Dr. James White has often said that Islam is a U-turn. In other words, it steps down from the high revelation of Jesus Christ and takes the Abrahamic tradition back several steps. I couldn’t disagree more. This U-turn statement gives Islam more credit than it deserves. If one looks at the revelation from the OT to the NT, one sees a smooth fulfillment. Does Islam go back to the OT?
To say that Islam is a U-turn implies that Islam is the religion of the Old Covenant. It is not. If Islam were the religion of the OT, they would follow the 613 commandments found in the Torah. In 637 AD when Arab armies conquered Jerusalem, why didn’t they rebuild the Temple and restore the sacrifices? This would have been done if Islam indeed was making a U-turn. They actually went in the opposite direction and built the Dome of the Rock on the only portion of land where the Temple could be built. The Dome of the Rock doesn’t contain an altar and the idea of commencing sacrifices in the Dome has never even been entertained.
Islam is not a U-turn. It is an entirely new religion based on a text that has stories from the Bible, gnostic writings, rabbinic literature, and pagan literature. If Islam were a U-turn they would either try to follow the religion of the OT or Rabbinic Judaism. They follow neither. They follow the religion of the 7th century Arab named Muhammad.
The closest thing to a U-turn would be Rabbinic Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism started after Christianity and attempts to revive the religion of the Old Testament, although without a Temple, Priesthood, sacrificial system, theocratic Kingdom of Israel, or Davidic monarchy. To the credit of Rabbinic Judaism, although they don’t have these things now, they claim that one day they will be restored when a Messianic figure emerges.
Islam doesn’t and has never expressed interest in restoring these important Old Testament institutions. There has never been a movement amongst Muslims to rebuild the Temple, restore the Priesthood and continue Sacrifices, let alone re-establish the Kingdom of Israel via the Davidic monarchy.
The ironic thing is that Islam could have been a U-turn. As I mentioned before, they could have rebuilt the Temple when they took Jerusalem from the Christians. They could have worked with the Jewish community to see who had Davidic and Aaronic ancestry to re-establish the Monarchy and Priesthood. When the King was found and the Priesthood restored, the Kingdom of Israel would soon follow and the U-turn would be complete. This never happened. In fact, it never even came close.
Islam conquered land from Spain to China in 100 years. With this military might, they could have easily established a Kingdom of Israel more powerful then Solomon could have even imagined. Why didn’t they do it? They didn’t do it because Islam is not a U-turn. It is a foreign religion that incorporates some of the Abrahamic tradition.
What I would ask Muslims to do to is to look to Scripture and Tradition provided by the Church that Christ established in Matthew 16. What I would ask Dr. White to do, is stop giving Islam credit that it doesn’t deserve.