At the occasion of Laylatul Qadr, 25 or 27 Ramadan, and the celebration of Idul Fitr I express here the traditional: mohon maaf lahir batin, forgiveness for mistakes and things neglected. Let the cleansing of Ramadan be effective and give new spirit, new start. Especially for the humanitarian disaster in Syria, but also for the continuing depression in Europe, we hope for a new enthusiasm, openness among people of different opinion.
In the near future (I heard per 8 September 2012) a new website will be opened: www.alquranalkitab.net. It will give the biblical and quranic texts of the major stories that the two communities share. Related to that occasion I was asked by initiator Marlies ter Borg to give some picture of the wayang Natalan, the images made by a Yogyakarta artist for the occasion of a Christmas play at the Islamic University, IAIN, (now UIN Sunan Kalijaga). The wayang figures were made in the later 1980s with the mediation of Dr. Abdurrahman (Wijyakusuma) my close colleague. The first here is, of course, the angel Gabriel/Jibril, in the Indonesian style with the wings not attached to the shoulders but to the ears.
Our second image is related to the story of Christmas. Left (below) we see the craddle with little baby Jesus and the star of Christmas, showing to the three royal visitors the road to Bethlehem.
Prof. Jan Peters once suggested that the hu of anzalnahu is not the Qur'an, but rather the angel Gabriel or God's Spirit which was sent down with the message or even the reality of the coming of Jesus. God knows better! But also Angelika Neuwirth in her newest commentary refers to a 'logos-theology', a theology of God's Word that is sent down several times in history. In the Dutch commentary that I wrote in the Dutch version of this blog I write that maybe an old Christian hymns was reused in the time of Muhammad to describe also this new relevation.
Then the virgin Mary herself: the Indonesian artist knew that he was making wayang images for a Western client and about some Western story. So Mary (like the angel Gabriel) here has no refined Indonesian features, but a quite rough but expressive face.
So let it be known and accepted that we always retell the basic stories of our religions in a style adapted to our own context and culture.
Selamat hary Raya Idul Fitr!