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no connection with Abraham

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?

Submitted by rw (Australia), Oct 15, 2006 at 04:20

Dr Pipes gets onto dangerous grounds in supposing a commonality between the Judaeo-Christian mode of thought and Islam.

Comparative religion is one of my two fields. My first was English literature; in this field certain books and ways of thinking are closed to people with no inside knowledge. Thus, for example, one of the great works of English literature is Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe however is a strongly Christian book; for which reason it is largely ignored by modern critics who don't understand it. Another example is Uncle Tom's Cabin, a fine, if seriously flawed, work - which simply can't be understood without a basic familiarity and sympathy with Christian thought. Somethings are hard to understand without relevant inside knowledge. Comparitive religion is one such.

Islam has no connection either physical or spiritual with Abraham.

Physically the Arabs are probably not descended from Abraham at all. The claim is that they are descended from Ishmael but the only source for this claim is Arab moslems themselves; historically it is a very late claim, and it is a claim made as a sort of self justification for personal motives. The interested reader would do well to look into this for himself.

Spiritually there is certainly no connection. Mohammed was an ignorant man with a garbled incompetent grasp of some elements of Jewish and Christian thought; the poor man started to have convulsions, and, in these fits, a being which claimed to be an emissary of God gave him a series of 'revelations' which he was to record. Mohammed was not insane because he himself thought at first that he was 'demonised', but seems to have overcome his better self and proceeded to act on the basis that this was in fact 'God'. The 'revelation' entirely contradicts the Jewish and Christian records. (This is not the place to show that to be so - I am writing solely to indicate my disagreement with Dr Pipes - one could write long chapters to show how it is so.) To claim that Islam has a common heritage with Judaism and Christianity is akin to saying that Marxist communism is really a Christian movement - Marx was greatly influenced by Christian faith in his youth, and he embraced the ideals of common ownership which can be seen in some areas of the Bible - but he was atheistic and proposed the eradication of 'religion'; or to saying that Mormonism with its fantasies of a long lost civilisation in the americas is a legitimate Christian expression.

There is a cognate root between Allah and El (just as there as a cognate root in Greek between Zeus and theos), and Islam claims to be monotheistic - but that is it, that is the only point of commonality. If Mohammedism is connected to the faith of Abraham, then Josef Stalin was a fine Jewish rabbi!

Dr Pipes - I think that you are wrong.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

"Islam has no connection either physical or spiritual with Abraham."

Except that Abraham (known as al-Khalil) is a major figure in the Islamic religion.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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