APPLICATION TO ISLAM
Of course one might ask if the points raised in this article cannot be applied to Islam.
So in the same order as above, let us consider Islamic doctrine and the status of the Qur'an
subjected to similar arguments.
What could be identified as theology in Islam contains no contradictory mysteries for the
simple reason that the Qur'an reveals God by revealing His attributes and His will. That is,
descriptions of God and worship given to God are due to Him because of His position as God.
There is no incarnation doctrine leading to the combination of Godly and un-Godly attributes in
one individual. Islam does not ask one to believe in anything outside of reason. The
resurrection of the dead, for example, is no more than today's researchers in biology have
considered. Soviet scientists once reproducing an extinct species of elephant by the use of a
microscopic unit of long dead gene material. A subtle point is found in the precise grammar of
the Qur'an's description of God's power. We do not read: "With God all things are possible."
More correctly, we read instead: "Over all things, God has power." These things are the things
He created. These things include good and evil since these words are relative descriptions. For
example, the good of the vulture is good for the vulture, but evil for a man. This is the contrast
in Islam between Good and Evil: beneficial versus harmful. All things originate with God
including the rules which bring harm on the evildoer. So it is that the Qur'an states that God
rewards, but wrong done brings harm on the doer in the settling of accounts.
The Qur'an does not present us with mysteries of faith. Instead it is a guide. Left to ourselves
we could not reproduce its contents because our research is largely trial and error. The error
would prove disastrous - before we accomplished the project. So while the Qur'an is beyond
reasoning, it is not beyond reason - given the guidance, we can verify its truthfulness.
ORIGIN OF THE QUR'AN
Several times the Qur'an announces itself as a sufficient sign (e.g. 29:49). Although the
Muslims of Muhammad's time were a persecuted minority, their opposers never answered the
challenge of the Qur'an, as it says: "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from
time to time to our servant, then produce a chapter like it. And call your witnesses or helpers
besides God if you are correct." (Qur'an 2:23).
PRESERVATION OF THE QUR'AN
The Qur'an promises its own preservation (15:9). It mentions itself by name about
seventy times. The Arabic word "Qur'an" means "recitation". Reciting the Qur'an is part of a
Muslim's daily prayer. In addition to careful writing of copies, there has always been this
double checking of its contents. Gather any small number of sincere Muslims together and it is
possible to repeat the Qur'an from their collected memories. Some centuries ago an aberrant
group claimed that there was more to the Qur'an than now available. Their embarrassment has
been the fact that even in this century there are copies of the Qur'an that date from centuries
before the time of this controversy. Recently a prominent missionary dishonestly challenged
the authenticity of Qur'anic manuscripts. He claimed that twenty different people, governments
or institutions claim to possess the oldest copy of the Qur'an. The thought he wants his
audience to finish is that there are twenty versions of the Qur'an. The truth is. all the ancient
copies agree letter for letter with today's text. Which one happens to be the oldest is irrelevant
to considerations of authenticity.
WORDS AND MESSAGE
The very words of the Qur'an are the message of the Qur'an. The speaker is God, not
His spokesman recasting matters in his own words. Islam was not founded by Muhammad.
God's message was given by prophets in every nation since at least the time of Adam. The
particular religious observances of Islam and use of the term Muslim were well known in the
time of Abraham. (See the Qur'an at 22:78; 2:135; 3:67-68; 16:123.) While the Prophet
Muhammad is said to be a good example for us (33:21) the same is said of Abraham, word for
word, at 60:4. The vital point here is that Islam is not the cult following of a man.
Muhammad himself was told to make all his judgments by referring to the Qur'an (5:48-51).
The Prophet was also told to ask for forgiveness, especially when he knew his death was
approaching, for it is God alone that must be called on and asked for forgiveness (Chapter 110
and 40:12). The Prophet himself was corrected by admonitions in the Qur'an (e.g. Chapter
THE CHRISTIAN CHARGE