This article was written by Connor Attard, a fellow Maltese traditionalist and contributor.
When faced with criticism of the Qur’an’s violent passages, Muslim apologists and their political allies in the West often respond by pointing out the violent passages in the Old Testament. This is a debate tactic known as moral equivalence, in which a speaker appeals to two distinct sides of a conflict to be judged the same way because they’re essentially on an equal moral footing. Few, if any, Christians interpret said passages as standing orders to commit violence in the present, so why should Islam’s holy writ be blamed for acts of terror in its name? There are several problems with this position.
Firstly, moral equivalence is a logical fallacy. The question of whether Christianity is violent is completely irrelevant when assessing Islam’s apparent penchant for violence. It sidesteps the issue at hand, and attempts to justify wrongs by appealing to other wrongs.
Secondly, and perhaps more crucially, it assumes that the Bible and the Qur’an are somehow analogous to each other. This is forgivable, since few non-Muslims have ever picked up a Qur’an, much less know anything about its features. In truth, however, both texts are fundamentally different in format and scope.
The Qur’an is purported to be the eternal and verbatim word of Allah as relayed by Muhammad over a period of twenty-two years. Muslims consider each verse in the Qur’an to be eternally binding unless it’s abrogated by a later revelation. This principle of abrogation is laid down in the text itself.
“Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is able to do all things?” (2:106)