Reconsidering the Prophet ﷺ – Christian Possibilities
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. Welcome and thank you all for joining us today for the final program of that Abele Ll series for the love of the Prophet sallallahu idea he was setting them. In this seven part series, we have hosted conversations with scholars in commemoration of the life of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. For today's session, we are honored to have Dr. Anna Moreland in conversation with President Hamza Yusuf. President Hamza. Yusuf promotes classical learning in Islam and emphasizes the importance of the tools of learning central to Muslim civilization and known in the West as the liberal arts. He is
currently president of zaytuna College and has published numerous articles, essays, Encyclopedia entries, and translations, including their prayer of the oppressed and purification of the heart. Please welcome President Hamza Yusuf.
Rahim Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah is upon you. First of all, I want to thank all of you for joining us in this final session, celebrating the prophets allies in this month for the world, which in Arabic means the first spring.
I were really, I think, fortunate to be joined today with a very serious scholar, theologian and academic at Villanova University. I first came to know of Dr. Anna onto Moreland, at the Dominican college where she was inducted their fellow in in the college, which is a really a sister College of zaytuna College up here on what we call in Berkeley, the holy hill, because of the many
religious colleges that are on the hill.
Dr. Anne morlan, gave a talk that day and I was really, really impressed with her talk. And I wanted to
just I I introduced myself afterwards and and was very interested in her work. I did not know at the time that she'd actually written a book about the Prophet Muhammad, and how Christians should understand the Prophet Mohammed, which I subsequently read, and really, really enjoyed and benefited a great deal from it. So she is the associate professor of theology in the department of humanities at Villanova University, one of the great Catholic colleges in the United States. She has been a professor since 2006. She regularly teaches an introductory course in theology, as well as courses on inter religious dialogue, especially between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. So within the
Abrahamic traditions, her research has focused on comparative theology between Christianity and Islam, drawing upon the work of St. Thomas Aquinas, and she is the author of the book that we're going to, among other things discussed tonight, which is entitled Muhammad reconsidered a Christian perspective on Islamic prophecy. So, Dr. more than welcome and really, thank you for giving us your time tonight.
Thank you, Dr. Youssef. I'm delighted to be here with you this evening. Zoom is a wonderful thing. It's very interesting. The Paul Simon said, these are the days of miracles and wonders, this is the long distance call. So you know, this book is a it's a, it's just despite the brevity of the book. It's just slightly over 130 pages. It's actually a very dense book. And I am used to reading dense books, but there's a very subtle art argument that you're putting forward. And it's obviously an incredibly complicated topic, because we have 1400 years of Christian Muslim engagement, sometimes violent, as in the crusades, and also the Muslim assaults on places like France and, and Vienna, but
also other times, like during the period of the conviviality that occurred in Spain. And also a lot of people aren't aware of the extraordinary experiences during the Crusader occupation of Palestine where there was actually a lot of Muslim Christian interaction. And then there's also another Eastern Christian story, which is told by Dr. Penn from Stanford in a couple of really extraordinary books. I don't know if you're familiar with them. But what I'd like to to really ask you as a as an opening question is what what compelled you to to work in this area?
Given the vast area of Catholic theology that I'm sure you've been engaged in for a large part of your life.
Great, well, that's an important question. And it's, it's going to be tempting for me to take up the whole half hour to tell you what led me to writing this book. Because I'm a Catholic theologian. I am. I'm not a scholar of the Quran. I was not trained even in comparative theology. But 15 years ago, I began teaching at Villanova University. And I taught a course on Aquinas center, and my manatees as sort of medieval model for inter religious dialogue. And the second time, the second iteration of that course, I decided that it was a really an not a very successful course for undergraduates for 18 to 22 year olds. So I kind of zoomed out and started teaching about the birth
in early development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And over the course of 15 years of teaching that course, theological and philosophical questions started to bubble up to the surface. It's an historically driven course.
So I began to write, you know, to try to answer questions for myself, basically, that were sort of peddle a pedagogical, methodological, and also just personal to me, right, I had begun to teach the Quran in a Catholic University context. And I wanted to understand what I was doing. I wanted to be sure that what I was doing was faithful to my own religious tradition, because I do believe in the universal significance of Jesus Christ, right. So how can I teach these different traditions, Islam and Judaism in a way that that teach it that respects the fact that they're living traditions, and that these texts are sacred for people, you know, I didn't want to take a sociology, sociology of
religion, perspective. And at the same time, I began to be involved in the scriptural reasoning movement. I don't know if you're familiar with that movement, but Jews, Christians, and Muslims coming together, reading the New Testament, the Hebrew scriptures in the Quran around a particular theme, and not having to sort of represent your own tradition, but coming to the texts to these three different sacred texts, with vulnerability and with openness with one a set of new friends. And so that personal practice or religious practice also began to shape me. And I went back to my own tradition to ask the question, if I am bigger, if I'm encountering the Quran as a sacred text,
am I becoming a Muslim? Those are pretty personal question for me, right? And how do I teach this text in a Catholic University context? So I went back and, and found resources deep within my own tradition, that helped me answer that question. And I found
the question that I that sort of frames the book is what can Catholics make of the prophecy of Muhammad. And so I marry documents from Vatican two, which is a meeting of 2500 bishops from 1963 to 1965. Marry what those documents said about the kind of groundbreaking claims that Catholics made in the early 60s, about the overlapping web of beliefs between Catholics and Muslims marry that to then a recovery of Thomas Aquinas on prophecy, a medieval account of medieval Christian account of our prophecy means in order to answer this question of what sort of, I build a theoretical openness for the possibility that Muhammad could be a prophet for Christians? So it's a pretty traditional
argument, I use very traditional Catholic sources. And yet I end up at a place that's not at all traditional, if that makes sense. No, it makes perfect sense. And I think that's what fascinated me most, because I think you highlight some of the other attempts at doing this from some of the Protestant and even Catholic cons. Kuhn is a good example of somebody. And I've actually read him on Islam and found it very fascinating. But I think what you did is is very similar to one of my teachers have evolved in beja, who argues that the tradition because of its richness, we can always find the answers for present conditions within the matrix of the tradition. We don't have to be
modernist in that way. But we have to look at it with really, in a sense with new eyes at the tradition, so that we can see things that maybe they didn't even see it themselves, despite the fact they were articulating arguments that that can be drawn out like you did in this book, just for our Muslim listeners here I want to quote and then you can maybe talk a little bit about this because a lot of Muslims aren't aware of like, no
straw Tata and, and some of the the the radical change is really that the Vatican two initiated from the traditional no salvation outside of the church approach of the the pre modern church but so the the no straw take a firm's about Muslims they worship the One God living in subsistent merciful and Almighty Creator of heaven and earth who has spoken to humanity and to his decrees, even the hidden ones they seek to submit themselves wholeheartedly, just as Abraham peace be upon him to whom the Islamic faith readily relate itself submitted to God. They venerate Jesus peace be upon him as a prophet, even though they did not acknowledge do not acknowledge Him as God, and they honor his
Virgin Mother Mary, and even sometimes devoutly call upon her. Furthermore, they await the day of judgment when God will require all people brought back to life hence, they have regard for the moral life and worship God, especially in prayer almsgiving and fasting. That's a pretty bold statement, I think, from the church, especially at the time, but there have been critiques of that, and maybe you could address that a little bit. Yes. So there are definitely critiques of both nostra Tata and lemon Johnson, which is a companion document on the ground group breaking claims that Catholics made about Muslims, but the two
words that do not occur in those documents are Muhammad and the Quran. And so it's pretty astonishing that the church, the Catholic Church, were to say these, these two proclaim these overlapping web of beliefs. You know, there are six
attributes, for example, that Catholics and Muslims share, we adore the One God together them and Jensen says,
and to say that all those really kind of radical we share some pretty radical claims, religious claims, the true traditions, and yet to be completely silent on the founder of Islam, to be completely silent on the document that that this revealed by God to Muslims, right.
I will give the the bishops in the early 60s, a little bit of slack, they were operating from a hermeneutic, of of consent, right, so that the bishops did were very careful about the language that they use, they didn't want to put in language that they couldn't get a majority vote. Those each word in that doc in that section that you collection that you read, was discussed at length, and argued over at length. So I guess, I will admit that it was a compromise document of sorts, right? Well, I, I and I understand that process, because I actually was involved in some of the Catholic Muslim dialogues at the Vatican. And I was on a committee where we had to come up with a joint
statement, right, that involved theology, and it was just very interesting back and forth thing between their theologians, most of them from Germany. And, and, and the Muslims that were on the committee as well. So it was very interesting.
One of the things that, I think is, is is fascinating to me. And, and, and I want to just ask you, I don't know how familiar you are, with some of the work that's been done. Most of it is actually surprisingly, was done some time ago. But there's a very interesting, Reverend Robert Hammond, who wrote a book called the philosophy of farabi. And its influence on medieval theology. And he goes into great detail and shows literally side by side
passages from the soma and, and then passages that were written 300 years before from Al farabi. That are almost identical and his argument and he was a Christian priest, but his argument was, well, I'll just quote what he says about his book that my efforts will have been amply rewarded if this book enables the reader to find through its pages two facts. First, that Al farabi was well acquainted with Greek philosophy. So well acquainted, in fact that he was able through diligent study to perfect some of its old theories, and work out new ones. Second, that the schoolmen Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas and others, borrowed from him a great amount of material,
which hitherto has been regarded by many as a product of their speculation. While in reality, it is not injustice to Al farabi and other Arabian thinkers. We should candidly admit that Christian philosophy owes a great deal today.
them. And I think, to buttress your argument, I it has to be fascinating to people that are fair
to see the influence that avocent have had that have always had that on farabi had even on bizarrely on some of the most foundational texts of Catholic theology. And and I just, I can't imagine how one can't see. And you quote the verse more than once in the, in the book by their fruits, you shall know them. And these are certainly the fruits of Islamic civilization, that I think we're we're at and digested by some of the great school men of the Catholic tradition.
1,000% 1,000%, even the translations of some of Aristotle's works into the Latin world, of course, came to the Arabic Right, so the cross pollenization of these traditions is has been true for centuries, no doubt about it. And I and I think, arguably, also there in the early period, there was a serious influence of Christian tradition, mainly from the Syriac scholars, some of the great Syriac scholars of that of that time that were translating the great Hellenistic works into Arabic, that had a massive influence. And I think an influence that many, many Muslims are unaware of.
They, we tend to see Islam as the Quran and the Sunnah. And yet there is a vast tradition. And what what fascinates me and I think what what's important about your work is that you're,
I think, you're really bringing the next stage of a serious engagement. And, and, and I think that, for me, the Catholic Church, when we get in at the metaphysical level, when we get into the Catholic tradition, and the Islamic tradition, the dovetailing that starts happening, and we see this, our students see this because they read Aquinas, with our metaphysicians. And, and they're just, they're flabbergasted. And we've had two graduates that have gone to Catholic,
ed training. So one went to the Dominican college and actually gave the commencement speech there when you graduated.
And and we have another one who's studying in Belgium at a Catholic college, studying metaphysics. And so for me, I find it very tragic that there's not more interaction and understanding, especially amongst the Catholic lay people. And obviously, there there there's historical reasons for that. There's also I think, a fear and you address this towards the end of the book were to, for us to stay true. Within our our respective circles of of commitment. That's right there, the Venn diagram becomes very difficult. That's right. Yeah, the overlapping. That's right, I would add another element that I talked about in chapter one, which is that, I think tragically so much in a religious
encounter gets mediated through the secular West, such that those of us committed to our own religious traditions, in order to enter any kind of dialogue in a religious dialogue, we have to kind of neutralize our
heart held beliefs and universal claims. And I think that in the next stage of inter religious encounter and dialogue with there's a lot of fruit to be had with members of different religious traditions,
examine each other from the heart of one tradition to the heart of the other tradition and bypassing the secular West neutralizing program. Right. You know, I think the biggest barrier for Christianity with Islam is the time factor, because it's it's a post christian right?
declaration of Revelation, that that I think, is the greatest obstacle. I think, if had Islam been prior to Christianity, that they would have no difficulty in recognizing and hongcun. I think he admits that quite clearly in his book that he argues that it's largely prejudice that prevents us from seeing
a clearly prophetic character in in the Prophet Mohammed Salah. I sent him that that is so similar to the Old Testament prophets. So I want to just
Just look at something from a from the Jewish tradition that you're familiar with also and just see what you think about this. I have a book on Jewish theology that was written by Dr. Kay Kohler. It was actually he was the president of the Hebrew Union College, which is still in existence. And he has a chapter entitled Christianity and Mohammed ism, the daughter religions of Judaism. And in that chapter, he says that Christianity, Islam are a fulfillment of the prophetic words found in Zechariah, that state, quote, it shall come to pass on that day that the living water shall go forth from Jerusalem, half of them to the Eastern Sea, and half toward the western sea, and the Lord shall
be king over the whole earth. And then that day shall The Lord be one, and his name and his name one. So he says color about this, that the leading spirits of Judaism recognize this declaring both the Christian and Mohammedan religions to be agencies of divine providence.
These voices, these views voiced by Yehuda Halevy, my mind it is and the humanities were reiterated by many enlightened rabbis of later times. Then he says later, quote, these points out that both Christian and Mohammedan nations believe in the same God and His revelation to man in the unity of the human race, and in the future life, they have spread the knowledge of God by a Sacred Scripture, based upon our scripture, they have retained the divine commandments, essentially, as they were phrased in our Decalogue, and have practically taught men to fulfill the no hidden laws of humanity. Then he says, on account of the last fact, the medieval Jewish authorities considered Christians to
be half proslat, prasiolite, while mohammedans, being pure monotheists, we're always still closer to Judaism. And I think for me, one of the most difficult things that I find about many and us certainly are not in this category by any stretch, but one of the things that I really find troubling about so many Christians, including some Catholics, is this idea that Muslims somehow worship another god. Right. And, and, and the Jew. I mean, he's, this was traditional Jewish theology, like, even though they had, and he has his criticisms of Islam in that chapter. But they did recognize the divine agency. In the religion, I think that's an argument that you're making in
your book. But there are many Christians that truly believe that Islam is is a kind of anti christic phenomenon, that it's a force of the devil. And these are the things that I think make it most difficult, especially in America, in a in a multicultural society where you have all these different religions. And so how can we better address that on both sides on on on the Muslim side, because I think we have our offensive
proselytizers as well. So on both sides, we have a real problem of communicating and especially in a time when atheism is is on the rise and, and and organized religion is really denigrated, and and frowned upon. I mean, we saw recently with the tragic
display, what was on display in the is the senate hearings with Amy Coney Barrett, where religion is just so anathematized to use a religious term, that at a time when I think believers, especially of the Abrahamic faiths should be have a much greater understanding of one another's face. For sure, I mean, I think, unfortunately, at least in Christianity and Catholicism,
we are not raising our children with an understanding of our own faith, much less anybody else's faith. So the catechetical challenges that we face in our own communities are pretty severe.
So when one's ignorant and that's why this course I teach is so funny because students take it because they know that they're ignorant about Islam and want to learn about Islam, but they don't get that they're also ignorant about Christianity. So they end up learning a lot about Christianity, while they're, you know, taking a course that they think is really about Islam.
So I think education and what you know, the work that you're doing already, right education is a is, is an indispensable piece of this puzzle that we have to do together. And as you say, we are on the side of the angels, you know, given
the rise of secularism, those of us who believe deeply in our own, especially Abrahamic faiths
need to unite. I do think I am very persuaded by john Levinson's
Though at Harvard, right that we did, we also don't want to sort of
fall into the modernist trap of liberalism and panic religions together. Right. But I don't know, that's what you've been suggesting. But I just want to raise that as a caution. I mean, from your own book, I tend to decide with toll among amongst the arguments like I am not convinced by I mean, I like watch. I've read a lot. I like Craig
and Dell, I mean, I think they're all very sincere people. Some of them passed on, I actually bought in London in a used bookstore, Dr. watts first Arabic grammar that had his name and, and notes and everything I just by pure serendipity found in the bookstore. But I think they they were very serious in their attempts, but they did fall into a kind of Californian approach to write. Yeah, which which I think you're definitely avoiding and, and, and I certainly commend you on that. But, I mean, I would argue that,
that we, we have to recognize, you know, the differences and they are fundamental I, I I'm, I really love Dorothy Sayers. And I Oh, yeah, she's great. I'm talking about her theology, not about her
Yeah, I read a book she wrote called creed or chaos, which was a very convincing argument about, we can't reduce religion to Boy Scout ethics, right, because we could all be Mormons, if that was the case.
That that ethics is important. But I think stoic ethics is as good as, as a lot of ethics that are out there. Somebody does not have to be religious to be good, ethically, or morally, but creed matters, and, and that the fundamental creed of Christianity, Islam negates two of the most important elements of that creed, which is the Trinity, and the salvific sacrifice of Christ on the cross. And that that is an immense there's it's really an insurmountable barrier, I think. But what I would say is, and I think the Germans have done remarkable work in really recognizing that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him was, was not ignorant of Christianity, and that the Christianity
that that is addressed in the Koran is the Syriac Christianity that existed in that area. And I think the Germans have really shown that one of the Orthodox and the Catholic attitudes about that understanding of Christianity is presented in the Quran is not recognizing the Syriac Christianity that existed in the Middle East. But the other thing that I think is really important is to recognize and this is something Hans Kuhn says, and I'll just from his book, he actually quotes one of the great German scholars have
this, this period when they were looking at the origin, so schlatter, who Adolf slaughter, who wrote a book called The evolution of Jewish Christianity into Islam, and then he and Adolf von harnack before him saw Islam as the as the next phase of Jewish Christianity. So he says Hans Cohn
responding to schlatters remark, Islam is a transformation of Jewish Christianity, which would in turn the transformed version of Judaism that took place on Arabian soil at the hands of a great prophet. And he and that's literally what he says. Hans couldn't says about this, even if we could never scientifically verify a genetic connection. The traditional historical parallels are inescapable. And how can we explain why Mohammed Salah is that um, although he rejected orthodox Christology, nevertheless, always spoke sympathetically of Jesus as the great messenger indeed, as the Messiah who brought the gospel in his theology and history of Jewish Christianity Hans Jochem
schoeps, taking up the research of harnick and schlatter. And completing it the studies he goes on, says quote, though it may not be possible to establish exact proof of the connection, the indirect dependence of Mohammed Salah Islam on sectarian Jews Christianity is beyond any doubt. This leaves us with a paradox of truly world historical dimensions. The fact that while Jewish Christianity in the church came to grief, it was preserved in Islam and with regard to some of its driving impulses at least, it has lasted till our own
Time. And then Kern writes, surprisingly, Christian theologians have hitherto scarcely known of these historical insights, much less taken them seriously. This, to me is just a really important area of, you know, of research that I think these are the two areas that I'd really like to see more
Christian Muslim engagement in the understanding of the Jewish Christianity that really re emerges in the seventh century. Hence, St. St. JOHN of Damascus idea that this is really a schism, like he saw he saw it as a schism and then
and then the other is
these areas where both traditions enrich the other tradition. So where the Christians really enriched burly Muslim tradition and and continue to do so to be honest with you. I mean, I like I benefited from your work, which is written by a Christian theologian, one of my favorite writers is Joseph peeper. I've benefited immensely from his work. So I think your your challenge, which I got from this book is that Christians do have a resource in, in looking at Islam in with it with a more charitable light.
Maybe you could just have some concluding remarks about that. And then we can open up for a little, some questions and answers.
Sure, so I agree with everything you said, I hope that you weren't hoping for some disagreement, because we haven't come up with any this evening. I'm not an historian. So the sort of work the avenues that you just mentioned, would not be avenues that I would be able to, to do work, and I'm simply not equipped. But But it is true that there is there are interesting avenues to be pursued there that have been pursued.
So that's great. And I think continuing the sorts of cooperative efforts between Muslims and Christians and cooperative, scholarly efforts are really needed to move forward.
We have a question, the first question is, as a woman, scholar, a female scholar, and a theologian,
how do you see the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed traditions in relation to women?
that is a complex question that I
am not really equipped to answer, quite frankly, not being a scholar of the Quran, and particularly in particular, not having looked at studied the Quran with this particular angle.
That's fair, I will.
I will maybe just say that I missed trust a lot of modern attempts to reconstruct at reconstruction through a kind of anachronistic lens, but
but that's all I can say. Yeah. Well, how can I just maybe ask you just because I think
both our traditions, although we do, there are great scholars, female scholars, in the Islamic tradition, probably less so. But there certainly are some great mystics from from I mean, St. Teresa de avillez, one of the ones that comes to mind and Julian of Norwich, and others, I mean, some really great, but as a, as a female working in a largely male realm that's been dominated by males and male thought, do you? Do you see any? You know, is there something that a woman's perspective that can bring that can enrich theology?
I'm really allergic to those kinds of questions. Dr. Youssef? Hi, I'm, I'm glad you are but I mean, it's it's something that a lot of people do.
But I I'm fine with that. And I, I won't, I won't pursue it anymore. I mean, it just depends on who the woman is and whether the woman has valuable things to say. Right. So there's
diversity on on both of those realms. And, and I
mean, what I mean to say is, let me be clear.
I'm grateful that
that the women who have come before me in academia has
have paved the way for me to feel as comfortable as I do and is valued as I am. So I'm certainly grateful and not naive about, about the women who've come before me. And yet I
I don't want to kind of centralize the work that that I do and that other women do in the academy as being contributions from women.
I think what's most distinctive about the human person is our rational capability over I think that's, that's a perfect answer. I really appreciate that answer. And, and I and as somebody who,
you know, I recently learned that people doing citation counts of female scholars like to, to kind of shame, dissertations. Yeah. And that cyclical. The I read a criticism of fratelli tutti that just came out Pope Francis's encyclical that, you know, he might have
cited a Muslim 12 times, but he did never cited a woman. And that's a real problem. And it's like,
I went back and looked at my dissertation. And I did cite women, but I didn't cite them because they were women write them because they had exemplary scholarship. And and one of the things just a little bit of irony here.
Somebody, we did a recent event. And you know, I invited you to be a speaker at that event. And and they were very upset that we didn't have any female speakers. And it occurred to me at it ironically, that you were the first person that came to mind, but not because you are a woman. Because, because I think you're an excellent scholar. And so yeah, no, I do appreciate that. And that was a wonderful clarification. Because we're living in these times where,
you know, I see it as a kind of demonic force that is creating this gender, race, and
class warfare, which is an old trick of the devil. And so I'm 100% with the answer that you gave that, that, that we are, whether we're male or female, we are rational
creatures, and certainly in academia, it's, that's, that's the component, although I would say, I mean, I,
I have recently been reading Edith Stein's essays on women, and I found them really fascinating. So it is a it is an interesting
So if there are more similar verses in the three Semitic religions, and there's a big bond between them, then why do they act like enemies in the world?
Well, that's the million dollar question. Right? Because there's so much more. There's, you know, the the, the encounters between different religious people, the factors that go into historical the political, the sociological, the familial, the geographic.
There's so many factors that go into religious conflict. And and I will also say, I'm persuaded that
by like Bill, Calvin's work and others that
what we deem often wars of religion, are actually
political, the sort of political wars of either the rise of the nation state or there are some severe political factors that come in that meet make the sort of term wars of religion realm is a real misnomer.
That makes sense.
hear this a question to you. How do you perceive feminism in the light of Catholic faith?
I'm grateful for the feminists that came before me, like I've said, but already, who paved the way for me?
I am a Catholic first. So whatever feminist literature I am going to read and absorb, I'm going to read and absorb it as a, an observant Catholic.
So sort of my primary lens of who I am is my religious faith. And
it's, you know, it's kind of an interesting because right now in the Muslim community, historically, I think there's, there's been somewhat of an immunity to some of the negative aspects of modern feminism. And so I think a lot of Muslims right now are grappling with, is there a space for feminist thought within
The traditional Islamic and I think, and I would I would recommend, Edith Stein is a good place to start, because I think she really does have a type of feminism that's deeply rooted in tradition. And, and, and again, back to the personhood. Yeah. You know, the recognizing the imago dei
that transcends gender, right.
That's embodied and yet is fundamentally
personhood is that is at the center, not the right gender, not the gender, right.
So Dr. Moreland, not having not read your book is Muhammad's prophecy compatible with Christian theology? Well, I've been a bad moderator if I didn't get that out of you yet. But
I think I think people have to read your book, because it really is a subtle argument. And and and i think you're making a profound case for recognizing a type of prophecy. But
so my book doesn't argue for particular moments in the Quran or particular it doesn't, it doesn't go to that level, it really does a preparatory kind of groundwork for opening up
the theoretical possibility that Muhammad is the Prophet for Christians, then there's a whole process of discernment that has to come into play given particular moments of Revelation. So Christians could never adopt the Quran wholesale, for example, because incommensurate in different increments are differences that Dr. Yusuf already spoke to, right? These are the Christology and the Trinity. However, I do draw upon this funky category in the Catholic church called private revelation, where the church itself understands that post, post closing of the canon, namely post closing of the writing of the New Testament,
God continues to speak to the human race. And so we've got this category called private revelation that I think Muhammad, theoretically could fall fall into this category of God continuing to speak to God's beloved community after the closing of the cannon, but yes, it is true that that is a
in my book, you really need to read each chapter because you need all of the pieces for the argument. Yeah, yeah. Very much. So it's not a book that some some books you can read the chapter independent of others, but you're not one of them. Yeah. And and I think the, you know, the conclusion is, is it's very interesting. I mean, I would for those of people that that are well trained in Islamic theology, I think it's a, it's a very interesting read, because a lot of Muslims are not familiar with the rich Catholic tradition. And I was struck with,
with your chapter on Aquinas on on prophecy, because there were so many
aspects of, of Aquinas, his understanding of prophecy, that,
that are really found in in our tradition, as well. And the prophetic voice does not and I mean, profit, we believe profits ended with the Prophet Mohammed, but the prophetic voice there, there's a
tradition in which the prophets lysozyme said that the the, the scholars and and the AMA really means not just an academic scholar, but somebody who's deeply died in, in a spiritual tradition, that they are the inheritors of prophets. And, and so they have that portion of the prophetic voice. And we also have a really interesting tradition that says, that a true dream is is 146 of prophecy. So it's actually it's a portion of prophecy. And so in the chapter of Joseph The king has a true dream. And and and Joseph interprets that dream. So that type of access to prophecy continues on somebody asked
why aren't the monotheistic religions uniting against a theistic agenda to demonize religion? And what do you think can be done to foster more unity? I think we, we did discuss that. And part of it is things like this. I mean, I have immense regard for your work and, and and what you're trying to do. And I actually thought this book was a courageous book because I know Yeah, I know how.
And I also understand why at Vatican two, they were really
walking on eggshells, because
this is a 2000 year old tradition that,
you know that that
has has held true to these truths for 2000 years and for,
you know, to kind of move into these other realms that traditionally were seen as,
as so far divorced is very difficult. So I think in that way, I hope more people, I hope a lot of Catholics read your book. But I, yeah, I really do.
Yeah, this one is about
the Abyssinian church became separated from the western Eastern Catholic churches essentially more after the Nicene Council. It had more cooperative relations with Islamic civilization. It also touts itself for not being outside of the realm of the Catholic Church and preserves more books than the western Eastern Catholic Church, biblical texts. What would be a relationship there that Western Catholics can learn from that ancient relationship about Islam? And what can Muslims deduce or understand about Christianity from that, that that church, I don't know, have familiar with the Abyssinian church at the time, it was more of it was a I mean, I don't know if they would call
themselves manifest sides. But the the the Orthodox church called the manifest sites, they tend to use I think a term diaphysis site is the term that they prefer, but they were definitely a monetary side tradition. And they, the prophets,
Salafi, send him his companions, he said, he sent them to the Christian
lands, saying that they will not persecute you go there, there's a just Christian King, and he won't persecute you. So there were actually two migrations to the church. And, and, but it was a church that I think the Orthodox tradition is seen as it was kind of a
heretical branch, but it is, I think, an example of Muslim Christian cooperation in the past.
This one, are there any verses in the New Testament that allude to the coming of the Prophet Muhammad? I mean, most of them say there are and I think, to be fair, Christians would would generally say, No, they would interpret the famous in john about the percolator that is called the Fedak clip in Arabic,
which in Syriac, was very close to the name Muhammad,
the word for and which is why a lot of the Syriac Christians ended up converting to Islam because it's, it's like Mohammed bin,
which is for the pair of cleats. So they kind of saw that as a, as a Yeah. Just catechism 841. I mean, the Catholic Church teaches that Muslims will have salvation, on judgment day regard, regardless of believing in Jesus as God's son. I don't know 841. But I don't know, trying to. Yeah, I think the question is, is does the church still hold to the doctrine of no salvation outside of the church?
No, and I actually,
Francis Sullivan, who the Jesuit wrote a great book on the history of the development of that doctrine and
maintains really that understood appropriately, the church didn't, has never really maintained that particular position.
In its sort of degenerate form, but that's a great book, I recommend it, no, no real time to go in and in it, he into it here, but God wills all of God's people to be saved. there's a there's a one of my favorite
verses is x 34, where Peter Peter says
that, that anyone who believes in God and acts righteously, from whatever land will be acceptable by God. And I think that's a that seems to be a very
generous but also seems to be compatible with the mercy of God. So we have a tradition in one of our great theologians, Mr. Rosati, who wrote a book called face at a tough indica. And he made an argument which to me is very compelling because we tend to have the tradition of no salvation outside of Islam. I mean, there are a lot of Muslims that believe that but he made an argument that anyone who sincerely seeks the truth and and dies before finding it will be will be saved with God because they're not rejecting because the word in the Koran that's used for a disbeliever which actually means it an engraved
meet somebody who's ungrateful in its in its fundamental meaning, but it also means somebody who rejects or covers up the truth once they see it. So it's like they see the truth, but then they end up covering it up. So
Dr. Anna, thank you
for what you just said in the Catholic tradition for sure. Yeah, I would agree.
Thank you so much. I know it's late for you. And, but I really appreciate the time. I do hope your book gets a wide readership, which is what why why I read it.
Yeah. And and, and I look forward to the further collaboration with Amir Stein, because I think you're going to
be doing something for him or Stein on this, but
it's just been wonderful. Eat with you this evening. Yeah. Great. And give my best regards to because I You seem like a powerhouse. Couple. Because
I was looking at your your husband's a very,
I think very accomplished. legal scholar there at Villanova. Yeah.
Yeah. So my regards to him also. Thank you. I hope we we get to collaborate further in the future. But I would, I would love it, I would invite it. Great.
Thank you, everybody, for tuning in.
I would really request that. I want to thank really Dr. Anna Moreland. I think she's a really powerful voice. And
she gave us a really incredible talk at at the Dominican college that I was
honored to be there. And I just felt her sincerity. And I think this book really confirmed for me that she's somebody that is really one of the good people out there that's doing good work.
She, she, she said to me,
you know that she wasn't when I said, I'll call you Dr. Weil, and she said, No, no, I doctor, I don't, because I don't save bodies. And I said, well, but the theologians save souls. So it's, it's a much, much greater
to be a doctor of theology than a doctor of physiology. So anyway,
I hope everybody continues to support zaytuna. And we have a 12,000 strong program. I really hope that you'll help us with that. So on that note, may you have a blessed
remembering our beloved prophet sighs mo was born this month. And I think
we're certainly blessed to accept the prophets Elijah as our prophets, prayers and peace be upon him and upon all the prophets. And Sharla May Allah subhana wa, Allah protect all of you in this time of tribulation, keep your family safe, keep your home safe, and maybe continue to be able to spread the light of knowledge in the light of truth, wherever we are, and with whom ever. We're with. Thank you, Santa Monica.
Thank you, President Hamza Yusuf and Dr. Anna Moreland. And thank you to all the attendees who have joined us for the wi Ll series. We look forward to your presence at our future events, which you can learn more about by visiting our website and following us on social media. If you would like to purchase any of the books mentioned throughout this series, please visit the zaytuna College bookst[email protected] does Allahu quaden assalamu Aleikum