“The Quran is the theophany of Islam, the verbatim Word of God revealed to the Prophet by the archangel Gabriel and transmitted by him in turn to his companions, who both memorized and recorded it.”
Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization
These are some preliminary thoughts I’ve been having thinking about Islam in my studies.
Perhaps one the weaknesses of Islam that people don’t seem to realize it its lack of grounding of the revelation of God in historical roots. And.. Islam would probably admit to that. What do I mean by that and why is that significant? Well, allow me to compare the Bible with the Quran for a second.
The Quran was claimed to have been written by the prophet Muhammad verbatim from Gabriel the angel. Many of the things he writes are similar to what is in the Old Testament. Islam makes a claim for its roots Abrahamic promise and tradition, it shares the stories of the flood, Moses, Adam and Eve, and other accounts in the Bible. Please note that these are quite different than those recorded in the Old Testament. Subsequently, their implications for belief and theological understanding are quite different. Vastly different to say the least.
Regarding those version, Islam, which originated around 600 A.D., looks back at Judaism and Christianity both, and says “you guys got it wrong.” The proof? Well, because Muhammad received the “Word of God’ verbatim.
Can we see what’s being taken for granted here? It’s easy to point fingers and say “you’re wrong” and vice versa, but there requires a little more substancial evidence besides a claim at divine revelation.
And what you’ll see as the weakness of Isalm is the very strength and beauty of Christianity- a God whose revelations are deeply rooted in his actions with His people throughout all of human history.
Let me put it this way- who would you trust more to be accurate about what happened when God was speaking with Abraham? Genesis, a book written thousands and thousands of years ago, aimed at chronicling God’s dealings with one of the writer’s fathers? Or … what Muhammad suddenly says in 600 A.D.? Remember- what Muhammad records is quite different than what the Bible contains.
How about.. David and his kingdom? The book of Kings and Chronicles were written to describe those very events with a historical emphasis in regards to God’s dealing with His people. And on and on the Bible continues- the exodus, the law and the prophets, the exiles, the wars, the rebuilding of the temple, and ultimately, even the historical accounts of the person of Jesus Christ and his claims.
The four gospels themselves are the landmark historical documents chronicling the revelation of God through Jesus Christ that were written within a generation of Christ’s death. But Islam says that what they say about who Jesus is should take precedence over what the Bible says about Him even though it was written 600 years later? Jesus is recorded in the gospels for making a claim at divinity. The Quran relegates him as mere prophet.
On a purely historical level, by which account would you trust? Who would you believe? And therefore, what theological conclusions would you reach about who the God of the universe is?
These thoughts alone contribute to the idea of how strong the pillars are for a Christian understanding for Yahweh. Christianity is the only religion in the world which stakes its ideological and theological dispositions from a God who has consistently worked with mankind throughout history, with the men of the Judeo-Christian faith faithfully chronicling those very events.
This is why I am more inclined to believe the claims the Bible and subsequently, Jesus Christ, make are trustworthy and true.