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Unit 4

Islam is the last of the three Western religions that are discussed in this course. Islam shares with Judaism and Christianity the belief in a single, all-powerful God. Like Christianity, Islam has a founder who can be identified in history. Unlike Christ, though, the prophet Muhammad is understood as the spokesman for God, rather than as God in human form. As Ludwig notes in the first pages of Chapter 26 of The Sacred Paths, Islam incorporates many of the figures of the two religious traditions that preceded it. Abraham and Moses, Elijah and Isaiah, and David and Jesus all feature in the sacred text of Islam, the Quran. However, faithful Muslims understand the revelation accorded to the prophet Muhammad to be the complete and most perfect expression of God’s will offered to humans. So, although Islam reflects an awareness of and derives some of its nourishment from the preceding traditions, its mature expression is the fruit of a different culture, time, and context.