Prophet and Loss | Emerging Islam?

Desert1-1I read a story today of this guy living in the Middle East in this really corrupt community; full of drunkards, cheating businesses, aggression, anti-social behaviour. He’d had a rough childhood himself – orphaned by 6, sent to live with his grandfather, who then died.

He’d ended up with his uncle, followed him into his business, and done pretty well. But he couldn’t help feeling the society around him was in some ways rotten… Believing anything and nothing, and violently opposing anyone who thought different. He got so tired of it he’d take time out of his business and go and meditate and pray in a mountain retreat. Like the Desert Fathers had done. And it was there he felt God speak to him: he should just start living with a group of people honestly, justly and hospitably, with a rhythm of prayer. Simple. And radical. Totally in tradition with Abraham, and Jesus… worshipping the One God.

So he did. And the people where he lived hated him for it – persecuted him and this little group of people trying to live this simple, radical life. In the end, they left and moved to another place that welcomed them, and the community grew.

His name? Mohammed. PBUH.

What happened? Where has this simple, just, radical community got lost in the smoke-screen that has become international Islam and western Islamophobia? Am I wrong, or was Mohammed trying to return people to the simple faith of a Christianity gone very wrong? And if so, is there an ’emerging Islam’ that we can connect to?


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3 responses to “Prophet and Loss | Emerging Islam?”

  1. Great post Kester, thanks. Not sure about “emerging Islam” but there are some guys here in Manchester who are doing a sort of “emerging Synagogue” – I think Cris has been to visit and worship with them on Shabbat. It is a fascinating idea though – that we’re not the only ones trying to reform, reframe, revitalise our faith…

  2. I’d be really interested to hear more about an ’emerging Synagogue’ too… It seems if we are really going to create something truly different we will have to travel this path with people of all faiths… I’m sure if we do we’ll uncover a much deeper unity than we thought.

  3. At the grave risk of sounding intolerant, surely there is some skimming over of history in this post?
    The slaughter of those who refused to convert, led by Mohammed himself? The massacre of Jews? The marriage to 6 year old, second wife Aishah (apologies, consumated at 9)?
    These facts aren’t deniable. But they are twisted by crafty spin-doctoring so they sound justifiable. The same way Americans justified slavery, and the western church justifies rampant materialism.
    It’s true, Mohammed did start out his ‘Journey’ in the manner you describe, but it did not end this way. And his ‘christianity’ was based apon a set of fringe, chinese-whispers based theology, that believe, amongst other things, that Mary was the third part of the God-head.
    Some people would gleefully love the comparison to the emerging church.