7. The Kalima (the Word)
History would be but a repetition of things already existing if our being did not include an opening to a Revelation. But how can we know if we are inspired by the Creator or by a fallen angel, by Shaytan? How do we know if we speak to a divinity or to a chimera?
The sura “The Family of Imran” tells us that ‘Issa is a “Word [Kalima] emanating from God” (s. 3, 45). Thanks to the Word, history does not keep repeating itself, it is open to the accomplishment that the Creator wants to communicate to it.
The Gospel according to Saint John says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1, 1-3, 14), that is to say, among us like living Temple, and in us, in the sense that God visits each of us in our deepest being.
The last book of the bible relates a vision to the same Saint John: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Apocalypse 19, 1-16).
It must not be imagined that the war made with justice by the Word of God is a war in the current sense of the term: his robe is dipped in blood because of his crucifixion, he does not give death, he offers his life in sacrifice; the armies are those of angels and saints, and the sword is not in his hand but in his mouth. Every reader of the Bible recognizes that this sword is the Word of God itself. For example, the suffering servant in Isaiah says that the Lord “made of my mouth a sharp sword” (Is 49, 2).
Before the Koran, a portion of the Jews had not accepted that Jesus (‘Issa) was the one truly sent from the Father. They began to think that it would be by the supremacy of Israel over the nations that evil would be banished from the earth and that the wicked would be overcome. Certain of these “messianists” saw in Jesus (‘Issa) the one who should have realized this program when he was alive, but since he had been prevented by the corruption of Israel, God had therefore transported him to heaven before the crucifixion; he would be there awaiting more favorable circumstances permitting his return and the realization of this political vision. Amir Moezzi has strongly shone a light on this aspect of proto-Islamic expectations which we find in many of the hadiths (1). Clearly, Muḥammad (~) awaited the redescent of Al-Massih to the earth, this messiah is ‘Issa (Jesus), and the context is warlike.
But in all this, what has become of the visit of the Creator by his Word (Kalima)? What has become of the Good News of a Word coming from God and therefore capable of vivifying us and opening to us a good future, provided that we have faith in him?
(1) Guillaume DYE und Mohammad Ali AMIR-MOEZZI (Hrsg.), Le Coran des historiens, Cerf, 2019.