How can a Latter-day Saint entertain the possibility that Muhammad might have been a prophet? (Part One)

 

"Muhammad" in Arabic
A somewhat stylized calligraphic form of the name “Muhammad”
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

There have been several negative responses to my blog post of the other day titled “Mormonism in the Middle,” in which I indicated my openness to the idea that Muhammad might have been a genuine prophet and my strong sense that, at a minimum, he probably received genuine inspiration.

 

Some of the responses have been mere regurgitations of pretty standard-issue anti-Islamic propaganda.  Some (I’m thinking of one particular message board) merely reflect the usual hostile (and thoroughly unserious) eagerness to misunderstand whatever I write in order to portray me as an idiot.  In a world of limited time and energy and many competing priorities, such reactions don’t really merit reply.

 

But an intelligent, reflective, honest critic can be useful.  It’s helpful to see where an intellectually serious person might disagree or question.  Sometimes, points need to be reinforced or clarified.  Sometimes, positions need to be modified or even abandoned.  This kind of exchange is profitable.  This is what substantive discussions are about.

 

I’ll admit that Richard Giroux’s first comment (on Facebook) didn’t promise much along those lines:

 

“Does this mean I can start using the Koran as a primary reference when preparing/teaching Sunday School lessons?”

 

I replied,

 

“Why would you want to do that?”

 

With many other Latter-day Saints, I regard the Founding Fathers and the Protestant Reformers as, in some sense, inspired.  But that doesn’t mean that Sunday School lessons should be taught on the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, let alone on The Federalist Papers or John Calvin’s Institutio Christianae Religionis or Martin Luther’s Von der Freyheyt eyniß Christen menschen.

 

But Richard Giroux improved with his next comment:

 

“My remonstration with the assertion that Mormon doctrine embraces the acceptance of truth from any source is that it is somewhat meaningless in application. It may be that Mohammed or others have been revealed and taught great truths, but for a Mormon to embrace such as truth, he/she must first determine whether such is not contradicted by revealed truth according to LDS scriptural cannon or the teachings of the latterday prophets/apostles.
The point of accepting someone, such as Mohammed, as a prophet is that one may accept his/her revelations/teachings even if they happen to contradict previously held beliefs taught by accepted religious doctrinal authority up to that point.”

 

I answered:

 

“I’ve quoted the Qur’an and Muhammad in church before. And I’ve quoted al-Ghazali in Mormon-oriented essays. I’m not sure that I see your problem.”

 

He has since posted several further comments.  In another blog post, when I have the time, I’ll respond to those comments.  And, more fully, to his comment just above.

 

***

 

Those who insist, with regard to terrorism and religion-associated violence, that it’s Islam as such that is the problem need to continually keep the fact in mind that the vast majority of the victims of Islamist violence — e.g., by “ISIS” or Daesh — are themselves Muslims.  That fact is illustrated, yet again, in this horrific story out of the Middle East:

 

“Egypt: Hundreds dead as mosque attackers gun down worshippers”

 

And I’m guessing that most if not all of the policemen killed in this separate incident were Muslims:

 

“16 Egyptian police officers killed in shootout with militants”

 

 

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