RESPONSE TO REUVEN FIRESTONE’S 2015 IQSA PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
In his presidential keynote, Reuven Firestone has identified multiple features of the problem of prophecy in Islam. He informs us about the ways in which Muhammad’s prophecy was first expected to occur according to reports from some Arabian Jews and how certain features of Muhammad’s prophecy were even noted in Jewish sources. At the same time, he is also cautious and wonders out loud whether these episodes of Jewish notices of Muhammad’s prophecy “could have occurred as depicted or whether something like them happened at all.” It is healthy to foster such skepticism. Skepticism allows the historian to explore other possibilities and explanations as to what happened in order to track how these predictions about Muhammad’s prophecy played out, both at the time of their purported occurrence and when these reports were received among Muslim communities and other faith traditions over time.