On love, long ago, far away in our theology


After exploring the Beautiful Name al-Ghaffar, al-Ghazali offers the “counsel”: “Whoever overlooks the ugly and mentions the beautiful is one who shares in this attribute.” It then dawned on me where al-Ghazali’s comments were going. I was so locked in on forgiveness as “concealment” and the commonality with the Christian tradition it represents, that I failed to notice the significance of “manifestation.” To forgive is not just to “conceal” in the sense of not seeing the wrong and therefore not counting it against the wrongdoer. That is radical enough, and yet there is more. To forgive means to highlight the good, rather than merely hiding the bad. Which was, of course, the first thing al-Ghazali mentioned about the forgiving God: God is the one “who makes manifest what is beautiful.”

[…]

Love “covers a multitude of sins,” the Bible says (1 Pet. 4:8). Love celebrates the good; it makes manifest the beautiful and “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).

I am fifty-three years old as I write this, and I have traveled the world. Except from the pulpit of my father’s church, I don’t remember hearing a sermon on this aspect of love. I haven’t seen many modern Christian theologians urge people to make manifest the good even of those who deserve condemnation; Søren Kierkegaard’s profound comments on the matter in Works of Love and Upbuilding Discourses are more the exception than the rule. I know a few people, especially one beautiful, saintly friend, who consistently practice that particular virtue, but they are rare. And now I read a compelling exposition of this virtue in a book by a Muslim scholar—and not just a maverick thinker, but one of the highest repute among Muslims? Was al-Ghazali not supposed to practice a religion of harsh law rather than a religion of love?!

My father, a Pentecostal minister, would have rejoiced, and doubly so—not just because someone insisted that love requires speaking well of others, but because a Muslim did so. As a young man, he was a confectioner, working in confectioneries owned by others. One of the owners, and his boss, was an Albanian Muslim. “He was the best man I have ever worked for,” I heard my father say many times with great admiration.

Volf, Miroslav (2011-02-08). Allah: A Christian Response

(Kindle Locations 2733-2739; 2750-2763).

HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.

(my emphasis)

8 comentarii

  1. …degeaba Dio…daca Miroslav era din familia Lamb poate era perceput diferit demersul sau…cind te cheama Volf nu ai nici o sansa in demersuri pacifiste…mai ales intre berbeci…

    1. Mă rog, s-ar putea să nu îl ajute nici contextul din care provine, cel al unei Yugoslavii extrem de turmentate, unul care predispune la tot felul de suspiciuni …

      1. …este extrem de grav ca se incearca asasinarea morala a mintilor deschise spre dialog si asta intr un mod absolut securistic…

  2. Domnilor l-ati citit pe Mircea Eliade la capitolul acesta? Nu e vorba de nume ci de competenta. Mircea Eliade a fost un savant, pe linga care domnul in cauza pare un amator si carierist. Dar de ce sa citim pe Eliade, e roman. Numai ca si alalaltul e croat cu pasaport american si la croati ii prefer pe romani mai ales atunci cand sunt savanti. Mircea Eliade acorda un paragarf important intr-unul dintre capitolele acordate Islamului, acestui mistic dubios care risca sa nu itre in mistica luminilor si a mistica tenebrelor.

    1. …doamna Maria Istoc…la cite prosteli a spus Eliade vizavi de religii nu e de mirare ca l a avut ucenic vrajitor pe unu ca si Culianu… mai ales ca americani I au permis lui M.Eliade accesul la Cartea Urantia cu mult timp inainte de a fi publicata…asta ca o mica mostra de gindire tabloidica…

  3. Si apoi nu au spus ganditorii Crestinii lucruri mult mai profunde pina la ora aceea. Si de undne stim ca citatul este corect, si de unde mai stim daca Al G…. nu s-a inspirat de la ganditorii crestini. De curind un filozof francez de popularitate azi, Luc Ferry care dit tout et son contraire, afirma ca Thoma Aquinas s-ar fi inspirat de la Averoes, ganditor de sorginte araba care locuia in sudul Sapniei, Ei bine Rémi Brague, specialist in cultura si limba araba, ca si in istoria si filozofia araba medievala va va dovedi ca lucurile stau tocmai invers. Si nu doar atit dar ideile respective apar mult mai devreme, inca de la Augustin:

    Ma tem ca unii autori nu ezita azi sa scrie lucruri eronate stiind ca rari vor fi aceea care vor verifica ce s-a scris.

  4. Gasesc de asemena curios ca nu se aminteste inverventia lui Adonis Vidu cu privire la cartea aceasta. Adonis Vidu care il dovedeste gresit pe Volf folosind argumentele lui Volf. Si nu doar atit ma uimeste ca nimeni nu pare surprins sa auda ca Volf a scris, Vidu da pagina, ca o persoana ar putea fi crestin si musulman in acelasi timp. O fi stiind Volf ceva ce noi nu stim? Ca Mahomed ar fi murit si inviat pentru pacatele lumii?

    1. Despre ce intervenție este vorba? Dacă există vreo legătură, un link pe internet, orice, sunt foarte interesat să îl citesc și pe acesta.

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