Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics

(Jacob Rumans) #1

community chose his companion Abu Bakr to succeed him
as Caliph, or leader of the Muslims. But one party of
Muslims thought that the leadership belonged by right to
Ali, Muhammad’s son in law. This is the origin of the great
split in Islam between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites. The
Shi’ites believe that only a descendent of Muhammad could
succeed him. Over the centuries Shi’ites, the dominant
Muslim sect in Iran and parts of Iraq, elaborated doctrines
and practices that differ in many ways from the Sunni Islam
that is dominant in the rest of the Islamic world.

Still, for the most part there has been unity on the chief
points of Islamic doctrine. Muslims point proudly to this
unity, which they say contrasts with the way in which Jews
and Christians have changed the Bible.

52. Why do Muslims believe that Jews

and Christians have changed the


The Koran declares that the Gospel contains ‘‘guidance
and light’’ and that the Torah is ‘‘a guide and an admonition
to the righteous’’ (Sura 5:46). But because the Old and New
Testaments do not agree with the Koran, most Muslims do
not identify the Torah and the Gospel referred to in the
Koran with today’s Old and New Testaments. For Muslims,
the ‘‘Torah’’ and the ‘‘Gospel’’ were books that were
virtually identical to the Koran; Allah gave the former to
Jews through the prophet Moses, and the latter to Christians

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