On Talking About Traditions

Via Faith Gambler, I found this interesting piece on talking about Jesus to Muslims. It seems like a good way to recognize and talk about difference while remaining true to one’s own beliefs. This conversation wasn’t about conversion, and it wasn’t about watering down the traditions to make them palatable. Rather, it was a respectful discourse on a serious point of contention between the two traditions. Much respect.

Rachel has a post about a missing dot and Jerusalem. One of the joys about writing is that one can always ignore authorial intent, which pretty clearly laid out her post, and put one’s own interpretation on it. I read her post as being about the power of misinterpretation. For the sake of a dot…

However, that dot got me thinking about a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad. He said (paraphrased, so no quotes) that all of the wisdom of Islam is to be found in the Qur’an. All of the wisdom of the Qur’an is to be found in the Fatiha (the first chapter). All the wisdom of the Fatiha is to be found in the basmallah (the first line, bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim). All the wisdom of the basmallah is to be found in the first part, bismillah (In the name of God). All of that first part is to be found in the first letter, (ب). All of the wisdom of the is to be found in the dot beneath the . That dot is Hazrat Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law and cousin.

What’s the point of all this rambling? Sometimes you don’t need a whole lot to start talking and representing who you are. Sometimes a dot is enough.

One thought on “On Talking About Traditions

  1. I had to laugh when I got to “What’s the point of all this rambling?” I don’t know if the pun was intentional, but it made me smile. 🙂
    Looking back on the post to which you linked, I think when I wrote it I was musing on linguistic connection. Someday when I’ve mastered Hebrew, I really want to learn Arabic. Clearly our holy languages are cousins, and that fascinates me.
    But hey, as you say, authorial intent matters really only to the author; once something’s published, readers will find what they want in it. I’m glad the post resonated for you, for whatever reason(s)!

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