Jesus was a Palestinian

December 23, 2013

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Christmas will soon be here, and in the spirit of true understanding, and to begin a hopefully fruitful and honest discussion without rancor or religious intolerance, I am reposting the following, with permission:

Jesus was a Palestinian and Why it Matters!

Because of modern alarmist reactions to the word “Palestine,” many non-Arabs and non-Muslims take offense when it is argued that Jesus was a Palestinian (peace be upon him). Jesus’ ethnicity, skin color, and culture often accompanies this conversation, but it is interesting how few people are willing to acknowledge the fact he was non-European. A simple stroll in the Christmas aisle of your local shopping store will show you the dominant representation of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, White man.

Islamophobia and anti-Arab propaganda have conditioned us to view Palestinians as nothing but heartless suicide bombers, terrorists, and enemies of freedom/democracy. Perpetual media vilification and demonization of Palestinians, in contrast to the glorification of Israel, blinds us from seeing issues such as the Palestinian refugee crisis, the victims of Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza last winter, the tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians, and many other issues that are constantly addressed by human rights activists around the world. To speak from the perspective of the Palestinians, especially in casual non-Arab and non-Muslim settings, generates controversy because the minds of many already associate Palestinians with violent stereotypes. So, how could Jesus belong to a group of people that we’re taught to dehumanize?

When I’ve spoken to people about this, I’ve noticed the following responses: “No, Jesus was a Jew,” or “Jesus is not Muslim.” The mistake isn’t a surprise to me, but it certainly reveals how ignorant much of society still is. Being a Palestinian does not mean one is Muslim or vice versa. Prior to the creation of Israel, the word “Palestine” was a geographic term applied to Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian Jews. Although most Palestinians are Muslim today, there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority who are often overlooked, especially by the mainstream Western media because the agenda is to simplify the conflict as “Muslims versus Jews.” To learn about many Palestinian Christians opposing Israeli military occupation, as well as Jews who oppose to the occupation, is to reveal more sides to an immensely one-sided story. Professor Jack D. Forbes writes about Jesus’ multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment:

“When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine. Thus, when Yehoshu’a [Jesus] was born, he was born a Palestinian as were all of the inhabitants of the region, Jews and non-Jews. He was also a Nazarene (being born in Nazareth) and a Galilean (born in the region of Galilee)… At the time of Yehoshu’a’s birth, Palestine was inhabited by Jews—descendants of Hebrews, Canaanites, and many other Semitic peoples—and also by Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs.”

Despite these facts, there are those who use the color-blind argument: “It does not matter what Jesus’ ethnicity or skin color was. It does not matter what language he spoke. Jesus is for all people, whether you’re Black, White, Brown, Yellow, etc.” While this is a well-intentioned expression of inclusiveness and universalism, it misses the point.

When you see so many depictions of Jesus as a Western White man with Euro-American features, the ethnocentrism and race-bending needs to be called out. No person is superior to another based on skin color, but to ignore the way Jesus’ Whiteness has been used to subjugate and discriminate against racial minorities in the West and many other countries is to overlook another important aspect of Jesus’ teachings: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Malcolm X wrote about White supremacists and slaveholders using Christianity to justify their “moral” and “racial superiority” over Blacks. In Malcolm’s own words, “The Holy Bible in the White man’s hands and its interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” Throughout history, whether it was in Jerusalem, Spain, India, or Africa, so-called White “Christians” cultivated a twisted interpretation of religion that was compatible with their colonialist agenda. And racism was a key component of their atrocities.

And here we are in the 21st century where Islamophobia (also stemming from racism because Islam gets racialized) is on the rise; where people calling themselves “Christian” fear to have a Black president; where members of the KKK and anti-immigration movements behave as if Jesus was an intolerant White American racist who only spoke English despite being born in the Middle-East! It is astonishing how so-called “Christians” like Ann Coulter call Muslims “rag-heads” when in actuality, Jesus himself would fit the profile of a “rag-head,” too. As would Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and the rest of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). As William Rivers Pitt writes:

“The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea. This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11. After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible. Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason.”

Without acknowledging Jesus as a dark-skinned Middle-Eastern man — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist and they will still be treated as “cultural outsiders.” But what about Christianity and Judaism in America? Aren’t these religions “cultural outsiders” according to the racist logic of xenophobes and Islamophobes?

Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another, and I believe he would not encourage today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people or the misrepresentations of him that only fuel ignorance and ethnocentrism. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a Prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A Love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.

And in that spirit, I wish you all a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic for:  God be with you).

- From Jehanzeb’s most excellent Muslim Reverie blog.

Ya Haqq!



Jesus was a Palestinian!

December 1, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Christmas will soon be here, and in the spirit of true understanding, and to begin a hopefully fruitful and honest discussion without rancor or religious intolerance, I am reposting the following, with permission:

Jesus was a Palestinian and Why it Matters!

Because of modern alarmist reactions to the word “Palestine,” many non-Arabs and non-Muslims take offense when it is argued that Jesus was a Palestinian (peace be upon him). Jesus’ ethnicity, skin color, and culture often accompanies this conversation, but it is interesting how few people are willing to acknowledge the fact he was non-European. A simple stroll in the Christmas aisle of your local shopping store will show you the dominant representation of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, White man.

Islamophobia and anti-Arab propaganda have conditioned us to view Palestinians as nothing but heartless suicide bombers, terrorists, and enemies of freedom/democracy. Perpetual media vilification and demonization of Palestinians, in contrast to the glorification of Israel, blinds us from seeing issues such as the Palestinian refugee crisis, the victims of Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza last winter, the tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians, and many other issues that are constantly addressed by human rights activists around the world. To speak from the perspective of the Palestinians, especially in casual non-Arab and non-Muslim settings, generates controversy because the minds of many already associate Palestinians with violent stereotypes. So, how could Jesus belong to a group of people that we’re taught to dehumanize?

When I’ve spoken to people about this, I’ve noticed the following responses: “No, Jesus was a Jew,” or “Jesus is not Muslim.” The mistake isn’t a surprise to me, but it certainly reveals how ignorant much of society still is. Being a Palestinian does not mean one is Muslim or vice versa. Prior to the creation of Israel, the word “Palestine” was a geographic term applied to Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian Jews. Although most Palestinians are Muslim today, there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority who are often overlooked, especially by the mainstream Western media because the agenda is to simplify the conflict as “Muslims versus Jews.” To learn about many Palestinian Christians opposing Israeli military occupation, as well as Jews who oppose to the occupation, is to reveal more sides to an immensely one-sided story. Professor Jack D. Forbes writes about Jesus’ multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment:

“When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine. Thus, when Yehoshu’a [Jesus] was born, he was born a Palestinian as were all of the inhabitants of the region, Jews and non-Jews. He was also a Nazarene (being born in Nazareth) and a Galilean (born in the region of Galilee)… At the time of Yehoshu’a’s birth, Palestine was inhabited by Jews—descendants of Hebrews, Canaanites, and many other Semitic peoples—and also by Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs.”

Despite these facts, there are those who use the color-blind argument: “It does not matter what Jesus’ ethnicity or skin color was. It does not matter what language he spoke. Jesus is for all people, whether you’re Black, White, Brown, Yellow, etc.” While this is a well-intentioned expression of inclusiveness and universalism, it misses the point.

When you see so many depictions of Jesus as a Western White man with Euro-American features, the ethnocentrism and race-bending needs to be called out. No person is superior to another based on skin color, but to ignore the way Jesus’ Whiteness has been used to subjugate and discriminate against racial minorities in the West and many other countries is to overlook another important aspect of Jesus’ teachings: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Malcolm X wrote about White supremacists and slaveholders using Christianity to justify their “moral” and “racial superiority” over Blacks. In Malcolm’s own words, “The Holy Bible in the White man’s hands and its interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” Throughout history, whether it was in Jerusalem, Spain, India, or Africa, so-called White “Christians” cultivated a twisted interpretation of religion that was compatible with their colonialist agenda. And racism was a key component of their atrocities.

And here we are in the 21st century where Islamophobia (also stemming from racism because Islam gets racialized) is on the rise; where people calling themselves “Christian” fear to have a Black president; where members of the KKK and anti-immigration movements behave as if Jesus was an intolerant White American racist who only spoke English despite being born in the Middle-East! It is astonishing how so-called “Christians” like Ann Coulter call Muslims “rag-heads” when in actuality, Jesus himself would fit the profile of a “rag-head,” too. As would Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and the rest of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). As William Rivers Pitt writes:

“The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea. This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11. After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible. Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason.”

Without acknowledging Jesus as a dark-skinned Middle-Eastern man — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist and they will still be treated as “cultural outsiders.” But what about Christianity and Judaism in America? Aren’t these religions “cultural outsiders” according to the racist logic of xenophobes and Islamophobes?

Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another, and I believe he would not encourage today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people or the misrepresentations of him that only fuel ignorance and ethnocentrism. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a Prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A Love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.

And in that spirit, I wish you all a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic for:  God be with you).

- From Jehanzeb’s most excellent Muslim Reverie blog.

Ya Haqq!



Blessed are…

April 3, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the humble: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for
they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for
theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and
shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Gospel of Matthew, 5:3

The Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, spoken by Jesus, the son of Mary (Isa ibn Mariyam).

HAPPY EASTER!

Ya Haqq!


Milad Un-Nabi – Birthday of the Prophet (pbuh)

February 27, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).

Alhamdulillah! The moon is full, a reminder that this is Rabi a-Awwal, by the Lunar calendar the month of the blessed birthday (Milad Un-Nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family).

According to Sunni scholars, the Prophet’s birthday is observed on 12th Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on February 26, 2010, and 17th Rabi al-Awwal (March 3rd this year) according to Shia scholars.

There is a difference of opinion about whether the Milad Un-Nabi should be a time of celebration. There is evidence that the Prophet (pbuh), his Companions, and the early followers after them did not celebrate or otherwise observe his birthday. On the contrary, he was careful to warn his people not to imitate other faiths, whose followers elevated their prophets and added to the religion what was not in the original teachings.

Those who disagree see it as a time to read the Qur’an, fast, pray, and remember the life, teachings, and example of the Prophet (pbuh).

When praising the Prophet (pbuh), we are also warned not to exaggerate in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus, son of Mary. Say [when referring to me], ‘Servant of Allah and His messenger.’”

Servant of Allah and His messenger!

Surely that is a title that needs no embellishment. And so, what will you do to celebrate the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday? Will you be fasting and praying? Having a celebration and giving gifts to family and friends? Giving to charity, visiting the sick, going to the mosque, helping a neighbor?

“Remember Me and I will remember you!” (Qur’an, 2:152)

May Allah bless you all, gentle readers, and guide you on the straight path of love, compassion, mercy, generosity and kindness.  Ameen.

Ya Haqq!


You Are Christ’s Hands

December 18, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In the joyous and loving spirit of Christmas, and to celebrate the birth of Jesus, or as he is know in Islam, Isa ibn Mariyam (pbuh), a poem by one of His sainted devotees.

You Are Christ’s Hands

Christ has no body now on Earth but yours,

No hands but yours,

No feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes

Through which look out

Christ’s compassion to the world;

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about

Doing Good.

Yours are the hands with which he is to bless

Humanity now.

- Saint Teresa of Avila

Ya Haqq!


Healing through Compassion

February 4, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

My wife grew up on a farm, and has an unerring affinity with nature in its most organic forms, with plants and animals and humans. Last summer, for instance, when she noticed that the bittersweet vines were extending its tendrils and choking off the rose bushes, she devoted many hours to cutting them away. The next day she looked at the roses for a moment and smiled, “They’re happier now,” she said.

She had seen the roses become happier. Even knowing this about her, it took me a long time to realize that the woman I live with is a healer. I had known her only as a mother and recently a grandmother, whose fierce love for her children caused them always to seek out her presence and her comfort and her counsel. I have seen that same love for her granddaughter; her endless patience in playing a game or reading to her, giving her leeway to set her own course, but always with a keen and watchful eye. They delight in each other beyond the need for words.

This true core of love, which is the deep well of her being, is the essence of healing, I think. At a wedding recently, while helping the bride to get dressed, she healed both the bride of badly bruised ribs and the bride’s sister of chronic neck pain, by laying her hand precisely on the injured spots for many minutes. They could not stop talking about it afterwards. When I asked her how she did it, she paused, as if trying to find the right words. Finally, she said, “The pain called to my compassion.”

“The pain called to my compassion.”

This is the deep well of love which marks a natural healer. Jesus healed the sick through this all-embracing love; the pain of the world calling to his compassion.

Many Sufi Masters of the past, who had completed the path of Love, were said to possess healing powers. And in the presence of my own Master, I have often felt a powerful spiritual energy and uplifting of the heart, an immense wellbeing of life. Perhaps healing itself is a spiritual uplifting on a physical level; the energy of the compassion of love healing physical pain.

It is no accident that passion is the root of compassion, whose original meaning was to suffer together. This com-passion, this deep, empathic, encompassing love is both the goal and the result of walking the Sufi path; at each step another drop is poured into the heart, and as love enters, one begins to see God in all of His creation. Perhaps healing is simply God’s Love expressed in the form of this compassionate energy, moved from one human being to another.

Compassion is love moved forward.

And healing is the divine spiritual energy of that love responding to emotional or physical pain. Healing through compassion is an ancient concept, though I had no frame of reference for it until I met my wife. There really is no mystery to it. I would not even call it a miracle, except insofar as all human life and its capacity to love is miraculous; a Divine gift unlike any other, and from which all mercy flows.

Ya Haqq!


St. Francis meets Sultan Malik al-Kamil

December 23, 2008


Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

St. Francis di Bernadone, born in 1182 in Northern Italy, is popularly known and loved as the poor, generous, traveling friar who talked with birds, tamed wild beasts and sang the “Canticle of Creation.”  But Francis was once also an inter-religious emissary of peace and nonviolence.

Francis lived in the political turmoil of the 13th Century “Holy Roman Empire,” locked in a culture of war, fought both within the empire as city fought city and without, as the empire united in a series of Crusades against Moslems, Jews and “heretics.” It was during the fifth crusade, in 1219, that Francis began an amazing journey that directly opposed this culture of war and enmity. Christians in his time viewed The Crusades as holy; a complete reversal of the first 300 years of Christianity when disciples of Jesus would not participate in any killing.

In response, the Sultan of Egypt had decreed that anyone who brought him the head of a Christian should be rewarded with a Byzantine gold piece.

Francis began his prophetic resistance to the violence of the Crusades by meeting first with his own religious leaders, begging Cardinal Pelagius, the Christian commander, to stop the fighting. Pelagius refused.

Francis then took a companion, Brother Illuminatus, and set out, unarmed and filled with love for his “enemy” brother, to visit the Sultan of Egypt, Malik-al-Kamil, the nephew of Saladin. The men of the Sultan’s army captured Francis and Illuminatus and dragged them, beaten and exhausted, before the Sultan – just as Francis had wished.

The Sultan was receptive to these two unarmed messengers from the enemy camp. St. Bonaventure, in his Major Life of St. Francis, described the event, “The sultan asked them by whom and why and in what capacity they had been sent, and how they got there; but Francis replied that they had been sent by God, not by men, to show him and his subjects the way of salvation and proclaim the truth of the Gospel message. When the sultan saw his enthusiasm and courage, he listened to him willingly and pressed him to stay with him.”

Francis’ enthusiastic desire to share his “good news” with the Sultan, without insulting Islam or refuting Mohammed, was unique and disarming.

In the encounter between them, both Francis and the Sultan were changed. When Francis finally left to return to Italy, the Sultan showered him with many gifts and treasures. Because he had no interest in worldly wealth, Francis refused them all, except one special gift: an ivory horn used by the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer. On his return, Francis used it to call people for prayer or for preaching.

Francis also shared with his community his new and deep respect for his Moslem brothers and sisters, breaking down the cycle of enmity and misunderstanding that fueled the Crusades. Francis was especially struck by the Moslem five times daily prayer, and the practice of prostrations in worship of God; his letters urged Christians to adopt a similar practice: To make prayer a part of everyday life, in effect to remember God in everything you do, as in the Sufi zekr.

Stories of the time told about the change in the Sultan after his encounter with Francis. He placed Francis under his personal security and provided safe-conduct through Muslim states. From then on, several accounts relate that he treated Christian prisoners of war with unprecedented kindness and generosity.

Francis lives out the core of the Christian mandate: to love one’s enemies, to reach out in respect to those of other religions and cultures.

Meeting the sultan confirmed to Francis that we are all brothers and sisters. Neither converted the other and yet they met each other as men of God.

And their meeting appears to have changed more than Francis and the sultan.

Almost immediately we see some iconography in the eastern world showing these two men. One of the sultan’s own spiritual counselors (a Sufi), it was said, had engraved on his tomb that what changed his life was the meeting between a Christian monk and the sultan in his tent.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Joyous Kwanza to all :)

Ya Haqq!


What Love Demands

December 6, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Eid Mubarak!

May Allah bless you all this Eid, dear Brothers and Sisters, with generosity of hand, sincerity of speech, kindness in action, and love and joy in remembrance of Him, who is the Source of all Generosity, Sincerity, Kindness, Joy, and Love.  Ameen!

“O Lord! Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own Presence; for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure.” (Quran: 3:9)

This is the time of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, which celebrates the faith of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice even his son Isaac as God had commanded. Now what are we willing to sacrifice in order that our prayers may be accepted?

That is the question I ask myself every year. Jesus (pbuh) kissed the leper, the whore, and the thief, out of love and forgiveness and healing. Because of the great expansiveness of his heart, miracles were possible. What have we done, what can we still do, to be worthy of the love and forgiveness and healing we ask of God? The answer that comes to my heart is always the same:

Do what love demands.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

According to a hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure. One who returns love for hatred.”

Alhamdulillah! Indeed, Love is the greatest miracle of God. There have been Spiritual Masters of the past who would not let an aspirant be initiated until they had gone to everyone whom they had wronged in their life, and begged forgiveness, making amends in any way that was required. And until they had gone to everyone that had wronged them in their lives, and granted them forgiveness without asking, and with a whole heart. Only then could such a one be initiated on the mystic path.

And so we come to the great task of our lives, brought into focus on this day of Eid al-Adha: To sacrifice our fear and hatred, our envy and greed and all the other works of the fearful and self-absorbed nafs, in the certain knowledge that anyone who forgives a debt will be repaid tenfold by God, and anyone who forgives a wrong will be forgiven by God a hundredfold, and anyone who returns love for hatred will make of this life a paradise. That is what love demands.

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
- Rumi

Ya Haqq!

PS:  Click HERE for another wonderful post on forgiveness.


A Teaching of Jesus (pbuh)

July 1, 2008

Salaam and Greeting of Peace:

Jesus (pbuh) said:

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

- Luke 11:9

Ya Haqq!


Isa ibn Mariyam – Jesus, the Son of Mary

March 22, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Happy Easter to all my Christian brothers and sisters :)

Most people in the West do not know that Hazrat Muhammad al-Ghazali (may Allah keep his secret), who was called The Proof of The Faith, collected and authenticated several of the original saying of Isa ibn Mariyam (Jesus the son of Mary) in Aramaic (the language that Jesus spoke) and translated them into Arabic.

In al Ghazali’s time, 10th -11th century CE, there were still Christians who were unaffected by the doctrines of Paul. The Church founded by Judas Thomas for instance, was still strong in Syria and protected by the Khalifate.

It was written in the original Gospel:

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) said:
Seek what you do not Know only after you
have put into practice what you do Know.

The disciples of Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) came to him and asked;
“O spirit of Allah, is there anyone else like you alive in our time?”
He replied: “Yes indeed, Whoever has the dhikr of Allah in his heart,
and is silent in thought, and who learns from what is given,
surely that one is like me.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS), asked his people:
“Where do you find a plant growing?”
They replied: “In the dust of the earth.”
He said: “By Al Haqq, I will tell you,
Marifat (Gnosis) does not grow except in a heart
that is like the dust of the earth.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) met a man and asked him what his profession was.
The man replied: “I worship Allah.”
Isa (AS) then asked: ‘Who feeds and clothes you while you worship?”
“My brother,” The man replied.
Isa (AS) said: “Your brother’s worship is better than your own.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) met three people while traveling,
They were pale and thin with fasting.
He asked them: “What has caused this state in you?”
They said: “Fear of the punishment of Allah”
Isa (AS) replied: “Allah has taken it upon Himself to lessen your fear.”
He continued on a ways and came across three more
who were pale and thin with fasting, even more than the last.
He asked them: “What has caused this state in you?”
They answered: “Desire for Allah’s rewards”
Isa (AS) said: “Allah has taken it upon Himself to give you what you long for.”
Once again in his travels Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) came across yet another three who were pale and thin with fasting. Their faces shone as if they were lit from within.
So he asked them: “What is the cause of your state?”
They answered: “We love Allah, the Mighty, the Glorious.”
Whereupon he replied: “You are the nearest, and nearer still!”

The companions of Isa ibn Mariyam (AS) said to him:
“Look at this temple, is it not beautiful?”
Isa (AS) replied: “My people,
by al Haqq I tell you, Allah does not leave this temple standing
except to destroy it by the sins of it’s inhabitants.
Surely, Allah does not care about gold and silver,
He does not care about this building that you admire so.
What Allah, the Most High loves are good hearts.
Allah inhabits the heart that remembers Him and He desolates
the heart that does not.”

Isa ibn Mariyam (AS),
passed by a group of men who shouted evil things at him.
In return Isa (AS) spoke to them with kindness.
His companions asked:
“Why did you reply to these men with kindness when they spoke evil to you?”
Isa (AS) replied: “Everyone spends from the coin he has.”

The song of Isa ibn Mariyam (AS)

My meal is fasting,
my standard is awe of Allah.
My clothing is of simple wool,
my prayer in winter is at suns rise.
My lamp is moonlight,
My steed is my legs.
My meal is whatever the earth gives me.
I lay down to sleep at night and have nothing,
I awake in the morning and have nothing,
yet there is no one richer than I.

– From The Traceless Warrior Blog. Commentary and English versions translated by Mushtaq Ali al Ansari. Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Ya Haqq!


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