more on Islam

a wise friend of mine has made some comments to me about my recent post re Islam, directing me to a couple of recent pieces on the Answering Islam website.

The posts make clear what I was trying to express before.

The first is an open letter to British Muslims.

The second is an article about what the writer calls “The two faces of Islam“.

If someone were to ask me, “David, do you believe that Islam is a religion of peace?” my answer would not be “Yes” or “No.” Rather, my response would be, “First tell me what you mean when you say ‘Islam,’ for it is a term that is used in different ways.” If by “Islam” we mean the religion that is practiced by more than a billion people around the world, I could reasonably answer with a qualified “Yes,” because it is a religion of peace for many people (though not for all). But if by “Islam” we mean the religion taught by Muhammad, I would have to respond with a resounding “No.”

That, in a nutshell, is what I’ve been trying to express.

So, what is Islam? Is it the religion taught by Mohammed or not?

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2 comments on “more on Islam

  1. Wouldn’t you say that most religions, Islam included, place a high emphasis on tradition as well as scripture? As an Anglican, this should be especially clear to you, as Tradition is one of the three ‘pillars’ of the Anglican Communion.

    Seeing it that way, I would think that ‘true Islam’ is more complex than a certain set of scriptures. ‘True Islam,’ I would think, would be defined by Muslims themselves. If there is a peaceful interpretation of Islam (which there seems to be), even if it’s a bastardization of the original faith, it should still be tolerated, from a political standpoint.

    We should not say, then, that the threat to public safety is Islam, but that it’s a certain version thereof. Evangelical Christians have every right to criticize more moderate Muslim views and attempt to persuade their advocates to accept Jesus, but as far as politics, these moderate Muslim views are not a concern, at least not with regard to terror.

    Sorry for being so wordy; I just want to be very careful and clear.

    • Except that you must take into account that the Qu’ran plays a much different role to the Muslim way of thought than Scripture does to Christians. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the eternal uncreated speech of God, given to the prophet Mohammed by the Archangel Gabriel. Insulting the Qur’an (by not treating it with reverence) is considered to be blasphemy, and in Muslims countries it is punishable by long prison sentences or even death.

      Even literalist Christians do not place the Bible at that level; Christ is the Word made flesh from the beginning. Christians feel free to make notes in their copy of the Bible and mark it up with highlighter and toss out old copies or donate them to the thrift shop.

      The Qur’an *is* Islam; the Faith is based on that alone. The separate teachings of Muhammed, the Hadith, are not given the same consideration. Without the revelation of the Qur’an, Mohammed is just a man, from a Muslim point of view.

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