The Gospel of Damascus - L'Evangile de Damas - El Evangelio de Damasco
What People Are Saying About The Gospel of Damascus
Just completed what can be described as an overwhelmingly anxious, and emotionally exhausting read; a fictional/spiritual story about the wait and anticipation for the landing of Christ for the second time in Damascus; wait for the turns of the plot. It’s a test for your tolerance to withhold judgments till the very end. A spectacular weaving of the profane and the sacred, their natural and occurring coexistence in humanity, as in pure milk emerging in the body of an animal engulfed yet separated by impurities and its own blood; the idea that God looks for pure sincerity and loyalty in a servant, for humbleness, as opposed to a far-fetched perfection. Humans will never be morally perfect. Being proud of not committing a sin is the greatest sin. As the author points out "Sins humble humans, but too many can burn them." That deviation from the intended design is infact part of that design repentance is part of the design, it is a great part of servant-hood. There are a lot of humorous dynamics that go on among angels in the story as well, gets you doubting the human identity of people you meet in the street, they might be angels after all!
An essential message of The Gospel of Damascus is vividly captured in the scene of Yune’s first initiation meeting with Nuri. Yune went to Nuri expecting a religious lesson. But instead, they ended up dancing and twirling together. "Beams of light of various colors fell upon the two moving figures and for the first time in years I felt Yune smiling from within." To lead a path of a happy life is to surrender to an eternal dance with the teacher.
The Gospel of Damascus is the first novel, that I am aware of, that is written by a Syrian and perhaps by an Arab author which categorically con- demns the Holocaust (I speak here as a Palestinian scholar who is very familiar with contemporary fiction by Arab and Muslim authors). Not only does The Gospel of Damascus condemn the Holocaust, but it also makes attempting to save Jews from the Nazis a prerequisite for being selected by God for the most special mission of all: receiving the Christ.
This book is a very well written and entertaining story. On first glance it reads like a fantasy story with its angel-like beings but if you let the story enter your thoughts and actually start to think about it you learn that it is much more. For me it was an eyeopener about my approach to religion - and that is something you did not expect from a novel. I just can’t say more for it’s more for me.
An excellent fictional account of the events leading to the coming of the Christ in Damascus. Transcending religions and denominations, we are drawn into a realm of celestials who lead and guide humans to the Will of the Divine. I simply couldn’t put this one down! I give this book Five Stars and a big Thumbs Up!
Ronceverte, West Virginia
The Gospel of Damascus is a beautiful book, beautiful in its prose and uplifting in its message. The chapter titled “The Gospel of Damascus” is particularly striking in its message. It is hard to describe what feelings this book invoked in me, I felt as though it was more of an experience than an exercise in reading. I will keep this book along with other books that I refer to time and again when I need some guidance in my life as I, too, “wait for Christ.”
This is my maiden literary journey with Omar Imady, and what a wonderful journey it was! He masterfully weaves his way between the human and the spiritual world so the reader can experience the angels in our midst that we encounter daily or just know their presence with us. As I read some of the opening pages, I remembered the novels written by Frank Perretti and how he also blended the natural and spiritual entities we encounter daily. There are many surprises also within these pages that keep the reader moving through, wanting more!
Altamont, New York
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the relationship of the angels with Yune. The spiritual journey that they make helps me reflect on my own personal spiritual journey and my need to “wait for Christ”. I didn’t realize that parts of the Muslim faith paralleled the Christian faith. This is a great summer read!
Crystal Steele Joyce
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
"An uncompromising monotheistic sensibility of the heart." Among the many big achievements of this little novel, one that touches me deeply is its suggestion that the time in which we live, the current age, is a time when we can as a human race move beyond the disciplined rigidity of doctrine to experience truth in the realm of the heart, a space we all share despite the apparent differences of our religious practices.
When I first opened The Gospel of Damascus, I wasn't sure what to expect. In a sense, yes, it does bridge differences between the three Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, tying together their similarities and bringing them closer together. In another, it transcends the concept of religion altogether for something more mystical, spiritual and real. By giving the angels human elements and emotions, and by giving them the direct role of Heaven's wardens in shaping human destiny, Imady manages to blend the earthly and the Divine, suggesting a higher purpose for our lives, one that is inherently divine.
I have never read anything like this. It weaves a spiritual, rather than religious journey (no Bible quotes here) into a work of fantasy, and throws in some history of Damascus, Syria, the Middle East, politics and religion (Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity). I think this book would appeal regardless of your personal religious beliefs. I stopped [reading] because not only had I been reading straight for around three hours, I was getting hungry for a snack and this seemed to be a good place to stop – especially because while reading the last page of Chapter 3 in Section VII: The Sign of Jonah I was almost moved to tears, feeling my faith renewed. My heart swelled and my eyes welled up, so I put the book down, putting off reading what I would call the epilogue: The Epistle of Eliezer, wanting to prolong my joy. (Note that at the time, I was sitting in a mall food court. If I was in private, I know I would have let the emotion take over and spilled those tears.)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Omar Imady’s The Gospel of Damascus attempts to eradicate this severance between mankind and helps to unite Muslims, Jews, and Christians by connecting the three belief systems together. The author shows tremendous respect for all three religions, and I very much appreciated how he was able to use factual aspects of the three different religions and incorporate them into a fictional story. The Gospel of Damascus was an absolute pleasure to read!
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
The importance of The Gospel of Damascus lies in the idea of 'Religious Humanism' which could be the solution to the problems the world has been dwelling in since for ever. I think that this book should be translated into Arabic so people who hold on to traditional religious views would open their eyes to another perspective which is more tolerant and humanistic in nature.
I've never been into fantasies or mysticism, but this book is far more than a fantasy ... It intermixed stories of all 3 main religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism); at points I felt a bit over my head because I wasn't well acquainted with all the historical and geographical details, but once you get past those details (or research them) you'll get to the true message of this book and the lessons behind each chapter. Awesome read... and it seems like it might have a sequel!
As I read the teachings of Nuri, I realized that he had summarized everything we need in life to become peaceful and loving. But how can that be Islam? I am definitely intrigued now to explore this religion that I have grown to dislike. I enjoyed every page of this book. It made me want to research, it made me cry, it made me laugh and in the end it gave me hope that even though this world seems to be falling apart, there are still those who believe in its salvation.
There is a rhythm to this story. Like a little song in the back of your head. A relaxing melody that made me happy. The story uses Islam as the central philosophy of the journey of a man who prepares the world for the second coming of Christ. Yet, this is not a story of religion. It is a look at morality and the impact of choices not only on those who make them, but on the ripple effect of those choices through society.