by David P. Goldman
….If the Mohammed story was invented, then by whom was it invented, and to what end? The answer, Kalisch explains, is that the new Arab empire wanted to conflate the figures of Moses and Jesus into an Arab prophet. Neither the Jews nor the Christians as people of God, but the Arabs, instead, would become the Chosen People under Islam. “No prophet is mentioned in the Koran as often as Moses, and Muslim tradition always emphasized the great similarly between Moses and Mohammed,” Kalisch writes. “The central event in the life of Moses, though, is the Exodus of the oppressed Children of Israel out of Egypt, and the central event in the life of Mohammed is the Exodus of his oppressed congregation out of Mecca to Medina . . . The suspicion is great that the Hegira appears only for this reason in the story of the Prophet, because his image should emulate the image of Moses.” Furthermore,
“…the image of Jesus is also seen as a new Moses. The connection of Mohammed to the figure of Jesus is presented in Islamic tradition through his daughter Fatima, who is identified with Maria . . . The Line Fatima-Maria-Isis is well known to research. With the takeover of Mecca, Mohammed at least returns to his point of origin. Thus we have a circular structure typical of myth, in which beginning and end are identical. This Gnostic circular structure represents the concept that the soul returns to its origin. It is separated from its origin, and must return to it for the sake of its salvation. . . . In the Islamic Gnosis, Mohammed appears along with [his family members] Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussein as cosmic forces . . . the Gnostic Abu Mansur al Igli claimed that God first created Jesus, and then Ali. Here apparently we still have the Cosmic Christ. If a Christian Gnosis gave birth to Islam, then the Cosmic Christ underwent a name change to Mohammed in the Arab world, and this Cosmic Mohammed was presented as a new edition of the Myth of Moses and Joshua (=Jesus) as an Arab prophet.”
Why is theological clarity so important?
For several reasons.
First, the question of what Islam seeks to accomplish is of first importance. The definitive claim of the religion, if we follow Prof. Kalisch, is the Election of the Arabs to replace the Jews. Any manifest sign of Jewish election (for example, a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael) challenges the founding premise of Islam and constitutes an existential threat to the religion itself.
Second, the mechanism by which the new religion recasts the figures of Moses and Jesus is Gnostic, that is, the belief that an esoteric knowledge enables the adepts to see past the surface: underneath the Hebrew Bible and Christian Gospels lies the “true” revelation of Islam. But that is not a revelation at all, not, at least, in the sense that the giving of the Torah or the ministry of Jesus were understood to be revelations, namely, a human engagement with an infinite God. There really is no revelation at all, because Allah always remains infinitely remote and unrevealed: there is merely Gnosis, a new esoteric knowledge, a re-reading of earlier sources that transforms Moses and Jesus into Mohammed.
This makes Islam far more fragile than Judaism or Christianity. If the West chose to exploit its fragility rather than attempt to appease, engage, or reform Islam, the outcome would surprise everyone.