Muhammad in Comprehensive Christian Perspective: The Prophet Per Se

 

Hans Kkung3ung is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, author and emeritus professor of ecumenical theology at University of Tubingen.

“There is no doubt that if anyone in the whole of religious history is termed the prophet, because he claimed to be just that, but in no way more than that, it was Muhammad.

But may a Christian assert that Muhammad was a prophet? Christians, if they pause to survey the situation, must admit the following (especially in light of the Hebrew Bible):

  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad did not function by reason of an office assigned to him by the community (or its authorities), but by reason of a special personal relationship with God.
  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad was a person of strong will who felt himself fully imbued with a godly calling, fully consumed,exclusively appointed to his task.
  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad spoke to the heart of a religious and social crisis, and with his passionate piety and revolutionary proclamation he opposed the wealthy ruling class and the tradition it was trying to preserve.
  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad, who mostly called himself the “Warner”, sought to be nothing but the verbal instrument of God and to proclaim not his own, but God’s word.
  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad untiringly proclaimed the one God who tolerates
    no other gods and who is at the same time the good Creator and merciful Judge.
  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad required, as a response to this one God, unconditional obedience, devotion, submission, which is the literal meaning of word Islam: everything that includes gratitude to God and generosity toward fellow human beings.
  • Like the prophets of Israel, Muhammad combined monotheism with humanism or human values, belief in the one God and God’s judgment with a call to social justice, and a threat to the unjust, who go to hell, with promises to the just, who are gathered into God’s paradise.

In truth, Muhammad was and is for persons in the Arabian world, and for many others, the religious reformer, lawgiver, and leader; the prophet per se.

Basically Muhammad, who never claimed to be anything more than a human being, is more to those who follow him than a prophet is to us: he is a model for the mode of life that Islam strives to be. If the Catholic Church, according to the Vatican II “Declaration on Non-Christian Religions”, “regards with esteem the Muslims”, then the same church must also respect the one whose name is embarrassingly absent from the same declaration, although he and he alone led the Muslims to pray to this one God, for through him this God “has spoken to humanity”: Muhammad the prophet. But does not such an acknowledgment have very grave consequences, especially for the message he proclaimed, the teachings set down in the Qur’an?

I think for the peoples of Arabia Muhammad’s prophecy led to tremendous progress. Whatever we Christians do with this fact, we must affirm that he acted as a prophet and that he was a prophet. I do not see how we can avoid the conclusion that on their way of salvation, Muslims follow a prophet who is decisive for them.”

Hans Kung, “Christianity and World Religions: Dialogue with Islam”, in Leonard Swidler (ed.), Muslims in Dialogue: The Evolution of A Dialogue, vol. 3 (The Edwin Mellen Press, 1992)



Categories: Islam

19 replies

  1. Hans Kung is not an islamic scholar and he does not speak arabic. He has absolutely no credentials to make pronouncements on Islam or mohammed.

    Joseph Smith meets many of those same criteria of authenticity as Kung applies to Mohammed.

    Like

    • Thank you for your reply. I cannot see how your answer deals with the topic though.

      Liked by 3 people

    • “Hans Kung is not an islamic scholar and he does not speak arabic. He has absolutely no credentials to make pronouncements on Islam or Muhammed.”…………..
      Shoud not this criteria also apply to the many ‘Christian’ mouthpieces who regularly pronounce negative opinions of Muhammad and Islam?

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Hans Kung is not an islamic scholar and he does not speak arabic. He has absolutely no credentials to make pronouncements on Islam or Muhammed.”…………….
      Shoud not this criteria also apply to the many ‘Christian’ mouthpieces who regularly pronounce negative opinions of Muhammad and Islam?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Burhauddin

      The point is that even false prophets meet those same criteria that Kung claims makes mohammed a prophet.

      Like

    • So how do you test a false prophet?

      Like

    • Musa

      “Shoud not this criteria also apply to the many ‘Christian’ mouthpieces who regularly pronounce negative opinions of Muhammad and Islam?”

      Ask your muslim brethren – when the christian in question is positive about islam, then muslims accept him, when the christian is critical of islam, then you guys pronounce them to be unqualified.

      Like

    • One criteria of false prophecy that mohammed meets is that he spoke words that he had not been commanded by god to speak.

      The ancient israelites would have killed him.

      Like

    • @Trey….. If the Israelites want to kill him then that’s a sure sign of false prophethood?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Musa

      Is that what I said? No, seriously, is that what I wrote?

      Mohammed spoke words that he claimed were from god but which he later retracted and said did not come from god.

      Like

    • Alhandulillah there is away for Christians to connect without having to demonize Muhammad (pbuh) and his message a priori.

      I think Prof. Kung presents a reasonable solution for Christians how relate to and understand certain passages about Muhammad (pbuh) in the Quran.

      “The People of the Book know him (Muhammad) just as well as they know their own children, but those who have lost their souls will not believe.” 6:20

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “One criteria of false prophecy that mohammed meets is that he spoke words that he had not been commanded by god to speak.

    The ancient israelites would have killed him.”

    Wow, quite some claims. Are you a kind of prophet yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trey
      September 23, 2016 • 11:53 am
      Musa
      Is that what I said? No, seriously, is that what I wrote?
      Mohammed spoke words that he claimed were from god but which he later retracted and said did not come from god

      I say;
      Jesus as God said he does not know the day of judgement.

      Which God is that? God who said he does not know the day of judgement has lied and is not even qualified to be prophet.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Burhadin

      I think you are confused – prophecy tells the future, history tells us about the past. Knowing history does not make me a prophet.

      Intellect

      Jesus was making a reference to a jewish wedding.

      Like

    • Trey, one needn’t be a prophet to tell you are a waste of time. History? The Israelites could have killed Muhammad historically? Okay.

      I think your miraculous claims belong in the section fairytales or false prophethood.

      Like

  3. Amazing article !

    Like

  4. Amazing Article.

    Liked by 1 person

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