by Bill Musk
Musk calls Christians to take a step further in embracing Muslims as cousins.
Monarch Books, 256 Banbury Rd, Oxford OX2 7DH, England, 2005, 480 pages, $14.99
—Reviewed by Samuel Naaman, professor of world missions and evangelism, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois.
“Historically Christians and Muslims may be cousins, but there has always been a problem with the kissing bit. Muslims can marry their cousins, and often do, as well as kiss them. Christians on the other hand, find the idea of kissing, let alone marrying their cousins, rather inappropriate.” —Ziauddin Sardar1
In his unique style of writing, Musk is calling Christians to take a step further in embracing Muslims as cousins. Those who consider Muslims as descendants of Ishmael are being challenged to find more common ground between Islam and Christianity that will enable them to be closer as members of an extended family.
Musk takes the reader through a detailed analysis of Islam as religion and Islam as a faith practiced by Muslims. His overall emphasis is on submission in Islam, which he states might lead to a better understanding of one another. Many details of Mohammad’s prophetic roles are given. Musk also makes clear reference to the difference in tone between Meccan and Medinan suras in the Qur’an, which show Mohammad as both a prophet and statesman in Mecca and Medina.
Musk also reminds readers that attacking the personal life of Mohammed, who had numerous wives, is counterproductive in communicating with Muslims. He points out that both Solomon and David had many wives and concubines.
Some key theological aspects are also discussed. The Allah of Islam presents us with some historical views of Kenneth Craig, Wilfred Cantwell Smith and MBB’s (Muslim Background Believers). Musk also addresses the situation of Islam and Muslims in Great Britain, which allows the reader to get a good grasp of this helpful topic in one sitting.
The discussion of C1-C6 is also very interesting as Musk gives an example of my homeland, Pakistan. Since 1997, John Travis and others have suggested these different possibilities of an MBB’s lifestyle. It is interesting that most of the discussion is written by Western missionaries. In the past several years, I have met many MBBs in the United States and in Pakistan who are shocked that some may suggest they remain in Islam in C5 or C6 situations. Khan, a seasoned church planter in Pakistan, asked of C1-C6: “Is this a new form of ‘Intellectual Imperialism’ or what?”
Overall, Musk’s effort is a good one. As Christians, we are doing our best to understand Islam and Muslims. The question is now: What is the response to our actions from our Muslim cousins?
1. Sardar Ziauddin. The Independent Online Edition. Published August 5, 2005. http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/reviews/article303615.ece.
Check these titles:
McCurry, Don. 2001. Healing the Broken Family of Abraham: New Life for Muslims. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ministries to Muslims.
McDowell, Bruce A. and Anees Zaka. 1999. Muslims and Christians at the Table: Promoting Biblical Understanding Among North American Muslims. Philipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing.
Travis, John. 1998. “The C1 to C6 Spectrum: A Practical Tool for Defining Six Types of ‘Christ-centered Communities’ (C) Found in the Muslim Context,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly. 34:3, 407-408.
Woodberry, J. Dudley. 1989. Muslims and Christians on the Emmaus Road. Monrovia, Calif.: MARC.
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