24 August 2011

On the fragility of Islam

Writing for the Catholic Thing, Father James Schall, S.J., considers the fragility of Islam, which he sees in the text of the Koran itself:
...why talk of the “fragility” of Islam? This instability arises from the status of the text of the Koran as an historical document. The Koran is said to have been dictated directly in Arabic by Allah. It has, as it were, no prehistory, even though it did not come into existence until a century or so after Mohammed.
Scholars, mostly German, have been working quietly for many decades to produce a critical edition of the Koran that takes into consideration the “pre-history” of the Koran. Due to the Muslim belief that any effort to question the Koran’s text is blasphemy, the enterprise is fraught with personal risk to the researchers. The idea that the text cannot be investigated, of course, only feeds suspicion that even Muslims worry about its integrity [more].


  1. As a personal matter, I have difficulty accepting the idea of God's word coming in the form of text, which is also my issue with some of the sola scriptura approaches to Christianity. The assertion that this makes Islam "fragile," however, ignores the its history of change and adaptability, a history which the first paragraph at the link suggests he is unaware of. I suggest the Gulen Movement (http://www.fethullah-gulen.org/), which is easily the most influential Islamist movement in the Turkic world, is an example.

  2. I, too, do not believe in sola scripture, from the simple fact that it is nowhere found in the Scriptures.

    Rather, I go along with Saint Augustine: "I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so."