Please Read the Koran

Greater clarity in the ongoing debate about Islam (radical or otherwise) would surely result from greater familiarity with the source document. 

There’s a lot of commentary and speculation about the Koran and about those who are informed by its teachings -- about their actions and their motives and their authenticity as Muslims.

Anyone who has an opinion on the matter would be well served by reading the book. I did, and it was a revelation.

Good English translations are available, although it should be noted that only the original Arabic is considered to be the very words of Allah. Since I have an intimate knowledge of the Christian Bible (both the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament, read in English) I was intrigued by the Muslim assertion that the Koran corrects and completes Bible texts that have supposedly been degraded by Jewish and Christian scholars. That, and the fact that over a billion people stake their lives on the Koran convinced me that I should inform myself of its contents.

So I came to it with an enquiring mind and a readiness to add to my fund of Scripture knowledge. I was surprised by what I found.

Firstly, the Koran is a rather slight book made up of 114 Suras (chapters). It’s an easy and quick read (so I read it more than once). Length is of course no indication of worth or authenticity, but in this case a lot was missing.

References to God, Creation, Adam, Eve, Sin, The Fall, Angels, Heaven, Hell, Abraham, Moses and other Prophets, and Jesus Christ, add nothing new to the original revelations in the Bible, but often detract from or distort the original. Moreover, the frequent brief references to Old Testament figures and events, and some from the New Testament, demand a reading of the Bible first in order to understand the context of the Koranic narrative and make some sense of it. In short, although it is claimed that the Koran completes and fully explains the Scriptures the fact is that it confuses characters and events without adding a single new insight or explanation. (For examples, see Sura 5:114-117; 7:39; 19:20-22; 28:5, 38; 29:39; 40:24; 41:9).

Then there are the numerous calls to violence and revenge or retribution (well over 100; for example, 4:76; 8:12; 9:5-6; 9:29).  Much has been written and debated with regard to the unyielding militant tone of the Koran and I will not rehash the arguments here, except to offer a stark contrast for consideration: Whereas a Christian is admonished by his Scriptures (specifically, the New Testament) to lay down his life (figuratively, but literally, if necessary) in love, for the salvation of another human being, a Muslim is taught by his holy book that his highest act of devotion to his god is to kill someone who stands in the way of Islam’s rule. A special reward is earned (indeed, the only guarantee of heaven for a Muslim), if he dies in the process of killing an unbeliever, a blasphemer, or an apostate.

I think that says it all. But don’t take my word for it. Read the book. 

Greater clarity in the ongoing debate about Islam (radical or otherwise) would surely result from greater familiarity with the source document. 

There’s a lot of commentary and speculation about the Koran and about those who are informed by its teachings -- about their actions and their motives and their authenticity as Muslims.

Anyone who has an opinion on the matter would be well served by reading the book. I did, and it was a revelation.

Good English translations are available, although it should be noted that only the original Arabic is considered to be the very words of Allah. Since I have an intimate knowledge of the Christian Bible (both the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament, read in English) I was intrigued by the Muslim assertion that the Koran corrects and completes Bible texts that have supposedly been degraded by Jewish and Christian scholars. That, and the fact that over a billion people stake their lives on the Koran convinced me that I should inform myself of its contents.

So I came to it with an enquiring mind and a readiness to add to my fund of Scripture knowledge. I was surprised by what I found.

Firstly, the Koran is a rather slight book made up of 114 Suras (chapters). It’s an easy and quick read (so I read it more than once). Length is of course no indication of worth or authenticity, but in this case a lot was missing.

References to God, Creation, Adam, Eve, Sin, The Fall, Angels, Heaven, Hell, Abraham, Moses and other Prophets, and Jesus Christ, add nothing new to the original revelations in the Bible, but often detract from or distort the original. Moreover, the frequent brief references to Old Testament figures and events, and some from the New Testament, demand a reading of the Bible first in order to understand the context of the Koranic narrative and make some sense of it. In short, although it is claimed that the Koran completes and fully explains the Scriptures the fact is that it confuses characters and events without adding a single new insight or explanation. (For examples, see Sura 5:114-117; 7:39; 19:20-22; 28:5, 38; 29:39; 40:24; 41:9).

Then there are the numerous calls to violence and revenge or retribution (well over 100; for example, 4:76; 8:12; 9:5-6; 9:29).  Much has been written and debated with regard to the unyielding militant tone of the Koran and I will not rehash the arguments here, except to offer a stark contrast for consideration: Whereas a Christian is admonished by his Scriptures (specifically, the New Testament) to lay down his life (figuratively, but literally, if necessary) in love, for the salvation of another human being, a Muslim is taught by his holy book that his highest act of devotion to his god is to kill someone who stands in the way of Islam’s rule. A special reward is earned (indeed, the only guarantee of heaven for a Muslim), if he dies in the process of killing an unbeliever, a blasphemer, or an apostate.

I think that says it all. But don’t take my word for it. Read the book.