By Sadia Dhlvi
Feb.15 : I grew up in an Irish convent boarding; regularly attending the school church and studying the Bible. Since then I have felt connected with Prophet Jesus and Virgin Mary. It is amazing how understanding another religion can bring one closer to oneâ€™s own faith, traditions. I love Jesus for He is Ruh Allah, the Spirit of God, and like Adam carries the Breath of Divinity.
I love Mary, the beloved friend of God who in Islam stands at the summit of the hierarchy of women.
Every faith depends upon the Divine word, which may manifest itself in a book or man. In Christianity the word is Christ, and the New Testament is an inspired history of the Word made Flesh, whereas Judaism and Islam are based on the word made Book.
Today, if the followers of Jesus, Moses and Mohammad are at odds, it is not because of the their teachings, but despite their unifying message of the Oneness of God. Islam, the last of the three Semitic monotheistic religions, incorporates all the prophets from the lineage of Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus). According to the Quran there has never been a time when God did not send messengers who did not speak the language of the people. â€œNothing is said to thee that was not said to the apostles before theeâ€. (41:43) Interestingly, there exists more references to Mariam (Mary) in the Quran than in the New Testament.
Prophet Muhammad (s) said, â€œBoth in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The Prophets are brothers of the same father with different mothers, and their religion is one. I am the closest in relationship to Jesus, the son of Mary, because there was no prophet between him and me. Jesus will descend. If you see him, then know him. He is a man of a moderately ruddy complexion. He will be wearing two faintly yellow garments. His hair will seem to have drops of water upon it, even though it will not be wetâ€.
Sufis have forever expressed profound reverence for Jesus, regarding him a perfect Sufi Master and knower of Divine mysteries. Jesus said, â€œIt is to those who are worthy of my mysteries that I tell my mysteries. I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the son of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. Whoever has come to understand the world has found only a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world. Whoever finds the world and becomes rich, let him renounce the world. Become passers-by.â€
Jesus declared, â€œI am the Master, I am the wayâ€. As the Spirit of God, Jesus is pure compassion, a Godly attribute that Sufis seek to manifest in their own spirits. Through the centuries, Jesus and Mary have played significant roles in Sufi thought and poetry.
The hermitage of Jesus
Is the Sufiâ€™s table spread
Take heed, O sick one,
Never forsake this doorway.
Fariduddin Attar praises the Spirit of God:
When God shadowed grace on the breath of Jesus
The world was filled with passion.
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam.