Islam, the world and us

Tuesday 12 May 2009 6:54 AM

A record of interview with Barnabas Fund's Dr Patrick Sookhdeo in the April issue of Australian Presbyterian is one of the more helpful things I've read in a while for an understanding of Islam and Muslims, both from a western cultural point of view generally, and from a Christian point of view in particular. The most significant insights for me centre around Islam's understanding of the world, the future and its place in both. Muslims are taught that every nation belongs in effect to them. ("Islam teaches that all lands belong to Allah, who has given them to the Muslims.") When coupled with a historical perspective on the theology of Jihad, violent conquest of other nations can be seen as legitimate. (Jihad may have a core meaning of simply 'striving' for a righteous life, but in the context of the development of Mohammed's understanding of his destiny violence came to have a place in the quest.) So in terms of human endeavour, one worthy priority is encouraging the branch of contemporary Islamic scholarship concerned with the place of war in Islamic theology.

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