Omid Safi – Sufi Heart – Ep. 24 – Mary and Jesus: A Sufi Perspective on the Christmas Story

Omid Safi offers us a sense of the significance of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and the sacred experience of Mary in the Islamic tradition.

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Mary and Jesus: A Sufi Perspective on the Christmas Story

Omid dives into the birth of Jesus as told and understood in the Islamic tradition. He explores how Mary is the most prominent female personality in the Quran, and reads some passages from the chapter of Mary about the conception of Jesus. Omid steps away from the Quran to read Rumi’s account of the encounter between Mary and the Holy Spirit.

“The landscape where the Quran places the birth of Jesus is both familiar and also a little different. So, if our understanding of Christmas has become commodified and commercialized, where sometimes it seems like it’s more about Santa Claus and the Three Wise Men bringing presents, well, you know, the Quran doesn’t have much to do with that.” – Omid Safi

Visit Illuminated Courses for more wisdom and interpretations of the Quran from Omid Safi
Solitude and Solidarity (20:35)

Omid explores some of the connections between Muhammed and Jesus, and Muhammed and Mary. He returns to the story of Mary, reading passages about the suffering she experienced during childbirth and how her moment of solitude became a moment of solidarity with God. Omid talks about how in the Quranic account of this story, Jesus speaks as a newborn.

“So a time of solitude can become a time of community, and a time of solidarity.” – Omid Safi

Is Mary a Prophet? (42:05)

Omid reads more from Rumi about how we are all like the story of Mary in the Quran, we all have a Jesus inside of us. He talks more about the importance of the story of Mary in Islamic spirituality, and how it is incorporated into the prayer life of Muslims. Omid ends the show with a discussion of whether or not Mary is considered a prophet in the Islamic tradition. 

“What do we call someone who talks with God, and God talks back to them? Many traditions would call them a prophet.” – Omid Safi

Mirabai Starr offers a reflection about her process of turning to the Divine Mother

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Art generously provided by Haydar Hatami