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There is a difference between Jewish and Christian "holy books" and the Qur'an

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

Submitted by Eric MacDonald (Canada), Mar 30, 2014 at 08:52

The problems regarding a moderate Islam stem from the status of the Qur'an in Muslim "theology". There is no explicit statement in either the Jewish or Christian scriptures that they constitute the direct word of God. The Qur'an is quite different in this respect. I would take far more than reinterpretation to take the sting out of the tail of Qur'anic texts. Leviticus can be reinterpreted, and a more moderate approach to gay relationships made, because the status of the text is not clearly an expression of the will of God.

This is not the case in Islam, where not only the words and deeds of Muhammad, but the words of the Qur'an are supposed to be spoken (or directly inspired in the case of Muhammad's extra scriptural words and deeds) by Allah himself. It is true that there is a system of abrogation of Qur'anic verses, but the rules for abrogation are strict and do not clearly allow for new methods of abrogation. Unless the rationale for such methods arise from the historic treatment of the Qur'an, it is doubtful that a moderate Islam can be built on this basis.

This, I suspect, is the basis for the disagreement between Pipes and Ibrahim. Ibrahim, it seems to me, has the better of this argument. Any expectation regarding the future must take into account the status of sacred texts, the single most obstacle to change within religions of the book.

Submitting....

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