CHALLENGING THE QUR’AN
Stefan Theil‘s Newsweek piece by that topic has generated some commentary around the blogosphere for its revelations that many tenets of modern Islam may simply be based on poor transcription of the Qur’an. Donald Sensing offers excellent analyis of the article and then an extended discussion of why Islam, at least as practiced in the Middle East, is so different from Christianity, despite their common roots. A couple of interesting snippets:
It’s important to remember that the Quran does not occupy the same religious place in Islam as the Bible does for Christians. For Muslims, the Quran is much more analogous to what Christ is for Christians – the supreme and actual revelation of Allah.
I didn’t know that.
The Quran contains the actual utterances of Allah, transmitted error-free to Muhammed by the angel Gabriel. And the word of Allah was given in Arabic. It is a basic tenet of Islam that the text has been passed down since his day completely without change.
That is why even Muslims who understand Christian faith very well incorrectly think that our willingness to engage in textual crtitcism of the Bible proves that we don’t really believe in it. If we really thought it was true, we would simply accept it, not dissect it. In fact, analysis of Christian and Jewish texts by Christians and Jews is used by Muslims to claim that the Bible’s testaments are in fact corrupt – a tenet of Islam for many centuries, now buttressed by modern scholarship. The corruption of the biblical texts was put aright by the giving of the Quran to Mohammed.
So it is a true bombshell to claim, as Luxenberg does, that it is the Quran that is textually corrupted, and that the original text cannot be retrieved with certainty, and that a reasonable reading of a likely version of the original actually buttresses Judaism and Christianity rather than refutes them.
It’ll be interesting to see how this debate unfolds–and whether “Luxenberg” gets the same treatment Salman Rushdie got.
I do wonder, as I noted in Don’s comments section, how much of this is a function of the differences in the two faiths rather than those of the two societies? That is, Christianity has gone through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Reformation, whereas Islam is still stuck in the 7th Century or so. Surely, that plays some role in all this.