Allah: A Christian Response.
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Miroslav Volf insists that they do, or at least that worthy exemplars in each tradition do. “I am not inquiring about the God of a small band of terrorists and war-mongers, but … of the great Christian and Muslim teachers” (150).
A native of Croatia, Volf is currently Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale, author of the acclaimed Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation, director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, and no stranger to Christian-Muslim encounter.1 Volf was the principal author of “A Christian Response”2 to the 2007 open letter, “A Common Word between Us and You,” signed by dozens of Muslim leaders throughout the world inviting Christians to mutual “Love of God and neighbor,” set forth by signatories as indispensible to Islam and Christianity.3
Allah: A Christian Response
Volf dedicates his 2011, Allah: A Christian Response, “To my father, a Pentecostal Minister who admired Muslims, and taught me as a boy that they worship the same God as we do.” Volf organizes Allah: A Christian Response into thirteen chapters and four parts bracketed by an introduction and conclusion, and sets two tasks for himself: “The proper Christian stance to the God of the Qur’an and what it means for the ability of Christians and Muslims to live together well in a single and endangered world” (1).
Part 1, “Disputes, Past and Present,” surveys historic and recent contentions (as well as more cordial endeavors) involving Christians and Muslims, including the 2005 Danish satirical cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muham-mad; Muslim rioting and suppression of non-Muslim religious freedoms; Pope Benedict XVI’s speeches in Regensburg, Germany (2006) and Amman, Jordan (2009); crusades, colonialism, St. Francis of Assisi and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa as classic conciliators; the Ottoman siege and conquest of Constantinople; and Martin Luther’s fiery fulminations that err according to Volf by categorizing the Muslim conception of Allah as a false god instead of a partial or partially incorrect perception of the One True God (although Luther still believed that Muslims and Christians worship the same God) (73).
In Part 2, “Two Gods or One?,” Volf examines Qur’anic testimony that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (for example, Surahs 22:39-40, 29:46). These Surahs challenge militant Muslims who censure Arabic-speaking Christians for calling God “Allah” (80). In fact, Volf notes that Arabic translations of John 3:16 often begin, “For Allah so loved the world” (82). Beyond the same Arabic name for God, Volf sees sufficient similarities in Muslim and Christian theologi-cal understandings as evidence they refer to the same deity. Muslims agree with Christians that God is One, eternal, unchanging, the creator of all that is seen and unseen, and faithfully proclaimed by many prophets, some whose names appear in the Bible. For Volf, Muslims and Christians worship the same God even if they hold mutually exclusive notions of the nature, character, and activity of God. After all, Calvinist and Arminian Christians refer to the same God but sharply disagree about the nature, method, and character of God’s sovereign activity vis-a-vis free will and pre-destination (90).
Volf exegetes several Biblical portrayals of non-Jews and non-Christians who believed in God including Samaritans, Gentiles in Romans 1, and the Apostle Philip who at first failed to recognize Jesus for who Jesus truly was (John 14:7-9). Volf makes it clear the Bible does not sweepingly condemn as idolators all people who hold incomplete or mistaken ideas about God. Even when Jesus engaged Jewish leaders who repudiated Jesus as a blasphemer, Volf maintains Jesus assumed they were disagreeing, “about the same God, the God of the Hebrew Bible” (93).Likewise, the Catholic Church in Nostra Aetate (1965) affirmed at the Vatican II Council, “a brief description of God with which Muslims and Christians agree” (96). Volf sees agreement in relating to God “with our whole being,” Jesus’ two greatest commandments (102, 306), the spirit of the Ten Commandments, and their parallels in the Qur’an (106-108).4
What about Islam traditionally stipulating harsh or capital punishments for purported sins? Volf compares the Old Testament: “In the Hebrew Bible there is no command to love the enemy, and severe temporal punishments are imposed on those who transgress the law … Does this difference suggest that Christians and Jews do not have a common God? It does not” (109). Rather, there are sufficient similarities among Jews, Christians, and Muslims in their understandings of God and normative ethics to indicate they worship the same God (110).
Volf highlights righteous Muslims whose lives bloom the fruits of authentic worship. Persian Sufi Abu Yazid al-Bistami, for example, once chased a would-be clothes thief to say, “I just wanted to tell you that you can have the clothes” (179). Volf comments: “The influential U.S. Muslim to whom I owe this story, explains Aby Yazid’s generosity: He did not want the thief to have the wrong action on his soul, and on his account on the Day of Judgment” (179). As Martin Luther (and John Wesley) equivalently observed, some Muslims and other non-Christians implicitly follow the spirit of Jesus’ teachings better than many self-professed Christians (66).5
Volf declares that medieval crusaders and jihadists may have used correct theological terminology, but they betrayed God through their wicked actions, effectively replacing God with a bloodthirsty idol. Volf is here reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’s Narnian Christ-figure Aslan (Turkish for “Lion”) in The Last Battlewhere Aslan distinguishes his true followers from veritable worshippers of the demon Tash,
I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn … And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then though he says Aslan, it is Tash who he serves.6
For faithful Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Volf pronounces that the real issues for debate are which descriptionsof the One True God are truest and best (see, for example, 95, 146). Subsequent exploration should avoid the “narcissism of minor differences” (quoting Sigmund Freud, 248) or obsession with hairsplitting of the sort that harms healthy relationships. Dialogue should proceed for the pursuit of truth, not merely to vindicate personal preferences and opinions.
Volf then turns to theological disputes concerning the Trinity. He suggests careful ways of framing the Trinity that are compatible with Islam. Quoting Nicholas of Cusa, “in the manner in which Arabs [Muslims] and Jews deny the Trinity, assuredly it ought to be denied by all” (86, 203). Christians concur with Muslims who snub a “Trinity” of three distinct gods: for example, a Father, a Son, and the Virgin Mary (instead of the Holy Spirit, see, for example, Surah 5:116).
Volf advises regarding Jesus, “What does each party mean—what do Muslims mean when they reject that Jesus is the Son of God, and what do Christians mean when they affirm this conviction” (296)? Both Christians and Muslims disdain, for example, the mythical idea that Jesus was conceived through sexual intercourse between God and the Virgin Mary. The Bible’s designation “Son” indicates Jesus’ uniquely intimate relationship with God the Father and their shared Divine Es-sence. Yet analogous or mutual terminology in the Bible and Qur’an sometimes offer opportunities for consensus. For example, both characterize Jesus as God’s “Word” and a “spirit from God” (see John 1, Surah 4:171).
Volf next investigates Islamic sources that might imply or infer that love is partly – even vital to – God’s being. Volf integrates Christian teaching that God loves sinners but not sin by alluding to St. Augustine’s “love for persons and a hatred for their vices” (296) and Pope Pius II who wrote Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1461, “we are hostile to your actions, not to you” (44, 177). Volf believes Surah 3:30 in the Qur’an echoes this by diagnosing a person’s soul as distinct – or craving to be made distant from – some of its (evil) actions (296).
But actions are significant, and Volf’s final chapters attend to further nuances in Christian-Muslim relations. Volf praises cooperation in common goals such as faithfully caring for the poor. Helping the hurting together can facilitate friendship, meaning, and satisfaction for all involved. “A life marked by love of God and neighbor is both deeply human and truly pleasurable” (217) and, “pushing back together against what both Christians and Muslims find harmful is better than fighting over what each believes is the most beneficial” (218).
Volf also advocates Christian and Muslim rights to proselytize or “witness” to each other. He partly defends Christian missionaries from modern maligners, and prescribes two basic rules: “(1) Witness to others only if you are prepared to let them witness to you. (2) Witness to others in the way you think others should witness to you” (211). Volf avows that allgovernments and their policies should ideally uphold religious freedom and oppose persecution, not only for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but persecution of or by polytheists. Volf does not presume (as he says some thinkers do, on 222), that polytheism is more tolerant than monotheism, or that believing all religions are equally true and good correlates with tolerance for those who beg to differ (48-49). Volf demands, however, that all religious beliefs should be “equally welcome … each religion is allowed to bring its own vision of the good life into the public arena” (225). Freedom and political openness flow naturally from loving God the giver of freedom and loving neigh-bors who profess any religion or none.
Volf concludes by proposing ten ways for “combating extremism” (259): encourage reasoned debate in pursuit of truth, recognize that Muslims and Christians worship the same merciful and just God who commands us to love our neighbors, and respectfully stand against injustice, prejudice, and political-religious compulsion. “If we embrace God’s command to love neighbors, the more religious we are the less extremist we will be … [If we] love God above all things, then God will matter … more than anything in the world, including … [our] religious communities or political visions” (260-261, compare with 31).
Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
Allah: A Christian Response furrows swaths of fallow ground for Christian-Muslim and Muslim-Christian (as Georgetown University would have it) relations.7 This essay inspects, evaluates, and tills five patches in Volf’s field in hopes of multiplying the conversational harvest.
First, further grappling with Volf’s thesis that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is imperative. As demonstrated by Volf quoting Martin Luther above, this historic question is unlikely to dissipate for Christians or Muslims. Some Muslims may also continue to accuse Christians of committing blasphemy by worshipping Jesus, Mary, “three gods,” sacred images, or (in absentia, one assumes) the cross Christians preach Jesus died on before his resurrection.
Although Volf states that Christians rather than Muslims are his primary audience (see, for example, 11-12), still, Muslim readers of Allah: A Christian Response may be persuaded that Muslims are misguided in charging Christians with blasphemy. In the same way, Christians may agree with Volf that there is sufficient similarity and unity in Muslim and Christian conceptions of God, and that only One True God exists however Christians and Muslims discordantly describe God. But this does not erase the challenge of deciding which of God’s attributes (to say nothing of other doctrines) are ancillary rather than essential, and how important particular variations are.
Volf’s essentials are enumerated above, but other Christians and Muslims may propose different ones. Volf curiously states, “my purpose is not to persuade them [Muslims] that God indeed is the Holy Trinity … [but that] … the Christian doctrine of the Trinity does not call into question God’s oneness as expressed in Muslims’ most basic belief” (143). But Christians and Muslims might both ask Volf why he should nottry to persuade Muslims that God is triune, if that is what Volf believes. Are Muslims undeserving of this debate? Is God not honored when rightly understood?
Volf also does not deal adequately with the objection by some Christians (and by one of my Hindu interlocutors), that Muslims worship the moon god of Mecca, as indicated partly by Islam’s crescent and star symbol.8 Volf brushes away brusquely that Allah is the same or the same name for the Meccan moon god (compare 7, 253). But to discredit the “moon god” hypothesis decisively, Volf should provide compelling historical evidence, trace origins of the association, and acknowledge legitimate and illegitimate links he uncovers. But even if associations between Allah and a moon god exist, Muslims may still by intention worship the One True God.9
Volf fails to anticipate another possible objection concerning Jesus’ disagree-ments with some of the Jewish leaders. Volf assumes Jesus and the leaders dis-agree about the same God, but Volf does not address John 8:44-47 where Jesus denounces his opposition,
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning … If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.10
What Makes a Muslim and Christian Exemplar?
One way Volf could expound on Christians and Muslims worshipping the same God is by contrasting Muslim moral or spiritual exemplars with false prophets Jesus warned about in Matthew 7:15-16. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” While Matthew 7 plausibly applies to false prophets of any religious auspice, the question remains as to who qualifies as a worthy Muslim exemplar or teacher: the Muslim prophet Muhammad? Al Ghazali? Ibn Taymiyya? “Heretical” Mutazilites? Common Word signatories? Muslims who believe and adhere to loving God, their neighbor, and the Ten Commandments? Volf mentions each of these in Allah: A Christian Response, though not necessarily with full-throated endorsement.
But historical traditions about Muhammad, Al Ghazali, and Ibn Taymiyya, for example, indicate they intentionally discriminated against non-Muslims and encouraged violent jihad for expanding Islam.11 If Volf catalogs Christians, even famous saints such as Bernard of Clairvaux, who also taught violence or acted coercively, this does not dissolve the question of who and what teachings and actions most faithfully model Islam, Christianity, and the spirit of their founders. This is especially pertinent given Muhammad’s later years as a warrior and political leader who ordered hundreds, if not thousands, killed and assassinated (including poets who satirized him), along with Qur’anic commands to wage defensive and offensive violent jihad (see 2:216, 2:190-194, 3:151, 4:76, 4:89-90, 4:95, 8:12-16, 8:39, 8:60-65, 9:5, 9:19-20, 9:73, 9:81, 9:123, 47:4, 22:39), compounded by early Muslim militancy toward other Muslims and non-Muslims, and the claiming of their legacy by radical theorists and violent jihadists today against non-Muslims ranging from Thai Buddhists, Pilipino Catholics, Baha’is in Iran, Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh; Jews and Christians throughout the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia; and more secular Chinese, European, and Australian targets. To compare Old Testament warfare does not resolve the issue, since Muhammad is the “seal” or final prophet in Islam, perhaps the ultimate exemplar for Muslims just as Jesus is for Christians.
Jesus and pre-Constantine Christian practice regarding violence and warfare stands in stark contrast with early Islam, as does the absence of contemporary Christian denominations and leaders trumpeting the Old Testament to justify violent religious or political conquest. Christians can applaud Volf as well as Muslims for grappling with these issues and articulating alternative understandings of Islam. But alternatives must be rigorous enough not only to soothe nervous non-Muslims, but to inspire devout, erudite, and practicing Muslims. As Martin Luther King Jr. advised for setting goals: “In order to answer the question, ‘where do we go from here’ … we must first honestly recognize where we are now.”12
Violence Commanded in the Qur’an and New Testament?
Interpreters of the Qur’anmust contend with numerous exhortations to hostility like “the verse of the sword” (Surah 9:5):
But when the forbidden months are past, fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft forgiving, most merciful.
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book [generally, Jews and Christians] until they pay the Jizyah [religious tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.13
Volf references signers of “A Common Word” who present the more tolerant and cooperative Qur’anic Surahs rather than violent ones as normative for Muslims (40). But given sophisticated, pervasive, aggressive interpretations of these Surahs by jihadists, Salafists, and others, Allah: A Christian Response would benefit from furthercontending why and how more peaceable Surahs are faithfully prioritized in Muslim interreligious relations. Volf merely quotes in opposition to Pope Benedict XVI a contemporary Muslim signer of “A Common Word” (26).
For Muslims, the relationship between Surah 9 and more tolerant Surahs such as 2:256, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things” (see 2:62, 10:99, 29:46, 109:1-6), is complicated by Muslim historical consensus that Surah 9 is the final Surah God revealed, and by Surah 2:106, “None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar” (see Volf, 127, 174, 297). “Substitute” implies thatchronologically later Surahs have interpretive priority, just as Christians read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. The chronologically later “Medinan” Surahs, particularly after the Battle of Badr (2:256 was before Badr), instigate violent jihad against nonbelievers. The more cooperative “Meccan” and pre-Badr Surahs are from an earlier time before Muhammad consolidated his political power.
Some Muslim activists quote Jesus referring to “swords” in Matthew 10:34 and Luke 22 as analogous calls to violence, but Matthew 10:34 uses “sword” metaphorically; and Jesus rebukes Peter for cutting off someone’s ear with a sword, then heals the person Peter cut in Luke 22. The Apostle Paul in Romans 13 additionally notes that civil authorities “bear the sword” (that is, the threat of criminal punishment) so that citizens will refrain from wrongdoing. But this is a far cry from decrees to kill or subdue nonbelievers because of their unbelief.
This does not mean Muslims must interpret Surah 9 and similar passages as universal and timeless rather than time-bound or situational. But while the Old Testament contains violent exhortations strictly delineated against specific groups (as opposed to potentially open-ended war with unbelievers in Surah 9), neither Jesus nor the New Testament authors command anything resembling, “If they don’t believe in me, kill them!” Judgment for unbelief is God’s purview at the end of the age as illustrated by the parable of wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-29) and elsewhere. The God of the New Testament does not require Christians to kill for “apostasy” or other spiritual sins, even for sins viewed most sternly by early Christians (see Volf, 4, 209, 308).
Contrast Muhammad’s instruction in the most authoritative Hadith collec-tion in Sunni Islam, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion [that is, a Muslim who renounces Islam], then kill him” (compare Sahih Bukhari, 9:84:57 and Surah 3:86-89).14 Exceptions for insanity or other extenuating circumstances, as with highly publicized 2006 Afghan convert Abdul Rahman, are small comfort. Volf rightly calls for a more excellent way. So does Nabeel Jabbour, a Christian Arab scholar of Islam who discusses Muslim Mahmoud Taha’s remedy for the Qur’anicchronology conundrum:
According to Taha, because Muhammad’s message was pure and the people were not ready for it, he was harassed and persecuted … Later … in Medina, Muhammad was given a diluted message to give to the people because they were not ready for the supreme message due to the hardness of their hearts … Taha perceived the supreme message was equivalent to … the Sermon on the Mount … Muslims should go back to the supreme message … given to Muhammad in Mecca … The [earlier] Meccan Surahs should be given more weight … The supreme message focused on God and His attributes, on tolerance, and on caring for widows and orphans, while the diluted message that was given later … included intolerance and militancy.15
Taha was killed for his innovations, but his disciple A.A. An-Na’im (231, 306, 308), a Muslim legal scholar at Emory University with a Ph.D. in law from the University of Edinburgh, extrapolates on the stakes for more peaceful Quranic Surahs setting the interpretive priority:
Unless the basis of modern Islamic law is shifted away from those texts of the Qur’an and Sunna of the Medina stage, which constituted the foundations of … Shari’a, there is no way of avoiding drastic and serious violation of universal standards of human rights … As stated and explained in relation to constitutionalism, criminal justice, and international law, the traditional techniques of reform within the framework of Shari’a are inadequate for achiev-ing the necessary degree of reform. To achieve that degree … we must be able to set aside clear and definite texts of the Qur’an and Sunna of the Medina stage as having served their transitional purpose and implement those texts of the Meccan stage which [may have been inappropriate for Medina] … but are now the only way to proceed.16
Although Taha and An-Na’im are presently minority voices in Islam, sympathetic Muslims and Christians can support their hermeneutic and pray for other Muslims to adopt it.
Can Muslims Recognize the Bible as Holy Scripture?
By appealing to the Sermon on the Mount, An-Na’im hints at another potential factor for Christian-Muslim consilience: for Muslims and Christians both to recognize the New Testament as Holy Scripture and (with Jews) the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. Instead of banning or aspersing the Bible, Muslims could embrace Volf’s wish that, “[if] the Bible contains the authentic content of God’s self-revelation to Abraham, Moses, the prophets and Jesus … then [we]have a significantly overlapping and therefore common Scripture” (88, compare with 87-89). If Muslims, Christians, and Jews recognizing they worship the same God can improve relations, so might Muslim affirmation of the Bible as Holy Scripture whether or not Christians and Jews reciprocated for the Qur’an, since this reciprocity would entail becoming Muslim.
Although many Muslims have asserted that Jews and Christians “corrupted” the Bible, Volf rightly envisions rapprochement as a fruitful way forward. But Volf needs to demonstrate that recognizing the Bible is rooted within Islam and any “corruption” by Jews and Christians is from misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the Bible rather than inherentin the Bible itself. To verify this, Volf and others can readily appeal to historic Muslim luminaries like Al-Tabari, Al-Razi, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Khaldun, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, and Muhammad ‘Abduh who acclaimed Jewish and Christian Scriptures as divinely revealed and preserved texts together with the Qur’an.17 Muslims disparaging the Bible as opposed to false representation or interpretation of it may not even have emerged until 1,000 AD/CE.18 The Qur’an repeatedly affirms or confirms preceding Jewish and Christian Scriptures in Surahs 2:62, 2:83-87, 2:89, 2:91, 2:97, 2:136, 2:140, 3:2-3:3, 3:50, 3:81, 3:84, 3:119, 4:47, 4:136, 4:163, 5:46-47, 5:66, 5:68-69, 6:91-92, 6:154, 10:37, 10:94, 16:43, 17:55, 19:30, 21:7, 21:105, 35:51, 42:3, 57:27, and 61:6.
How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:3)
Finally, Volf avers that Allah: A Christian Response “is not a statement about people’s ‘eternal destiny’ or ‘salvation’ but about everyday acts which honor God, whether that honoring is done intentionally or not” (120). Moreover, he says: “This book is not about eternal salvation … My concern here is more mundane, the earthly co-existence of Christians and Muslims” (187). Earthly co-existence is a commendable, pressing, and precious pursuit. But when a robust treatment portending to be Allah: A Christian Response intentionally or unintentionally shies away from the Philippian jailor’s query, “Sirs, What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30), a massive opportunity has been (to use the word for Islam’s most serious sin, but in an alternative sense) shirked.
Yes, these questions are difficult. Yes, earthly co-existence ought not to be ignored. But Volf’s abdicating straightforward discussion about this aspect of the “Good News” (which many Christians believe includes assurance of salvation, see 1 John 5, for example) is by far the worst shortcoming of his book. Volf’s neglect is exacerbated by the fact that at least one authoritative Muslim tradition reports even Muhammad expressing chronic doubt about his salvation, and yearning for reassurance that Allah would spare him from hellfire.19 Volf dances around but deigns to distill the vast reserves of Christian reflection and hope for salvation, redemption, and eternal joy.20
Contemporary Christian engagements with Islam and Muslims in person, print, and other media represent a vivid spectrum from the confrontational to the conciliatory.21 Volf’s Allah: A Christian Response trends decisively toward conciliatory.22 Despite critiques and areas for improvement recommended by this review, Volf provides an earnest, pensive perspective for the Body of Christ and for interested Muslims. Given the range of Christian options, Volf pens not Allah: The Christian Response, but Allah: A Christian Response brilliantly. Christians and Muslims for many generations will owe him thanks for contributing to this critical conversation.
Cite this article
- Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996).
- “A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word between Us and You,’” Yale Center for Faith and Culture, http://www.yale.edu/faith/acw/acw.htm.
- See, for example, Miroslav Volf, Ghazi bin Muhammad, and Melissa Yarrington, eds., A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2010).
- See, for example, The “Golden Rule” in Islam, Sahih Bukhari 1:2:13, but qualified in pa-renthesis “[Muslim] brother.” <http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/search.htm>, all links accessed July 4, 2011.
- For example, John Wesley, “Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity,” Sermon 116, http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/sermons/116/.
- C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: HarperCollins, 1956),189.
- For example, The “Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding,” at historically Jesuit Georgetown University, < http://cmcu.georgetown.edu/>.
- Volf in Allah: A Christian Response, 259, 263 quotes media mogul Pat Robertson alleging this.
- See Surah 41:37 quoted as evidence by Volf, Allah: A Christian Response, 268. But this Surah exhorts, “do not worship the moon.” This is not the same as forbidding worship of the moon god, especially if that god is Allah.
- All Bible verses quoted from the New International Version, 2010.
- As reprinted and documented for a mainstream audience, for example, in Andrew G. Boston, ed., The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008).
- Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James M. Washington (New York: HarperCollins, 1986, 1991), 245.
- ’Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an: New Edition with Revised Translation, Commentary and Newly Compiled Comprehensive Index (Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications, 1989), 438, 445. Volf, Allah: A Christian Response, 127, 287, 297, briefly addresses the verse of the sword.
- Nabeel T. Jabbour, The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross (Colorado Springs, CO: Nav-Press, 2008), 106-107. Compare Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, “The Second Message of Islam,” in Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook, ed. Charles Kurzman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 283; Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Second Message of Islam, trans. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996).
- Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, “Shari’a and Basic Human Rights Concerns,” in Kurzman, 234.
- As reported in Kate Zebiri, Christians and Muslims Face to Face (Oxford: Oneworld, 1997), 14; compare Chawkat Georges Moucarry, Faith to Faith: Christianity and Islam in Dialogue (Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity Press, 2001), published in America as The Prophet and the Mes-siah: An Arab Christian’s Perspective on Islam and Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 25-79.
- See Martin Accad, “The Gospel in the Muslim Discourse of the Ninth to the Fourteenth Centuries,” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 14.1 (2003): 67-91; Fouad Masri, Is the In-jeel Corrupted? My Search for the Truth about the New Testament (Indianapolis, IN: Crescent Project, 2006); Moucarry, 25-79;Abdullah Saeed, “The Charge of Distortion of Jewish and Christian Scriptures: Tension Between the Popular Muslim View and the Qur’anic/Tafsir View,” The Muslim World 92.3-4 (2002): 419-436; Jane Idleman Smith, Muslims, Christians, and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 130, 133;Volf, Muhammad, and Yarrington, 59; A. H. Mathias Zahniser, The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008), especially 1-14.
- For example, Sahih Muslim, Hadith 8:75:377, <http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/075.sbt.html>.
- For an Evangelical “Inclusivist” approach which may be implied by Volf’s overall tone, compare Clark H. Pinnock, A Wideness in God’s Mercy: The Finality of Christ in a World of Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992); Terrance L. Tiessen, Who Can Be Saved?: Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions (Downers Grove, IL and Leicester, UK: InterVarsity Press, 2004).
- Contrast Jabbour and Volf for example with Nonie Darwish, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2008),and Joel Richardson, The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast (Los Angeles: WND Books, 2009).
- Compare especially Volf, Allah: A Christian Response,294 (referencing U2 lead singer Bono).