God is great!
Its becoming clear to me that this is one of the central precepts of Islam. Nothing is above God; he is perfect and there is no equal. I had a psuedo-conversation about Slavery and Islam with a Muslim the other day (I talked to him by piping Yoko through Google Talk).
Slavery must be ok because it says so in the Qur’an, he tells me.
Having had similar discussions about textual literalism with Christians before, I reasoned that “Oh, that’s just a stupid book” wasn’t going to be a compelling counter argument.
Instead, I replied: “So, the Qur’an is infallible.”
“But God has no equal, right?”
“Yes, of course.”
Hah. I knew I had him there…
“But if the Qur’an is infallible and God has no equal then they must be equal in perfection!”
To which he answered, after much deliberation with our intermediate, “Well, life is complicated.”
At this point, I did one of those literal LOLs.
In any case, a similar argument is made by Abu Daoud to defend the Christian Bible from Muslim accusations of corruption:
I start by explaining that tahriif [the idea that texts before the Qur’an, called injiil are corrupt] is very real and it is a significant problem. We say that God knows the heart of all men, and that he is all powerful–no Muslim will disagree. Then I explain that when the Jew knows the Torah and its commands, and he disobeys it, he has corrupted the Torah in his heart. Likewise the Christian who knows the commands of the injiil and disobeys it has corrupted the injiil. And finally, the Muslim who knows the commands of the Qur’an and disobeys it, is it not true that he has corrupted the Qur’an? The answer, in my experience, is always yes. Muslims are very aware that most Muslims aren’t very strict in their obedience.
In conclusion I usually ask, “Is Allah powerful or weak?” Powerful! “Is Allah wise or foolish?” Wise, the answer comes. “Yes my friend, and Allah is more powerful than the Jews and the Christians, and no one is capable of corrupting God’s words to his prophets! If anyone says that his words corrupted IN THE TEXT of the Torah and Gospel, he is a man who believes that God is neither wise nor powerful. But you see that corruption is in our hearts.”