Christ unites Jordan’s Muslims and Christians

Madaba invites anarchists to learn lessons in co-existence

Author: 

Half a century ago, a Muslim prayer leader (Imam) in a remote Jordanian village fell sick in Ramadan, thus failing to lead people break their fast (iftar). To avert any discrepancy, a priest in the neighboring church rang the bells to alert fellow Muslims to for the iftar.

However, inter-religious harmony is much older than the last few decades.

Over 100 years back, a Christian from Marar tribe donated land for a mosque in Madaba, the southern side of Jordanian capital, Amman. The state built the mosque in the country’s third most populous city and named it Masjid Al-Hussein Bin Talal. Today, the Ottoman-style mosque, standing on Christian-donated piece of land, remains the most popular for bigger Friday prayer congregations.

Jamal Juma Al-Safrati always felt indebted to Christian’s generosity towards Muslims for promoting the values of coexistence in Madaba, also called the city of mosaics dating back to the Byzantine times. Cleric by profession, Al-Safrati learnt that Ghalib Muhsin Muhammad Al-Otaibi, a Jordanian who resides in Ukraine, plans to build a mosque in Madaba. He convinced his rich compatriot to name the mosque after Prophet Issa bin Maryam (Peace be upon them). Al-Otaibi just loved the proposal.

Jordanian cleric Jamal Juma Al-Safrati poses for the camera with mosque in the backdrop. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman.
People praying inside the Christ mosque, which is popular for Friday prayers including amongst the Muslim tourists. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman
Cleric Al-Safrati stands at the stairway leading to the unique mosque where he leads prayers daily. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman
Ottoman-style Al-Hussein Bin Talal Mosque was built a century ago when a Christian family donated land to build a mosque in the southern Amman. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman
Jordanian cleric Jamal Juma Al-Safrati poses for the camera with mosque in the backdrop. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman.
People praying inside the Christ mosque, which is popular for Friday prayers including amongst the Muslim tourists. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman
Cleric Al-Safrati stands at the stairway leading to the unique mosque where he leads prayers daily. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman
Ottoman-style Al-Hussein Bin Talal Mosque was built a century ago when a Christian family donated land to build a mosque in the southern Amman. – Photos by Hamad Al-Othman

Al-Safrati says, "I traveled across various Muslim nations and found mosques named after all the prophets’ of Allah except Jesus Christ."

During three decades in Syrian capital Damascus, Al-Safrati studied law and Arabic prior returning to his native Jordan.

Prayer leader in the Issa bin Maryam Mosque, Al-Safrati confirms that the idea crystallized in 2008 after a Danish cartoonist published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

“The caricatures provoked bitter divisions between Muslims and Christians,” he explains. The Jesus Christ mosque emerged as a gesture towards Christians in Madaba.

Today the mosque, built with a donation of $85,000 or 58,000 EUR, is a popular landmark in a city where Christians make up merely 5% of the total population.

Share this page

Facebook Twitter Delicious Buzz Digg StumbleUpon
Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (11 votes)

User Comments

Those stories are so good

Those stories are so good they are "timeless."

Please add date of publishing. Thanks

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.