Dialogue Institute and University of the Incarnate Word Department of Religious Studies were hosted a lecture and book signing by Dr. Zeki Saritoprak on February 1, 2016. Dr. Saritoprak’s address examined the place of Jesus in the Qu’ran and Hadiths. He delved into the Islamic theological perspective, including classical and contemporary theologians’ view of Jesus. Muslims, like Christians, believe in the second coming of Jesus (in Islam, known as the descent of Jesus) and Dr. Saritoprak discussed the different theological views to the descent. Dr. Saritoprak also addressed the important role that Jesus can play in interfaith dialogue.
According to Saritoprak, few people realize that Jesus was a prominent messenger of God in Islam and that Muslims believe in the return of Jesus. He noted that, even among Muslims, it is not well known that there are diverse interpretations of references to Jesus in the Qur’an and the Hadith. “In Islam, no one can be worshipped except God,” Dr. Saritoprak told the well-attended event. “Jesus was one of greatest worshippers, Muhammad was one of the greatest worshippers, but they are not to be worshipped.” ‘Islam’s Jesus’ takes a bold, yet candid, look at the highly charged topic of Jesus’s place in Islam, exploring some of the religion’s least understood aspects. Examining multiple intellectual traditions, Dr. Saritoprak makes clear the reality of pluralism in the history of Islamic religious scholarship.Actively engaged in efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and harmony, Saritoprak thoughtfully argues that the shared belief in Jesus presents an excellent opportunity for understanding between Muslims and Christians.
About the Speaker:
Professor and Bediüzzaman Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University, Dr. Saritoprak holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology from the University of Marmara in Turkey. His dissertation, titled The Antichrist (al-Dajjal) in Islamic Theology, examines the personification of evil in Islamic tradition and was published in Turkish in Istanbul in 1992. Prior to coming to John Carroll, he held positions at Harran University in Turkey, Georgetown University, the Catholic University of America and Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Dr. Saritoprak is also the founder and former president of the Rumi Forum for Interfaith Dialogue in Washington, DC.
Dr. Saritoprak has written over thirty academic articles and encyclopedia entries on topics relating to Islam and is author of Islam’s Jesus (University Press of Florida, 2014). He is the co-translator and editor of Fundamentals of Rumi’s Thought: A Mevlevi Sufi Perspective (in English; New Jersey: The Light, 2004) and is editor of a critical edition of al-Sarakhsi’s Sifat Ashrat al-Sa’a (in Arabic; Cairo, 1993). He has also served as guest editor of issues of the journals Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and The Muslim World. Currently, he is working on a book about Islamic spirituality, tentatively titled Islamic Spirituality: Theology and Practice for the Modern World.