Mazhar Mallouhi on attitudes about Muhammad

I am allowed to say good things about Oliver Cromwell without being reminded that he chopped off the king’s head. I am allowed to speak positively about Thomas Jefferson without incessant interruptions that he impregnated his slave. Do people think that we are somehow admitting defeat, or dishonoring Christ, if we focus on the positive aspects of Muhammad or the religion that he founded?

This is from the most recent issue of St Francis Magazine, p 12.

Mallouhi, Mazhar. 'Comments on the Insider Movement' in SFM Vol 5:5, Oct 2009, pp 3-14.

Mallouhi describes himself as a Muslim follower of Christ.


Jeff said…
I think it's basically good to focus on the good side of Mohammed...or Martin Luther...or anyone else. There are many admirable things to be said about Mohammed.

But in the long run, it has to be said that Mohammed denied and fought against and taught against--wrongly--the fundamental principles of Salvation:

God became Man and died on the Cross to atone for our sins. He rose again, delivering us from death.

If I curse and deny that and teach that it is evil, there is something very inimical to God about what I am doing.

For all I know, he did it for perfectly understandable reasons and is chatting with the (true) Apostles in the place above right now.

So I guess we can separate our judgment of Mohammed as a man from our judgment of Mohammed as a teacher. We MUST in the end say lots of negative things about that.

But that's not where we should start. Christianity is not Anti-Islam. Christianity is Christianity and fundamentally Mohammed is irrelevant to it.
Jeff said…
Well AFTER commenting I went back and read the piece. :p

I don't entirely disagree with it. But I'm not sure what it means, exactly.

I would expect that many Muslims would feel tricked and lied to if a someone came to them claiming to be a Muslim, yet confessing Christ's Divinity and His saving death on the Cross.

I think part of the problem is an ecclesiological one. What does God expect of us when we become Christian?

I think He expects us to become part of the Church, which is a society of believers, Christ's body. It's not a sort of inchoate movement, at least not fundamentally.

Now what God will ACCEPT and even bless, given the limitations of the human condition is another thing.

Have you ever wondered why Protestantism seems much more different in many ways from Catholicism or Orthodoxy than either of those do from the non-Chalcedonian churches or the Assyrian Nestorians? I think it's because ecclesiology IS Christology and it's a kind of Christology that is not just notional.

No: you can't just sit among the Muslims and feel your way forward with the Bible in front of you.

Still, I like this fellow and he has a lot of good things to say. God bless him!
Abu Daoud said…
Thank you Jeff.

I agree that ecclesiology is Christology. I think you are right on that point entirely. I also think the central divide between Protestants and Latins is ecclesiology--not justification or theology of Scripture.

I also sorta like Mallouhi. He actually shows a real depth of ritual awareness, which I find attractive. He is not anti-liturgical. In some way he is (maybe) like Roberto di Nobili, the Jeuist misisonary to India who dressed and taught like a Hindu religious teacher, to the consternation of his fellow Jesuits.

Perhaps there is something here that can have real presence in the long run. But really, if that is to happen, more folks (including laity) among the Latins will have to gain a vision for witness to Muslims.

How can that happen? I think that is the central question I would propose to you, Jeff.
Jeff said…
I think you just do it. Just talk to them about the Gospel.

They listen much better, I think, if you explain it rather than typical "witnessing". I have no particular goal of converting anyone...I'm happy just to be with them, be a Christian with them and toward them...and talk about what I believe.

What Christ does with that, I will leave up to Him. But one way of evangelizing is what you might call proto-evangelizing: clearing the ground of defensive mechanisms and cultural resistance.

When Muslims begin to regard Christianity as something they can be allowed to understand as Christians understand it and treat with sympathy, all bets are off.

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