He was asked why he had converted to Islam and he responded that it represented an advance on Christianity. He went on to state his view that an increasing number of people would adopt Islam and that states would increasingly come to use Sharia law. Few impartial observers would deny that forthcoming six centuries after Jesus, Mohammad was able to fix many of the faults that had crept into Christianity, but should this be taken to indicate that Islam is a religion acceptable for universal application in the present moment?
It’s often been said that Arabia in the time of Mohammad was in a turbulent and lawless condition. At the same time, Islam simplified Christian belief by excluding idolatry and eliminating the mythologies surrounding the birth and death of Jesus which were hang-overs from the religions of pagan Rome.
Mohammad recognised he came in a long succession of prophets stretching back through Jesus to Moses and beyond, and that the teachings of these prophets were significant previous phases in the development of monotheism. The message of Jesus was about individual human behavior: loving thy neighbour and turning the other cheek. The realisation of such a perfect life was impossible without an ordered society and this is what Mohammad brought. With every person protected within an Islamic state it became possible to live as Jesus decreed.
Mohammad brought the era of the nation state and provided a legal framework for its only administration. It was an advance for its time but not a strategy for all time. The punishments under Sharia law are judged inhuman in a more enlightened age, refrigeration makes safe the eating of pork, and the long established equality of the sexes precludes anything other than one-to-one matrimonial relationships. Violent jihadism is a indication that Moslems are beginning to doubt the permanence of the beliefs. So Islam cannot be considered the final stage in the development of religion, development being a process that may not end short of the death of the species.
The question remains: where can we find another stage in religious progress? What is now needed is a new prophet to promote a worldwide identity and a world united under a single democratically-elected universal government. This is the spirit manifested in the United Nations and the European Union but these associations are under threat from nationalistic forces. A world government may seem a distant objective, but major religions have a dispensation of a thousand years or more. So for those of a spiritual disposition, a search must begin to get a faith in harmony with the aspirations of the modern world and fitting for international adoption.