in Christian theology refers both to the creation of the universe, and to the creation of humanity. Both are thought to be created by God. The creation account in Genesis 1-2 states that it was God who created the "heavens and the earth"... 

Creation - Creation, Free Will, Adam, Sin

Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell

In Christian tradition, death is the end of individual life on earth, but not the end of personal consciousness, which survives the death of the body as the soul.  Death, then, is the separation of the soul from the earthly body. However, the whole Christian ...

Skull image - Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell

Diversity in Islam

In Islam, the unity of God is central. The Islamic revelation given to Muhammad affirmed the earlier Abrahamic religions of one God (including Judaism and Christianity), yet also went beyond them ...

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Fasting

Fasting from eating and abstinence from certain foods has a long and venerable history in Judaism and Christianity.  While the Mosaic Law established only the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) as a fast day (Lv 16:29-34; Nm 29:7), fasting is ...

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God

Muslims believe in God. God is the ultimate Truth (al Haqq) and the supreme reality. God is the cause of all that exists and the ultimate meaning and purpose of all creation. God’s Unity (tawhid) is the essence of Islamic revelation given to Muhammad ...

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Good, Evil, Sin

Christianity stands in fundamental awe that anything at all exists. Simply to exist is good, and so Christianity's first concern in respect to goodness is to understand what we and all other things are, and why we exist at all. A technical ...

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Humanity

In Islamic revelation Allah is central to all the reality of existence as independent, infinite, and transcendent Being. Humanity, on the other hand, is finite and dependant on God. Ontologically speaking, ...

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Jesus

Christians believe that Jesus is the incarnate God: he is the Logos (Word) of God who is not only equal to God (John 1:1-3) but also became flesh (John 1:14) and lived among us. Christians use the word “begotten”...

https://www.stthomas.edu/theology/encounteringislam/dialogues/jesus/ - Jesus

Jihad

Given the prominence that the term jihad has attained in western popular and academic literature it is important that we understand the Islamic pronouncements on this issue.The Qur’an uses the word jihad in a generic sense, denoting any ...

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Law

Christian understanding of law, as of many other social institutions, derives from both biblical and classical sources.  In its broadest sense, the term law is applied to all regularities of behavior, including predictable sequences of events in the natural ...

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Marriage

Christian marriage is a complex interface between a natural reality that every culture knows and a supernatural reality that mediates God’s loving presence (grace) and facilitates sanctification (holiness).   It is a prime example of the Thomas Aquinas’s dictum that grace builds on nature (S.T. Ia2ae.62.1)...

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Mary

In the New Testament, Mary is the mother of Jesus and the betrothed wife of Joseph. Each of the gospels, however, gives a different picture of her. In Mark (the earliest gospel, c. 70 c.e.) there is no account of Jesus' childhood. Mary is only mentioned as a part of Jesus’ family (Mk. 3:31) ...

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Morality

The Qur’an asks human beings to establish a just social order and to create morally upright individuals. The obligation to act morally arises from human obligation to repay it’s debt to the Creator. Verse 7:172 in the Qur’an indicates that human beings had not only accepted to obey God’s...

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Muhammad

Muslims consider Prophet Muhammad as a model of piety and an icon of their faith whose exemplary conduct and teachings or sunnah constitute the blue print of human conduct that they try to emulate.  He is the last in the chain of prophets ...

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Muslim Diversity

Islamic revelation given to and through Muhammad is known among world religions as the faith of radical monotheism. This revelation has affirmed and confirmed the Abrahamic religion of one God in a way that closed the door to ...

Diversity in Islam - Muslim Diversity

Other Religions

The word ‘islam’ is derived from the root S L M which connotes surrender, submission, peace, security, safety, serenity, wholeness, healing and restoration.  It is employed in the Qur’an and in the hadith literature in its etymological sense such that the entire ...

Religious Symbols - Other Religions

Peace

The Qur’an asks human beings to be morally upright and help establish a peaceful and just social order. The Qur’anic view of a peaceful world and tolerance between human beings is interwoven to its view ...

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Pilgrimage

The Muslim pilgrimage, known as Hajj, is an obligatory ritual that all able bodied, financially capable Muslims must perform at least once during their life time.  Both males and females who reach the age of sexual maturity and possess the 

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Politics

The Qur’an issues a challenge to human beings. They are to strive to create morally upright individuals (based on the concept of God–awareness - taqwa) and to establish a just social order. It is the latter dimension that this article will focus upon. ...

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Prophethood

Prophets play a key role in the history of Israel throughout much of the Old Testament.  The fundamental understanding of a prophet in ancient Israel was that of a person chosen and called by God to communicate God’s message ...

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Revelation

The idea of revelation, common to the three great monotheistic religions, is based upon the understanding of a personal God.  What humans can know of God is not simply the result of human reason seeking to grasp the divine. It also entails God’s actions ...

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Rituals and Sacraments

Christians, like their Islamic brothers and sisters, pray to God regularly.  Much like Islam, the most important Christian prayer is praise and thanksgiving given to God.  Christians pray morning and evening, either alone or with others, and at meals...

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Salvation

Salvation in Christianity means being saved from sin and damnation. In other words, salvation means eternal life with God and Jesus Christ with the company of the saints in heaven. Loss of salvation means ending up in hell, cut off from God and ...

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Scripture

The Christian Scriptures consist of both Old and New Testaments, which are viewed as a unity containing God’s revelation for human salvation.  While Christians believe that “the Word of God… is presented and shows its force supremely in the writings of the New Testament ...

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Women

Against the background of a tribal society in seventh century Arabia, the Qur’an ameliorated the situation of women considerably. It put a stop to female infanticide and prohibited men from inheriting the wives of their fathers ...

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