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Oil and Water: Two Faiths: One God

Published by CopperHouse Canada
RRP $34-95

Amir Hussain is Associate Professor who teaches World Religions writing for “people who want to learn more about Islam and Muslims, particularly as they relate to Christians and Christianity.” He feels that if we are to survive in the 21st Century we must learn to live together and understand our great spiritual traditions.

Oil and Water is a clear description of points of contact and agreement amongst Islam, Christianity and Judaism as well as differences. All three worship the same God, albeit calling God by different names, and having varying insights.

Hussain clearly outlines the basic faith of Islam, explains the growth of the religion, and explores the different sects which have developed within Islam, comparing them with similar splits within Christianity.

I liked the clearly explained differences between groups, and how they came about.

He explains the Qu’ran(Koran) and how it was formed and outlines the obligations of worship for believers.
What particularly interested me is how much of the Bible is contained in the Qu’ran – though worded differently. Beginning with Adam and Eve and the early Patriarchs and with an undoubted reverence for Jesus and for Mary, there is much that is familiar despite the differences.

The author also disabuses the reader of some of the popular myths about Islam.

Some of the history, especially about the rapid growth of Islam in the first five centuries, is unconvincing but is intended to show the religion is not war-like.

As with early Christianity and the teaching of Jesus, Islam, as first propounded by its founder Muhammad, has worthy ideals and beliefs.

This book should be required reading for all theological students, and indeed all Christians and I recommend a reading if only to allay some fears and prejudices.

Reviewed by Joan Cook, a retired teacher and member of the Wavell Heights Uniting Church congregation