Origins of Islam


#1

The Muslims here can probably add some light as to their perceptions of the origins of Islam as it relates to Christianity. A debate has sparked on this thread forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=794821#post794821 My contention is that it arose in opposition to Christian heresies, particularly Gnostic heresies. Mormonism has taught (may deny it now :smiley: ) that God willed it to punish Christianity. Another says that it is a heresy of Christianity.

You may answer here, or there, whichever.

Thank you.


#2

[quote=Jerusha]The Muslims here can probably add some light as to their perceptions of the origins of Islam as it relates to Christianity. A debate has sparked on this thread forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=794821#post794821 My contention is that it arose in opposition to Christian heresies, particularly Gnostic heresies. Mormonism has taught (may deny it now :smiley: ) that God willed it to punish Christianity. Another says that it is a heresy of Christianity.

You may answer here, or there, whichever.

Thank you.
[/quote]

Hey Jerusha,

Islam did not arise in opposition to any Christian heresy, nor Christianity itself. As a Muslim, I would claim that Islam rose in opposition to nothing: it was spontaneous.

However, even if I were to humor the idea that my faith arose in response to something, it wouldn’t have risen in response to anything Christian.

When Muhammad (PBUH) began preaching Islam in Mecca, he was surrounded by an almost entirely pure environment of polytheism and pagan idolatry. This was the Qur’an preached against. The Meccans’ old religion was no longer sustaining them. They were a corrupt people, comitting all sorts of abominations like adultery, drunkeness, gambling and infanticide, among many others. Scholars who think Muhammad (PBUH) was motivated by anything, all say he was motivated by this…not Christianity.

You really have to understand the environment of Muhammad’s Arabia to understand this. Had Muhammad (PBUH) been born in Jerusalem, or Constantinople, I’m sure scholars would have considered this issue. But as one scholar writes: “Arabia was a land virtually untouched by the Gospel”. And this is true. While there was a sparse Christian here or there, they weren’t particularly religious or influential. And Arabia had no schools or religious institutions, nor any churches. Idolatry was the order of the day, and defined the culture of the land. All the centers of Christianity were way to the north, far removed Muhammad’s world and sphere of influence. To put it simply: Christianity wasn’t on the radar at all.

I hope this helps.


#3

Thank you for clarifying an important issue.


#4

as my brother shenango mentioned, islam as we know it today began in mecca of the arabian peninsula.

you can read more about how islam began by checking out a biography of prophet muhammad, the sealed nectar - particularly the first few chapters.


#5

Could you please explain how Islam relates to Gnosticism-- particularly the aspect that each person is responsible for their own decisions and “salvation”-- I don’t know what your term is for that. I also know that you generally don’t value strong spiritual leadership.


#6

Origins can be found here:

ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/HERESY4.TXT


#7

[quote=Jerusha]I also know that you generally don’t value strong spiritual leadership.
[/quote]

before i attempt to answer your questions, i wanted to know where you got this from.

our spiritual leaders are our scholars. they are the ones who teach us our religion and explain the different facets of it to us, whether it be pertaining to beliefs or various religious rulings concerning worship, behaviour, conduct and etiquettes, etc.

also, leadership in islam is to be respected - whether it be the leadership of the scholars or the rulers.


#8

No, sorry, wrong choice of word. :o I meant authoritarian. Also, very cautious of extremely charismatic leaders, lest they lead you in the wrong direction. Sorry, again.


#9

What is the relationship then between Islam, (as started by Mohamed in Mecca) and the people that resulted from Ishmael, son of Abraham. Isaac had a son Jacob who’s offspring were the twelve tribes of Israel. I thought that Ishmael led what was to become the Islamic people?


#10

[quote=Jerusha]Could you please explain how Islam relates to Gnosticism-- particularly the aspect that each person is responsible for their own decisions and “salvation”-- I don’t know what your term is for that. I also know that you generally don’t value strong spiritual leadership.
[/quote]

Hey Jerusha,

I am unsure of what you’re getting as relates to one being responsible for his own actions and salvation. I mean, are you talking about free will, or what? I’m not aware that Gnosticism teaches such concept in a way unique from Christianity or Judaism. I mean, don’t Christians believe in free will. I know Judaism teaches that a person is responsible for his own salvation. I’m just having trouble seeing what’s peculiarly Gnostic about what you’re asking about.

I’m also confused by your statement that we don’t “value strong spiritual leadership”. Are you referring to leadership like that of the Pope in Catholicism, for instance? In that case, there’s no central arbiter of doctrine in Islam, whos interpretation of an issue is beyond question, and that’s because we are all humans, and no human is infallible. Is this what you’re talking about?


#11

[quote=Patrick]What is the relationship then between Islam, (as started by Mohamed in Mecca) and the people that resulted from Ishmael, son of Abraham. Isaac had a son Jacob who’s offspring were the twelve tribes of Israel. I thought that Ishmael led what was to become the Islamic people?
[/quote]

Hey Patrick,

We seem to be confusing ethnic groups with religions here. The descendants of Isaac (PBUH) became the people today considered ethnically Jews. It just so happens that ethnic Jews were also given a religious faith meant for them that we know as Judaism.

Ishmael (PBUH), on the other hand, is considered the progenitor of the Arabs (ethnic group), and thus Arabs and Jews are cousins of sorts, because their great grandfathers were brothers. It was through Ishmael’s line that Muhammad (PBUH), the Arab messenger came, who preached the religious faith of Islam.

But unlike the religion of Judaism, which was only meant for the Children of Israel (ethnic Jews, ie, Isaac’s descendants), Muhammad’s religion, Islam, was a message for the entire world and all of mankind, Arab or non-Arab. While today most people who follow the religion of Judaism are also ethnically Jewish, the vast majority who follow the faith of Islam are not ethnically Arab (Arabs today form 25% or less than all Muslims). I hope this helps.


#12

Try it again :slight_smile: Totally different angle. Religiousity-- adherence to rules, and doing exactly as one’s spiritual leader tells one to do. Versus spirituality-- seeking God, and answers to life’s questions, and having a spiritual advisor to counsel.

In that case, there’s no central arbiter of doctrine in Islam

Exactly. Does that mean that there are many different-- flavors of Islam? Sufi, Sunni, and Shi’ite. I have no idea of the differences. Do they differ in terms of rules vs one’s personal relationship with God?

In that case, there’s no central arbiter of doctrine in Islam … and that’s because we are all humans, and no human is infallible. Is this what you’re talking about

Yes, that is a very important part of the question. Am I right that there has been no Islamic leader who has attracted the positive attention of the Muslim world as a whole??


#13

[quote=Shenango]Hey Patrick,

But unlike the religion of Judaism, which was only meant for the Children of Israel (ethnic Jews, ie, Isaac’s descendants), Muhammad’s religion, Islam, was a message for the entire world and all of mankind, Arab or non-Arab. While today most people who follow the religion of Judaism are also ethnically Jewish, the vast majority who follow the faith of Islam are not ethnically Arab (Arabs today form 25% or less than all Muslims). I hope this helps.
[/quote]

I beg to differ! Christianity was meant for all people, not Islam!


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