Copyright ©© 1996 by M. Anderson. All rights reserved.
In all the history of mankind, no person has received reactions like Jesus the Christ. Whether good or bad, complementary or derogatory, there has been no shortage of responses to the person of the Christ. They come from all kinds of people: thinkers and simple people, believers and atheists, religious and irreligious - not only from his so-called followers, but also from those of different religious persuasions. They may vary in devotion and intensity, but there are an abundance of reactions.
To the Sufis, Jesus is the greatest and highest ranking of all the prophets in the succession of the prophets up to his person. 'No previous prophet, however graced with virtues of perfection, ever quite attained his degree.' Furthermore, 'Jesus is the paragon of a perfect human being and the example par excellence of a true master'.
To the Sufis, Jesus is the model and example of ultimate purity. To be pure 'like Jesus' is nothing less than both the work of God and the cry of the heart of the sincere worshipper. To be pure like Jesus is not the achievement of the striving heart, but it is something that requires the help and grace of God. The true Sufi will never be content with anything less than to be pure like Jesus, as in the words of the poet 'Attar.
Cleanse me, O Lord, of this filthy soul,
So I may claim immortal purity for myself, like Jesus.
The name Jesus was redefined by the Sufis, so that, 'in Sufi's terminology, the name Jesus stands for "love"'.
But of greater significance is the place Jesus held in the heart and mind of Mohammad the prophet of Islam. The reappearing of Jesus was a living topic during the time of Mohammad (as it is today), and we find that Mohammad longed to meet Jesus. For we read in the Hadith:
My hope if my age is prolonged, is to meet Jesus, Son of Mary, but if death hurries me along, then let the one who meets him give him my kind regards.
Mohammad not only longed to meet Jesus but also saw that to share the brotherhood of Jesus is something to be contested. Although the prophets are all brothers, Mohammad chose Jesus to be his closest brother. No other prophet held such a place in the heart of Mohammad. To him the brotherhood of Jesus was something he deserved more than any other human being.
The prophets are brothers of different mothers, but their religion is one. Of all men I am the most deserving to be the brother of Jesus Son of Mary, for there was no prophet between me and him.
This series of booklets is about that person the Sufis look up to as their model in purity and love. It is about that person Mohammad longed to meet, and for whose brotherhood he would compete. In this series we will reflect on the person of Jesus from the pages of the Hadith, the commentaries of the Qur'an and some Sufi writings.
If you would like to ask further questions, obtain a hard copy of this series of booklets or for any other reason you are welcome to contact M. Anderson via email.