Islam - Between human inspiration and divine revelation: A counter argument to the notion of cultural vacuum by albert hourani

Zulkarnain Mohamed, Ungku Maimunah Mohd Tahir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Albert Hourani, the British-Lebanese historian of Islamic history, bases his theorisation of Islam, which he claims is not of divine revelation, largely on three factors that revolve around the questions of prophecy, scripture and culture. This article seeks to refute the said claim, arguing that Hourani's contentions are indefensible. With reference to prophecy, Hourani contends that it was impossible for God to communicate with a human being; rather He manifested himself in a human person, like He did with Jesus (peace be upon him). In the absence of a mediator, such an argument has as its proof of validity only the claim of the person so divinely-manifested. In the case of Muhammad (S.A.W), God sent Gabriel, His archangel, to convey His revelations, thereby making the Qur'an, God's words, concrete proof of Muhammad's prophethood. With reference to the question of scripture, this article argues that the fundamental characteristics of the Qur'an, its language and consistency of messages in the face of tumultuous surroundings belie the contention that it was an adaptation from other religions mainly Christianity and Judaism. As for the absence of a viable Arab culture which therefore made borrowings and adoptions inevitable, the article points out that there was an established culture characterised by diversity, differences, economic activities such as trade and the like, all of which render invalid the notion of a cultural vacuum. This article thus argues that Hourani's contentions are untenable. This article further asserts that any analysis of Islam should be based on its main and essential source, the Qur'an. © Universiti Putra Malaysia Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalPertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities
Volume21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Fingerprint

Islam
Quran
human being
God
Prophecy
Scripture
Prophet Muhammad
god
culture
prophecy
Human being
Peace
Mediator
Revelation
Fundamental
Christianity
Judaism
Borrowing
Economic activity
Render

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Divine revelation
  • Prophecy
  • Prophethood
  • Scripture
  • The Qur'an

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

@article{872580223a6a4ce99a5beab7b014d57b,
title = "Islam - Between human inspiration and divine revelation: A counter argument to the notion of cultural vacuum by albert hourani",
keywords = "Culture, Divine revelation, Prophecy, Prophethood, Scripture, The Qur'an",
author = "Zulkarnain Mohamed and Tahir, {Ungku Maimunah Mohd}",
year = "2013",
month = "3",
volume = "21",
pages = "259--270",
journal = "Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities",
issn = "0128-7702",
publisher = "Universiti Putra Malaysia",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Islam - Between human inspiration and divine revelation

T2 - Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities

AU - Mohamed,Zulkarnain

AU - Tahir,Ungku Maimunah Mohd

PY - 2013/3

Y1 - 2013/3

N2 - Albert Hourani, the British-Lebanese historian of Islamic history, bases his theorisation of Islam, which he claims is not of divine revelation, largely on three factors that revolve around the questions of prophecy, scripture and culture. This article seeks to refute the said claim, arguing that Hourani's contentions are indefensible. With reference to prophecy, Hourani contends that it was impossible for God to communicate with a human being; rather He manifested himself in a human person, like He did with Jesus (peace be upon him). In the absence of a mediator, such an argument has as its proof of validity only the claim of the person so divinely-manifested. In the case of Muhammad (S.A.W), God sent Gabriel, His archangel, to convey His revelations, thereby making the Qur'an, God's words, concrete proof of Muhammad's prophethood. With reference to the question of scripture, this article argues that the fundamental characteristics of the Qur'an, its language and consistency of messages in the face of tumultuous surroundings belie the contention that it was an adaptation from other religions mainly Christianity and Judaism. As for the absence of a viable Arab culture which therefore made borrowings and adoptions inevitable, the article points out that there was an established culture characterised by diversity, differences, economic activities such as trade and the like, all of which render invalid the notion of a cultural vacuum. This article thus argues that Hourani's contentions are untenable. This article further asserts that any analysis of Islam should be based on its main and essential source, the Qur'an. © Universiti Putra Malaysia Press.

AB - Albert Hourani, the British-Lebanese historian of Islamic history, bases his theorisation of Islam, which he claims is not of divine revelation, largely on three factors that revolve around the questions of prophecy, scripture and culture. This article seeks to refute the said claim, arguing that Hourani's contentions are indefensible. With reference to prophecy, Hourani contends that it was impossible for God to communicate with a human being; rather He manifested himself in a human person, like He did with Jesus (peace be upon him). In the absence of a mediator, such an argument has as its proof of validity only the claim of the person so divinely-manifested. In the case of Muhammad (S.A.W), God sent Gabriel, His archangel, to convey His revelations, thereby making the Qur'an, God's words, concrete proof of Muhammad's prophethood. With reference to the question of scripture, this article argues that the fundamental characteristics of the Qur'an, its language and consistency of messages in the face of tumultuous surroundings belie the contention that it was an adaptation from other religions mainly Christianity and Judaism. As for the absence of a viable Arab culture which therefore made borrowings and adoptions inevitable, the article points out that there was an established culture characterised by diversity, differences, economic activities such as trade and the like, all of which render invalid the notion of a cultural vacuum. This article thus argues that Hourani's contentions are untenable. This article further asserts that any analysis of Islam should be based on its main and essential source, the Qur'an. © Universiti Putra Malaysia Press.

KW - Culture

KW - Divine revelation

KW - Prophecy

KW - Prophethood

KW - Scripture

KW - The Qur'an

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84876954542&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84876954542&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 21

SP - 259

EP - 270

JO - Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities

JF - Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities

SN - 0128-7702

IS - 1

ER -