Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Bible and The Koran (Qu'ran)

I discovered my friend Nas was similarly researching the topic I was and wanted to provide you with his brief entry regarding Islam's treatment of the Bible and Torah compared to the Qu'ran. He uses three different sites as reference which explains that, while Islam treats Christians and Jews and "people of the book" (the old testament), Islam is able to dismiss these religions as "true" religion because they are based on "flawed" or "corrupted" books. That these "books" were given to man and written by man and, therefore, corrupted by man's interpretation as opposed to the Qu'ran which was given directly to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel including the portions of the Qu'ran that are similar to these books. Therefore, the Qu'ran, unlike the Bible and Torah, is divine as it comes directly from a divine source and is incorruptible.

Click on the title above to read more interesting information provided by Nas.

As a closing here, I will point out a couple of issues with this theory:

  • Mohammed routinely admonishes his followers that he is but a man and not to be worshipped
  • Mohammed was a man, no more and no less than the prophets who were originally provided "the book" through "divine" means
  • Mohammed did not write down the "surat" or verses of the Qu'ran himself, but dictated it to his companions, who were also men (and were they not flawed?)
  • The "surat" of the Qu'ran were not written down until much later, after Mohammed had spoken (some not until he was dead) therefore, they must fall under the same auspices that Islam treats the bible, corrupted as written by man from his remembrance and not by the divine hand of Gabriel guiding the pen.
  • The "surat" were not organized in the Qu'ran in the order in which they were given to Mohammed which immediately makes the book flawed.
  • All three books, Torah, Bible and Qu'ran end in the same manner: This is the one and only book. No one must add or take away from it. All books that come after it are false.

As a secular Christian, I can readily accept that all books, Torah, Bible and Qu'ran, were written by men and may be flawed. I can also accept that the Bible has many historical references that may not hold true today or hold up to modern science. Under these circumstances, it does not negate my belief in God, but allows me to continue to believe without appearing foolish or ignoring modern science as opposed to Islam which states "accept no innovations" (ie, no change) because whatever ever the Qu'ran says is true, even if it said the sky was green and the grass was pink (which it doesn't because I am exaggerating).

The point here, probably unacceptable to Muslims and orthodox Christians and Jews, is that Islam must adapt itself to the modern world and not the other way around. It either adapts or becomes extinct. Of course, as I've pointed out in other secular discussions regarding our current terrorist issue, the reason that fundamental Islam is seeing such a revival is that it, Islam, is under attack by the modern world. Not purposefully or deliberately seeking to destroy it, but because it is now a very small world. When a blind person is given new eyes and then the bandages are removed too quickly in glaring light and color of a bright morning sun, it can have some very scary and negative impact on the newly sighted. Which is pretty much what is occurring in Islam today.

The same process that Christianity was exposed to during the Renaissance, in which science deposed the views of the church and proved some things to be impossible. For instance, Galileo was jailed when he confronted the church (Roman Catholic) with the idea that the Earth spun around the Sun and not the other way around. His views were not widely accepted until the renaissance age, in which case, forward thinking Popes of the time quickly jumped on the band wagon to insure that their religion did not sink into irrelevancy in the face of modern science.

What is not glaringly apparent yet is a large scale movement of Islam towards this same idea. Rather, it takes the road that these things are scary blasphemies against the truth set forth by Allah and given to Mohammed. I actually read a site recently which claimed that the Qu'ran was scientifically correct. If you want some humor with your studies, read this site: Illustrated Guide to Islam - Scientific Miracles

There's a lot of reading, but if you want to understand how someone could read from a book, dismiss the book(s) from which it copies and then tell the world that they are heretics or "kuffir" [unbelievers] because they believe in these books or none of them and accept that it is ok to kill the unbelievers but "God" forbid that you do the same to a Muslim, you had best read up on it.

President Bush continues to indicate that this is not a war on Religion. It isn't. There are certain things in this religion that our enemy has decided to focus on and use has his personal doctrine for politics, government and war. We had best know what those doctrines are if we are to counter them. The first of which is that Islam, regardless of Mohammed's fierce defense, is not the "original" religion, anymore than Judaism or Christianity, but is certainly a conglomerate of religions, pagan in particular, that was molded and reformed many times to fit the needs of the populace at that time.

As these religions, including Islam if it wants to survive, will be molded and reformed until it fits within today's world.


91ghost said...

I'm going to have my wife put your site on my link list (too technically illiterate to do it myself). This is a very informative and level-headed site; myself, I'm quite full of fury at the middle east these days, so it helps to read these posts in order to glean a more thorough and rational understanding of things. Understanding the enemy is indeed imperative if ever we want to finitely resolve this.

Nas said...

Hi Kat. I must have missed or not received the email that a comment was posted. Guess we're taking parallel thinking paths?

A couple of trivial notes, then on to the main point:

1) I was not aware that the Torah ended with "do not add or change..." Do you know where this is located?

2) I've not been a Christian my whole life, so am not a scholar by any means. But it seems that more and more the 'historicity' (sp?) of the Bible continues to be further proved as more archeology is done. Additionally, creation scientists (I know some would call this an oxymoron - but they do hail from all areas of science, from biology to physics) put forth some pretty good arguments that the Bible isn't far off on its science, and even predicted things that could not have been known in that day. My books are all in storage from moving into a new house, but I could give some great references if you're interested.

But those details are for the forum debators. I'll leave it to them. No need to get you bogged down in it.

In any case, your main point, Islam is having its blind eyes suddenly opened and is reacting by calling the world blasphemous. I've had correspondence with a young friend in Iraq, and though she doesn't go as far as condemning the west as blasphemous, she is clearly alarmed, recently saying to me, "When after the war, we bought satellites and began to see more films (western movies). so many women see the women of the west and how their men look at them, they can't stand not being like them, and at the end they become like them.. I didn't know what gay is... Believe me, we have nothing like this in the east. It's a shame on the humanbeings to do so, women or men.. Right?" I believe these comments validate your point.

Finally, "not a war against Islam." I believe I've stated before that a religion must be based on what its adherents actions are, not on its ideals or claims. Currently it has been hijacked, I agree. But few voices, and no major clerics that I can see, condemn the actions of the terrorists or their basis for acting in (and defiling) the name of Allah. So in a certain respect, though one hates to say it, and wishes it were not so, it is a war against Islam -- at least its hijacked version.

Kat said...

91...thanks for the comment. I am learning as I go. Don't think my opinions are completely formed yet, but I would say that, since Islam is being used as a political movement, it must be examined within an inch of it's life (literally).

In the past, I would have totally ignored a Muslim or any other person spouting off some extreme baloney regarding their religion and chalked them up to "cult". Since politicized Islam was used as the basis to form a group to attack us, I take this much more seriously.

I think a major part of our battle will be the battle of ideals. I was having an argument with some folks today who are totally "pro-Iraq" freedom, but at the same time seem to hold the "Islam must die" or "defeat fanatic Islam with military" view.

since Islam has 1.5B (est) adherents and our opponents have taken refuge within that group and getting recruits, only doing "military" is a long hard road. Fundamental Islam is an "ideology" and ideology can only be defeated by ideology.

Freedom and democracy may help, but it will also serve to drive those on the edge of "fundamental Islam" into the arms of the fanatics as they feel themselves under attack by western culture. And make no mistake, they are. I keep saying it because they keep saying it.

In order to stave off the recurring recruitment of dissillusioned Muslim youth into fundamental religion, Islam itself will have to develop an opposing ideology that becomes the majority or at least offers something less than apostate/heretic/blasphemer and more than cultists/terrorist/death squad.

I believe this ideology exists in the US and some other countries but it will have to fight hard if it wants to be the supreme ideology in Islam. This will then make fundamental Islam marginalized like the crazy fundamental Christians who don't have their children treated with modern medicine because they believe prayer is the only answer.

By the way...prayer is good, but God wouldn't have given us the knowledge to create medicine and treat ourselves if he didn't want us to use it. Of course, this opposes the fundamental Christian view that medicine is the tool of Satan. And I am not kidding you when I say that.

So...all religions have their crazies, it's just a matter of how the religion reforms to marginalize the crazies and how secular law treats their belief. Thank G-d most states recognize the withholding of medical treatment from children as Child abuse and not first amendment protected practices.

Kat said...

Nas...I was watching a program on CNN Tuesday night. They interviewed some Muslim youth (youth as in their 20's) who live in Britain. Basically, they said the same thing. Living in a western culture has given them a sincere distaste as it goes against every tenet of Islam they were taught in regards to modesty, economy, worship, manners, etc. They went even further to say that they were advocating Islamic tenets for financial and government affairs (read shari'a) to replace capitalism.

The funniest statement had to be when the one said something about Freedom was the cause for all evil and people should be constrained to protect themselves. The reporter asked, "you mean, adhere to Islam". The guy said "yes, exactly".

Frankly, I disagree completely...but that's just me.

By the way...the kid was preaching the exact same lessons taught by the islamic philosopher Qutb who was bin Laden and Zawahiri's ideological teacher. Scary, huh?

In regards to the Torah, I am not yet a "scholar", but I have been researching some. I asked the Jewish forum to provide me with the exact quote/verse from the Torah and am waiting for the answer. For reference though, you can read this site:


The Rav (rabbi) states the following:

Just as the Torah itself never changes, so, too, the (time set for the) learning of Torah should not be subject to (external) change.

I will get the specifics for you.

Kat said...

Well...2 seconds later I found it...

This is a discussion regarding the original writing of the talmud or jewish law by Maimonides:

And in his hidushim on Sukkah 12, he wrote: "Maimonides expected the student of his book to understand matters based exclusively on what he wrote."

I guess everyone has to draw the ideological line somewhere. LOL

Robert said...

I think I've mentioned this once before, but I hold the Catholic interpretation of the Bible, that is- inspired by God. As such, it holds religious truths.

I know there are factual inconsistencies in the Bible- New and Old Testament. But they don't detract from religious truths of the Bible.

If you accept absolute literal inerrancy of the Bible, it is hard to uphold.

Kat said...

Right, Robert...if you don't believe that the bible or any book of religion has any errors, then you are an extremist.

When I say errors, I mean things like mystical interpretations of events.

I used this as an exampe one time. Think of the battle of Jericho. Joshua is said to have circled the city seven times blowing horns and the walls just fell down.

According to archeological digs of the site known as Jericho, the city actually burnt to the ground. The walls did fall, but largely because Joshua probably used catapults similar to the romans and greek fire.

so..not exactly an error, but not literally what occured. More like, "poetical license".

Anonymous said...

Bible or Quran? "Is Anything From God - Really?" "Can You Help Me?"

Anonymous said...

"How Does the Bible Compare to the Quran?"