King David was a Muslim

Feb_2008_mainpromoHow old is Islam? Non-Muslim textbooks will trace Islam’s origins to the Arabian desert around 600 AD (or CE if you prefer) with the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the establishment of the Islamic Ummah.

Muslims themselves are far more ambitious, tracing their religion to Creation itself, for in the beginning, God created Islam. Since then He has consistently revealed His true religion to the prophets, the last of whom was Muhammad. Thus, for Muslims, Muhammad was not the first Muslim. This honour belongs to Adam. Abraham was a Muslim, Moses was a Muslim, David was a Muslim, Jesus was a Muslim.

The followers of these earlier prophets (Jews, Christians) eventually apostatized from the true message. It was therefore restored in its fullness and finality to Muhammad.

Regarding David the Muslim, Islam cleans up his story considerably. David was a prophet and prophets are righteous therefore David was neither an adulterer nor a murderer. The Bible, it seems, is only true insofar as it is translated correctly.

Comments

  1. How can you say Islam was founded from the beginning, when in reality Allah was pulled from a polythesitic belief system and declared the only God? Besides, I’m not certain all Muslims are as ambitious as you claim. They aren’t Mormons after all.

  2. Very interesting, Ronan.

    Next, I’d suggest a look at how Buddhism’s eternal perspective is so much closer to Mormonism’s than is Protestantism’s. I’ve always found it fascinating that, in many ways, Mormonism is closer to the other major world religions than it is to modern-day Protestantism. Adds a broader meaning to “Restoration”, imo.

  3. mmiles,
    I’m confident that any believing Muslim will profess this belief in an ancient Islam. Obviously, I do not necessarily share this view.

  4. I second Ronan’s confidence in #3. The Qu’ran itself is believed to be eternal and uncreated, exisiting with Allah in the heavens from all eternity.

  5. Interesting take, Ronan. I’ve lived for 6 years in Muslim countries, going on my 7th (not all consecutively), and while I know that they have the old testament just like we do (we are all “people of the book”), I’ve never thought of Adam and Eve actually being called “Muslim.” I’m sure they must see it that way.

    I’ve never heard of the idea of Allah being pulled from a polytheistic belief system. I think Allah is the god of the Old Testament, no?

    Also, I know I asked you ages and ages ago if you would consider doing a post on the veracity of Mohammed’s (pbuh) revelations from Gabriel and the significance that has to Mormons. When I lived in Saudi the last time (I’m here again), there was this guy in my branch who was adamant that Mohammed was a true prophet and had an authentic vision, and this guy had a variety of ideas about Mohammed’s place in the plan of salvation and his role bringing forth the truth on earth.

    Any plans for such a post? :-D

  6. When Muslims find out that King David was a murderer, do they join the DisAffected Muslim Underground?

  7. MikeInWeHo says:

    Well, if the Mayas were apostate Christians then why couldn’t King David have been a Muslim…. :)

  8. I’ve never thought of Adam and Eve actually being called “Muslim.” I’m sure they must see it that way.

    My (limited) experience is that Muslims act just about how we do when asked whether Adam and Eve were Mormons. It’s largely true under our theology, but the formulation requires lots of explanation.

  9. A lot has to do with language. Yes, “King David was a Muslim” sounds strange, perhaps even to a Muslim. But use the vernacular and these figures become more naturally Muslim:

    Adam
    Nuh
    Ibrahim
    Yakub
    Yusef
    Musa
    Dawud
    etc.

  10. Re: #5’s post. There is an old ensign article here that broaches the very issue that guy in your branch brought up in regards to Mohammed being a true prophet. According to the article, in a sense he was.

  11. Mormonism teaches that BCE prophets were Christian. I don’t see how this is any different.

  12. just goes to show you, it’s always who you know… ;-p

  13. StillConfused says:

    Are you saying this because this is before Muslim and Christianity split? In other words, do both religions claim Adam was a follower of theirs?

  14. Ronan, I work with several Muslims, and I always tell them the Bible is very clear that revelation did not end after Jesus and in fact there were prophets after Jesus. They LOVE IT when I say that. Of course, they believe Muhammed was the last prophet, but we don’t get into that. Contention, you know.

  15. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    You know, I was just asking why you guys kept saying (pbuh) after their prophet’s name when I realized you were probably typing in an acronym of “Peace be upon him.” Ah.

    Okay, so if Allah was a chosen prophet in a long line of prophets… where are the rest of them? Why aren’t they led by a prophet now as Latter-Day Saints are? I know some of the historical reasons, but does anyone know of any theological ones?

  16. PDoE,
    Because the Qur’an is God’s ultimate revelation. There’s no need for a prophet – the Qur’an is the modern prophet. (This is akin to the Sikh view that the Adi Granth (scripture) is the last guru.)

  17. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Er, Allah is God, not a prophet. I meant Mohammad.

  18. #16 – convenient. How do they address the concept of the changing need of the people? Is that the role of the imam? Do they believe in inspiration?

  19. If one wants to look for an ancient prophet who lines up strongly along LDS (Judeo-Christian as we see it) lines, I would submit Zarathustra (Zoroaster) as the best candidate. Many have speculated that post-exile Judaism was profoundly affected by the teachings of Zoroasterianism. I’ve never had a problem with this, particularly in light of Alma 29:8.

  20. Ooh. I love Zoroastrianism. It’s got some interesting beliefs that are fun to reconcile with Mormonism.

  21. I had once read that the Qur’an was not written down for several hundred years, as it was considered profane to write the words of God. Does anyone know if this is true? If so, Mohammad could have indeed been a prophet sent to restore the seed of Ishmael from idolatry, but over time his teachings may have been misinterpreted and changed, as the Bible was. This would also explain some of the doctrinal anomalies, such as Jesus’ role in Allah’s plan (prophet rather than Son of God). I suppose the Qu’ran could also be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Of course this all hangs on my assumption, which I’m not sure is correct.

  22. No, the Qur’an was compiled quite quickly in written form after Muhammad’s passing under the first Caliph Abu Bakr.

  23. Interesting topic, but I’m surprised BCC hasn’t yet commented on the Church Historian’s Press or the passing of William Buckley.

  24. Part of the problem lies in the words themselves. I don’t know how much I agree with this interpretation, but, to quote,

    “Furthermore, one must beware of rendering, in each and every case, the religious terms used in the Qur’an in the sense which they have acquired after islam had become ‘institutionalized’ into a definite set of laws, tenets and practices. However legitimate this ‘institutionalization’ may be in the context of Islamic religious history, it is obvious that the Qur’an cannot be correctly understood if we read it merely in the light of later ideological developments, losing sight of its original purport and the meaning which it had—and was intended to have—for the people who first heard it from the lips of the Prophet himself. For instance, when his contemporaries heard the words ??????? (islam) and ???? (muslim), they understood them as denoting man’s ‘self-surrender to God’ and ‘one who surrenders himself to God,’ without limiting these terms to any specific community or denomination—e.g., in 3:67, where Abraham is spoken of as having ‘surrendered himself unto God’ (???? ??????????; kaana musliman), or in 3:52 where the disciples of Jeusus say, ‘Bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto God (???????? ??????????; bi-annaa muslimuun)’. In Arabic, this original meaning has remained unimpaired, and no Arab scholar has every become oblivious of the wide connotation of these terms. Not so, however, the non-Arab of our day, believer and non-believer alike: to him, islaam and muslim usually have a restricted, historically circumscribed significance, and apply exclusively to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad. Similarly, the terms kufr (‘denial of the truth’) and kaafir (‘one who denies the truth’) have become, in the conventional translations of the Qur’an unwarrantably simplified into ‘unbelief’ and ‘unbeliever’ or ‘infidel’, respectively, and have thus been deprived of the wide spiritual meaning which the Qur’an gives to these terms. Another example is to be found in the conventional rendering of the word kitaab, when applied to the Qur’an, as ‘book': for, when the Qur’an was being revealed (and we must not forget that this process took twenty-three years), those who listened to its recitation did not conceive of it as a ‘book’—since it was compiled only some decades after the Prophet’s death—but rather, in view of the derivation of the noun kitaab from the verb kataba (‘he wrote’ or, tropically, ‘he ordained’), as a ‘divine writ’ or a ‘revelation’. The same holds true with regard to the Qur’anic use of this term in its connotation of earlier revealed scriptures: for the Qur’an often stresses the fact that those earlier instances of divine writ have largely been corrupted in the course of time, and that the extant holy ‘books’ do not really represent the original revelations. Consequently, the translation of ??? ?????? (ahl al-kitaab) as ‘people of the book’ is not very meaningful; in my opinion, the term should be rendered as ‘followers of earlier revelation’. “

    (Muhammad Asad (trans.), The Message of the Qur’an, xi.)

  25. (The error message from your webserver said that it assumed incoming text was latin-1 Swedish instead of Unicode. Hence, the Arabic got replaced by question marks. Darn.)

  26. Eric Russell says:

    What’s up with the random swipe at the Daily Universe on the sidebar? Did they defend Butters? I can’t find such an article anywhere. I’m trying to figure out what would warrant such a comment.

  27. cj douglass says:

    If any one is interested, The Message starring Anthony Quinn is a great film about Muhammad. In fact, you never see the prophet throughout the whole movie (to the approval of Muslims everywhere)

  28. Regarding the early written version of the Qur’an, it is also important to recognize a few important linguistic features of early Arabic. Written Arabic today and for most of Islamic history has a full range of vowelling and diacritical marks that leave no ambiguity in meaning when fully written out. However, the character set of the first written Qur’an’s was still in development and was lacking in both “short” vowels (three vowels in Arabic, a, i, and u – but there are short and long versions of both, the long always being written out but the short not necessarily so and in early Arabic script not at all) and many of the “dots” necessary to distinguish one letter from another. For example, depending on position in the word, the letters b, t, th, and y could all look the same in early Arabic script. Obviously that could have presented some interpretation problems. That said, the Qur’an was first a carefully cultivated oral record in a society that highly prized orators (poets were highly esteemed and sometimes could decide the fate of wars without bloodshed), so it seems to me unlikely that this presents any problem to the integrity of the Qur’anic text. If one does wish however to see early textual versions of the Qur’an before the Arabic alphabetic system was complete, one can do no better than the Beit Al Quran in Manama, Bahrain. A top notch museum with one of the best collections of ancient and modern Qur’an’s I’ve ever come across. And a real treat for afficionados of Arabic calligraphy. They have a pretty good website here as well:

    http://www.beitalquran.com/

  29. nice
    [insert spam link here]

  30. Steve Evans says:

    obviously, the Jonathan the Spammer above is not J. Stapley, our own resident and beloved spammer.

  31. And speaking of spam, you have a nice oozing slice of it over on “You Americans,” comment 135. http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2008/01/you-americans/#comments

  32. Stephanie says:

    It is my understanding that we do share a common heritage with Muslims. We both believe in everything in the Bible down to Abraham. At that point, Jews/Mormons/Christians believe that Isaac (born to Sarah) received the birthright. But Muslims believe that Ishmael received the birthright. (I wish I could find the source. I searched through my last 5 scripture notebooks and can’t find it. Sorry.) It actually reminds me a lot of the RLDS church – how the priesthood passed to Brigham Young, but Emma thought it should pass to her son. So, we share a common heritage up to the point of Joseph Smith’s death, when we go one way and they go another.

  33. Thanks. Great post about David the Saint. I linked you to my Blog.

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