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A water-downed version of "authentic Christianity"

Reader comment on item: The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

Submitted by Falco (Belgium), Sep 9, 2014 at 07:44

Christianity as exercised in the West is a water-downed version of "authentic Christianity". But the factors that made possible that water-downed version of "authentic Christianity," have no power to change Islam, have no influence in Islam - even if this religion is practiced in the West. Rather the reverse is true: with increasing numbers of Muslims, it is Islam that will change the West. And this on his turn explains also why a "Western Islam" (or a Western version of Islam) will never exist in the future neither.

And here is the reason why:

Islam adopted Christian practices in all departments of life. The state, society, the individual, economics and morality were thus collectively under Christian influence during the early period of Muhammedanism.

Thus in every department we meet with that particular type of Christian theory which existed in the East during the seventh and eighth centuries. This Christian theory of life was subjected to many compromises in the West, and was materially modified by Teutonic influence and the revival of classicism.

However, in Islam, this Christian theory underwent NOT a similar modification. Why? Because Muhammedan scholars were accustomed to propound their dicta as utterances given by Muhammed himself, and in this form Christian ideas also came into circulation among Muhammedans. When attempts were made to systematise these sayings, all were treated as alike authentic, and, as traditional, exerted their share of influence upon the formation of canon law. Sayings of Muhammed became part of canon law and therefore binding for all time!! Thus the process of development which was continued in Christendom, came to a standstill in Islam, thus questions of temporary importance to Christianity became permanent elements in Muhammedan theology. Here began the development of Muhammedan jurisprudence or, more exactly, of the doctrine of duty, which includes every kind of human activity, duties to God and man, religion, civil law, the penal code, social morality and economics.

All human acts are thus legally considered as obligatory or forbidden when corresponding with religious commands or prohibitions, as congenial or obnoxious to the law or as matters legally indifferent and therefore permissible. The arrangement of the work of daily life in correspondence with these religious points of view is the most important outcome of the Muhammedan doctrine of duties.

It will thus be immediately obvious to what a vast extent Christian theory of the seventh and eighth centuries still remains operative upon Muhammedan thought throughout the world.

cf. Carl Heinrich Becker, "Christianity and Islam" (1909)

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