Islam and Christianity are two great monotheistic religions. They do not always agree. The author thinks we should see their disagreements as in a sense complimentary. Since 9/11, a deeper dialogue with Islam needs to be continued and deepened.
The straight path of Islam requires submission to the will of God as revealed in the Qur’an, and recognition of Muhammad as the Messenger of God who in his daily life interpreted and exemplified that divine revelation which was given through him. The believer who follows that straight path is a Muslim.
The earliest historical record of Islam in Indonesia comes from Marco Polo (A.D. 1292) when he took a sojourn in Perlack on the north coast of Sumatra while he was on his way back to Venice. He found the people there had been converted to Islam by “Saracene” merchants. Today Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims, mostly Sufi, with its distinctive mysticism.
There are many reforms taking place within Muslim thought and the author names a number of Muslims scholars approaching the challenges of modern secular society.
Christians and Muslims need to: 1. Purge themselves of isolationism, violence and acquiescence in social injustice. 2. Face the values all religions share. 3. Be socially active in government, institutions and the economy. 4. Understand the values in each other’s faiths.
The texts of the Qur’an are still and will always be valid, but we should understand them in the light of present knowledge. At the present time, there are four major tendencies in the Islamic world — orthodoxy, reform, Sufism, and Shi’a. One of the great tasks facing religious scholars in our time is the re-examination of the jurisprudence of Islam in the light of reason and modern knowledge.
Dr. Braybrooke compares Christian and Muslim thinking that are parallel, some that differ and some that seem too mysterious to describe. Often the difference seem greater than they really are.
The author describes the history and problems of the Islamic society from the time of the prophet Mohammad as it matures to modern times. Statistical compilations of the numbers of Muslims in various countries are listed.
The author holds that it has been proven that the Qur’an could not possibly be the work of Muhammad or of any other human being, but has been given to the Prophet by Holy Revelation. Of this there is no doubt whatsoever. Thus, the beliefs of Islam are True.
Some understanding of the place of scripture in other faith communities can help Christians be more aware of their particular view of scripture. Although scripture derives its authority from God, in a sense it is the community that regards a text as authoritative, that bestows authority upon it.