Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics

(Jacob Rumans) #1

plural of Hadith). The Koran also commands every Muslim
to follow Muhammad’s example, obeying all that he did,
said, commanded, or prohibited (see Sura 33:21).[29]

43. Is this ‘‘Islamic tradition’’similar

to Sacred Tradition as taught by the

Catholic Church? If not, how do they


The casual observer might see in the Islamic Hadith a
curious similarity to the Catholic concept of Sacred
Tradition, yet upon further investigation, this similarity
proves to be superficial at best. While the Muslim has
authoritative written traditions to aid him in interpreting the
Koran, the Catholic has a teaching Church as the final
authority in understanding God’s revelation to man (see 1
Tm 3:15). Also, in Catholic understanding, Sacred Scripture
and Sacred Tradition form one revelation, one ‘‘deposit of
faith’’ (see CCC 84,97). ‘‘Sacred Tradition’’ for Catholics
refers to elements of the revealed Word of God that were not
written down (see 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15; CCC 81,83). As
such, its elements are just as important as the teachings of
the Bible, the written Word of God, because both the Bible
and Tradition come from the same source — God Himself
(see CCC 80). In Islam, this is generally not the case: the
Hadith record the words and deeds of Muhammad, which
are exemplary for Muslims but do not have the status of
divine revelation, although some Muslims believe the

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