Continued from here
…adhere to ecclesiastical doctrine for the simple reason that, in Islam, there is ni ecclesiastical doctrine. In fact, there are no clergy to begin with.
To quote the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion, “There is no centrally organized religious authority or magisterium in Islam and for this reason, its character varies sometimes widely from traditional norms.
…”What Islam does have are scholars, who serve to answer religiously Challenging questions.
However, scholarship does not necessarily imply any greater closeness to God than that of a simple and pious, though uneducated, Muslim. Most notably, there is No papal equivalent, and there are no intercessors between man and God. Once a person accepts the Holy Qur’an as the word of God and Muhammad as His final prophet, All the teachings follow from these foundational sources.
Only in the deviant sects does one find what might be called clergy. The Shi’ites have their imams, the Sufis their saints, and the Nation of Islam their preachers. Not so in orthodox (i.e., Sunni) Islam, where imam
means nothing more than “somebody who goes out in front.” In other words, a leader of the prayer.
The imam is not ordained and does not administer sacraments. His function is
nothing more than to synchronize prayer by providing leadership. This is a position which does not require any particular office or appointment, and which can be fulfilled
by any adult member of the congregation.
The Islamic religion is built upon the foundation of its faith. A person enters Islam professing belief in one God, in the Holy Qur’an as His final revelation, and in
Muhammad as His final prophet.
Subsequently, the answer to any particular question, whether regarding creed, laws, manners, spirituality, etc., must refer back to God’s
revelation and the teachings of the Prophet in order to be considered valid.
Not so with JudeoChristian institutions which, as we shall see later in this book,
demand faith in doctrines that frequently supersede the commandments of God with the
interpretations of men.
The examples of Jesus never having called himself the Son of God or having taught the Trinity were discussed in the Introduction to this book. These are but two of a long list of creedal elements that Jesus never taught. Hence, the Christian might enter the faith believing in one God (as Jesus taught), the Bible as revelation, and
Jesus as a prophet of God. However, those who question the foundation of Christian
creed find many creedal elements founded not on the teachings of God or Jesus, but on
nonbiblical sources, such as the writings of the apostolic fathers, Pauline theologians, or
even contemporary clergy. That these sources are neither Jesus Christ nor God is
obvious, although they typically claim to have spoken on their behalf. Thus, Christians
have reason to question their canon, for many of these nonbiblical sources frankly
contradict Jesus’ teachings.
The situation is not much different in Judaism, where the majority of Jews are
Reform Jews, following the teachings of those who “reformed” God’s laws from harsh
orthodoxy to a more flexible construct. Much to the frustration of their Abrahamic neighbors, Muslims challenge the Jews and Christians to prove how the teachings of Moses or Jesus conflict with the Islamic understanding of God and revelation. After all, the Holy Qur’an commands
Muslims to say, “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to
(all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them, and we bow to Allah (in Islam.)” (TMQ 2:136). By this ayat (i.e., verse), Muslims are
dutybound to follow the revelation given to Moses and Jesus. Therein lies the challenge.
Had any of the prophets taught contrary to the creed of Islam, Muslims would be duty
bound to face the significance of that contradiction. On the other hand, should Jews and
Christians fail to prove a contradiction, they are dutybound to face the striking
agreement of these three prophets.
Reading continues tomorrow, In shaa Allah. Subscribe to our free email alerts and newsletter or send your email address to [email protected]