অনেকের মতে সাধু হিসেবে মঠে যোগদানের পূর্বে জন তার পিতার মৃত্যুর পর খলিফার দরবারে কিছুকাল কাজ করেন। তবে এটা প্রশ্নবিদ্ধ একারণে যে, জন নিজে যেমন কোথাও এ সম্পর্কে কোনকিছু বলেননি তেমনি মুসলিম কোন উৎসেও এ বিষয়ে কোন তথ্য নেই। তাছাড়া মুসলিমদের সংস্পর্শে থাকার পরও তার নবী মুহম্মদ ও কোরআন সম্পর্কে হাস্যকর জ্ঞান বিষয়টির সত্যতা একেবারে উড়িয়ে দেয়। যাহোক, এটা বিশ্বাস করা হয় যে, জন মার শেবাতে পাদ্রী হিসেবে যোগদান করেন ৭৩৫ সনে।
|মার শেবা মঠ, জেরুজালেম|
আর একটি উৎস তার শিক্ষক হিসেবে কসমাস (Cosmas) নামের একজন সাধুকে সনাক্ত করেছে, যাকে আরবগণ দাস হিসেবে সিসিলি (Sicily) থেকে নিয়ে এসেছিল এবং জনের পিতা মোটা অংকের অর্থের বিনিময়ে তাকে ক্রয় করে নেন। এই কসমসের তত্ত্বাবধানে জন সঙ্গীত, জ্যোতির্বিদ্যা, ধর্মশাস্ত্র, গণিত ও জ্যামিতি শিক্ষা লাভ করেন।
মজার ব্যাপার হচ্ছে জনের জীবনীতে আলৌকিকতার উল্লেখ পাওয়া যায়, যা তাকে কিম্বদন্তীতে পরিণত করেছে। সম্রাট ৩য় লিও খলিফা ১ম আল-ওয়ালিদের নিকট জন দামেস্কানীর ইসলাম বিরুদ্ধ লেখনী ও ষড়যন্ত্রের তথ্য-প্রমান সরবরাহ করেন। তথ্যের সত্যতা যাঞ্চাই শেষে খলিফা জনের ডান হাত কেটে ফেলে তা জনসম্মুখে ঝুলিয়ে প্রদর্শণীর আদেশ দেন। এরপর জন asked for the restitution of his hand, and prayed fervently to the Theotokos before her icon: thereupon, his hand is said to have been miraculously restored. In gratitude for this miraculous healing, he attached a silver hand to the icon, which thereafter became known as the "Three-handed", or Tricheirousa.
জনের শিক্ষা এবং গ্রীসীয় থিয়োলজীক জ্ঞান যা তার অন্যান্য লেখায় পাওয়া যায় তাতে আমরা তাকে স্টুপিড হিসেবে সনাক্ত করতে পারি না। সুতরাং তিনি একজন শঠ, প্রবঞ্ছনাকারী। কিন্তু কেন তিনি এই শঠতার আশ্রয় নিলেন? সম্ভবত: ঐ সময়ে ইসলামের জোয়ারে ভেসে যাওয়ার হাত থেকে খৃষ্টধর্ম এবং খৃষ্টানদেরকে রক্ষার স্বার্থেই ধর্মবেত্তা হিসেবে মূর্খ খৃষ্টসমাজের সামনে ইসলাম ধর্মের এমন পরিচয় তুলে ধরতে বাধ্য হয়েছিলেন তিনি। যা হোক এখন আমরা তুলে ধরছি তার “ইশ্মায়েলীদের বৈধর্ম্য” শীর্ষক লেখার চুম্বক অংশ। আমার মনে হয় সেরা বিনোদন হবে পাঠকদের কাছে এটি-
“There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away destitute.’ These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Akhbár, which means great. And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters.
From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.
And he says this, that when the Christ had ascended into heaven God asked Him: ‘O Jesus, didst thou say: “I am the Son of God and God”?’ And Jesus, he says, answered: ‘Be merciful to me, Lord. Thou knowest that I did not say this and that I did not scorn to be thy servant. But sinful men have written that I made this statement, and they have lied about me and have fallen into error.’ And God answered and said to Him: ‘I know that thou didst not say this word.” There are many other extraordinary and quite ridiculous things in this book which he boasts was sent down to him from God.
But when we ask: ‘And who is there to testify that God gave him the book? And which of the prophets foretold that such a prophet would rise up?’—they are at a loss. And we remark that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, with God appearing in the sight of all the people in cloud, and fire, and darkness, and storm. And we say that all the Prophets from Moses on down foretold the coming of Christ and how Christ God (and incarnate Son of God) was to come and to be crucified and die and rise again, and how He was to be the judge of the living and dead. Then, when we say: ‘How is it that this prophet of yours did not come in the same way, with others bearing witness to him? And how is it that God did not in your presence present this man with the book to which you refer, even as He gave the Law to Moses, with the people looking on and the mountain smoking, so that you, too, might have certainty?’—they answer that God does as He pleases. ‘This,’ we say, ‘We know, but we are asking how the book came down to your prophet.’ Then they reply that the book came down to him while he was asleep. Then we jokingly say to them that, as long as he received the book in his sleep and did not actually sense the operation, then the popular adage applies to him (which runs: You’re spinning me dreams.)
And again we say to them: ‘As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit, why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.’
He also made it legal to put away whichever wife one might wish, and, should one so wish, to take to oneself another in the same way. Mohammed had a friend named Zeid. This man had a beautiful wife with whom Mohammed fell in love. Once, when they were sitting together, Mohammed said: ‘Oh, by the way, God has commanded me to take your wife.’ The other answered: ‘You are an apostle. Do as God has told you and take my wife.’ Rather—to tell the story over from the beginning—he said to him: ‘God has given me the command that you put away your wife.’ And he put her away. Then several days later: ‘Now,’ he said, ‘God has commanded me to take her.’ Then, after he had taken her and committed adultery with her, he made this law: ‘Let him who will put away his wife. And if, after having put her away, he should return to her, let another marry her. For it is not lawful to take her unless she have been married by another.
Conclusion: However, today, in 20th century there are Christian Scholars who have taken alternate approaches. The Roman Catholic Church's viewpoint, as stated in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia, holds that "contradictory opinions have been expressed by scholars in the last three centuries" about Muhammad's "moral character and sincerity" since "many of these opinions are biased... by an extreme hatred of Islam".
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