With respect to your second point on the scriptures:
The Quran says that God knows all outcomes. If so, then where are the prophecies from God in the Quran. Did God play it safe and not provide prophecies just because people like you would call them hearsay.
If our purpose in life were to know the exact future, The God would have given us the senses to do so. The function of the scriptures is to help us with our purpose of life, NOT fortune-telling. As I said before, not being able to know the exact future is a deliberate constraint placed on us by the Creator as part of our test.
It follows from your statement that "scripture is hearsay", that the Quran is hearsay. I do believe that it is BLASPHEMY FOR A MUSLIM TO SAY THE QURAN IS HEARSAY.
The Quran gives us the criteria to determine if it is hearsay or from The God:
"Do they not consider the Quran with care? If it had been from anyone other than The God, it would contain many inconsistencies." Quran 4:82
I did not find any inconsistencies in the Quran, therefore it passes the test for self-reference. Hearsay is what other says about you and I consider it the opposite of self-reference.
Of course, I agree that all scripture is hearsay, including the Quran. That is why we cannot take it literally. But it is by and large the only evidence of the existence and pursuits of God.
If the Quran is not hearsay, then why do you think all other scripture is. The Quran does not say that. In fact, the Quran looks to Abraham as it's father and therefore Torah scripture cannot be hearsay in Islam. And the Quran speaks to much of the New and Old Testament, otherwise it would be called the ONLY testament, not the FINAL testament.
All scripture is not hearsay if it passes the test of self-reference. In fact, I believe that previous scriptures were from The God and originally passed that test, but the clergy added their own commentary to it and altered the original message. They turned them to testaments (or commentaries).
In fact, I see the same thing happening today to the translations of the Quran because even a straight translation is a commentary. Some contemporary translators went as far as adding complete sections to the Quran into their translations. This is an example of well-intentioned men corrupting scripture right before our eyes in this information age. Moreover, the same word in the Quran is often translated using different English words in various parts of the same translation (i.e. inconsistency). Therefore, English translations of the Quran do not pass the test for self-reference.
Only the Quran (not its translations) remains without the man-made commentaries (thus without hearsay). When studying the Quran in English, I use different translations of the Quran, so that when I see that different translators are giving different understanding depending on their bias or something that doesnít make logical sense to me, I can go back to the original. The best translation I use is a literal English translation that is hard to read grammatically but easier to analyze from a logical point of view.
Show me where in the Quran it says that it is a testament. The Quran helps us with the test by, for example, talking about the outcomes that we are going to face in the afterlife if we choose certain paths. It is NOT a testament. It is simply a reminder (a cheat sheet) to help us choose the right path that will lead to a desirable outcome in the afterlife.
If the Quran does not advocate free will and its consequences for man and God, then I have to say the the Quran is wrong. But my guess is that it is your interpretation of the Quran that is incorrect. My guess is that the Quran is consistent with all other scripture in dealing with the existence of free will. Please reference where the Quran says that man does not have free will.
We are in agreement here, because indeed the Quran advocates free will. From my study of the Quran, so far I found that, with amazing consistency, the verbs that deal with The Godís Will relating to outcomes that we cannot change are in the past tense (predestined). On the other hand, The Godís Will relating to outcomes that can change based on our decisions, are in the present tense (not predestined, we can still choose our path). All I am saying is that The Godís omnipotence and our free will are NOT mutually exclusive. I never said that we donít have free will.
There is much evidence, say in the covenants with man, that God does not know the future. God is saying that the future is a consequence of the actions of man in these covenants. That to me is proof that God gave up S/His knowledge of the future so that man could choose to obey God.
Again, The God knowing all the future possible outcomes and our free will to choose which path to take along those outcomes are not mutually exclusive. Interestingly, this path is described in the Quran as the ďstraight path.Ē My interpretation is that the straight path is the one most in line with The Godís natural system. That is why, like Thomas Jefferson, I am an advocate of Natural Law.
Thanks for the thought provoking discussion,