Allāh: Internalized Relationality: Awwaḍ Simʽān on the Trinitarian Nature of God

Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies 36 (3):173-183 (2019)
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The issue of Christ’s two natures and the Trinitarian persons of God in the Christian conception have posed a conundrum in Christian-Muslim Relations. Islam has historically held to a formulation of absolute unity while the historic Christian faith prefers to see a plurality of union as the proper expression of divine unity. The debate raged throughout the medieval period. The contemporary Egyptian intellectual Awwaḍ Simʽān is one outstanding voice in the current nexus of Muslim-Christian engagement. Simʽān presents a rationally appealing formulation of the Christian doctrine, avoiding or carefully explaining some of the Christian Trinitarian terminology which Muslims regard as most egregious. He appeals to Muslim philosophers as well as historic Christian apologists to buttress his views. It is a winsome and rationally appealing formulation from an Arabic-writing theologian from within the Muslim context. This article seeks to examine the salient points of Simʽān’s formulation and ask if it could be heard in today’s Muslim milieu with all its attending dissonance due to the realities of religious militancy and social displacement. The communal unity of the Trinity may yet find corners of the Muslim world where it is welcomed and embraced. If so, Awwaḍ Simʽān’s formulation will play a visible role.



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