Routledge

Additional Material
for Key Chapters

Chapter 11

Qur’an and Christ. (expanding on “They are thus like the Christians . . .”, p. 141)

It is worth noting that the traditionalist position on the Qur’an parallels the orthodox Christian position on Christ as the uncreated Son and Word (Logos) of God and the Mu‘tazili position parallels that of the Arians, who believed Christ to be the highest of creatures. In fact, the caliph al-Ma’mun, a supporter of the Mu‘tazila, complained of the traditionalists, “They are, thus, like the Christians when they claim that ‘Isa the son of Mary was not created because he was the word of God” (Grunebaum, 1966, 104–5). The view of the attributes as “not he and not other than he” is reminiscent of the Christian view of the relationship among the Persons of the Trinity. Likewise, the view of the relationship between the uncreated Qur’an and the written and recited Qur’an seems reminiscent of the orthodox Christian view of the human and divine natures of Christ. There could be Christian influence here but it may also be that similar issues bring forth similar solutions. As suggested in chapter five, the Qur’an occupies for Muslims a place similar to that which Christ occupies for Christians.

Qaḍā’ wa-qadar, “predestination” (p. 142 in Introducing Islam). The word qaḍā’ means “decreeing” or “determining”; the word qadar has these meanings but also has the meaning of “measuring out”. The phrase is usually understood to mean that God decrees or determines things at the beginning of time and then “measures them out”, i.e., causes them to happen at particular times. Qadar may also be used in a sense close to that of the English word “fate”. The root from which qadar comes may also convey the idea of power or ability and the early qadarīs (adherents of qadar) believed in human power over actions.

Web Resource

Islamic Philosophy on Line (has material on a number of Islamic Philosophers, some of which appears in links in the text and much else) http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/

© William Shepard

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