· Vatican City ·


As seen by me, a Muslim theologian

30 September 2023

What would I like from the Synod as a Muslim theologian? To begin, I would like to see the words of the preparatory document realised. That read as follows: “A fundamental question impels and guides us: how is that ‘walking together’ that enables the Church to proclaim the Gospel, in accordance with the mission entrusted to it, realised today at different levels (from the local to the universal); and what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church?”

I would like to be able to “walk together” with Christians, to feel included in that people of God that the document Nostra Aetate of the Council Fathers already announced and which in a revolutionary way included Muslims. “The Church looks with esteem on Muslims who worship the one, living and subsistent, merciful God”. In addition, on Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, it stated, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions”.

I wish I could be part of a spiritual communion with my brothers and sisters of the Catholic faith, with whom we share the fundamental dogma of monotheism and the profound sense of serving the Lord.

I would like to see the beautiful words of the preparatory document put into action. “Recognising and appreciating the richness and variety of the gifts and charisms that the Spirit bestows in freedom, for the good of the community and for the benefit of the entire human family...regenerating relationships between the members of Christian communities as well as between communities and other social groups, for example communities of believers of other confessions and religions”.

I would like to be able to hope that, as written in Nostra Aetate, knowing that Muslims also venerate Mary, She will become a spiritual mother for Christians and Muslims, in a more visible way. For example by celebrating March 25, the day of the Annunciation, as an international feast day. I would like the appearance of Mary in the Koran, the only woman announced by her own name, to be appreciated by Catholics too, as a sign of our times.

I would like the synod to help Christians appreciate the recognition of Jesus Christ in the Qur’an, who is presented as the Messenger (rasul), the Blessed One wherever He is (mubarak), the Most Pure (zakii), the one close to God (muqarrab), the Word of God (kalimat Allah), the spirit of God (ruh) and the only one born of the Virgin with the miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit (ibn Mariam).

I would like the Synod to emphasise historical, wise and courageous encounters, such as the one between Pope Francis and Imam Al Tayyeb, for the good of the human community.

I would like Pope Francis’ three words Restlessness, Incompleteness and Imagination, proposed in the La Civiltà Cattolica, to be taken seriously.

I conclude with the 103rd chapter of the Koran, which consists of only three verses:

1. For Time!

2. In truth the human being is a loser

3. Except those who believe and do good works and advise each other of truth and patience

By Shahrzad Houshmand Zadeh