Should Christians Read the Quran?

By ~crystalina~ (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By ~crystalina~ (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Discussions are being had on whether Christians should read the Quran to better understand Islam.

Islamophobia is now almost at an all time high and can be seen in the vandalizing of mosques and the diatribe filled debate of whether an Islamic center should be built in New York. Whether they have read the Quran or not, many people profess that it advocates the stoning of women and killing of people unwilling to convert to Islam. They also speak about war being fought against the unbelieving nations.

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On the Breitbart News Daily radio show last week, callers stressed Christians should read the Quran in order to “know the enemy.” Many callers said they had read the Quran and pointed out sections that promote violence and enslavement.

Pamela Geller, a staunch activist against political Islam and radical Islam, was a guest on the show.

“To say ‘radical’ Islam is redundant. There is no extreme Islam. There is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam,” she said.

For a Muslim, the Quran is one of the earliest memories. Members of any devout family will remember the recitation of the book, the fingers moving across the Arabic text along with the recitation of the Islamic scriptures by a close family member, in most cases the mother or the father. The recitation of five daily prayers form an integral part of their childhood memories.

To a Muslim, the Quran is a pivot of Islamic worldview. It is the center of the prophetic claims of Muhammad and the base of Sharia law. It is the common thread which unites all Muslims. For them, the Quran is the book that is the most recited, and the words of God made flesh.

Nabeel Qureshi, writing for Christianity Today, says non-Muslims should not read the Quran, for two reasons. The first one is that it should not be read similar to a book. The reason for this lies in its history. In ancient times, at the time of Muhammad, there was no written Arabic book. The Quran in its earliest form was a cluster of short liturgical recitations. Only later the recitations were compiled together to form the Quran. It is natural that reading the Quran like a book takes it out of context.

The second reason is that the book in itself forms a minute component of any Muslim's worldview. The Islamic lifestyle comes not from the Quran, but from the “Hadith,” which supplements and clarifies the Quran.

It is an irony that most Islamophobes rallying against the supposed barbarity of the religion will find almost the same barbarity in the Bible. To give an example, it says that adulterous women should be given the death sentence. Joshua hails death and genocide for all those who do not believe in the Christian god: men, women and children. The livestock are also not spared.

Both the Quran and the Bible advocate good things like commitment to helping the poor and have a number of religious obligations to quench the latter’s needs.


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