632 AD The Qur'an

18 November 2009

The Qur’an is the equivalent of the Bible in Islamic nations.  They lay their hand upon it to swear in court.  They teach it to their children.  They have radio stations and tv stations that recite and discuss it.  It is part of their culture, customs, and everyday life.  The book is divided into suras, or chapters.  Each sura is a revelation that was given to the prophet Muhammad, which he then memorized and told to the people.  The people then memorized them to spread them throughout the land.  After Muhammad’s death, these were compiled into the Qur’an.

There is a lot of information on the laws and rules of everyday life, including the treatment of others, the division of the spoils of war, marriage laws (i.e. who you can and cannot marry and when), etc.  I was surprised to find the retelling of several Old Testament stories, and even the story of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, though Jesus is not considered the Son of God.  These stories are slightly different than when found in the Bible.  They also give many sample replies to things that Jews and Christians may say.  Some of these are interesting, for example, when the Muslims began turning toward Mecca to pray, apparently there was a disagreement with the Jews about this.  There is also much said on the ‘unbelievers’, meaning anyone who does not believe in the Qur’an.  A little irreverent of me, I admit, but I was tempted to count the word ‘torment’ as it came up so often.

The tone and underlying principles really struck me.   It is very aggressive and antagonistic.  I’ve found there is a reason why ‘Love one another’ and ‘Forgive them their trespasses’ are commonly considered Christian principles.  Reading this book has made me wonder what it would be like to be born into a culture founded on the principles of the Qur’an.  As their society leans so heavily on the Qur’an, it is a very interesting insight into Muslim culture and view-point.  I recommend reading this if you would like a better understanding of a culture so very different from our own, but with which we need to learn to live in peace.