procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Mohammed that never was

a German Islamic scholar has obviously had a call from his superiors to get a bit of controversy generated, so he's come out and said that, as far as he can tell, the evidence would seem to suggest that Mohammed never existed. well, i wonder what he would say if someone told him HE didn't exist? probably not a lot - eh? not much you can say when you're gone in a puff of logic.

seriously though folks, i remember when the controversy (=bad history+james cameron television crew) about the misnamed 'Jesus' Family Tomb', and people remembered the comments by the west australian primate, saying that he didn't think finding the bones of Jesus would harm people's faith to any huge extent. now, whilst he may have some supporters in Spong and co, he obviously has a different conception of a God who reveals himself in history in the man Jesus Christ.

but what effect would it have on Muslims, i humbly enquire, if it were proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mohammed never were? Don Carson once said he thought, not much. at the end of the day, the Qur'an is the way Muslims know God. not thru their prophet. that he happened to use Mohammed is seen to be the physical conduit Allah chose to use is by the by - what matters is that Allah gave the Qur'an to all the Muttaqun that they may obey him in all righteousness.

sure, Mohammed may have been a good example of following Allah, but he was hardly the first - all the old testament prophets are listed as part of his forerunners in the faith.

it may be this will lead to anger, but i hope not. indeed, it may challenge Muslims to rethink about their functional deification of Mohammed, and to consider how it is they can truly know God - how it may be that he has made himself known.

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OpenID StephenMac said...

From what I can remember, Mohammad is a pretty central guy to the Islamic faith. From their point of view, they never would have received the Qur'an, and thus never received God's final revelation of himself. Mohammad was the guy that the angel Gabriel dictated the Qur'an to.

Second, God's promises in the OT would never have been fulfilled had Mohammad never existed. For example, they believe that Deuteronomy 18:18-19 would never have been fulfilled had Mohammad not shown up.

Finally, much of the Islamic practice and interpretation/elaboration of the Qur'an is based on the Sunnah, as found in the Hadith. These Hadiths are the examples of the way of life as demonstrated by Mohammad, and recorded by the central guys of the early Islamic period.

In short, while Mohammad is not deified doctrinally, if he did not exist, much of the Islamic belief system is severely undermined. That said, you make a good point that in practice, Mohammad is in fact defified....

5:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muhammad certainly is a historical figure, same as Jesus. The problem the evidence of Jesus' existence isn't yet acceptable to The Majority of Christians

3:02 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

hi Anon. cheers for commenting.
sorry if i didn't make this clear - i wasn't doubting the historicity of his existence (although a german scholar did which prompted my thoughts). rather, i was thinking about the impact this may have on muslims the world around were his existence to be disproved beyond reasonable doubt. of course, this would indeed be hard to do, if not impossible. this still doesn't answer the question of the impact this may have, were it to be done.

from the christian perspective, the answer is clear - 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 makes this abundantly clear - that if Christ has not been raised, our faith is in vain, and we of all people are most to be pitied for believing in this.

perhaps i could phrase it differently - how crucial is it to Islam that Mohammed himself lived, walked, and received the Qur'an, which we have to this day?

4:27 pm  

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