Islamic Studies; PhD Stage Leader
John Nicol Farquhar was a Scottish missionary and orientalist, well-known even today for his ideas on fulfilment theology. Whereas Farquhar’s position on Hinduism vis-a-vis Christianity is still widely discussed, few are aware of what he wrote about Islam. This is because it is assumed that his view of Islam was no different from his view of other religious traditions.
This article discusses the question of whether Islam was merely part of Farquhar’s broader conception of religious traditions in their Christ-ward journey. My provisional answer to this question is that while it is true that for Farquhar, Islam was part of the broader context of religions, he also viewed Islam as being distinct from other religious traditions, both mainstream and marginal. His view was that Islam stood alongside Christianity as an ally, as a catalyst of reform in religions, and as such, Islam was not just an object of Christ-ward transformation.
In this article, I focus on three of Farquhar’s major writings containing material on Islam, which may not be very well-known to readers and commentators today. It is aimed at theological students and teachers, particularly those interested in the theology of religions and dialogue with Islam, so that they can build on what they already know, and shape their thinking about how to relate to Islam and Muslims as partners, not merely as objects in God’s mission.