“[Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”Genesis 16:13
We believe in ‘El Roi’, the God who sees – who saw Hagar, and her son Ishmael. How much do we see them?
This year, on an evening filled with good news, great joy, and blue cake, the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam (formerly the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths) celebrated its tenth year. Present and former directors Dr Richard Shumack, and Professor Peter Riddell shared with the packed chapel about where the Centre had come from, and where it was going. Yet, it was appropriate to the Centre’s aims and culture that the main feature of the evening (aside from the blue cake which took, as it were, the cake) was a lecture by Dr Andy Bannister on the future of Qur’anic studies. Dr Bannister’s exciting work on a digital resource for Qur’anic textual criticism is significant because it opens the door for even greater excellence and integrity in Qur’anic studies, and in better seeing, loving, and understanding our Muslim sisters and brothers.
“there is so much yet to be done – and what a joy it is to be involved with God’s work, amongst His beloved Muslims!”
The Arthur Jeffery Centre has achieved an impressive amount in its first decade. As Professor Riddell shared during the evening, the list of graduate, post-graduate, and even post-doctoral researchers continue to grow. Resources such as Dr Bannister’s work are a testament to the excellence of the minds involved. However, these are – and must be – just the beginning, as Muslims remain amongst the most unreached people groups in the world. The Qur’an is still one of the most unexplored sacred texts in any religion. International research in Islamic studies continues to focus disproportionately on Muslim men, to the exclusion of the female experience of Islam. God’s love for Muslims does not abate, and neither can ours!
It was inspiring to sit in a room full of people who love Muslims, desire to understand them better and to share God’s love with them more clearly. Three generations of founders and directors of the Arthur Jeffery Centre shared in cutting the cake, and the discussion afterwards was lively and encouraging. However, as Dr Shumack and Professor Riddell both emphasized; there is so much yet to be done – and what a joy it is to be involved with God’s work, amongst His beloved Muslims!