Charisma Magazine: Mahabba empowers Christians to Reach Muslims for Jesus

Image: Hellmy,  Flickr

Image: Hellmy, Flickr

Charisma Magazine: Mahabba empowers Christians to Reach Muslims for Jesus

Charisma Magazine featured Mahabba in a second article, focusing on our work of presenting the opportunity to share Jesus with Muslims in turbulent times.

This is part 2 in a series of 3 from Charisma Magazine. Read part 1 and part 3.

Here's a short excerpt, and you can find a link to the full article at the bottom.

This network was started as a partnership of many churches and agencies in Oxford seeking opportunities to introduce local Muslims to the Good News about Jesus. Mahabba, as a movement, seeks to be a catalyst in networking together 'ordinary Christians', resourced by agency 'specialists' and championed by church leaders, to love their Muslim neighbours.
So Mahabba is not seen as an agency which are often seen negatively by pastors: their model is a prayer-based relational network which equips local churches with mentoring and training materials, which help church leaders to train ordinary members of churches to relate to Muslims in love and be able to explain the Gospel clearly (for example, 'Friendship First', 'Come Follow Me' and 'Joining the Family.' See kitab.org.uk).

Is it right to allow Muslim prayers or Qur'an readings in church?

Image: Daniel Burka,  Unsplash

Image: Daniel Burka, Unsplash

Is it right to allow Muslim prayers or Qur'an readings in church?

Carl asked the following question off the back of a meeting for better understanding (MBU) with local Muslims:

Is it right to allow Muslim prayers or Qur’an readings in church?

Dear Mahabba,

MBUs have built good relationships and sown the Gospel among Muslims. It has also resulted in requests for the use of our places of worship for Muslim events. One of them was for an Eid el Adha event.  This would include the reading of the Qur'an and Muslim prayers. What would your response be to this request?


Our response

This is a tricky one, and has caused quite a bit of debate and controversy recently, as we explored in a blog, 'Islam in church: some questions'. Rather than lay out a definitive answer, here are some responses from individuals on our online community area, The City.


How strongly do you feel?

"I’d be quite happy with the idea, although I know that some Christians strongly feel that such acts are totally unacceptable. Maybe believers from a Muslim background might be more strongly of the latter persuasion."

What is your perspective on the consecration of space?

"We have churches that meet in schools and pubs. We also have church traditions that consecrate space. I think to invite Muslims to confess that Muhammad is God’s messenger in consecrated space violates that consecration.

"Whether we like it or not, we tend to be secular Christians, and so we don’t take the consecration of space very seriously. We don’t do symbolism. But Muslims do, much more so than us anyway.

"I think the question is much more about how we regard our church space. Would you invite a Jehovah’s witness to preach there? How about a militant atheist? Would you allow Hindu gods to be praised in it?

"The question of whether to allow or invite Muslims to pray and confess their creed needs to be set alongside this sort of question to give it context. If space is just space, then you have no problem. If consecration means something, that is another matter."

Provision for personal prayer

"If the space is consecrated: I would not make provision for another deity to be worshipped. I would tend not to give a platform for another religion to be preached and lifted up without a counterpoint or moderation by a Christian.

"But someone who wants to personally pray, I would have no problem with, especially if they are meaning to seek the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, even if their idea of Him is corrupted.

"If their prayers are together in community and include a led confession or declaration about Muhammad, in a Christian consecrated space… that's another question."

A former Muslim's viewpoint - what does God say?

"My response would be: 'what is God asking me to do?' Bearing in mind Scripture such as Peter’s vision that all food was now clean or that circumcision or non-circumcision was not the deeper spiritual issue. Is God trying to lead us to think and react differently to the changing society we now live in?

"Having come from a Muslim background and being able to see both sides, I would drench that church in prayer and plead protection over it through the blood of Christ and then invite another faith to hold their event. If just one heart is changed through that event, if seeds are sown, would it not be worth it? I think the answer to this dilemma lies in prayer and isn’t that what we as the Mahabba Network do? And do so well, might I add!"

"I agree that we need to pray without ceasing, for discernment and for God to use the relationship to His glory. Here is an example of a church that opened its door to its Muslim neighbours on a more permanent basis."

What does Muslim tradition say?

"According to traditions, the Prophet invited Christians to worship in his mosque.

"As to whether this is a practice that Muslims emulate, Muslims have been known to say this too.

"Some Christians have often prayed quiet individual prayers in a mosque, explaining that they are making their own dua, and had no problems.

"I have known this to happen in a more public or congregational way. 

"In a dialogue meeting, Christians had an impromptu prayer meeting in the mosque, while the Muslims perform their prayers (salaat). The Muslims did not have a problem with that."

Gracious hospitality vs. faithfulness to truth

"I think there are two quite different themes at play here. One is gracious hospitality and the other other is faithfulness to truth.

"If we come across people who are marginalised and excluded, trying to find space to honestly meet their religious obligations, how could we not offer them space? That is an application of loving our neighbour and we do so in the name of Christ.

"However, if we so order things that our actions seem to communicate that obedience to Muhammad is the same thing as faith in Christ, if we seek to join the two, blurring the differences then we are being unfaithful and no longer witnesses to the truth. Nor do we witness to the Muslim guest.

"Our love for the other and our security in Christ should enable us to be hospitable, but it should not lead us to bend over backwards so that we affirm the denial of Christ."


Since you're here...

... we have recently reached a total of 40 local Mahabba prayer groups in the UK - awesome news!

With your help, though, we would like to continue to sow, plant and support Mahabba groups.

Our work involves a small team of regional reps and central hub personnel investing in local coordinators and groups, as well as spreading the word.

To continue this vital mission to Muslims, we need to increase our regular monthly income.

Our initial target is to raise up 100 individual regular donors, giving an average of £10 to £15 per month.

Could you be one of the 100?

Jesus & Muhammad

Image: Adam Przewoski,  Unsplash

Image: Adam Przewoski, Unsplash

Jesus & Muhammad

Local Mahabba members were involved with another Meeting for Better Understanding (MBU) between Muslims and Christians the other night.

The discussion was to do with Jesus and Muhammad.

Individuals had been praying hard for the Holy Spirit to move in this particular mosque, which practises a strict form of Islam.

There have been a number of previous MBU’s, but little outward signs of warming to the Gospel.

On the night, about 80 people, mainly Muslims, heard a clear Gospel presentation and took evangelistic literature.

Questions and discussion about Muhammad and Jesus clearly gave Muslims present much food for thought, some of them a little troubling, as they challenged their current beliefs about Jesus.

Christians continue to meet up with their Muslim friends, so please pray for them as they build relationships and share Jesus, particularly as the Gospel stirs people's hearts and minds with questions and promptings.

Your turn

Have you been inspired?

Why not get in touch with your local Mahabba prayer group, get praying and see where God leads you?

Where does god gain more honour?

Image: Jacob Meyer,  Unsplash

Image: Jacob Meyer, Unsplash

Individuals from a local Mahabba prayer group have been involved in running a meeting for better understanding (MBU). 30 Muslims attended the event with Christians and heard the Gospel very clearly.

A Muslim speaker made a very startling statement, quoting from Deuteronomy 21:23.

Whoever hangs on the wood is cursed by God

He went on to say:

For this reason, it is impossible for us to believe that Jesus died on the cross. God would never allow such a terrible thing to be said about one of the greatest prophets

The Christian speaker succeeded very well in building the Gospel precisely on this truth:

Jesus took the curse that had been caused by our sin and paid the punishment of death on our behalf

It was clear that from a Muslim perspective, the death of Jesus is a great sign of God’s weakness.

Therefore, it is very important to emphasise that:

The Gospel does not finish with the curse and death of Jesus, but continues with the lifting of the curse by his resurrection!

A great question to ask Muslims regarding this central issue is:

Where does God gain more honour, by preventing the death of Jesus, as it is described in the Q uran, or by raising him from the dead, as described in the Bible?

The answer is self evident.

For more helpful answers and resources on how to speak with grace and truth to Muslims, check out the Christianity Explained website.

New Testaments & Gospels in other languages suitable for refugees and asylum seekers

Image: Raul Petri,  Unsplash

Image: Raul Petri, Unsplash

Info on new testaments & gospels in other languages suitable for refugees and asylum seekers

Do you have any info on New Testaments & Gospels in other languages suitable for refugees and asylum seekers?

Mahabba Gloucester has created a helpful sheet!

N.B. prices are subject to change and are correct as of the time of publication of this blog.

1. Amazon www.amazon.co.uk

  • Arabic/English New Testament, £2.80 (£3.27 plus postage)
  • Biblica are holders of the NIV copyright
  • NIV Luke’s Gospel £0.50 (and free shipping for orders of over £10.00)

2. Operation Mobilisation (OM) www.uk.om.org

  • Store in Halesowen
  • Telephone 0121-5855662 - Cecil Benjamin knows about Asian languages best
  • Large stock with English/Urdu Luke's Gospels in packs of 100

3. The Bible Society biblesociety.org.uk

  • Based in Swindon, telephone 01793 418100
  • Urdu New Testament £1.25
  • Bengali New Testament £8.40
  • Punjabi New Testament £8.05
  • English/Russian £19.00
  • English/Arabic £5.00
  • English/Chinese £5.00
  • English/Spanish £7.00

4. Kitab www.kitab.org.uk

  • Andrew Howell, telephone 01908 552714
  • New Testaments or Gospels in other languages
  • Luke in Arabic £0.85
  • Diglot New Testament in Arabic £6.50
  • Luke in Gujarati

5. The Bible Society www.bsni.co.uk

  • Northern Ireland, 028 9032 6577
  • Bi-lingual New Testaments: English/Arabic, English /Chinese, English/Hungarian, English/Polish and English/Spanish

6. Gospel Publishing Mission www.gospelpublishingmission.org

  • Is God really my Father? English/Arabic and pictures for use in teaching, £4.50
  • N.B. check pictures for suitability

7. Bible websites with foreign languages