Charles de Foucauld, Silent witness for Jesus, 'in the face of Islam'

At a time when there is so much need for understanding among people belonging to different religions, may these studies stimulate that exchange at a deeper level which leads to an experience of harmony, and even of a certain unity. Our conflict-ridden world is longing for this.

Archbishop Michael Fitsgerald M. Afr

'His vocation has always drawn him towards the Muslim world.'1

So wrote Charles de Foucauld's spiritual director and friend, the Abbe Huvelin.2 His scholarly 'successor', Louis Massignon, went further:
'I feel that he was predestined for Islam, that his death was for it [Islam]3.
This attraction towards Islam and the 'Muslim world' undoubtedly begins early in Foucauld's life, from his experience as a young lieutenant of the French army in Algeria and clearly dominates his last fifteen years in that country. It is perhaps more extensive still. Can we add that this relationship was Foucauld's 'destiny', as Massignon 4 implies and certainly thought? And what form did this relationship take? We need to look more closely at Foucauld's life to form a judgement.