Monday, November 06, 2006

I am reading the Qu'ran

I have recently started reading the Quran and the OT at the same time, well the Torah of the OT as it stands now. Fascinating reads the both of them and I would suggest if anyone reads tge Quran to read it aside the OT...it's funny how the Quran picks from the Torah and Genesis a lot.

Why amI reading the Quran? I have the ability to do so and I want to know more about this religion and some of the motives behind it. Also I have a friend that is a Muslim and he gave me a free copy, I figure I'll put it to good use.

I really have some reservations about the Quran at this point. I have read 5 chapters (Sura's) in and some of things Mohammed is teaching is just right out there (from left field so to speak). I find the book more trying to convince me this is God (Allah) than any other type of scripture I have ever read. It also sends a lot of mixed messages from a reader's standpoint. But I'll mention some noteable things I have found.

1. Men are allowed to marry up to 4 wives (but not to treat one better than the other). Should I take exception to this...I know my wife would.

2. The divorce law is beyond weird. If a man leaves a woman then marries a 2nd time and divorces again, then the woman can come back to the man only when she has since divorced a 2nd time (a matter of equality). I have found this just doesn't work on any level. Also divorce seems quite allowable for matters of small circumstances and the man takes 2/3 of the property.

3. Those who fight on behalf of Allah have a greater reward (higher position) in the garden compared to those who do not fight (although they still get to the garden). At one point Allah mentions that we may not like something that is good for us...in reference to fighting. However, if you can somehow forgive and let people off from their penalty then you are also considered great. So fighting is good and fighting is not good?

4. The Quran borrows tonnes from the OT in regards to laws...food laws, who you can marry, etc. They also use Abraham as their guidepost in faith (as ther father of the Muslim faith) and add Ishmael onto the old saying 'Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob'. The book wavers on if the Jew can be a friend or not and comes close to calling them the enemy at points (for their lack of faith in Allah) but it never crosses that line (as of 5 chapters anyways).

5. The Christians are in the same boat as the Jewish faith, in that we haven't accpeted Allah. We seem to stand on better moral ground are even called 'their best friends' at times. However, Mohammed again wavers on this and considers us non-believers like the rest (apparently in those days we must have accepted them more readily). To Mohammed we committ the most grievous of sins (detestable and worthy of punishment)...we allow there to be more than 1 God in joining Jesus to what we refer as the 'Trinity' (actually mentioned in the Quran). This is unforgiveable (mentioned a few times as the worst sin).

6. At the very beginning of chapter 2, as proof of the validity of this book being from God, there is challenge to write a better Sura (scripture) than the one's you will read...it then goes onto say this is impossible. However, I think I may be able to at least match Mohammed's ability and I still find the writings of the disciples a lot better than that of Mohammed's.

7. Everything that is written is always followed by 'cause Allah is such n such'. Who can argue with that? I find this the same as a Christian saying 'because God told me so'...to which you cannot argue. So basically the book sets itself up so that you cannot argue against it or you argue against God and this is damnable (who wants to be arguing with what God said?). This is what I mean by trying to 'lead the reader' into something in which they have no voice.

8. The people that were once believers and followers of Allah seem to be a hated sort...the Muslim has the right to kill that person wherever he should find him...likely because he backed out of fighting on Allah's behalf and watched his former brothers die in battle. Note to self, if you ever do convert you are stuck.

I am only 5 chapters in thus far and those are some of the questions I have found. But if you want my personal opinion, since I am well read in the OT & NT, I think Mohammed was quite familiar with the Jewish Torah and the early disputes amongst Christians and Jewish people, namely on the validity of their scriptures. He must of saw how in-cohesive they were towards one another and built arguments upon that. He also must of felt a great urge to call his own people into account based on what he knew about the OT and NT...for unity purposes and to offer a better way than what they had (which he calls 'pagan').

I really feel for the guy since he just wanted a better life for his people and on that I can't knock his intentions. There are a lot of good morals being taught within the book (as with all scripture) and the idea's of charity and forgiveness rank high as virtues of Allah (Allah is oft-forgiving and oft-Merciful...mentioned around 50 times thus far). So I think it is a great read and something to do if you want to understand some of the idea's behind the 2nd biggest religion in the world. It is really helping me to understand my brother (who is a Muslim), although I may have reservations about some of the teachings, and to step on an even playing field with him. I am not reading to condemn him but to uplift him. Even if I should find myself condemned in the Quran, love is greater than that and mercy is a good reminder of the human condition. So...what do you think of this?

6 comments:

Jim Jordan said...

Hi society
Excellent analysis. Some thoughts:

I find this the same as a Christian saying 'because God told me so'...to which you cannot argue

Then why did God give us brains to think with? The Koran assumes that this is logical. It is not. In contrast the Bible has numerous Q&A sessions with God, even with some pretty sharp sounding Q's from believers like Abraham, Job, Habakkuk, Paul and Jesus Himself to name a few.

Also do you see in Sura 2 where Allah gave the Torah (Taurat) and the Gospel (Injeel - Arabic) to teach His ways? This clearly cannot be reconciled with the rest of the Book.

You say you are in Sura 5 but that's where Jesus (Isa)is accused by God of putting Him, God, and His mother (Marium) as three Gods. This is a clear botching of the Trinity.

I've read through the Koran 3 times and I've found these statements to be true:

1) Babylonian God. Allah has all the characteristics of the Babylonian God that preceded Mohammed by thousands of years. That God never comes down to earth.

2) Verifiable errancy. God cannot contradict Himself (as he apparently does in the Koran). If this was His Word a perfect God would not err.

3) Why the power grab?
Ask your friend why Mohammed translated his message into political power. Does the God of the universe want or need political power? Does revelation from God lead directly to political power, the most corrupt sphere? Note that Mohammed and Joseph Smith of Mormonism sought political power for themselves immediately after God's supposed revelation.

4) Did God not understand the tenets of Christianity?
The statements about Jesus show an outward and shallow understanding of Christianity. It seems Mohammed based his judgment of Christianity on the outward signs of the religion at the time. The "made it look like He died on the cross" folly is from Gnosticism and the Father, Mother, and Son belong only to the paganized Catholicism of the time.

Needless to say he never saw that the person of Christ unified the Old and New Testaments.

Conclusion: Reading the Koran made me even more convinced that the Bible is the true Word of God. Anyone who says they are a Christian is also making the statement "Islam and all other religions are false" (John 14:6). That should not come as a surprise as all of the world's religionists who cling to one religion are saying that about all the others.

That said, there is hope. I wrote an article recently called Taking Bad Muslims to Task which referred to the calls to respect Christians and Jews early on in the Koran.

Now Mohammed was for the Christians and Jews before he was against them (Is John Kerry a Muslim?), and he says that this Book must not be doubted. So there is an interpretation in which we might live together sans the suicide bomber.

These might be strong comments but I think the real God who created this universe would find them mild, and intellectually honest. If God is perfect (as logic says He is) than we shouldn't feel unsure of ourselves when we hold Him to a higher standard.

Keep posting commentary on what you read.
Thanks,
Jim

chris said...

I don't know, but it seems to me that any devotion to a book rather than God is just asking for trouble. When your particular version of God tells you it's okay to murder in his name there is something wrong.

SocietyVs said...

Yeah, I find the book exactly that (a book)...and an interesting read. I guess I just wanna know what they know...as for me ever switching...highly unlikely.

Jim Jordan said...

Chris has an interesting point.
When your particular version of God tells you it's okay to murder in his name there is something wrong.

There is a difference between the book's true meaning and the interpretation that is a gray area. That's all the more reason we should know what the religious books are saying and debate widely accepted interpretations. The problem with Islam in practice is that while there is no pope in Islam, politically driven mullahs and sheiks have almost total control over interpretation. Islam is begging for a Reformation of its own.

SocietyVs said...

Yeah I don't really want to judge the religion by the worst aspect of it, when this may be less than 1% of the people in the actual religion. However, I get what you are saying and I will ponder the idea (since I think about the viciousness of the most extreme's of the religion also). But I like the idea's you guys bring forth, quite food for thought.

Trailady said...

I too have read the Quran. I find it very interesting and even touching in some parts. However, it is a very works oriented religion, placing a heavy burden upon mankind to please God. The list of behaviors to follow is quite exhaustive. I am thankful that Jesus Christ paid for my sins and offers forgiveness.

Muslims are beautiful people and have been dealt with unjustly by those who call themselves followers of Christ. Is it any wonder they reject our beliefs?