Jesus: If the Heart is not Softened

Although it is not generally recognised in the Christian world, Muslims have sincere respect for Jesus, regarding him as a prophet of God, whose attributes include a fiercely ascetic renunciation of this world for the sake of the inner life, and the cultivation of the heart. Not surprisingly, when Muslims tell each other stories about Jesus he is a Muslim, and speaks, for example, of a mosque and not a temple.

Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, just as a sick man looks at food and does not enjoy it because he is in pain, so a lover of this world does not enjoy worship or appreciate its delight because of his love for this world. Truly I say to you, if a beast of burden is left unridden and undisciplined, it grows headstrong, and changes its character. So also if the heart is not softened by mention of death and the strain of worship, it grows hard and callous.  Truly I say to you, if a water skin is not torn or withered, it may hold honey. So also if the heart is not torn by desires, defiled by avarice, or hardened by luxury, it can be a vessel of wisdom.

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Jesus said, “Be a guest in this world, and make the mosque your home.”

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Jesus preached to the Israelites. They wept and began to tear their clothes. Jesus said, “What sin have your clothes committed? Turn instead to your hearts and reprove them.”

from: The Muslim Jesus
Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature
edited and translated by Tarif Khalidi

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