One of the most common claims Muslims make about Islam is that it is a complete way of life. Of course, the assumption behind this is that as a complete way of life Islam is superior to all other religions because those religions do not prescribe and describe a complete way of life. Of course, one could respond to this claim by showing that Islam indeed fails to be complete in a number of ways; however, I think the trouble with this approach is that it fails to question the problematical assumption, namely, that a complete way of life is a superior way of life, or worse, a complete way of life is a divinely inspired way of life. This short article attempts to show that what Muslims set forth as an unarguable assumption is actually highly debatable.
Assumption 1: If a way of life is complete, then it is divinely inspired.
This assumption holds that being a complete way of life is a sufficient condition for something to be divinely inspired. Consider the following arguments demonstrating that this assumption is fallacious.
Argument 1: Schizophrenics can have a comprehensive delusional web of beliefs and practices (a way of life), but surely no one would want to claim that a schizophrenic way of life is divinely-inspired. Comprehensiveness or completeness is not synonymous with being divinely-inspired. Being a complete way of life is not a sufficient condition for being divinely-inspired.
Argument 2: One could out of sheer academic interest look at every aspect of life covered by Islam. Then one could develop alternative forms for each aspect and thereby have a theoretically complete way of life (assuming that Islam is indeed a complete way of life). However, the alternative way of life, although complete, would obviously be a humanly-inspired way of life. Again, being a complete way of life is not a sufficient condition for being divinely-inspired.
Assumption 2: The very concept of divine inspiration includes the concept of being a complete way of life.
This assumption holds that the concept of divine inspiration logically entails, or analytically includes, the concept of being a complete way of life. Consider the following argument against this assumption.
Argument 3: If "complete" means "having all the necessary components to function," then one could quite justifiably claim that their car is complete but it is certainly not divinely inspireddespite what auto manufacturers may claim. Only if one really means by complete way of life that it is a perfect way of life (whatever that may mean) would the possibility of divine inspiration arise since one might argue that a perfect entity could arise only from the divine. I encourage Muslims to develop this approach since it might prove more profitable for them than trying to squeeze the mark of divine inspiration out of completeness. The point here, however, is that it is clear that completeness does not logically entail or include divine inspiration by definition.
Assumption 3: If a way of life is not complete, then it is not divinely inspired.
This assumption holds that being a complete way of life is not a sufficient condition, but it is a necessary condition, for it to be divinely-inspired. Consider the following argument demonstrating how this assumption too is fallacious.
Argument 4: Assumption 3 holds that the qualities of the divine must be in whatever the divine creates. It holds that since the divine is complete, the way of life established by the divine must be complete. This is absurd! Everything created by the divine is contingent, i.e., dependent and incomplete. Assuming Allah established Islam as a way of life, then that way of life would of necessity be incomplete. Only the way of life of Allah (as lived or experienced by Allah) would be complete in a divine sensehaving the mark of divinity. Surely Muslims wouldnt assert that life in the Islamic state mirrors Allahs life in heaven. This would have shirk be a condition for tawhidinteresting indeed!
The bottom line is that completeness is not synonymous with divine inspiration! If Islam is a complete way of life, there is no proof that God had anything to do with it at all!
Series: Second Thoughts On Common Islamic Assumptions
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