Sura 112

Islamic Supersessionism – Parsing the Qur’an

Posted by dianamuir on August 10, 2012
Islamic supercessionism / Comments Off on Islamic Supersessionism – Parsing the Qur’an

Supercessionism, also know as replacement theology, refers to the foundational Muslim idea that Islam and the Qur’an come not to add to the older Abrahamic religions, but to replace them.

Angelika Neuwirth illuminates the core of Islamic replacement theology in her study of Sura 112:   “Say: He is God, one / God the absolute / He did not beget, nor is He begotten / and there is none like Him”.[1]

“Say: He is God, one”.   This is the Quran’s replacement for the  central Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael, “Hear oh Israel, the Lord, our God, is One”.   The Shema “remains audible” in the Sura because of the choice of the word ahad  (one) although it is more awkward in Arabic than its synonym, wahid.    The word choice underlines the replacement of Judaism by Islam.

Sura 112 also replaces the Nicean Creed of 335CE, one of  the foundational documents of the church, which itself responds to the Shema by replacing   words, “Hear oh Israel, the Lord, our God, is One”,   with, “We believe in one God…”

Surah 112, “God the absolute”, replaces the Nicean, “the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.”

The Nicean Creed continues, “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very Gods, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

The sura denies this directly, “He did not beget, nor is He begotten,”  and concludes,  “and there is none like Him.”

The response to Jewish and Christian ideas in this sura is direct and absolute.  The consequences of supercessionism have been complex and important.


More on this to come.


[1] Newwirth, Angelika, “The Quran and the Bible”,  The New Cambridge History of the Bible form 600 to 1450, Cambridge Universtiy Press, 2012.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,