OceanSide church of Christ
|Previous||Return to A Study of Islam||Next|
Victor M. Eskew
A. Interesting comments:
1. It “constitutes the alpha and omega of the Islamic religion” (Seyyed Hussein Nasr) (The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, Robert Spencer, 25).
2. It “constitutes the Muslim’s main reference not only for matters spiritual but also for the mundane requirements of day to day living” (Caesar Farah) (Infidel’s, 25)
3. It “cures the heart’s fear, and makes just determinations when there is doubt. It is lucid speech, and final word, not facetiousness, a lamp whose light never extinguishes…an ocean whose depths will never be fathomed. Its oratory stuns reason…it combines concise succinctness and inimitable expression” (Infidel’s, 25).
B. The above statements represent “how” the Muslims feel about their holy book, the Qur’an. This is not the way that all feel about the Qur’an. The following quotes are taken from Shelton L. Smith’s book, Islam: A Raging Storm.
1. Thomas Carlyle: “…a wearisome, confused, jumble, crude, incondite” (28).
2. Salomon Reinach: “Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence…mediocre literature (28-29).
3. Edward Gibbon: “An incoherent rhapsody of fable, and precept, and declamation, which sometimes crawls in the dust and sometimes is lost in the clouds” (29).
4. McClintock and Strong: “…exceedingly incoherent and sententious, the book evidently being without any logical order of thought either as a whole or in it parts” (29).
5. Muslim scholar Dashti: “Unfortunately the Koran was badly edited and its contents are very obtusely arranged” (29).
6. The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam: “disjointed and irregular character” (29).
7. “It is simply the garbled collection of the philosophy and pronouncements of a troubled soul name Muhammad” (Smith, 29).
C. To understand Islam, one must have some understanding of this book.
I. BASIC DEFINITION
A. “For more than a billion Muslims, the Koran is the unadulterated, pure word of Allah, eternal and perfect, delivered through the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad” (Infidel’s, 1).
B. “The Koran is the perfect book of Allah, sent from Paradise in perfect form and preserved without any variants or modifications at all” (Infidel’s, 37).
II. A “DIVINE” BOOK
A. The Qur’an calls itself a divine product: “it is not such as can be produced by other than Allah” (Surah 10:37).
B. There is only one speaker throughout, Allah himself.
C. Two “proofs” of inspiration of Muhammad:
1. “Muslims point to the Koran’s poetic character as proof of its divine origin, and evidence that is was not made up by Muhammad, whom they say was illiterate” (Infidel’s, 26).
2. The absence of alternative versions of the Koran as evidence of its miraculous character and proof that Allah is, indeed, preserving the book.
D. The uncreated Qur’an
1. The Qur’an states that Allah has in his possession the “Mother of the Book” (13:39). The “Mother of the Book” is…the Preserved Tablet, the copy of the Qur’an that has existed from all eternity with Allah (85:21-22).
2. “The Koran that the angel Gabriel provided to Muhammad throughout his career as a prophet is the perfect copy of this eternal book” (Infidel’s, 26).
III. THE NAME: Qur’an
A. The Koran means ‘recitation’ in Arabic – a title that refers to Muhammad’s reciting of the eternal divine words that were delivered to him by Gabriel beginning in 610 A.D.
B. The Koran is still a book that is recited much and often by the Muslims.
IV. BASIC FACTS
A. The first revelation from Gabriel to Muhammad came in 610 A.D.
B. The first revelation came in the month of Ramadan.
C. The revelations continued for the next 23 years.
D. Presently, there are 114 surahs or chapters in the Qur’an.
1. 86 chapters were revealed at Mecca
2. 28 surahs were delivered at Medina.
3. The surahs are laid out in terms of their length (longest to shortest), not in time sequence.
V. THE THEME
A. “The oneness of Allah and the necessity to obey and worship him are the Koran’s central theme” (Infidel’s, 27)
B. Two other prominent themes:
1. The judgment, especially of infidels.
2. The sin of idolatry.
VI. THE QUR’AN’S DESCRIPTION OF THE QUR’AN
A. The wise book (32:2-3)
B. The indubitable book (69:51) (that which cannot be doubted)
C. Honorable and pious and just (80:16)
D. Glorious Koran (85:21)
E. A mighty scripture (41:41-42)
F. Free from any flaw (39:28)
VII. THE QUR’AN’S FORMATION
A. It is important to remember that the Qur’an was originally recited by Muhammad to his followers.
B. Muhammad named four men from whom Muslims should “learn the recitation of the Qur’an.”
C. Muhammad died unexpectedly in 632.
D. One of the four men named by Muhammad died in the battle of Yamama.
1. His name was Salim.
2. NOTE: Salim was also said to be the first Muslim to collect all the Koranic verses into one volume, but his volume has never been found.
3. His death sparked fear that the Koran might be forever lost.
E. Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s successor, sent for Zaid bin Thabit, who was said to be a hafiz – one who had memorized the entire Qur’an.
1. Zaid was commissioned with searching for the fragmentary scripts of the Qur’an and collecting them into one book
a. Zaid was not one of the four that Muhammad had names as those from whom others should learn the recitation of the Qur’an.
b. NOTE: If he had memorized the Qur’an, why did he need to collect the fragmentary scripts?
2. “…Zaid completed his task, compiling what would become the canonical Koran” (Infidel’s, 31)
3. This text lasted for some 10 years after the death of Bakr.
a. The copies made from this text contained various readings over the course of time.
b. It was necessary for singular text to be made.
c. Caliphate Uthman commissioned Zaid to perform the redaction. Once this copy had been made, all of the other copies were destroyed in by burning them.
4. “The Koran that Uthman produced was not the Koran of Mohammed. In the historical Koran each chapter followed the other as Mohammed’s life unfolded. This is the Koran that has the original time sequence and includes the events Mohammed was involved in at the time” (A Simple Koran, Bill Warner, p. xiii).
VIII. AN ARABIC BOOK
A. Meaning: Its Arabic character is part of its essence.
1. “We have revealed the Koran in the Arabic tongue so that you may grow in understanding” (12:1).
2. “The Koran describes itself repeatedly as essentially an inherently an ‘Arabic Koran’ (12:2; 20:113; 39:28; 41:3; 41:44; 42:7, and 43:3)” (Infidel’s, 60).
B. All Muslims are obligated to recite the Qur’an in Arabic.
1. Many times the Muslim does not understand what he recites.
2. “A Pakistani Muslim once said to me, in all seriousness, ‘I am very proud of my religion, and I have memorized almost all of the Koran. And one day I plan to get one of those translations and find out what it means” (Infidel’s, 62).
3. “But when the Koran is not immediately understood, those who believe in it understand it by means of how it is preached and presented in the local mosque” (Infidel’s, 62).
C. “Thus, translations of the Koran occupy a curious position in the Islamic world” (Infidel’s, 60).
1. There are about 50 translations of the Koran that exist.
2. “Muslims do not consider any translation of the Koran to be the Koran at all; it is only Allah’s words when it is transmitted in Arabic” (Infidel’s, 60).
3. NOTE: Translations of the Qur’an are tolerated for the sake of spreading Islam to non-Arabic speakers.
A. The Qur’an is “the Book” to the Muslim.
1. Any criticism of the Qur’an is forbidden.
2. Any criticism of it is considered a criticism of Allah.
B. The Qur’an is not the only authoritative book for the Muslims.
1. The others involve the Sunna, the words and actions of Muhammad. These are found in two texts, the Sira (Muhammad’s life) and the Hadith (the collections of Muhammad’s sayings apart from the Qur’an).
2. “So the Trilogy is the Koran, the Sira and the Hadith. Most people think that the Koran is the ‘bible’ of Islam, but it is only about 14% of the total textual doctrine. The Trilogy is the foundation and totality of Islam” (Simple Koran, xii).