Membership, Community, Diversity

How do Muslims view Islam’s relationship to other religious traditions?

According to the Qur’an, the revelation delivered through Muhammad is not new, but a continuation and reaffirmation of the divine message given to all the earlier prophets acknowledged in the Jewish and Christian traditions. If prior generations of Jews and Christians had not misinterpreted or even willfully corrupted the message, subsequent corrective revelations would have been unnecessary. In other words, Muslims regard Islam’s relationship to the earlier Abrahamic faiths somewhat the way Christians regard their tradition’s relationship to Judaism. The later revelation completes, fulfills, corrects or abrogates the earlier one. Islamic tradition regards the “Peoples of the Book” as especially close kin. The Qur’an suggests that Muslims should consider Christians perhaps somewhat closer than Jews, even though there are far larger theological differences between Islam and Christianity than between Islam and Judaism. The concept of “Peoples of the Book” also came to include other minority religious communities of the Middle East, such as the Zoroastrians. In general, Muslims are inclined to regard members of other traditions, such as Hindus and Buddhists, for example, as considerably further removed from the possibility of salvation. But views of that sort naturally vary somewhat from region to region, as for example, in India, where Muslims and Hindus often live side by side.


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