Wednesday, July 05, 2006

MEMRI: Muslim Intellectual Calls for 'Protestant Islam'

What do you suppose "Protestant Islam" might be? Well, I hate to tell you, but it won't look quite like Martin Luther's nailing of the nine precepts on the church door. The only parallel here is that Dr. Bassam Tahhan is proposing to play Don Quixote against Osama bin Laden's Torquemada.

Incredibly, Dr. Tahhan tells us that multiple versions of the Koran existed before 901 AD, when a certain Ibn Mujahid "canonized" one version. This, after Muhammad had been more than two centuries dead! (And also after the Eleventh Shi'a Imam died of poison, and his five-year-old son, now awaited by the Iranian President, vanished without a trace. But I digress.)

Now let's put that into perspective, shall we? The Bible's Old Testament is known to be absolutely reliable, because it has checksums that allow us to know positively what's authentic and what isn't. The New Testament, for its part, has multiple manuscripts, and while they disagree on some minor points, they all agree far more than they disagree.

Don't just take my word on this. Ask any serious Textual Critic of the New Testament. Better yet, get yourself a good Koine Greek New Testament with a textual apparatus. You'll see that the NT manuscripts have very few differences.

And according to Dr. Tahhan, the Koran has almost as many versions as there were copies extant before 901 AD.

This, on the surface, would seem to make the Muslim faith extremely vulnerable to the sort of watering-down that we have seen with the publication of multiple translations of the Bible, many of which don't even get the original text right. Unhappily, al-Wahhab's spiritual descendants have the perfect weapon against this sort of thing: naked, merciless force, which the 901 Koran explicitly directs. I know--I've read it.

So what do we have here? We have a challenge that says, in essence, that the world cannot know what the Prophet said. It is the most wishy-washy challenge I ever heard of. This is not equivalent to Protestantism at all--but rather to post-modernism, which says that no such thing as truth exists.

What is 'truth'?

Pontius Pilate
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