Today begins Ramadan for Muslims. Emmanuel Pisani, Dominican, teacher at the Catholic Institute of Paris, a specialist in Islam, answers questions from Sophie de Villeneuve. Sophie de Villeneuve: A surfer to believe.com asks if the God of Islam resembles that of Christians.
EP: Both Christians and Muslims believe in one God. A priori, it is indeed the same God. But is the knowledge we have of it the same? That’s the real question. For Christians, no one has ever seen God. But Jesus Christ revealed it to us. In Islam, God says something about him, but we know him not by Jesus Christ, but by the Qur’an, and especially by divine names. God is the Almighty, the Merciful, the Omnipotent, the King, etc. God has 99 names. He also has attributes, given in the Qur’an, that make it possible to approach God, to have knowledge of it. From the outset, we therefore have different theologies. In Christianity, God reveals himself by his Son, by the Word incarnate, in Islam he reveals himself by names inscribed in the Koran.
These names given to God by the Koran, could they not also apply to the God of Christians?
EP: Yes, and besides the Bible also gives names to God. But while St. John writes that God is Love, this word love does not appear in the names that the Koran gives to God. For Christians, God is Father , Abba, and we have a relationship of filiation with him. This word father does not appear either among the divine names of the Koran. Finally, while some names may be common, they do not necessarily have the same theological meaning. Muslims call on a merciful God, who has mercy, and for us also God is merciful. But the Arabic words rahman and rahim mean rather the benevolence of God, who gives his benefits to all men, to all of humanity. As in the Bible, the sun rises for all men, the righteous and the wicked.
Does it seem that the God of Christians is closer to men than the God of Islam?
EP: In Christianity, God wants to be known. He is love. When we love a person, we want to live with her. God loves us and wants to live with us. He is made flesh to dwell among us, so that his creature whom he loves may remain with him. The Qur’an does not say that God is love, even if God manifests love for man. In Christianity, God loves the first. He loves us even before we love him. The Qur’an speaks five times about the love of God. This love is a reward for the love that man shows him. A verse from the Qur’an might suggest that God loves first, but he is a minor in the Muslim tradition on the issue of love.
When Christians discover Muslim prayer , in interreligious dialogue or living in Muslim countries, they often say that they are discovering another way of speaking to God and honoring God.
EP: I believe that discovering other religions can upset our. Our tradition sometimes runs out of steam in everyday life. The meeting of another tradition can bring surprise, and allow us to rediscover and reclaim the richness of our own tradition. Personally, it was while studying Islam that I rediscovered the flavor of my own religious tradition and the gospels that I have known since my childhood, but whose singularity I no longer saw. It was while studying the Muslim tradition that I discovered as backward the singularity and power of my tradition.
In the Christian tradition, we speak of a Trinitarian God, which astonishes many Muslims who say that we have three gods …
EP: Indeed, it is a great challenge for Christians to explain the unity of a God who is three people . Theological language makes it possible to account for it, but it is difficult. The fathers of the Church had rather recourse to images, like that of the sun: there is the star, which is the Father, the source, the principle, then the ray of light that springs, which is the Son, and the warmth and light that comforts hearts , the Spirit. All this is the sun, with a phenomenon of procession. The Trinity is a relationship.
This does not exist in Islam.
EP: The God of Islam is indeed a strict monotheism, which is not relational. In the love of the God of Christians, otherness, relationship, is very important. It is because God is love that He is Trinitarian. Here the good news for the Christian people is Good Friday 2018 is coming on next 30th march 2018. You may visit Good Friday Morning to download the latest Good Friday Images from Google. Visit and Enjoy Good Friday 2018.