Another article on the plight of Christians in the Muslim world. I do not know what the solution is, but it must be stressed that Islam has no tolerance for any other faiths. Islam regards itself, not as a subsequent faith to Judaism and Christianity, but as the primordial religion, the faith which Judaism and Christianity are subsequent developments. The Qur'an states," that Abraham was not a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a monotheist, a Muslim. (Al Imran 3:66) Christians and Jews who disbelieve in Muhammad will go to hell. (Al-Bayyinah). Muslims should not take Christians and Jews for friends. (Al-Ma'idah 5:51) They must fight against Christians and Jews who refuse Islam until they surrender, pay the poll tax and are humiliated. (At-Taubah 9:29).
A funny thing about the pre-Islamic monotheism followed by Abraham, which according to the Qur'an is that of a hanif
(monotheist, but neither Jewish nor Christian
), is that this word is a cognate with the E. Syriac hanpa
, meaning "pagan, heathen"! This has been noted at least as far back as Noldeke (1910). Part of the confusion probably comes from the early Islamic philologists' attempts to derive it from an Arabic word meaning "decline, turn away from" (paganism?), but this was proved to be a convenient back-formation by Margoulith (1903), as the earlier, pre-Islamic uses of the term carried the same meaning as the Syriac, and furthermore some of the Muslim authorities themselves recognized it as a foreign word (e.g., Masudi, in his Al-Tanbih wa-l-Ashraf
, recognizes it as a Syriac word).
Once again, Muhammad hears of these people and stories and just sort of runs with them, remaking them as he sees fit to prop up his new religion. The wedding of all pre-Islamic figures to Islam whether via the Qur'an or any other way is certainly a marriage of convenience.