Quran and Bible Circles

by Dave Baker

In 2016 students from the EU and from the Sydney University Muslim Students Association (SUMSA) who were eager to better understand each other’s faith started dialogues that we now call Quran and Bible Circles (QBC). The concept is fairly simple. Pick a topic, and explore what the Quran and the Bible have to say on that topic across 2 hours.

Both groups invited speakers and anywhere from 40 and 80 Christian and Muslim students would come. The QBC’s began with readings from the Quran and Bible and 15 minute talks from each speaker. Often the time of the late afternoon prayers (Salat al-‘asr) or dusk prayers (Salat al-maghrib) would fall in the middle of the QBC’s so students would break to pray. Then we would return for the second half of the QBC to discuss our  thoughts so far over halal snack packs.

Next was a time of Q&A for clarification, further details and often pointed questions that could expose the incompatibility of the truths we hold to. The QBC’s would end with an encouragement to take and read each other’s scriptures and with people staying overtime so they could have further discussions with each other.

These were not debates. There were no winners and losers. We gained much more than just greater understanding. These semi-regular QBC’s fostered better relationships among Christians and Muslims who usually would never have met. People would be excited to continue conversations that they started at the event in their spare time. We were able to disagree pointedly in public events about issues core to our identity and walk away as friends – and looking forward to the next time. There was a sense of unity as we together searched for the truth about God.

Topics explored in the four QBC’s we’ve run so far in 2016 include: ‘Introduction to the Scriptures’, ‘Our Relationship with the Divine’, ‘Jesus’ and the ‘Reliability of Scriptures’. We hope and pray that this year we will be able to hold more QBC’s with SUMSA and continue to pursue truth, debate ideas and do so with civility, grace and friendship.

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