Channel: Lauren Booth
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Welcome to heart and soul and Qf radio with me Lauren booth, your space to reflect, seeking light and knowledge through the deeper dimensions of faith. In this series during Ramadan, we aim to shed light on aspects of Islamic life and culture and to answer some questions you may have had about the world's largest faith. what unites us as humanity is what can reveal elements to a peaceful, beneficial society. So joining me today to discuss some of the uniting factors between Christianity and Islam is john Fontaine. JOHN embraced Islam in 2008. After coming into contact with Muslims in West Africa, he is the author of Jesus and the Injeel, which outlines the Islamic perspective of
Jesus and His message. And his latest book is The God's solution. JOHN delivers talks throughout the UK, and has also worked internationally with organizations such as convivencia, Ira guidance TV, and the deen show. Assalamu alaikum. And welcome to the show, john.
How are you? hamdulillah? You know, the last time I saw you is actually I believe in a street in Manchester on a cold night. And you were handing out leaflets to inform the people of Manchester about some elements of Islam that they didn't know Is that right?
Yeah, remember that very well. Yeah. So you, you really you really never stopped with your your interest and how faith works through your life? Yeah, well, it's definitely it's become a big passion in my life.
Obviously, I was looking into Islam for many years before actually embracing Islam. And since accepted Islam have actually been sharing the message with other people as well, just before we go into what unites the origins of both religions, Christianity and the Islamic faith. Take us through your own journey. From a musician, a lot of musicians I know, coming to the faith of Islam, and you were rather good, I think.
Legend has it, legend has it you can sing and play Come on, don't be bashful. Talk about that. I hope you hope you're not going to ask me to sing today. And now we're going to play something by just
from the age of 14, I was actually a professional jazz singer. So I was actually singing in jazz clubs,
weddings, and things like that, and moved on to cruise ships and jazz clubs. And I did that for about eight years. I was also I also used to play the church organ every Sunday. And so I was actually interested in religion, from a very young age. I used to attend church.
I never quite found what I was looking for in Christianity.
But then when it when in my teenage years, I came into contact with some Muslims. Whilst I was actually in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
And this is this actually began my journey into actually looking into Islam. And what shaped did that journey take? I mean, did you find the book appealing? Did you sit down and read the Quran? Or? Or was it? You know, maybe somebody played you part of the exam? Yeah. Well, initially, it was, it was the manner of the Muslims.
The Muslims that I came into contact with in West Africa were very nice people. You know, I had before this encounter with the Muslims, I had many misconceptions, you know, because I didn't have much knowledge about Islam, or Muslims. You know, I had many misconceptions. You know, I used to believe Islam was like a violent religion and things like that things you see in the media. And so when I went to Africa, I had a whole different experience with Islam, and I found that the Muslims are very nice, you know, very good people. And they actually helped me when I was in need. So this really encouraged me to want to really look into this religion. And I have to admit, in the
beginning, I was looking into it to try to prove it wrong.
So you know, because I still had my Christian background.
So I was trying to trying to find a reason not to believe in Islam.
So this was like the beginning process really of me actually looking into Islam, I would say it was more the manners of the Muslims. But I did actually come into contact with Vietnam, the Muslim call to prayer. And actually remember the first time I heard it, and it really did have an effect on my, on my life. Did it did it shake you did it call you into the mosque?
Yeah, I mean, now, being a Muslim, I, I know that the innate belief sector, which as a Muslim, as a human being has,
automatically knows, and recognizes the event.
photography as Muslims, when when a Muslim is born, you know, the father will call the event in the babies is, and the event, you know, obviously, the meaning of the event which is
alive, the greatest, you know, this is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. And, and he has to accept the Prophet Muhammad peace, when is the final prophet, and also come to prayer and come to success. This is also what they say. And I feel that the fix was with soul. The human soul actually understands design, even if you don't understand Arabic, somehow, the fixer really connects with the call to prayer. And you can actually see that on YouTube. There's so many numbers, things that are affected by the culture, and they don't know why you have gone on to write several books. And one of them is Jesus and the Injeel. What is the word? Injeel? And what does that contain? That from an
Islamic perspective, we should know? Yeah. Well, from the Islamic perspective, there's a slight different narrative sort of story of Jesus peace be upon him. And the Islamic narrative is that we believe that Allah, the creator of the universe, actually revealed
a revelation to Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses and Jesus peace be upon him.
And we believe that these revelations were actually the Word of God given to the Prophet. Okay, we don't believe that these were like, offered by the prophets, or offered by the companions of the Prophet. So the NGO is actually the name of the book, The name of the revelation that Allah gave to Jesus peace be upon him. How does the Jesus that is known and understood in Christian understanding differ from Jesus as Muslims see him? Yeah. And in the Christian perspective, they have something called the New Testament. And this is where Christians will take their knowledge about Jesus, they will take their knowledge from the New Testament, which is actually a collection of writing by
various different people such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and john and Paul, and another writers which actually can ask for the time of Jesus. Whereas the, the Islamic perspective, obviously, we take our knowledge from the direct message, which is the Koran, because we believe that the original revelation, such as the original Torah, there's a board and the NGO, the Torah being the book, which was given to Moses, there's a ball being the book given to Prophet David peace upon him, and then God, given to Jesus, we believe that these original messages and no longer with us today, okay, we no longer have the the unchanged, altered Word of God. So therefore, now, the Word of God, which we
use is the client. And we believe this, this actually has the some of the story is about the prophets, which is Abraham, Moses and Jesus. And the Islamic narrative of Jesus is, of course, that he is one of the mighty messengers of God, and he received a revelation to actually call the people back to worshiping and acknowledging the Creator. So that would actually, that would actually be one of the main similarities, wouldn't it that Jesus peace upon him came to group within mankind, to call them back to understanding of the need to recognize that we have a creator and to partake in worship? Is that is that what you're saying? Yeah, yeah, this is this is the main similarity. And
this is this is the same for for Moses as well. And Abraham, you know,
over time, the community that forgot about spirituality, they forgot about their connection with God. And so God sent as a nurse, he would send messages to actually remind people to go
back to Faith. We're going to take a short break now. And we'll be back with john Fontaine on the similarities and understanding about the Prophet Jesus. for Muslims and Christians after this
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Welcome back, you're listening to heart and soul with me Lauren booth where I'm joined today by john Fontane from the United Kingdom. Although john Fontaine is actually based now in Kuwait, is that right? Yes. Welcome to the Gulf, this amazing area where religion is in what seems to be every grain of sand. It may not have had all the prophets walking across it like Palestine, or that region or sham. But certainly, the hearts of the people are very connected with faith here. We're talking today about some of the uniting factors in Islam and Christianity. But I can still imagine that people are listening to this saying, nope, nope, nope. Muslims hate Jesus. Yeah, this is this is a
very interesting point when I was before I was a Muslim, I didn't know Muslims, but believed in Jesus. And this is one of the main misconceptions, I was shocked to find out that Muslims believe in Jesus not only believe in Him to believe in his miraculous birth, you know, believes that he is actually going to return in the end days, and days. So it is so many similarities, especially with the story of Jesus peace be upon him. And this is this is one of the things that bring the religions together. And this is why Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has actually managed to live peacefully, you know, for the most part of 1400 years. Did you so peacefully? Did you say peacefully, this is
not a common, commonly known narrative. Now, in a great deal of the media, all we hear is that there has been violence through the ages, it's always been like this, there's never been peace.
What evidence is, have you found of peace between the three major faith? Yeah, I mean, when we when we actually look at the history, and when we look at the facts of history, for the past 2000 years, from the time of Jesus peace be upon him, and even in the past 1400 years, since the time the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, we can see that actually, Muslims, Christians and Jews actually, for the most part, live very peaceful, you know, and if you look at Egypt, as an example, for over nearly, nearly nearly 300 years, it was actually a majority Christian country, living under the UN Islamic system. You know, and even today, in Egypt and Sharman, Palestine, you have many Christians
living within an Islamic system. And never is Islam as a religion being forced on anyone. And this is a very key principle in the plan. But there's no compulsion in religion, you know, that you can't force someone to believe in something that they don't believe it. You know, so this is one of the one, one huge misconception that many people have, well, back to Jesus peace be upon him. If we look at the similarities with the life of Jesus,
from a Christian and Islamic perspective, we also have his mother Mary. Now, as you know, in the cloud, we have a whole chapter
surah, Marian, which is, you know, the mother of Jesus, and she has a high status and No, in fact, many of the scholars actually revert her to be the actual the best woman to have ever lived on the face of the earth. You know, so there's so many similarities within the faith. And what's interesting is
the story of Abraham, because Allah tells us in the Quran that Abraham was not Jewish, or Christian. And this is interesting, because Jews and Christians today don't actually claim Abraham was Jewish or Christian, when we actually think of what was the religion of Abraham? No, and if we think that Abraham was actually submitting to God, you know, and the Arabic term for this is actually Muslim, you know, someone who is actually submitting to God. So from the Islamic perspective, we believe that all the messengers were actually Muslim, you know, they were people who are actually submitting and calling people back to Faith. I think that's a really important point just to go back to the
literal meaning of the word Muslim. Can we just recap on that? So, Abraham, have the same Abraham of the Torah and the Gospel, not the Gospels, the Old Testament, I should say. He was submitting to God which made him a Muslim. Why
Because, because obviously, Abraham came before Judaism and Christianity. Well, everyone accepts everyone believes in Prophet Abraham from from the three, the three faiths, but the word Muslim needs to actually submit to the creator in all aspects of our life. And that's what Abraham was doing. You know, he was he was submitting to God. He was a he was a friend of a lot. You know, and, and this is this is the same teachings of Islam, because the message has always been the same throughout time.
You know, that's why we see so many similarities within religion, because they were originally teaching the same message. JOHN, we're very short on time today. It's a very big subject. We're talking about Jesus in the Islamic narrative and understandings between the faith if you had one point to make to people that you had found on your journey to Islam, that allowed you to be comfortable with coming from Christianity, what would that be?
man would be the Islam is not a different religion is an extension of the true religion. So the same word, some people stopped believing
in different prophets throughout time. For instance, if we look at some of the Jewish community, they stopped believing in Jesus, and some of the Christian community, they didn't believe in Mohammed. And so we know Islam is not about giving up, Jesus or giving up Moses or any of the prophets, it's about accepting the final prophet as well which is Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And again, this is not just for Muslims, you know, there are many Muslims that also benefited from Islam and his teachings as well. So I would just advise people to actually look into Islam for themselves. And don't just listen to what you're taught in the media. like yourself, Lauren, you
know, you also found
a lot of benefit from doing your own research. And, and there's a lot to learn even for non Muslims as well when they actually look into as well. So just just look into this by myself, and take the good. Thanks very much for joining us today. JOHN. You've been listening to heart and soul with me Lauren booth. May the divine blessings of this holy month of peace be upon every one of us. The producer for this series is a have a chef Assalamu alaikum