When you find an idea that lives in a Qur’anic verse, in a Gospel verse, and in verses from ancient Jewish Prophets, spiraling through the past centuries and representing a timeless and cultureless truth, you have touched where God has been trying to teach us something. In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, English, from age to age, culture to culture, religion to religion, the ideas weave into patterns that transcend us all. So many Prophets for so many peoples. If you take the collection of these threads of truth and play them like a harp, the resounding song should be immediately familiar and instantly resonating with the part of our hearts that most know God. They should be like a tuning fork, bringing us back into harmony with something lasting, something eternal, something meaningful, in a fleeting, dying, shallow world.
This work steps outside of boxes. It is not fully this nor that. It partakes of what is the most cherished by those who only consider ideas from within their own boxes, but it is not limited to any one box. It is not JUST Gospels. It is not JUST Qur’an. It shakes the Fundamentalist comfort zone of accepted, of “us vs. them”, of inspired vs. delusional. Two religions that have been crusading and distrustful, labeling and misrepresenting for 1400 years are silently contrasted with two Prophets who would (and probably have) embrace in resonance in spiritual loves and understandings and concepts and outlook and resolutions and identifications.
Can anyone fully plug in? Can a human channel God? From Moses on the mountain top to Jesus exploring his Sonship to Muhammad communing with the Archangel Gabriel, we could go on to include every mystic, every prophet, every spiritually inclined person who ever had a moment of insight and reflection. How can this elusive God speak to us and through us? We are limited by words, by ideas, by religions, by our own blind faiths and dogmatic assertions. And yet, God gets through, in various ages, in various cultures, in various languages. Or perhaps rather some of us, some real and actual people, manage to find a way to directly connect to God and to share that experience with their generation. Preserved and translated, interpreted and misunderstood, compared and categorized, the ideas of the direct connect to God have become the sacred scriptures, the milestones in humanity’s quest for understanding God.
Walls and Bridges
Thomas Ragland 2011 / 1432, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America, Earth
What if Jesus was guided by the Holy Spirit to go off on vision quests in the mountains where he was given access to reading from a sacred scroll descended from heaven? From the words of this sacred scroll he returned to the villages to teach his Gospel.
I was raised Southern Baptist Christian with a King James Bible in hand. Recently, I visited an Islamic center and was given a free copy of the Qur'an, which I read and noted where the thoughts presented related to something Jesus taught. This site is the result of my notes.
I’d like to encourage Christians to read the Qur’an and keep these resonances in mind. I’d like to encourage Muslims to read the Gospels and keep these resonances in mind. Muhammad and Jesus are not on opposing teams. They represent the same side of the division between the narrow way that leads to life and the broad way that leads to destruction. Their teachings resonate in an eternal truth that is transcending of cultures and ages.
It has been said that Muhammad did not know how to read, that the Qur’an was received from Gabriel and he had to recite the words to someone who was literate and could write down the words. From the degree of resonance that we can see with the Gospels, it must be the case that Muhammad had listened to and memorized the words of Jesus, or, failing that possibility, Gabriel himself taught Muhammad the same ideas that inspired the teachings of Jesus six hundred years before. Either way, the great Prophet Muhammad was very open to and inspired by Jesus, called Isa in Islamic tradition. For centuries to come, in spite of the persecutions by Christian crusaders, Isa held a place of respect in Islamic literature. 1400 years later, the Christian and Islamic worlds could not be any further apart. It is a rare Christian that reads the Qur’an. Christian Bibles are smuggled into Islamic countries and secretly studied only by those who have turned their backs on the Islamic faith. Such a wall of ignorance, of misunderstanding, of cultural and spiritual xenophobia, has divided Jesus and Muhammad into two separate camps. Here is an attempt to build a paper bridge between two of the most amazing humans who ever lived and touched the essence of God in unique ways. What do Christ and the Prophet have in common? Much more than most think.
Apart from the
paper bridge there are dogmatic assertions that will forever divide
Christianity and Islam. While this work
does not address the apologetics for these issues, it does openly and honestly
include the Qur’an verses dealing with the significance of Jesus being the
asserts that Jesus is uniquely “God the Son” that incarnated as a human, but
was no normal human. Christianity is
centered around the concept of the blood atonement of the execution of Jesus
and bases its version of “resurrection” around the belief that Jesus arose from
the dead after he was executed.
Christianity is based on the “Epistles of Paul” and the doctrines of the
Church fathers and councils and creeds more so than the teachings of Jesus in
Islam asserts that Muhammad attained a direct connection to be inspired by God, and that part of his inspiration was focused upon the ministry of Christ. One entire surah of the Qur’an is devoted to Mary the mother of Jesus. With all due respect, Muhammad could not accept that Jesus was uniquely “God the Son” in the way that Christianity proposed, as Hercules was the son of Zeus. His God was not in a pantheon of deities with a goddess spouse and god offspring. His God was One and undivided, the Father of Jesus no more than the Father of us all. His God was merciful and forgiving, but calculating and just, thus not able to be bribed into forgiveness by bloodshed. The Christian concept of the bloodshed of Christ as atonement for sin is rejected as being a perversion introduced by the Mysteries. The crucifixion of Jesus was thought to somehow have never taken place while people were tricked into believing in it as an event. Resurrection is a promise, not requiring Jesus arising from the dead as a proof of God’s power to perpetuate life.
Muhammad is said to have been carried away to heaven by Gabriel, detouring through Jerusalem to touch the spot from which Jesus had ascended some 600 years before.
You can see the threads if your heart is open to them.
You can deny the threads if your heart is shut to them.
"Shut hearts" have caused much violence and fear and misunderstanding.
What may "open hearts" cause?
Gabriel doesn’t think in Arabic. Gabriel doesn’t think in Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek. Gabriel doesn’t think in English. The threads are of thoughts that are of their very nature not able to be fully appreciated by language, by mythos, by tradition, by culture. When two people touch the same inspiration from different centuries, different languages, different cultures, the words will come out different for the same threads of thought. To discern the patterns, the resonance, the core thread of thought, requires a gift from God, a gift of discernment, of inspiration, of awakening. This I wish on each reader.
Find where Jesus ever was recorded to have spoken the words:
Don’t sing praises to God; sing praises to Jesus instead.
Don’t pray to God; pray to Jesus instead.
Don’t trust in God; trust in Jesus instead.
Don’t worship God; worship Jesus instead.
In the Gospels in the New Testament canon, in the Gnostic gospels, in the Apocrypha texts, in any obscure reference to anything Jesus ever was reported to have actually said, you cannot quote where Jesus said he wanted to be praised or prayed to or trusted in or worshipped in place of God.
God was too global, too kosmic a force, too inclusive of Jews and Muslims and even Pagan spiritual authorities. The Catholic Church wanted to control the contact with God. Thus the focus was diverted to “Jesus Christ” and “Jesus Christ” was defined and controlled by the dogmatic assertions and sacraments of the bishop driven priesthood. It did not matter if Jesus was not known to have instructed for his elevation to the status of one third of God and to be worshipped accordingly. “Paul” and the church fathers were given revelations to the true nature of “Christ” and thus the Church was right in adopting its Christology that made the religion of Christianity based upon the singing of praises to Jesus and Mary, the praying to Jesus and Mary, the trusting in Jesus and Mary, and the worshipping of Jesus and Mary. It may as well have been Horus and his mother Isis. The Pagan idea of a Divine Son took over the legends of Jesus to the point where his “calling God his Father” turned into “he was the only begotten Son of the Father” and his preaching of a spiritual mystical union with the Father became a dogmatic assertion that “only Jesus” had and could attain a sonship to the degree of being a unique aspect of God, one of the Trinity that made up God. It took centuries after Jesus for the Church to formalize the doctrine of Trinity and force the consideration of the purpose and gospel of Jesus to be considered within the lens of this dogmatic assertion.
In the Middle East, there is a wall in place, to keep the Christian missionaries in check so they don’t slander the Qur’an and Islam in their quest for converting Muslims to Christianity. This wall keeps Muslims studying the Qur’an and Christians studying the Bible and rarely ever the other way around. Most Christian missionaries have never seriously studied the Qur’an, they only repeat propaganda they have been indoctrinated into. Most Muslims have never seriously studied the Bible, they only understand the few references that are mentioned in the Qur’an. In the West it is different. Islam is a foreigner in the Christian world, or in the world that claims to follow Christ. To build a bridge gives access to those on both sides of the wall to explore, to contemplate resonance, to consider what the similarities mean. It empowers Muslims to explain to Christians exactly what they accept and do not accept about Christianity. It also empowers Christians to explain to Muslims exactly what they accept and do not accept about Islam, along with an important exercise about what is the true nature and purpose of Christ. On the other hand, it forces Muslims to rediscover what Christ means within Islamic tradition and how that relates to the Christian messages.
This site is offered as a Bridge for contemplating the values that transcend cultures and traditions and ages.
Qur'an quotes are from the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation into English, 1934
Gospel quotes are from the King James Version translation into English, 1607
Gospel of Thomas quotes are from the Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer translation into English, 1959
Infancy Gospel of Thomas quotes are from the James translation into English.
The Letter of Peter to Philip quotes are from the Wisse translation into English.
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth quotes are from the Bullard and Gibbons translation into English.
The Apocryphon of James quotes are from the Williams translation into English.
Notes for Christians:
Allah is the Arabic name for God. It equates to the English use of Jehovah (Yahweh).
Islam is the Arabic word for submission, as in submission to the will of God. It equates to the English use of devotee.
AL HASHR 59.1 Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, let it declare the Praises and Glory of Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
QAF 50.37 Verily in this is a Message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth).
AL DHARIYAT 51.28 (When they did not eat), He conceived a fear of them. They said, "Fear not," and they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge.
AL HADID 57.27 Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors.
AL NAHL 16.102 Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims.
AL ‘ANKABUT 29.46 And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
LUQMAN 31.13 Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: "O my son! join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing."
AL QALAM 68.52 But it is nothing less than a Message to all the worlds.
AL FATH 48.28 It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness.
AL HUJURAT 49.2 O ye who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not.
MUHAMMAD 47.24 Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur’an, or are their hearts locked up by them?
AL DUKHAN 44.58 Verily, We have made this (Qur’an) easy, in thy tongue, in order that they may give heed.
TA HA 20.2 We have not sent down the Qur’an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress,
TA HA 20.3 But only as an admonition to those who fear (Allah),-
TA HA 20.4 A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the heavens on high.
AL SHURA 42.13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
Muhammad believed his vision of the Oneness of God to be the Ultimate Religion to end all relgions, the Arrived at Truth to end all discussions and speculations, the Direct Connect from the Source Revelation of the Message that God wishes to convey to humanity as a whole. His Recitation of the Gems of his Inspiration (the Qur’an) is sent out as a light beacon in a dark world, a call to awakening and acknowledging the Oneness of God to the exclusion of all other clung to religious substitutions and philosophical untruths and inherited traditions and delusional expectations should they get in the way of the Oneness of God being directly revealed through the Prophet through the Recitation of the Gems of his Inspiration (the Qur’an in the case of Prophet Muhammad) through to the hearts of all peoples and ages of humanity. Muhammad imagined the lost Gospel of Jesus, what Jesus represented and stood for before Christianity as an Organized Religious Institution changed the Gospel of Jesus into something which better suited their traditions and superstitions and myths. Muhammad considered this imagined glorified Gospel of Jesus to be of the same religion that inspired the Qur’an. This is an important point. Like the way that Christianity has the New Testament of early Christian texts appended to the Old Testament of early Jewish texts, so too could we imagine Muhammad liking to append his Qur’an to this imagined Gospel of Jesus. The only problem was that he didn’t look at the presentation of Jesus in the Christian New Testament as being faithful to his imagined original Gospel of Jesus. Like modern “Gnostic” scholars trying to recapture the “original Jesus” from discovering ancient Christian texts that were excluded from the New Testament of the Christian Bible, so too Muhammad’s view of Jesus was more like with the “Jesus” of the Gnostics. The Islamic Sufi tradition about Jesus (Isa in Arabic) paints a Jesus that speaks more like the Jesus of the Gnostic texts than the Jesus of the edited to fit gospels in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Thus one thing we have in what Muhammad shares in his Qur’an is the quest for finding a real Jesus after stripping off all of the politics and adaptations to the language of myth and voted upon councils and insisted upon creeds. For what Muhammad imagined the authentic Gospel of this Jesus must have been like places it with a great deal of respect for Jesus as a Channel of a similar Direct Experience Encounter with a legitimate flow of inspirations for humanity to instruct them how to contact the Oneness of God for themselves. Is there a core to the Jesus traditions that could be collected and approximate the Gospel of Jesus that Muhammad envisioned?
AL NAHL 16.40 For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, "Be", and it is.
MARYAM 19.19 He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.
Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
Daniel 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
Luke 1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To perceive spiritual truths, divine connections, prophetic visions, higher spiritual thoughts is followed by the need to convey and express, to teach in words what is beyond words, to preserve in symbols and parables the essence which may then be extracted by those who are following the same path. Muhammad realized that what he was tapping into, what Gabriel was sharing with him, was a territory that had been touched upon before him by prophets of many groups of people, some of which were accepted and their words and deeds preserved, while many of which were rejected and their memories forgotten. He looked back to Abraham, to Lot, to Moses, to David, to Mary, to Jesus, as people who had tapped into the same direct experiences with God that he was experiencing. The traditions surrounding these inspirational visionaries failed to capture what could not be properly conveyed. In his view the Torah failed to capture the real meaning of the encounter of God experienced by Moses. It represented the attempts of the Jews to retain what they could of his memory and myth. Likewise in his view the Gospel failed to capture the real heart of the oneness with God experienced by Jesus. It represented the attempts of the Christians to preserve what they could of his tradition and myth. What Muhammad saw in the traditions that came before him was resonance in these people who had connected with his God, a resonance of truth that transcends cultures and languages and ages. He imagined, he knew, that God would not fail to attempt to inspire prophets from every people, from every age. Thus he continued his revelations from the Archangel Gabriel and presented them in the context of his Arabic language and in the realities of the violent and political struggles of his tribe.
The premise of this book is that the same Archangel Gabriel that announced the birth of Jesus to Mary and inspired Muhammad with the Qur’an was continuously with Jesus throughout his ministry. The inspirations of Gabriel will be extracted from the Qur’an and resonated with the teachings of Jesus as preserved in the Gospels.
So to express the proposal, create a play in your mind where the central character is Jesus. Have Jesus encounter people, have a question in mind, go on a vision quest in the mountain, learn from Gabriel, return with a teaching. Make the progression sequential, dealing with how he thinks about himself as prophet, as messiah, as son of God, and how others think about him. What do you think Muhammad thought that Jesus thought? Remember, in his mind they had the same religion. For Muhammad, Jesus was most definitely Islamic.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
The Qur’an is a mirror. It reflects back to you what is in your heart. That most Westerners think of Islam as being only a promoter of violence represents the case in point that the violent see violence, the artistic see the artistic, the philosophers see the philosophy, the manipulators see the manipulation, the charitable souls see the charity.
So, what to call this study? What is the real subject of the discussion here? Jesus. A man possessed. Gabriel is the Anointing, the Holy Spirit, the Connection. Jesus said his words were not his own, but the Father was speaking through him, the Holy Spirit guiding what he said. He taught his disciples to channel the same Source that he had found. This is the same Gabriel that inspired Muhammad to recite his famous Qur’an.
There is nothing to convert to or from. The religion of Jesus IS the religion of Muhammad, submission (Islam) to God. So there is no fear of being preached to with the expectation that anyone is saved from something or converted into something. This may serve to open up the words for consideration from what we may guess to represent the Gospel of Jesus alongside consideration from what represents in translation the thoughts of the Qur’an of Muhammad.
In order to perform this experiment we have to take things a bit out of sequence and out of context, pulls bits and pieces of Gospel and Qur’an as they relate in our minds. I think the big question for lots of us is who exactly is or was Jesus? We let the Jesus of the collected Christian texts deal with the ideas and his own role and life. What it means to be “son” of God, exclusiveness of David, of Abraham, heaven and hell, atonement and forgiveness, all arranged and collected for our collective consideration. May the resulting resonances of truths lay a foundation upon which the future may build bridges between the lovers of Islamic tradition and the lovers of Christian tradition.
To again sum up the presentation of Jesus in the Qur’an by Muhammad: What Jesus defined as his Religion, who Jesus served as the One True God, who Jesus channeled to become the Messenger for the Truth as presented to the people of the world at the time he lived in is a PRECURSOR to the Religion of Muhammad. The God is the same; the connection is the same and the Truth is ageless and transcends peoples and generations. This Truth is what some of the Jesus tradition calls the Word of God. The Word flowing through Muhammad becomes the Qur’an. The same Word flowing through Jesus becomes the Gospel, the idealized original uncorrupted Gospel.
The Oneness of
“Worship What Is
alone and call no man your spiritual father,”
tradition has Jesus as being lord.
The Oneness with
Muhammad understood one important realization—God does not have a son like the stories of Hercules being the son of Zeus. God is not one of a pantheon of gods and goddesses, with a god wife and god kids.
That being said, Jesus had proclaimed himself to be Son of God. Muhammad didn’t see Jesus as a false prophet or misguided or less than plugged into the understanding of God for this proclamation. Jesus was known by Muhammad to be the great Christ sent to the Jewish people, an important Prophet who proclaimed the unity of God, the specialness of God, the encompassing of God, and the power of God. And yet—still in some regard Jesus had called himself Son of God.
Jesus saw that he could not fully give because the world was not ready to receive. He could not fully explain for there was no one to understand. Knowing God would not leave his work undone, he knew those who would follow him would do great works, channel greater insights—for all along his words were not his own, but the Father spoke through him. This same Holy Spirit can speak through others to come. He looked into the future and saw a Paraclete, a Messenger who would explainwhat he was trying to convey, correct the world for its wrong understandings and bring the truth to greater light. Mani claimed to be this Paraclete Prophet. Muhammad claimed to be this Paraclete Prophet. The Holy Spirit is never silenced and will reveal to each new generation, each new culture, the amount of Light they can handle.
SABA 34.26 Say: "Our Lord will gather us together and will in the end decide the matter between us (and you) in truth and justice: and He is the one to decide, the One Who knows all."
Apocryphon of James 10.22--11.6 [The Lord answered and said,] "Behold, I shall depart from you and go away, and do not wish to remain with you any longer, just as your yourselves have not wished it. Now, therefore, follow me quickly. This is why I say unto you, ‘For your sakes I came down.’ You are the beloved; you are they who will be the cause of life in many. Invoke the Father, implore God often, and he will give to you. Blessed is he who has seen you with Him when He was proclaimed among the angels, and glorified among the saints; yours is life. Rejoice, and be glad, as sons of God. Keep his will, that you may be saved; accept reproof from me and save yourselves. I intercede on your behalf with the Father, and he will forgive you much."
AL NAJM 53.10 So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant- (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.