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Introduction to Islam

murraybiscuit

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But Pr⊕ph, you're pre-empting a topic that is supposed to come much later in the index of topics :)

Read (external):

1. mysticsism

i was going to ask about mysticism and attempts to distil motifs and deeper meanings behind certain scriptural narrative. the jews have kabbalah. christians seem to have had a complicated relationship with mysticism. what is sufism? is that up on the radar for this thread?

2. in defence of final revelation / alternate revelation

i also wanted to know about how muslims defend against the prophet as the final prophet. in much the same way that christianity is an offshoot which asserts new revelation but eschews subsequent revelation, does islam have latter offshoots like christianity has mormonism or jehova's witnesses? also, why does god have to use a guy on a mountain, a fisherman in a far off village, or a man in a cave to give revelation to and not just write in a cloud in the sky or something?

3. the words of jesus

you mentioned jesus and his words. do some of these appear in the quran? are they revelatory, recited or quoted as first person (oral transmission). how do we know the veracity of these words if they were written so long after the time. i'm trying to understand how these would not seem heretical for a christian.

4. politics

there seems to be a long history of theocracy when it comes to islam. possibly due to the western influence you've already alluded to. possibly due to the immaturity of politics and lack of nation-states within the arabian peninsula, partly due to lower population densities. i.e. tribalism and religion intertwined. it is conspicuous because it persists, whereas christian theocracies aren't much tolerated any more. can there be such a thing as a secular democracy with a muslim majority? or would all muslims want theocracy ultimately? is this not the identity crisis which the arab spring has caused? by theocracy i mean a specific god is in the constitution, taught in schools etc, with criminal acts defined by a religious book and the political head is also seen as a spriritual leader.
 
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wayfarer

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1. mysticsism

i was going to ask about mysticism and attempts to distil motifs and deeper meanings behind certain scriptural narrative. the jews have kabbalah. christians seem to have had a complicated relationship with mysticism. what is sufism? is that up on the radar for this thread?

...
murray, I have board exams coming up, so please be patient if I do not immediately get to the rest of your post :) . Nevertheless, the quick answer to question 1 is that sufism is Islamic spirituality, and this is the core of mainstream Islam. Correct belief and practice of the 5 pillars are not ends within themselves, but they are the necessary equipment for the spiritual journey. They form the foundation/launchpad for the return to the Divine. There are, however, heretical "sufis" who attempt the inward journey without the commitment to the outward practices, and such people are wholly misguided.

Sufism is not seen as an entity or practice distinct from mainstream Islam, but it is in fact one of the essential Islamic sciences, and the personalities who brought Islam to South Africa in the late 1600s (as exiles or slaves of the Dutch) were great scholars of sufism (and other Islamic sciences). One of the hallmarks of violent/extreme Muslim deviations is that they have discarded sufism or interpreted it in a way that it becomes meaningless.
 
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wayfarer

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2. in defence of final revelation / alternate revelation

i also wanted to know about how muslims defend against the prophet as the final prophet.
"Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam for your religion. But whosoever is constrained in emptiness and not inclining purposely to sin - God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate." (Quran 5:3)

"...O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand the words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words even better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people." (Hadith)

Islam is the final restatement of God's revelatory messages to humankind. What this means is that:
  • No new message will come or needs to come.
  • No new messenger will come or needs to come.
  • No new prophet will come or needs to come.
This is in part due to the fact that:
  • The Quran remains preserved in its originally revealed state.
  • The Quran will continue to exist in the authentic form indefinitely.
  • Literate societies exist in virtually every nation on earth, and are located across the globe, facilitating direct access to God's Speech (the Quran).
  • The Message is the primordial, timeless message, and the religion it produces is the primordial, timeless religion.
... in much the same way that christianity is an offshoot which asserts new revelation but eschews subsequent revelation
Muslims find this strange, thinking that Christians would be awaiting the comforter and his message, as the New Testament quotes Jesus Christ:
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not in me... I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come." (John 16)

... does islam have latter offshoots like christianity has mormonism or jehova's witnesses?
Yes it does, like the Ahmadiyyah and Bahai, but there is no new revelation in the class of the Quran, or different versions of the Quran for these movements. These movements amongst themselves have further splits and offshoots. Some claim to have further prophets or incarnations of God, but these are very small in number, all offshoots put together just about make up 1-2% in comparison to the number of Muslims.

also, why does god have to use a guy on a mountain, a fisherman in a far off village, or a man in a cave to give revelation to and not just write in a cloud in the sky or something?
Good question: why a man on a mountain -why not just engrave it in a mountain? Remember that the Quran is God's Speech, an attribute of God Himself, and the Quran itself states:

"Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of God. Such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect." (Quran 59:21)

"And it is not for any human being that God should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise. And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path - The path of God, to whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Unquestionably, to God do [all] matters evolve." (Quran 42:51-53)

“Neither the earth, nor the entire universe can contain Me, but the heart of a believer can." (Hadith)

Thus is the Speech of God revealed to the hearts of the greatest amongst the believers, messengers such as Prophet Muhammad, and not to any other created thing.

Other important reasons that God chooses messengers and prophets from amongst human beings:
  • We can relate to human beings more easily than clouds.
  • The messengers of God are imbued with the spiritual power of the Message, and this facilitates them to exemplify and operationalise that which has been revealed into their hearts.
  • It is a form of blessing and honour for humanity that its representatives are chosen as the receptacles of God's Speech.
 
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falcon786

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I suggest you stick to yor topic of Introduction to Islam and keep off the topic of the christain trinty and religon
Did you miss the part where wayfarer pointed out that it is an important part of Islamic belief and is clearly stated in the Quraan?
If you have come to find out about Islam then do so dont try to hijack the thread with your own beliefs.

EDIT:aah I see wayfarer did the right thing
 

wayfarer

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5.3. Belief in Divinely Revealed Books (Part 1/2)

Main > Belief/Faith > Belief in the Divinely Revealed Books
[HR][/HR]
Since the advent of humanity, God sent prophets to guide, admonish and inspire people, leading them out of darkness and into the light. He also sent Messages (Books/Scripture) with various Messengers. The Quran names 4 Books that were divinely revealed:

1. The Quran and its compilation

"Indeed, this Quran guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward." (Quran 17:9)

"And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things, and as guidance and mercy, and good tidings for those who submit." (Quran 16:89)

"And with the truth We have sent the Quran down, and with the truth it has descended." (Quran 17:105)

"And it is not for any human being that God should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High, Most Wise." (Quran 42:51)

The Quran, as the literal word of God, is the primary source for faith and practice. It provides essential guidance for humanity as to:

  • One's relationship with God's creation. This includes prescribing excellence for familial and social interactions, respect for non-human biotic environmental components such as other animals and plants, as well as responsibility for the abiotic components such as the mountains, seas and minerals, etc.
  • One's relationship with oneself. This includes encouraging self-respect, self-restraint, moral virtue and Ihsan.
  • One's relationship with God. People are inspired to submit to (and worship), know and love God.
Prophet Muhammad was an unlettered man - he could not read or write. God gradually revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammad via Angel Gabriel over a period of about 23 years. The process of Prophet Muhammad preserving the Quran in written form involved him reciting it to specifically chosen scribes (Zayd ibn Thabit being a senior one). These scribes recorded every word and read it back to Prophet Muhammad numerous times for error-checking. Multiple scribes would be present at these sittings. Some verses had meanings that were not immediately apparent, nevertheless they were God's Words and had to be recorded verbatum.

The Quran was written down in its entirety and approved by Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime, but it was not bound into a single Book. Also, thousands of Prophet Muhammad's companions memorised the entire Quran and recited it back to him for confirmation of accuracy. The written unbound Quran was eventually bound and made widely available less than two decades after the Prophet's death. Uthman, the 3rd caliph, entrusted Zaid ibn Thabit with the task of leading a commissioned committee in the careful and meticulous execution of this process (also known as the Uthmanic recension). During this time many unofficial scribes (or passers-by who had informerly written down what they happened to hear of Prophet Muhammad's Quranic recitation) checked their respective versions against the original, and erroneous variations were discarded or corrected. This was necessary because the informal scribes did not always engage in the initial stringent error-checking processes.

Copies of the original were made and sent to various Muslim centres, where the error-checking process continued. Recent archaelogical finds have uncovered some Quranic parchments that date back to the period as early as 15 years after Prophet Muhammad's death, which predates the Uthmanic recension. While these parchments did not undergo the official error-checking processes with the senior scribes of Prophet Muhammad, the main differences from the original seem to be that some of the verses are ordered differently when compared to the verse order as instructed by Prophet Muhammad. However, according to the researchers, the general meanings are the same. Some Western orientalists critical of Islam have suggested that perhaps these discovered parchments are actually closer to the true original than the version Muslims have today, and some have said that this proves that the Quran was an evolving document. However, there is only one single version of the Quran in existence. There is absolute consensus amongst the scholars of Islam that the Quran in use today is identical to the Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

continued in next post...
 
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wayfarer

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5.3. Belief in Divinely Revealed Books (Part 2/2)

...continued from previous post

2. The Gospel/Evangel (Injil)

"Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy." (Quran 57:27)

"And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Torah that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear God." (Quran 5:46)

The Gospel is God's Word revealed directly to (the heart of) Jesus Christ. The Gospel was never literally committed into written form in its entirety, but Jesus Christ orally disseminated the teachings of this Message to his followers. The Gospel that was revealed to Jesus Christ is distinct from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. However, it is generally assumed that some of Jesus Christ's teachings from his Gospel were recorded by various persons, and included into what is the present day New Testament. Modern revisions of the New Testament, where some obviously fabricated verses have been omitted, have resulted in new New Testament versions that now espouse a doctrine that is closer to that of both the Torah and the Quran.

3. The Psalms (Zabur)

"We have sent thee (O Muhammad) inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms." (Quran 4:163)

The Psalms Book was revealed to King David, and is said be comprised of some timeless theology, wisdom and devotions, consistent with that of the other revealed Books. The Psalms that is presently part of the Bible is regarded as being derived from the Psalms revealed to King David, but it is generally understood that some of the current Psalms are later additions.

4. The Torah/Law (Tawrat)

"And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers." (Quran 2:87)

"Surely We sent down the Torah, wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgement for those of Jewry, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to. So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the unbelievers." (Quran 5:44)

The original Torah, revealed to Prophet Moses, is generally associated with the "5 Books", or Pentateuch. While it is understood that it suffered corruption over the centuries, the monotheistic creed espoused by the present day Torah is strikingly similar to that of the Quran.

Other revealed texts

The Quran names 4 Divinely revealed Books, but this certainly does not exclude the possibility of there being more. The Quran further makes reference to certain very early Scrolls/Pages which were revealed to Prophet Abraham, and to Prophet Moses (in addition to the Torah). But these scrolls are not regarded as fully fledged Books in the sense that the above four are. See below:

"Prosperous is he who has purified himself, and mentions the Name of his Lord, and prays. Nay, but you prefer the worldly life; but the Hereafter is better, and more enduring. Surely this is in the former scrolls, the scrolls of Abraham and Moses." (Quran 87:14-19)

"...Or has he not been told of what is in the scrolls of Moses, and Abraham, who fulfilled his obligations? That no soul laden bears the load of another, and that a man shall have to his account only as he has laboured, and that his labouring shall surely be seen, then he shall be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense, and that the final end is unto thy Lord..." (Quran 53:36-42)

View:
 
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wayfarer

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3. the words of jesus

you mentioned jesus and his words. do some of these appear in the quran?
When I mention Jesus Christ's words, I normally give the reference. In most cases it would be from the Quran, unless a Christian view is being compared, in which case it would be a New Testament reference.

are they revelatory, recited or quoted as first person (oral transmission). how do we know the veracity of these words if they were written so long after the time.
Every single letter of the Quran is revelatory, revealed to Prophet Muhammad, who had scribes record it verbatum. Everything in the Quran, including the parts where the Quran quotes God Himself, Jacob, Jesus, even Satan or anyone else, is God's Speech. The Quran contains both direct and indirect speech, but every part of it is God's spoken word, verbalised by Angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad, and inducing a spiritual resonance in the Prophet's heart. No part of the Quran was authored by Prophet Muhammad or anyone else in creation. Exactly as Prophet Muhammad received the revelation, so did he recite it to the scribes. No part of the Quran is apocryphal or from any other source.

i'm trying to understand how these would not seem heretical for a christian.
I think it would necessarily seem heretical to Christianity; after all, Christianity is not Islam, but they do have a largely common legacy.

The Quran corrects and abrogates the earlier corrupted texts. This means that the Quran would view these earlier texts as having become heretical (after having been polluted by the human hand through the course of time). However, the corrupted texts have become a point of reference for its followers, thus from the point of view of the corrupted texts, the Quran is heretical.
 

R/SGT

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Did you miss the part where wayfarer pointed out that it is an important part of Islamic belief and is clearly stated in the Quraan?
If you have come to find out about Islam then do so dont try to hijack the thread with your own beliefs.

EDIT:aah I see wayfarer did the right thing
I have no problem with wayfarers thread as long as he sticks to explaining Islam, however when he starts pontificating about Christianity and the Holy trinity then it is a attack on my faith.:mad:

1. Arguments Tossed from Intro to Islam (obviating derails)
In order to prevent derailing and tangential debates from interfering with the flow and progress of the Introduction to Islam thread, I have created this one. Questions will generally be answered in the original thread, but arguments that become tangential or are of little/no academic value will be redirected here.

The "Aisha's age" post has been updated for the purposes of clarity and coherence, and as we have already moved on, any further comments should rather take place here.
As for the above, most Christian debates are subject to the same thing , so deal with it.

What makes this thread so special that it deserves special treatment

If you can’t deal with it, well no one is forcing you to stay and try and educate us Kafirs
 

falcon786

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I have no problem with wayfarers thread as long as he sticks to explaining Islam, however when he starts pontificating about Christianity and the Holy trinity then it is a attack on my faith.:mad:



As for the above, most Christian debates are subject to the same thing , so deal with it.

What makes this thread so special that it deserves special treatment

If you can’t deal with it, well no one is forcing you to stay and try and educate us Kafirs
I'm forcing him to stay and educate those that asked to be enlightened about Islam(People have asked me to create this thread to understand Islam and its views.),this thread wasn't created for you and it seems you cant respect other peoples beliefs since you cant simply discuss these issues in the other thread,you are clearly intent on trolling instead.

Lets be civilized about this nobody said you have to agree with everything we believe in :confused: and if it offends you then theres a thread wayfarer created for you to say so,you have a platform to speak in that thread.Why derail this one?
 

R/SGT

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[UOTE=falcon786;8922893]I'm forcing him to stay and educate those that asked to be enlightened about Islam(People have asked me to create this thread to understand Islam and its views.),this thread wasn't created for you and it seems you cant respect other peoples beliefs since you cant simply discuss these issues in the other thread,you are clearly intent on trolling instead.

Lets be civilized about this nobody said you have to agree with everything we believe in :confused: and if it offends you then theres a thread wayfarer created for you to say so,you have a platform to speak in that thread.Why derail this one?[/QUOTE]

Okay well have fun then, I wasn’t trolling and did actual ask some relevant questions earlier on in the thread.

Careful you don’t fall of your horse
 

moosag

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I have no problem with wayfarers thread as long as he sticks to explaining Islam, however when he starts pontificating about Christianity and the Holy trinity then it is a attack on my faith.:mad:



As for the above, most Christian debates are subject to the same thing , so deal with it.

What makes this thread so special that it deserves special treatment

If you can’t deal with it, well no one is forcing you to stay and try and educate us Kafirs
Just to correct you there... Your not a Kafir.
Kafir's are disbelievers. You have different levels of Kufur (Disbelief).

Plainly speaking if you completely deny Gods existence then yes you are Kafir.
Judging by your Faith being Christianity you are also a person of the book (Ahlul Kitab). I.E. You believe in God.

Just because your book is not the Quraan but the Injeel (Bible) still makes you a believer.

So no you not a Kafir. Technically a person does not have to subscribe to any of the 3 Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) and still be a Believer. Inherently belief in God is not something that you say or write down. It exists in the depths of your heart and human consciousness. Of which no human can judge. That alone is for God to decide who believed in him and who did not and dispense reward or punishment accordingly.
 

dudewotevr

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Just to correct you there... Your not a Kafir.
Kafir's are disbelievers. You have different levels of Kufur (Disbelief).

Plainly speaking if you completely deny Gods existence then yes you are Kafir.
Judging by your Faith being Christianity you are also a person of the book (Ahlul Kitab). I.E. You believe in God.

Just because your book is not the Quraan but the Injeel (Bible) still makes you a believer.

So no you not a Kafir. Technically a person does not have to subscribe to any of the 3 Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) and still be a Believer. Inherently belief in God is not something that you say or write down. It exists in the depths of your heart and human consciousness. Of which no human can judge. That alone is for God to decide who believed in him and who did not and dispense reward or punishment accordingly.
Does he still go to "heaven", or is he going to end up somewhere substantially more humid? ..or I suppose it would be more of a dry heat due to the flames..
 

moosag

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That would depend on him I guess...

The whole point of Messengers (Prophets), Revelation (scriptures & books) and Religions is that they are Guidelines on our journey back to the "Source" (and no not the source from Matrix :p) i.e. how to live your life in a manner that 1) keeps you in harmony with the rest of mankind and 2) allows you into heaven

Mosez books and teachings were applicable to that time frame. Jesus books and teachings were applicable to that time frame. Muhammed's book and teachings are applicable to the end of time. I seriously stand to be corrected here but the timings between the prophets is like Mosez to Jesuz = 1000 - 1500 years Jesus to Muhammad = 600 years and Muhammad to now is 1433 years...

Essentially if you look at all the 3 main books. The overall message is clear. Behave, do good and dont cause nonsense :) So if a person chooses to live according to the Torah for example and leads a life of rightousness, does good deeds, etc etc... Then I dont see why he wont go to heaven. Or for e.g. if a person chooses to follow the Bible and leads a good life does good deeds etc... Then again I dont see why he wont go to heaven.

What is certain is that the day of resurrection or the day of judgement will be our ultimate accountability. No one will escape the ultimate judgement from our creator. He alone knows the parameters by which to judge us.

So you sitting here in the year 2012 on your computer armed with an armada of information and tools to decide for yourself what is right and wrong. What suits you and what does not, etc.... Ultimately its your choice. It all depends on what your end goal is and what your priority is.

So lets take for example the Quraan. It covers just about every aspect of human living. Social, Family, Business, Welfare, Cleanliness, Justice, Courts, etc, etc etc etc..... As I am sure the Bible did and as I am sure the Torah did and as I am sure all the other devine scriptures did as well (that I am not aware of).

Remember that each Prophet was only responsible for delivering the message. In no way will they be responsible for people going wrong and astray or for people who chose not to believe. It was valid then and it is valid now.

All the information is there. All the tools are there. All the scientific facts are there also which in my opinion all point to a Master Creator anyways. The choice is ultimately yours...
 

wayfarer

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...If you can’t deal with it, well no one is forcing you to stay and try and educate us Kafirs
Does he still go to "heaven", or is he going to end up somewhere substantially more humid? ..or I suppose it would be more of a dry heat due to the flames..
Tossed. ("Tossed" does not mean I'm "dissing" you, just that I feel the line is more appropriate to that thread.)
 

moosag

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Hence the disclaimer ;)

Tosser is rude. Tossed is not.

I tossed my can into the dustbin.... I tossed a coin at the dude on the corner...
 

wayfarer

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Theocracy's absence from Islam

"We do not have Theocracy in Islam, but we can have a civil state and an Islamic reference."
(Tariq Ramadan, Islamic scholar)​

4. politics

there seems to be a long history of theocracy when it comes to islam.
The majority of Muslim scholars, particularly historians and doctors of law, would disagree with your statement. Central to the idea of theocracy is the concept of who the leader is and how the ruler is chosen. It is either God Himself, or some divinely endowed agent of God. The state would be run by this person, assisted by clergy. A typical example of theocracy is the centuries long marriage between the Catholic Church and the State. The Pope fills a divinely sanctioned position, and he is assisted by cardinals to fulfill political leadership.

In Islam, the ruler/leadership is chosen by the people, and may also be deposed by the people. Because Prophet Muhammad was both the receptacle of revelation and the political leader of the early Muslims, that period may be viewed as a time of Islamic theocracy. But this ended with the death of Prophet Muhammad. Note that his successor, Abu Bakr the first caliph, was titled caliph (deputy) of the Prophet, and not caliph of God.

Perhaps the reason why so many are under the impression that Islam has a theocratic history is because Muslims have a preference for their own vast legal tradition. This tradition is called Shariah, and in the West it is erroneously over-simplified and mistranslated as Islamic Law and incorrectly compared to codified legal entities such as British common law or French law. However, the diverse evolving tradition of Shariah does have an unambiguous Islamic basis. According to the Quran:

"... the Quran, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong)." (Quran 2:185)
"And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their way. Say, 'Indeed, the guidance of God is the guidance.' If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have from God no protector or helper." (Quran 2:120)

When Muslims are democratically given a say in deciding the laws of their societies, it would be rare for them to exclude an overt Islamic reference. A consistent application of the Shariah keeps the rulers in check, and presents a formiddable challenge to attempts at tyranny and oppression. It is not required that rulers be scholars or spiritual masters, but it is a requirement that the relevant scholars (of law, science, social science, etc.) and the common people be consulted when major decisions/rulings are made. The Islamic decision-making model is based on shura, or mutual consultation and concerted efforts at consensus. There is no monopoly on interpretations, no pope or divine figure to formulate or legislate codes, but there are local negotiations that inform law within a particular time and place. A very small number of criminal acts are explicitly defined by the Quran, and the Shariah includes components that are mutable and immutable.

possibly due to the western influence you've already alluded to.
It is easy to confuse the despotic systems of middle-eastern powers with the concept of theocracy. But those dictators are not considered as divinely appointed or representing God - on the contrary, it is well-known that they were propped up by Western powers and/or came to power by brutal means. Nor do they legislate strictly according to Shariah. There are about 50 countries with a mainstream Muslim majority, but none of them exclusively apply the Shariah system. Most ascribe to British Common Law, Roman/Dutch Law, French law (Napoleonic code), as well as traditional laws and cultural norms. While Iran and Saudi Arabia claim to implement shariah, it should be noted that neither of these two countries follow mainstream Islam. Iran is Shiah and Saudi Arabia is Wahhabi/Salafi.

possibly due to the immaturity of politics and lack of nation-states within the arabian peninsula, partly due to lower population densities. i.e. tribalism and religion intertwined.
It is important to point out that middle-eastern and north African Arabs comprise less than 20% of the world's Muslims, but this group is often the frame of reference for Western understanding of Islam.

it is conspicuous because it persists, whereas christian theocracies aren't much tolerated any more.
As has been pointed out, Islamic theocracies have never existed. Christian theocracies are now rare because, firstly, it has been realised that it is problematic to assert that a particular person is a divine agent annointed to rule, and sencondly, the "Law" part of the Christian canon (Pentateuch) is largely regarded as having been abrogated by the New Testament (which is for the most part void of legal content). Thus Christianity does not really have a comprehensive legal code, and this is what predisposed the west to secular law (once Catholicism's political power started to wane).

continued in next post ...
 
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