Religions (Mar 2022)

Problematising the Islamic Theology of Religions: Debates on Muslims’ Views of Others

  • Esra Akay Dag

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 3
p. 223


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Race’s typology has been widely used outside of the Christian tradition; however, it has been constructed in the light of the epistemological and soteriological concerns raised by Christian approaches towards other religions. Even though different questions generate the Christian and Islamic theologies of religions, Muslim and non-Muslim scholars have used Race’s classification to present the Islamic theology of religions. This paper presents different usages of Race’s three-fold typology and shows that Race’s threefold classification is not fully applicable to the Islamic theology of religions. The inclusivist position in the Islamic theology of religions (or its application to them) seems to be the most problematic issue. This is not because no inclusivist theology exists in the Islamic theology of religions, but rather because some scholars emphasise soteriology when applying Race’s inclusivism to the Islamic theology of religions, whilst others take epistemological concerns into account. Unlike these scholars, this paper eventually offers that contemporary Muslim theologians offer two-sided arguments. The supersessionist theory (Islam is the only true religion that supersedes other religions) is the best way to distinguish between these positions. According to Knitter’s classification, this paper considers this theory as a form of exclusivism, which would be seen as the “Replacement Model”. Contemporary discourse on the Islamic response to religious pluralism takes place between exclusivists who believe that Islam is the only religion that has superseded other religions and pluralists who think the opposite.