Islam

Holy Injil, Luke - A New Translation from the Original Greek with Commentary

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Holy Injil, Luke – A New Translation from the Original Greek with Commentary

This is a great Christmas gift for Muslim friends, as well as to any Muslim who is interested in learning more about Isa al Masih (Jesus Christ) throughout the year.

The new English translation of Luke was officially launched at a Christmas Mehfil, with guest, including the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society. 

 

This book includes:

  • An introduction, using the Qur’an, which encourages Muslims to read the Injil

  • A new translation of Luke from the original Greek into English that Muslims use, with religious terminology and names that they are familiar with

  • Commentary provides useful Old Testament or cultural background, attempts to deal with difficulties a Muslim reader may encounter as they read through Luke, explain biblical themes and cross-references the Qur’an where it is helpful to do so

  • More in-depth appendices on: The Revelation of the Injil, The title 'spiritual Son of Allah', The Kingdom of Allah, The title 'al-Masih', The title 'Son of Man', The suffering and martyrdom of ’Isa al-Masih, Why did ’Isa al-Masih suffer and die?, The 'Gospel of Barnabas'

  • It has been read and reviewed by translation consultants and by Muslims

See below to order copies.

 

Comments from Muslim readers

Thank you for the lovely injil - we shall all read it and pray to Allah (SWT) to give you strength and to bless you and your family for the great effort put into this chapter of Luke. Amazing!
I have given my brother this book (Holy Injil, Luke). He spent three hours reading it in my house. He said it was beautifully explained.
 

 

Recommendations for 'Holy Injil, Luke'

We recommend it as a translation to be used in discussion with Muslims to shed light on the beautiful and majestic life that is Jesus Christ without hampering them by using terminology not familiar to their ears. And we already know of Muslims who have read it with joy.
— Tom & Judi
Duncan Peter has prepared this version of Luke’s Gospel for a conservative Muslim audience. There are helpful appendices dealing with the most common Muslim questions, like the allegation that the text of the Bible has been changed, and the objection that God cannot have a son
— Julyan
The translation is brilliantly done and is enhanced by excellent notes and appendices which face the difficult critical questions Muslim readers may have with deep sensitivity and wisdom. From a Christian perspective, this unique volume will not only prove invaluable in developing conversations with Muslim neighbours and friends, but it points toward the future of mission in a pluralist world.
— David
 

How to order copies

Copies are available direct from the author.

Borrow a pastor

Borrow a pastor - a blog from Mahabba Network; helping Christians engage positively with Muslims

Borrow a pastor

This is a blog from a friend of Mahabba Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

 

Can we borrow another pastor?

“What will we do now that the pastor has moved on?”

…they asked.

This was not a worried congregation but rather some church members who had boarded the roller coaster of befriending Iranian asylum seekers.

The pastor had pitched in by leading a private Bible study for them, but he was moving away.

“Can we borrow another pastor?”

…was one question that was asked.

We found another solution.

With a little coaching, the ladies started using Come Follow Me.

The participants work through the lesson on their own in English, Farsi or Arabic and then once a week they all come together to discuss, share and pray for each other.

The material does not take them off into theological puzzles or doctrinal disputes but focusses on living as followers of Christ.

If we go back to the Great Commission we find that Jesus himself put the emphasis on teaching people to obey all that he had commanded – most of which was the stuff of living.

So they started.

A retired office worker and a lady who irons clothes for a living were engaged in cross cultural discipleship.

We are all familiar with the cry that the labourers are few (Matthew 9:36-38).

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
— Matthew 9:36-38 New International Version (NIV)

Oh, how we would love to see an army of multi-lingual, highly trained, specialist workers of proven experience turning up on our doorsteps asking what we have for them to do.

The people Jesus called that day to pray for labourers became the labourers.

The truth is that for the most part we do not need more bodies, but we need the bodies we already have to be equipped and to discover that they can do the work.

Come Follow Me is a wonderful piece of kit which enables non-experts to engage with confidence in helping new believers grow in Christ.

The next training day is in Wakefield, Yorkshire, 27 October. Maybe request one near you?

Upcoming events

Come Follow Me training day

Saturday 27 October
Wakefield
For full details, contact Flora

Regional gathering

Monday 1 December

For full details, contact Gillie

 
 

Joining the dots

Joining the dots - a blog from Mahabba Network

Joining the dots

This is a blog from a friend of Mahabba Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

 

Reflecting on the dots

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

In the 1880s French artist Georges Seurat introduced an art form known as pointillism. As the name suggests, Seurat used small dots, or points, of colour to create an artistic image.

Up close, his work looks like groupings of individual dots. Yet as the observer steps back, the human eye blends the dots into brightly coloured portraits or landscapes.

We can think of September as a month when we start filling the picture of our year with dots. Each day fills with greys, reds, ambers and greens, that may fill us with trepidation or excitement, and leave us feeling anywhere between exhausted or invigorated at the end of the day.

It’s only when we step back and reflect that we start to see patterns and shapes.

The picture that emerges may square up to the one we had in mind at the start. But more often, it has unexpected shades of light and dark that present us with a different image to the one we planned.

In the same way, the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13) were reflecting on the ‘dots’ of events that had happened over the Passover weekend in Jerusalem.

They saw only dark and sombre tones of violence and death. The picture of Jesus, as they left Jerusalem, did not square up to the picture they had planned for Jesus, the prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and the people (v. 19).

Then Jesus joins up the dots for them, bringing the light and shade of Moses and the prophets, and all the things the scriptures had been saying about the Messiah (v. 27).

As Jesus breaks the bread at home in Emmaus, they are given a moment to stand back and see the full, beautiful picture.

In the same way, our ministries may push us right up against the canvas with busy schedules, scarce resources and a lack of workers for the harvest.

We might have only our own dot and a couple surrounding in sight (and their colours might even be on the opposite side of the colour spectrum to ours). But are we perhaps forming a beautiful image together?

On 13 October, Birmingham wants to have such a day of standing back and joining the dots of those working to engage with Muslims in our city.

 

A place of peas

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A place of peas

This is a real-life story of recent events from friends of Mahabba Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

 

Vandalism to Vegetables

About 5 years ago one of our regulars got involved in a sort of city farm project.

It is in an area of stark terraces almost entirely occupied by Bangladeshis.

The project was secular but with several white Christians heavily involved.

When we met to pray, we heard tales of plastic tunnels being vandalised and project personnel being threatened.

All we could do was pray.

The other evening, I  went to the site for a prayer meeting.

The gate was open. There were no high fences, no barbed wire, no security measures of any kind.

Some Asian teenagers sitting on the benches greeted us politely.

The project is highly valued by the community. Members of many families use the project. They grow vegetables. Children come to learn about nature.

It is a place of peace and harmony. God has answered prayer.

 

Your turn

Have you been touched by this story? If so, you can play your part.

  • Share the amazing news of God moving among Muslim with your friends via e-mail or social media, using the links below

  • Support Mahabba in its work to equip everyday Christians to build relationships and share Jesus with Muslims

Lost, asleep & on the wrong path

Lost, asleep & on the wrong path - a blog from Mahabba Network

God is moving among Muslims

This is a real-life story of recent events from friends of Mahabba Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

Lost, asleep & on the wrong path

Hello everyone, I was born in Iran. I thank God that he hasn’t left me lost and asleep on the wrong path. From childhood I was brought up as a strict Shia Muslim however I always felt weak. I used to pray and worship but I wasn’t able to reach God in the way I wanted to.

I was always looking for a God of love and friendship and so finally I decided to look for God in another way. For this reason I started looking into Sufi Islam. I felt I was lost and I was looking to find the right way. Many times I went to Sufi meetings however I was still not satisfied.

When I had a problem with my job, I decided to go into a church and light a candle. After a few days, the problem was solved. A short time later, when a different problem arose, I had to leave my country.

When I arrived in England, I got to know some new Iranian Christian friends and I got a lot of information from them. Little by little, I began to feel that following Jesus was a better way and understand that Christianity is a complete way to reach God, until God accepted me and I came to faith in Jesus.

I understood that all my life I had been following the wrong way and that there was no other way than following Jesus to reach the God of love because all the other ways put distance between me and God. However, following Jesus enabled me to become a friend of God. Now I am a son of God and he has become my Father – I’m not a slave of God.

The teachings of Jesus have taught me about life and how to live in love. He taught me how to relate to people around me, who I used to think were my enemies, and be at peace with them; how to live in freedom and help others to live freely too; how to find when Satan was working against me; how to put to death my selfish pride; that God is a God of love we can relate to, not a God of fear.

He answered my childlike questions and gave me a new outlook. Through my words, those who oppose the Gospel can understand and get to know God, whether they’ve had information before or not. The Lord’s return is near and he has given us a great responsibility to go and make disciples of all the nations, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus, I confess that I’m a sinner. I know I cannot attain salvation and become righteous through my own power or good works. I believe you were killed on the cross for my sins, were buried in the grave and after three days you rose again from the dead.

I believe that you’re alive and have the authority to forgive my sins and count me righteous before you. I surrender my whole heart and life to you. Thank you for hearing my prayer, Amen.

 

Your turn

Have you been touched by this story? If so, you can play your part.

  • Share the amazing news of God moving among Muslim with your friends via e-mail or social media, using the links below
     
  • Support Mahabba in its work to equip everyday Christians to build relationships and share Jesus with Muslims

Hope & healing

Hope & healing - a blog from Mahabba Network

God is moving among Muslims

This is a real-life story of recent events from one of the local Mahabba groups in the Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

Our contact in a church in London, tells us what happened...

Hope & healing

About 75 people came to our church event for people of other faith backgrounds. It was lovely to see about fifteen Muslim women there in their hijabs. Other less religious Muslims were also there and many Hindus. All invited by Christian friends.

The whole evening was very enjoyable and peaceful. People stayed for a long time even though we were very challenging in plainly sharing the Gospel with them, but in a gracious way.

We began with refreshments, and a fun quiz. This was followed by a free halal and vegetarian meal. After this we gave the quiz results and prizes. 

We then gave a fifty minute presentation on the theme of hope. People listened attentively to someone from a Muslim background sharing his testimony of coming to faith, boldly and lovingly.

There was a short talk on the reasons for our Christian hope. This was followed by an invitation for prayer for healing. Two healing testimonies were shared, one of a healing from a cyst. Later a lady came for prayer with the same condition.

About 25 to 30 people came forward for prayer for healing. There was a queue!

One person said their post cancer operation pain had left. Another who had pain in their foot said it was gone.

All the guests stayed well past the finish time as we ended the evening with coffee and cake. 

Lots of people came at the end and said how much they had enjoyed the programme. We are now planning our next event!


 

Your turn

Have you been touched by this story? If so, you can play your part.

  • Share the amazing news of God moving among Muslim with your friends via e-mail or social media, using the links below
     
  • Support Mahabba in its work to equip everyday Christians to build relationships and share Jesus with Muslims

Surprising connections

Surprising connections - a blog from Mahabba Network

God is moving among Muslims

This is a real-life story of recent events from one of the local Mahabba groups in the Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

John, the coordinator, tells us what happened...

Surprising connections

The Mahabba Basingstoke group ran a very successful Easter Party for Muslims in the town recently.

It was at the request of a local Muslim association.

Others invited did not accept or were unable to come, but we did generate some interest and enabled other Christians to do something more to engage with Muslim colleagues or neighbours.

We explained Easter using language that would resonate and help generate discussion.

As we led a tour around a local church as part of the event, there were lots of questions about the furniture, stained glass windows (popular) and especially about the display of the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments and Creed.

We discovered unrecognised links – children knew each other from school and an older Muslim mum had come to the church carer & toddler group, so was able to recommend it to others.

Some discovered shared sporting interests, so we were able to develop friendships and opportunities to meet more often.

We continue with Scriptural Reasoning, and have found the newly-published Grove booklet very helpful and thought provoking.

We hope to discuss this method of building friendships and sharing faith more at the Regional Gathering in Gloucester! 

 

Your turn

Have you been touched by this story? If so, you can play your part.

  • Share the amazing news of God moving among Muslim with your friends via e-mail or social media, using the links below
     
  • Support Mahabba in its work to equip everyday Christians to build relationships and share Jesus with Muslims

Real value

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God is moving among Muslims

This is a real-life story of recent events from one of the local Mahabba groups in the Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

Real value

One of my friend’s moved recently so I went to visit him. He is originally from a Middle Eastern country. He was brought up as a Muslim.

After a while on Google Maps and a few calls on my mobile I found my friend. We walked to the new place. I took off my shoes as not to spoil the carpet.

My friend showed me around his new accommodation. The flat was pristine and still smelled of fresh paint.

A multitude of ornaments on the window sill sparkled in the morning sunshine. Everything was in its right place - including a meticulously arranged shoe cupboard.

I was offered a cup of tea, then I was shown the pictures of the flat before he moved in. It was unrecognisable from the place I was sitting in.

The carpets were dirty and walls were full of holes. My friend explained that he had scraped off all the old wallpaper, filled the holes in the walls, repainted and scrubbed the carpets.

The ornaments and the pictures had come from a charity shop and been brought to life with some vigorous polishing.

The sofas came from a friend who was storing some surplus furniture in his garage. The place looked very bright and inviting.

He then told me that people from his culture were very proud and looked down on having anything that wasn’t brand new. He gave me the following example.

If someone was cold and you lent them a jacket - you would never wear it again after it had been returned.

He informed me that it was only after he started to follow Jesus as part of a church community that he was able to get a handle on his pride, accept help from others, value things that were not brand new and not care so much about the negative comments of others.

 

Your turn

Have you been touched by this story? If so, you can play your part.

  • Share the amazing news of God moving among Muslim with your friends via e-mail or social media, using the links below
     
  • Support Mahabba in its work to equip everyday Christians to build relationships and share Jesus with Muslims

Quenching hunger

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God is moving among Muslims

This is a real-life story of recent events from one of the local Mahabba groups in the Network. Names and details have been deliberately removed to protect the identity of those involved, but praise God - he is working in the lives of Muslims to reveal Jesus!

Quenching hunger

We were inspired by another Mahabba group and are hoping to put on a discussion with some mosques inviting believers and Muslims.

At the event, the Qur’an is read then discussed, then the Bible is read and discussed.

We are hoping this will provide a chance for Muslims to ask questions and open up the word.  

I have spoken to two mosque leaders about it: one was keen, one is speaking to their imam about it.

The one that is keen also seems very spiritually hungry and a couple of us have done some one-to-one Bible study with him and have given him scriptures.

We are praying that he will come to know Jesus and lead his congregation to follow him.

Please pray that the practical details all get sorted and that many come to know Jesus.

 

Your turn

Have you been touched by this story? If so, you can play your part.

  • Share the amazing news of God moving among Muslim with your friends via e-mail or social media, using the links below
     
  • Support Mahabba in its work to equip everyday Christians to build relationships and share Jesus with Muslims

Why I wept this Easter

Image: Aaron Burden,  Unsplash

Image: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

Why I wept this Easter

The message of Easter – crucifixion and resurrection is so familiar to us – we know the story – and sometimes in our familiarity the power of its potent mixture of loss and joy is missed.

This year I wept at Easter – and it was through a retelling of the Easter story in much of the pain and power that would have been the experience of the followers of Jesus.

We will all have heard of the attacks on the Coptic Churches in Tanta and Alexandria in Egypt this Palm Sunday. These attacks are not new at all but have become a depressingly regular experience for the Christians of Egypt.

For generations they have endured the gauntlet of persecution ranging from unequal opportunity, ridicule, and shame to extreme violence – so in some ways nothing is new. However, what has perhaps become more visible over the years has been the ‘What Would Jesus Do‘ response of Egypt’s Christians to those that hate and violate both them and their faith.

I watched the subtitled clip of a TV interview with the wife of the gatekeeper who died preventing the suicide bomber entering the church – thus saving the lives of countless worshippers.

I have not witnessed on TV such a powerful message of forgiveness – offered, not under pressure, but as the natural overflow of an ordinary person trying to follow in the footsteps of her master.

What followed was just as powerful – the response of the Egyptian news anchor, who, faced with the power of such supernatural love, went off script as he reacted in incredulity and awe at these Christians who “are made of a different substance”.

Watch the clip:

I wept this Easter – to see this re-enactment of the Easter story lived out in our day. After all what is Easter but an offering, a sacrifice, an exchange – of good for evil, purity for putrescence, honour for shame, life for death. 

As I did so I thought of the long held dream, borne in the hearts and prayers of many, of the Muslim world in large number embracing Jesus, the Son of God – their Sacrifice and Saviour. As I pondered this I sensed a whisper from heaven –“What is required for this to happen? - Only a sacrifice – one willingly made.”

What is required? Is it more, prayer conferences, clever strategies, media projects or new methodologies? No, while these can be good things - all that is required is a sacrifice –one willingly offered.

Ordinary Egyptian Christians are at the forefront of this sacrifice today, along with other unsung heroes from Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Indonesia and elsewhere – they are leading the way in sacrifice and forgiveness – and this seed will surely bear fruit.

Such sacrifices are opening up the closed hearts of Muslims around the world – as illustrated so visibly by the news anchor! It seems there is no short cut to spiritual breakthrough – only a sacrifice is required.

The power of forgiveness is illustrated so well in two places in the New Testament.

• Jesus speaks over those nailing him to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

• And the dying prayer of Stephen for those stoning him: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Something shifts in heaven and on the earth when forgiveness is released. We see the Roman centurion reacting to the death of Jesus -  “Surely he was the Son of God!” Later we see Paul, who was a witness and, some think, a party to Stephen’s death, encountering Jesus and turning from his murderous path.

Perhaps it is not a surprise to see that later on it is Paul who becomes perhaps the world’s most effective missionary – and the Roman world to become the cradle of the Christian faith.

We will see the fruit of forgiveness in the coming days in Egypt – of this we can be sure – but what wider significance will these seeds of sacrifice have for the future of the Arabic and Islamic World?

So my tears were not just of sadness and empathy, but of hope - and in the beginning of a prayer – “Lord help mefollow more fully in your steps and in the example of these ordinary/extraordinary saints and witnesses.”

What English translation of the Qur'an and introduction do you recommend?

What English translation of the Qur'an and introduction do you recommend?

John asked about a good English translation of the Qur'an and a helpful introduction or commentary: 

Can you recommend a good translation of the Qur'an and introduction?

Dear Mahabba,

“What English language translation of the Qur’an would Muslims considered the most reliable? Would that be the best version for a novice like me to read? What English language introduction to Islam and the Qur’an would you recommend? I would like to understand how to bridge from the Qur’an to the Bible. And an introduction that is not too simple.”

OUR RESPONSE

The easiest to come by is most probably Yusuf Ali which also contains the Arabic script but the translation is archaic.
 
AJ Arberry tries to give a sense of the rhyme and rhythm in English and is a sensitive translation (available on subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies online).
 
There is a Qur’an website on the Internet that contains several translations with which to compare whenever available quran.com.
 
Neal Robinson’s Discovering the Qur`an (2004) is a sympathetic introduction to the Qur’an by a non-Muslim while Muhammad Abdel Haleem’s Understanding the Qur`an: Themes and Style (2001) is a Muslim’s introduction to the Qur’an.
 
It will be difficult to find one source that both introduces Islam as well as bridging Qur’an to Bible.
 
I’ve always found P.K. Hitti’s History of the Arabs (10th repr. 1991) a comprehensive overview of Islamic history that has a scholarly take on Islam before relations were so extremely polarised as now.
 
Kenneth Cragg’s The Weight in the Word – Prophethood: Biblical and Quranic (1999) compares and contrasts Muhammad with biblical prophets and, broadly stated, shows how the Qur’an applies biblical ideas for its own purposes.
 
See how you get on with these for the moment – there is so much out there to choose from!
 
Do let me know how you get on and whether you can get hold of resources.


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?

Charisma Magazine: I see many people of the Islamic faith coming to Christ

Image: Beth Rankin,  Flickr

Image: Beth Rankin, Flickr

Charisma Magazine: I see many people of the Islamic faith coming to Christ

Charisma Magazine, which featured Mahabba in two articles, has just published a prophetic word from Cindy Jacobs about God moving among Muslims.

This is in light of the Westminster bombing, which we blogged about recently.

Mahabba has been aware of God moving among Muslims for some time - the wind in the House of Islam - so this is an encouraging word.

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

We've reproduced part of the prophetic word here, but you can find a link to the full article at the bottom.

I feel that as the Christians in England and the broader of the U.K. and Europe pray for the Muslims, there's going to be great visitations come.
I see signs and wonders and miracles. I see many people of the Islamic faith coming to Christ—God visiting them in unique ways with angelic hosts and things like this and sending more laborers.
I believe that all of these terrible things that Satan meant, even the people who have died, which is so awful, we can't even imagine how awful that is. And we are grieving with you here in the United States—God is going to release such evangelism, such great things are going to impact the Muslim people in a great way.
It's not time for hating. It's time for praying. Let's not be haters; let's be prayers. 

Strang report: Christians loving Muslims produces fruit

Image: Neil Moralee,  Flickr

Image: Neil Moralee, Flickr

Strang report: Christians loving Muslims produces fruit

The Strang Report from Charisma magazine featured Mahabba in an article leading up to Ramadan.

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

Steve Strang interviewed Gordon Hickson, Director for the Mahabba Network, and here are some excerpts.

You can find a link to the full article at the bottom.

The bottom line: Christians should not be afraid of Muslims. As they share love (mahabba), Muslims are coming to Christ. His friendship network is being used successfully in various parts of the world. And after having a significant spiritual experience, he now has faith for 30 million Muslims to come to the Lord!

I was horrified at the lack of response by pastors and ministries when it came to trying to reach Muslims.

I have to admit I thought it was a demon and tried to rebuke it, but actually it was God and He, more and more, continued to make it known to me for 11 months that 'this is Me; you must start praying for and reaching Muslims

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?

Elliot's weekly round-up: Westminster Attack

Image: David Dibert, Unsplash

ELLIOT'S WEEKLY ROUND-UP: WESTMINSTER ATTACK

The news has been dominated by the attack on Westminster this week.

A car driving at speed ran into pedestrians and then a policeman was stabbed.

The person who carried out the attack has been referred to in a number of different ways including: Adrian, Khalid, a bright and sporty pupil, friendly and polite, a middle aged father, a soldier of Islamic State, a Muslim convert radicalised whilst in prison, a body builder, a portly man, violent, shy, friendly and approachable, nomadic, a former English teacher, middle aged murderer, pure evil scum, a good listener, a dad who gave football tips to boys in the neighbourhood, someone who would play football but was not very good, a grandfather, a criminal, a manager.

Who exactly was he?

But as Brendan Cox stated - husband of murdered MP Jo Cox - we should focus on the victims of the crime. Forty people have been injured and four have died: PC Palmer, Spanish teacher Aysha Frade, American tourist Kurt Cochran who was celebrating his silver wedding anniversary, and cricket loving Leslie Rhodes - a retired London window cleaner.

What the terrorist would like to happen is for us to fall apart and start blaming groups of people, to say that in some way this is Muslim or Islam as a whole.

https://www.indy100.com/article/westminster-london-terror-attack-parliament-brendan-cox-shooting-updated-7644936

The attack has been condemned by The Muslim Council of Britain. The Mayor of London has thanked the emergency services and warned Muslims to be vigilant against hate preachers. 

Terrorists want to attack London is because they hate the fact that we don’t just tolerate each other – whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, member of an organised faith or not, we respect, embrace and celebrate each other and that’s going to carry on

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-attack-isis-muslim-council-britain-westminster-terror-cowardly-depraved-harun-khan-solidarity-a7646201.html

Muslims from around The UK have condemned the attacks including groups from Lincoln , Blackburn and Muslim leaders from Waltham Forest.

Another group have gone beyond words to do something positive for the victims. It has raised funds for the families of the by setting up a website entitled Muslims United for London. At the time of writing it has raised over £20,000.  

Our response

Let's pray for the victims, let's pray against radicalisation and for those developing anti radicalisation strategies. Let's continue to reach out to our Muslim colleagues and neighbours with the love of Jesus.

We have to remember that the person who did this is no more representative of British Muslims than the person who killed Jo is representative of people that are from Yorkshire.

It is we who want to thank you

Image: Matt Jones,  Unsplash

Image: Matt Jones, Unsplash

It is we who want to thank you

One of our regional reps was on the road recently, helping to motivate and mobilise local Christians to love their Muslim neighbours.

We got the following note of thanks!


Dear Mahabba,

It is we who want to thank you. We want to tell you how grateful we are for your contribution to our event.

the Christian way is to make friends with Muslims, respect them as people, show understanding and reach out with the grace the Lord Jesus offers

You communicated the message so well: that the Christian way is to make friends with Muslims, respect them as people, show understanding and reach out with the grace the Lord Jesus offers.

Personally, I was twice blessed by you, having been a teacher and wanting to share that grace with Muslims which identifies us as Christians.

Your message would have been a window for people to see a fresh understanding of the Word. Your impact was so powerful.

Our discussions about Islam and Muslim people will never be the same again!

Our discussions about Islam and Muslim people will never be the same again!

Time together was brief, but it was such a pleasure to meet you both.

Thank you for your introduction to Islam which was all too brief. May the Lord richly bless your ministry. "The field is ripe.."

James & Charlotte


You can read the story of the event with James and Charlotte below.

Elliot's weekly round-up: Immigration, Integration & Islam

janko-ferlic-184527.jpg

ELLIOT'S WEEKLY ROUND-UP: IMMIGRATION, INTEGRATION & ISLAM

The election  held in The Netherlands this week  was dominated by the theme  of immigration, integration and Islam.

Geet Wilders party which wanted to ban the Qur'an and mosques has only gained a few additional seats and so will be ruled out of talks about forming a coalition. 

The European Union has ruled that employers can ban visible religious symbols in the workplace. This has potentially huge implications for hijab wearing Muslim women all over Europe. Some have welcomed the ruling others have feel it discriminates against Muslims.

 

For Muslim women a headscarf is not an accessory; rather, it is a part of their belief. So, just like one’s ethnicity, it can’t be changed or replaced. The headscarf ban will keep Muslim women out of jobs and business

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/03/eu-hijab-ruling-affect-muslim-women-170316073040916.html

The final episode of Extremely British Muslims was shown this week on Channel 4. It was about how Muslims live by the rules from the Qur'an and Hadith.

It featured brothers Shaun and Lee, who couldn't be more different. Shaun has become a Muslim and is now known as Abdul. His wife is Pakistani. His brother, Lee, is/was a member of the English Defence League.

On their visits to each other, with their families, having frank chats in the back garden, they reminisce about the good old days.

“We liked going out and getting wrecked, didn’t we?” says Lee. Abdul, you didn’t! Oh, but he did. “The party was always at our house,” he smiles – is that nostalgia or regret?

They laugh together about Abdul’s ginger beard, while Lee admits he used to think Muslims were baddies and that, by attending EDL rallies, he was “sticking up for his country”. Asked if he would ever go to the mosque with his brother, Lee gives an honest no, prompting Abdul to say:

If any of his friends saw him in a mosque, that would look bad

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/mar/17/extremely-british-muslims-review-the-only-extreme-thing-round-here-is-the-size-of-the-rats

How can we respond to en election, a European ruling, a TV documentary set in Birmingham. I have been reading a book this week - it has a suggestion.

Is Islam taking over the country?

Image: Neil Moralee,  Flickr

Image: Neil Moralee, Flickr

Is Islam taking over the country?

North of Birmingham, one of the most diverse cities in the UK, are small towns and places where very few Muslims live.

Two of us had the privilege of spending a great evening with about 50 people wanting to hear about relating to our Muslim neighbours.

They were a really friendly bunch, with great hospitality, and good humour flowed.

However, as they themselves admit, the type of some of the questions that play out in their area are:

  • Is Islam taking over the country?
     
  • What about Al Qaeda? Terrorism?
     
  • What does the future hold?

The lack of opportunity to engage with Muslim neighbours, and seeing large Muslim communities that seem to be a block of people that are hard to get to know, are two key elements in this.

In this setting, facts like the percentage of Muslims in the country and the Muslim responses against terrorism are important, but not all that’s needed.

To go further we need to point to opportunities for actually getting to know Muslim neighbours. 

Or, where that is not practical, to show positivity about our own relationships.

One of Mahabba’s sayings is 'face the facts, don't fuel the fear'.

We need to feed that back to those people in areas of the church who don’t have opportunity to get to know Muslims and help set the tone of love and grace.

 

YOUR TURN

Do you want to find out more about Islam and Muslims? Request someone from Mahabba to come and speak at your church.

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