Authority in Islam

Prof. Marcia Hermansen
Islamic Studies
Department of Religious Studies
Loyola University

In her lecture, Marcia Hermansen discusses the various sources of authority in Islam. While Islam is diverse in regional, sectarian, interpretative, and historical traditions, the main source of authority in Islam is Allah, whose message is known through His revelation, or the Koran. The Koran is therefore a top authority in Islam. The Koran also suggests using Muhammad and his life as an authoritative example. It also speaks of, The Seal of the Prophets, which marks Muhammad as the final prophet. Today, there is no symbolic continuation of the prophet’s ultimate authority. Who else can have the same kind of religious and political power like Muhammad? Can Islam as a religion only be fulfilled within a political order? What kind of solution do we have in the modern world?