*A manual of Christian Formation for Christians in an Islamic context





- Mohammad

- Pre-Islamic Arabia


A manual of Christian Formation for Christians

in an Islamic context

A general Introduction: how to use the manual with a note on contextualising its content.

Introduction                 Understanding common terms that seem to be similar and yet are the bases of misunderstandings between Islam and Christianity.
Faith and Religion

        • What is faith - Iman

        • What is religion – Din

        • What is Divine revelation and the role of the human person – Wahy

        • What is Inspiration – Ilhaam

        • Tradition and Magisterium before Scripture.

        • Canonicity of the Bible and the Apocryphal writings.

        • The relationship between both religion and faith.

        • Faith and reason

        • Understanding Divine Revelation (exegesis and Hermeneutics)

        • Creation, Sin and Redemption

        • Christian anthropology and Islamic anthropology

        • Divine law and Positive law – basic Christian moral principles and the four Islamic schools.

        • Prayer liturgical and personal – al-Salat and the Du’a

Introduction                 The essential doctrinal topics that are presented start with Christian sources that would question and enlighten Islamic sources.

Who is Jesus?             

        • Definitions of a Prophet. Messenger, Apostle – Nubuwwa & Rasuul

        • Non Christian sources, non-canonical Christian sources (Agrapha) and Islamic sources of the historical person of Jesus.

        • The name Jesus and ‘Isaa.

        • The name Christian and Nasaara and Maseehiyoon in relation to the understanding of Christ.

        • The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Incarnation compared with the Qur’an.

        • The miracles of Jesus in the Qur’an, the Gospel of Thomas and the understanding of what is a miracle in the scriptural sense in contrast to magic or sorcery.

        • Jesus the Logos (God’s Word) and the meaning behind the formula “Son of God” and “Son of man” in the Scriptures.

        • The resurrection and the divinity of Christ.

        • The Trinity revealed in the economy of salvation.

What is the Church – what is the umma?

        • The birth of the Church (early community) as the koinonia in the Holy Spirit.

        • The Church as the mystical body of Christ witnesses Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension.

        • The people of God the Father born in baptism as a Sacrament of salvation – sibgha

        • The Sacraments as an encounter with Christ who is incarnate in His Church.

        • The Magisterium and the Charismatic Church – ijma’ el-ra’y



        • Conversion as continuous response.

        • The Church and the state – Social teaching.

        • Dialogue between religions its purpose and method

        • Marriage – dangers and laws

        • Consecration of religious and Holy Order.

        • Mystics and mystical experiences – Sufi.


The purpose of this handbook is to be a resource for formation of Christian leaders. The material in the handbook is made so that workshops or interactive formation sessions can be created; keeping in mind the context and the people involved.

The general structure of each session follows an inductive approach i.e. “from below”. Starting with the experience of the people and then arrive to a community activity that would transmit what has been learned.

Phase 1                        LEARN FROM WHAT I KNOW
In this phase the group are divided into small numbers from 2 – 5 with a task to respond to a question that can be from any of the above section.
EXAMPLES of questions to share in small groups taking from section the topic on ‘FAITH’ one change the topic using similar questions such as:

  • “What do you understand by the word ‘FAITH’?”

  • “Would you like to share a FAITH experience that you remember?”

  • “Can you describe your feelings about what you heard in the sharing?”

In this phase of the learning process it starts where the group is. This phase tries to focus on three aspects of learning which are expressed in the following three words: UNDERSTAND, REMEMBER and FEEL.

Any experience includes: recall, making sense and being aware of the emotional stimulation that comes from remembering. We have daily experiences that are never transformed into learning material. As the workshops or formation progresses the participant can grow in receiving and communicating life.

Phase 2                        WHAT DO THEY SAY?
During this phase it is important to expose popular beliefs, general grass-root understandings and “gossip” on a particular topic chosen from any of the above sections.
The goal of this phase is to compare what people spread around and hear with official teaching or have the opportunity to compare with the experts say.
EXAMPLES of questions to share in small groups, having someone to write dawn responses to the questions and another two who can read answers from the Christian side and from the Muslim side. One can chose a topic such as the identity of Jesus.

  •  What do people say about Jesus, is he a prophet, a messenger or apostle or someone else?

  • What do Muslims say?

  • What do Christians say?

  • What do you say?

Phase two aims at assimilation of official teaching of the church by comparing and contrasting between popular beliefs, some personal opinions, Islamic view and the Church’s teaching. Allowing the participants to hear, discuss and form their synthesis of the Christian faith according to the Catholic tradition.


Phase 3                        WHAT CAN WE DO TOGETHER?
In this phase, “action” can take various forms depending on the context of the people, the legal situation and the degree of liberty that is available. There are few forms of action that can be mentioned; such as divulgation of what you have learned among the youth. It can be part of nurturing self confidence in dialoguing with others who are have a different tradition or religion. It can also be part of parish awareness programme. These are only few possibilities of many others that you can think of.

This phase can take you back to previous phases, which is fine. However the other topics which are mention in the three sections can be used so that the formation is ongoing and answers the communities’ needs. This means that other topic can be added to what has been already mentioned in the above sections.

EXAMPLE: Here are some questions that could help for an action plan:

  • Can you identify from our previous discussions what we need to do?

  • How can we do it?

  • What do we need in order to achieve it?

  • Who should we do it with?

  • Where and when can we do it and how often?

  • Who form us will do what and when?