Meyerovitch (1909-1999), a member of an aristocratic French family, after receiving a degree in law and philosophy concentrated her studies on the issues of literature, philosophy and tasawwuf (Sufism). She translated almost all the works of Mawlana and Iqbal into French. These important translations and the live and radio lectures she gave led many French intellectuals to a better understanding of Islam and played an important role in the acceptance of Islam by many people.
Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch gave many lectures and conferences throughout the world, including at the Azhar University. She regarded Mawlana as her guide. Hawwa de Vitray- Meyerovitch (the name she adopted after becoming Muslim) passed away in 1999.
Isn't it difficult to become accustomed to the practices of worship in a new religion?
One can see that worship in Islam is practiced with the simplest expressions.
There is no need for there to be a record of the fact that I converted to Islam. Uttering the phrase "ashadu an la illaha ill Allah/ I testify that there is no god but Allah" is enough.
No matter what religion they belong to, any believer can say this.
This is true, however it is necessary to add the following phrase "wa ashadu anna Muhammadan abduhu va rasuluhu/ and I testify that Muhammad is the servant and the messenger of Allah." I repeat again; idolizing Muhammad and worshipping him is out of the question. When you accept Muhammad as a prophet, you automatically acknowledge the prophets before him, because he is their successor.
So Jesus is accepted?
Yes he is, but as a prophet, not as the only son of God. You see this is the point of great conflict between Islam and Christianity. Personally, I think that I am not rejecting anything by acknowledging Prophet Muhammad as a prophet. I can continue to believe in Mary and the holy task of Jesus. I only have the feeling - if you pardon the expression - that I have left aside the "theological jargon".
What do you mean by that?
I am referring to the fact that theologians spend their time in never-ending discussions about the relation between the three personas of the Trinity... All of this would drive me crazy. On the other hand how can I deny the message of Prophet Jesus?
Each Christian can say the first part of the Shadada, but never the second part ...
This is true, because this second part includes the fact that the message brought by Prophet Muhammad is a genuine message; it is a message that acknowledges that Jesus is not the son of God. Jesus is not God. He is not the Absolute Might.
In the same way that there is a difference of faith between the Christians and Muslims, there are also language errors that are unrelated to religion. This is rather important. I want to go back to the famous expression "Mother of God"; when I was a Christian, I used to say this without really knowing what it meant. If when we speak of the mother of this Absolute Might as the mother of the Creator, then this is an entirely different thing.
Let's examine the expression "the Son of God". We are told that he is one of the Trinity, but what is meant by the term "person"? One can discuss this issue for eternity. A person is an individual, a separate creature. Should we speak of the separate individuals of God or should we speak of His names?
As when you say "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent and Merciful..."?
It is the same thing. These qualities (the qualities of being Beneficent and Merciful) are the qualities of the same God. Speaking of individuals means speaking of different identities. Muslims cannot accept this. Similarly, Muslims cannot understand the expression that lies within the basic Christian faith, "Jesus sits on the right of the Father". When you are on the right of someone, even in a symbolic meaning, this means that you are separate from that person, and this denotes a separate individual.
This is the problem. Everything depends on the meaning you apply to the term "person". I can describe you with your name as an author or as my companion; these are your individual titles. This does not mean that you are more than one person. However, the Muslims do not regard this aspect of the Trinity as something good; they say "Did you not see the facade of the Vezeelay Monastery? There you can see the pictures of the Father God, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. When you look at some of the miniatures in the Middle Ages there is a bearded God with a crown on his head who is holding on his knees a child-God and He takes into His bosom a dove that represents the Holy Spirit of God." Such paintings depict God in human form. This is very important because it is here that a gap occurs.
However, saying "La ilaha illalah" does not lead a person to make this error. When a person does not come from the Christian tradition, if you tell them about a treasure that includes three gods, you cannot stop them from conceiving of three separate Gods, especially if you are representing them separately by attributing different behavior to each of them... If you say "Jesus is on the right of God, he will judge between the living and the dead" this means that he is separate from his father. To say the least, a duality is created.
Did you believe this right from the start? Were you aware of it before you discovered Islam?
I felt this long before. Above all, I was influenced by Saint Jean de la Croix who was, in turn, quite influenced by Arabic thought, and I found myself in his "nada, nada" (nothingness), which was a negative theology. However, I was always terrified by the apparent danger of seeing God in human form. In Islam there is a problem which is the opposite of this, because in Islam a person is alone before God. There is nothing they can hold on to, and experiencing this solitude before the Absolute Might can sometimes be difficult.
What about Prophet Muhammad; can a person hold on to him?
You cannot hold on to him, because supplicating to him or asking for anything from him is prohibited. Even supplicating to saints is forbidden. You cannot pray to the saints or to the Prophet. In this respect Muslims think that Allah's divinity is so great that even though the Prophet is a lofty person, he is far from being as divine as Allah.
Nevertheless can we not ask from him to help us by some means or other?
In daily practices some people of course do these things. Superstitious beliefs are existent everywhere. During the prayer people pray "My Almighty Allah, May you bestow your blessing upon your servant Muhammad...", yet people can never pray to the Prophet or ask anything from him. The divinity of Allah has such an inconceivable quality that no matter how superior, exalted or wise a person is, he or she cannot approach the degree of Allah. In true Islam there is no mediator between Allah and the servants.