By Adil James, MMNS
Warren–October 24–Jesusâ€™ being Muslim is a foundational belief of Islam, but not for Christians. All of the prophets were teachers of the one true religion, although each taught different aspects of it. But for Christians to think that Jesus (as) is Muslim is a very radical idea.
So true is this that the author and professor Robert F. Shedinger faced, predictably, some opposition when he published his book with the name Was Jesus a Muslim.
The author spoke about his book this past Saturday at the IONA mosque in Warren.
The essence of Mr. Shedingerâ€™s argument is that Islam is not a religion but rather a system of pursuing social justice. He argued that actually the reason non-Muslims call it a religion is in order to classify it in a way that has no relevance to social justice–in order to exclude religious people from involvement in controversies in the public square.
The underlying purpose of Western attempts to classify Islam as a religion, he argues, is to subvert the religious organizing principle and preempt a religious backlash against attempts to dominate or colonize a culture.
In fact, while it may sound offensive to think that Islam is not a religion, the professor couched this argument in very complimentary terms, arguing that in fact the idea of a religion being just a religion is a particularly Western concept that would have been foreign even to early Christians, let alone to the other peoples of the world and the other religions of the world.
Perhaps another way to state this argument would be to say that Islam is a complete system of life, not just a devotional practice restricted to certain days.
In accordance with his argument that Islam is not a religion, he argues that Christianity is also analogously not a religion, and he argues that Jesus (as) was in a sense a revolutionary and politically dynamic person, therefore not â€œjustâ€ a religious figure.
Shedinger argues that diverse Muslim scholars such as Iranâ€™s Ayatollah Khomeini and South Africaâ€™s Fareed Ishaq have argued along similar lines that Islam should not be separated from social justice. Shedinger quoted Tariq Ramadan also and his frequent calls to political justice of various sorts.
A different view might be that Islam is a religion the practice of which should be divorced from politics, except that it is a complete religion with implications in every avenue of life, including leadership. Beyond this, Jesus (as) was actually Muslim in submission to Godâ€™s will, who will be Muslim when he returns.