Summary

The beliefs commended by the Muslim scriptures appear to share two basic features. They are to be based on revealed texts whose mode of transmission cannot be contested, and they appeal to a thinking, questing humanity. The Qur'an proclaims, but it also offers arguments. It does not merely command faith, but commands the kind of thinking that can lead to the discovery of ultimate truth. When asking its audience to believe, or to adopt a virtue, the Qur'an invariably presents arguments based on premises that it takes to be universally accessible, since it addresses unbelievers as well as those who have accepted it as the word of God. It thus provides an original model for dialectical theology. The hadith, by contrast, are largely addressed to believers, and furnish later generations of theologians with data on which to reflect.

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