Why would a team of educated Muslims be interested in the Gospel?
An Iraqi man approached an American aid worker asking, “Do you have the book about Jesus? “You mean the New Testament?” He replied, “I don’t know what it is. I had a cassette ten years ago with the story of Jesus which was taken from the book. We listened to it every night until it wore out. Do you have the book? The American replied, “Well I have one Arabic book with me, the Gospel of Luke. I can give you that”. He took it and kissed it and hurried to the door to take it home. He turned on the threshold with tears in his eyes and said, “My family will be so happy to have this book”.
“I was surprised to discover the Christian faith is different than I believed. I saw Christ as someone separate from the western ‘Christian’ culture and He drew me like a magnet.”
An Arab political analyst said, “You have done a wonderful job to rescue Christ from western clothes and bring him to the Muslim people.”
Another person reported, “After beginning to read your book about the gospel of Luke, I understand now what it means that Jesus is the Son of God.”
He gasped and exclaimed, “Oh, this is what my people need – a Bible that we will actually read. We’ve thought that the Bible is a book from the West and so we’re a little nervous about reading it, but the way this is done is PERFECT. It makes me feel right at home before I’ve even read it. I will finish this in two days and then let’s talk about it.” I was shocked as I sat in the office of this influential Muslim member of Parliament. I had come to give him Mazhar’s gospel of John with commentary and was hoping for a positive response, but wasn’t prepared for this. He was more than excited. He read through a number of pages right there in his office – with a crowd of people left waiting outside to get in and see him. We talked for about 25 minutes about God, Jesus and Muslim Arabs’ perceptions of the scriptures. In the end, I prayed for him and we exchanged phone numbers with him almost begging me to come back and talk some more about this, which I’m longing to do, except that there have been many others with nearly the exact same response to John – so it’s difficult to find the time.
“Mazhar Mallouhi’s book A Sufi Reading of the Gospel of John remains… a source of rich inspiration and enlightenment, not only in a practical sense, but also philosophically and theologically, especially in the field of religious language and religious symbolism. – Adib Sa’ab (Arab reviewer)
Prestigious journals and daily papers still mention Al Kalima’s books. At the other end of the literature spectrum a popular magazine serialized Mazhar’s novel Lost in the City in 2004.