Hisham Mahmoud began his lecture yesterday with a long incantation in Arabic.

“You guys are all under my enchanted spell,” Mahmoud, a lecturer in Near Eastern studies, then said to the audience in McCormick 101.

Rather than a spell, what he had said was a prayer for courage used by Moses. Mahmoud said he would need it to complete his talk, which focused on the importance of Jesus Christ to Muslims, who consider him to be a prophet.

The gospel of Jesus according to Muhammed is “everything that has been written about Jesus from a Muslim pen,” Mahmoud said, because there is actually no specific gospel text that the prophet himself wrote about Jesus.

Mahmoud discussed the significance of Jesus’ titles in Islam, which refers to him as the word of God and the messiah.

Jesus is called the word of God because “God said ‘be’ and Jesus came to be,” Mahmoud said.

He went on to explain that Jesus has the specific title of messiah because the word is associated with rubbing, anointing and wiping.

“God wiped out any sins he could have possibly done,” Mahmoud said. “He’s the one whose slate is wiped clean.”

Mahmoud shifted gears to describe the importance of Mary, mother of Jesus, to Islam.

“Mary is the perfect woman in Islam,” Mahmoud said. “The prophet Muhammed was very ardent about establishing the place of Mary in the Muslim context.”

Citing the Quran, Mahmoud said that Mary’s mother prayed for a boy but gave birth to a girl.

God purposely gave Mary’s mother a daughter because “the male can’t do what this female can do or achieve what this female can achieve,” Mahmoud said.

Mahmoud also discussed the statements attributed to Jesus in the Muslim faith. While some of the statements cannot be adequately authenticated, Mahmoud explained that “how Jesus is venerated and how he is celebrated in the heart of the average, of the everyday Muslim” is important. (MORE)


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