Christians, Muslims & Jesus by Mona Siddiqui: review

Sameer Rahim applauds a stimulating dialogue between great faiths.

 

Despite that in some parts of the world you find violent conflict between Christians and Muslims, the Muslim theologian Mona Siddiqui touches on a central doctrinal difference between the two largest monotheisms: the true nature of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

When Mohammed announced his new religion in the early seventh century, he claimed to be walking the same path as Old Testament prophets such as Abraham, Moses – and Jesus. The Koran relates that Jesus was born to a virgin called Mary, preached God’s word, gathered disciples and performed miracles. He was condemned to death by crucifixion, the Koran says, but was saved through divine intervention and ascended to heaven without dying. Jesus will return to Earth, according to Islamic tradition as the Messiah.

 

The crucial difference from the Christian narrative is that for Muslims, Jesus is emphatically not the Son of God.

 

Siddiqui raises the point that Islam might well have preserved aspects of theologically unorthodox Christianity. In Siddiqui’s final chapter she bravely questions what the crucifixion might mean to a Muslim.