This article in Beliefnet strikes me as rather strange. The author is a Muslim who is a medical doctor-not someone who has specialized knowledge in Islam-and his rendering of the faith (all the stuff about God’s forgiveness and ability to redeem humans, etc.) strikes me as very Protestant, in the American context, almost Evangelical. The author also asserts a place for Free Will in the Islamic conception of the God-human relationship, and yet my understanding is that the orthodox Islamic position rejects Free Will in favor of predestination. I’m not going to snipe about how the author is not schooled in the religion of his profession, many lay Presbyterians do not delve deeply into the denial of Free Will that serves as a point of separation for their Calvinist tradition from that of many other Protestants, nor do many Lutherans contemplate much over the muddle that is their doctrine on this issue. Rather, most American Protestants, even the Evangelicals, as well as Catholics and to some extent Jews, have become participants in a vague form of theism that rejects excessive formulation of doctrine and rigorous scripture study in favor of emotional devotion and personal redefinition of “what it means to be Fill-in-the-blank.” The Protestantization of American Islam is surely a good thing, a move away from Islam’s current standing as a cult-sect that is shifted far from the American mainstream and to some extent religiously at odds with it, to one denomination among many that partakes of the standard public pieties without excessive self-reflection on the axioms of the faith.
Related note: See this ParaPundit article on the various attempts to bring the Koran into the umbrella of textual analysis that the Bible has been subjected to since the 19th century. Note that modernist criticism of the Bible lead to the emergence of Fundamentalism in the early 20th century in the form of pamphlets like The Five Fundamentals. Unfortunately most of the scholars that work in this new field have to go under pseudonyms because of the nature of their endeavour. And just like the investigation into the Bible, the inquiry seems to be driven by German scholars….
Update 2: Zack comments (a lot).
Update 3: Bill Allison weights in.