Sadiq Mohammed (Abu Hyder) is a teacher & writer of comparative religion in Ethiopia. Sadiq's focus is on Islam and Christianity.
1. How did you get into comparative religion?
A. Once upon a time over a decade ago, I went to a diner to have my breakfast in Addis Ababa. While sitting to be served, a customer on his way out came towards me and said "Jesus is lord". As a Muslim who believes in Jesus's prophethood with no knowledge of comparative religion, I replied "No he is not lord". The guy insisted that Jesus is not only lord but "the lord of the lords". I too insisted that Jesus is nothing more than a prophet. This time, the guy put his hand on my head and prayed on me and left. His action infuriated me, my inability to respond to him knowing that Islam is the right religion made me upset. This incident gave me the determination to study comparative religion.
2. What is comparative religion?
A. Comparative religion is a study, analysis and knowledge of comparing and contrasting once own religion against other religions.
3. When did you start to study comparative religion?
A. It is difficult to state a specific time period, however it is around 1987 Ethiopian Calendar (1995 Gregorian calendar).
4. How developed is comparative religion in Ethiopia
A. If we compare the study of comparative religion in Ethiopia to the rest of the world, we are still at the beginning. Interfaith dialogue, debate and discussion is not widely known in Ethiopian.
5. What is the objective of comparative religion, is it to convert people or to convey the message?
A. The primary objectives are
- Dawa, to convey the message of Islam, which is to inform people on what Islam is about and call them to the right religion.
- Teach Muslims the religion they follow in comparison to others in order to build steadfastness in their belief.
- Correct non Muslims from any wrong misconception they may have about Islam
6. Why is the bible verse John 5:30 has a special moment to you?
A. The verse was the first one that I came across. As I mentioned earlier, after the incident in the breakfast place, I talked to my Islamic teacher about that incident. My teacher gave me his notebook on comparative religion and when I opened it, this verse was the first one that I noticed, where Jesus said he canít do anything with out his lord.
Thanks to Almighty Allah, I was born from Muslim family and raised as such.
John 5:30 - "By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me."
I felt if Jesus said this then I can use it to make Dawa to people with this verse and challenge them about Jesus not being the lord himself. However as I found out that wasn't enough to persuaded them.
7. Where you a christian priest, your deep knowledge of bible makes some people wonder ?