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  Opinion   Oped  22 Dec 2017  Mystic Mantra: Jesus — Knower of divine mysteries

Mystic Mantra: Jesus — Knower of divine mysteries

Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam. She can be contacted at
Published : Dec 22, 2017, 5:25 am IST
Updated : Dec 22, 2017, 5:25 am IST

Sufis have forever expressed profound reverence for Jesus, regarding him a perfect Sufi master and knower of divine mysteries.


Of all the prophets before Muhammad, I feel closest to Jesus for he is Ruh Allah, the spirit of God and like Adam carries the breath of divinity. I spent my childhood in an Irish convent boarding school and therefore the closeness to Jesus. I love Mary, Mariam, as in the Arabic language. There is a whole chapter named after her in the Quran and Prophet Muhammad described her as one of the most perfect of all women.

At the age of five, Mary was given a cell in the house of worship, where she studied under the scholars and devoted herself to prayer. When Zachariya would visit the cell, he would find Mary with fresh fruits and other provisions. Mary told him that God provided her with sustenance. Inspired, Zachariya prayed for a son in the sacred space and his prayers were accepted. Despite old age and a barren wife, Allah blessed him with Yahya, John the Baptist.

God sent a message through Archangel Jibraeel, Gabriel, to Mary that he had honoured her among the women of all nations and she would give birth to Jesus, to whom God would give a book. Mary asked how that was possible for no man had touched her. Gabriel reminded that Allah creates whatever he wills. “The likeness of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; he created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be’: And he was.”

Today if the followers of Jesus, Moses and Muhammad are at odds, it is not because of the their teachings, but despite their unifying message of the oneness of God. Islam, the last of the three Semitic monotheistic religions, incorporates all the prophets from the lineage of Ibrahim, Abraham; Musa, Moses and Isa, Jesus. According to the Quran there has never been a time when God did not send messengers who did not speak the language of the people. “Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the apostles before thee.”

Prophet Muhammad said: “Both in this world and in the hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The Prophets are brothers of the same father with different mothers, and their religion is one. I am the closest in relationship to Jesus, the son of Mary, because there was no prophet between him and me. Jesus will descend. If you see him, then know him. He is a man of a moderately ruddy complexion. He will be wearing two faintly yellow garments. His hair will seem to have drops of water upon it, even though it will not be wet.”

Sufis have forever expressed profound reverence for Jesus, regarding him a perfect Sufi master and knower of divine mysteries. Jesus said: “It is to those who are worthy of my mysteries that I tell my mysteries. I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the son of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. Whoever has come to understand the world has found only a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world. Whoever finds the world and becomes rich, let him renounce the world. Become passers-by.”

Jesus declared: “I am the master, I am the way.” As the spirit of God, Jesus is pure compassion, a godly attribute that Sufis seek to manifest in their own spirits. Through the centuries, Jesus and Mary have played significant roles in Sufi thought and poetry. Rumi writes:

The hermitage of Jesus
Is the Sufi’s table spread
Take heed, O sick one,
Never forsake this doorway.

Tags: jesus, prophet muhammad, sufis