By Gary Gutting
This is the 11th in a series of interviews about religion that I am conducting for The Stone. The interviewee for this installment isSajjad Rizvi, a professor of Arab and Islamic studies at the University of Exeter and the author of “Mulla Sadra and the Later Islamic Philosophical Tradition.”
Gary Gutting: How do you see Islam in relation to the other major Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Judaism? Should we think of them as (for example) rivals, or as complementary developments of monotheism, or as different cultural expressions of an essentially similar religious experience?
Sajjad Rizvi: The very notion of Abrahamic religions is arguably Islamic. The Quran presents Abraham as an adherent of Islam, but here “Islam” means the primordial faith that connects humanity to one God and leads in turn to Judaism, Christianity and then historical Islam as proclaimed by Muhammad. There are some who view Islam as a faith that supersedes the two earlier monotheistic religions. But I think it’s more useful to understand Islam as a religion that is self-conscious about its relationship to Judaism and Christianity and explicitly takes account of their scriptures and traditions. [Read more…]