Liquid Footprints

Impressions on the Koran

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Koran PageI am about halfway through reading an English translation of the Koran. It is an interesting read. Even the English is poetic; although I heard it is best to read it in Arabic for the beauty. I don’t know Arabic, however.

At any rate, I am going to highlight a few aspects that I found interesting.

1) The Koran fills in gaps in the Torah’s stories. The Koran is full of little details and events that happen between scenes in the Torah. For example, the Torah says little about what exactly happened to Joseph after his brothers sold him to slavery. The Koran fills in the events between the slavers and details on how he became a high court official in Egypt.

2) Infidel is a very narrowly used term. From what I understand, infidel namely refers to polytheists and Trinitarians that oppressed and commit violence against the early Muslim communities. Christians (those that didn’t believe in the Trinity) and Jews were just fine.

3) The Koran is firmly against the doctrine of the Trinity. Christians take the Trinity for granted now, but at one time it was considered heresy. The Eastern Christian church (founded by the apostle Thomas) was against Trinitarianism. These were the Christians that the Koran doesn’t have a problem with.  The Koran expressly says God has no begotten son (Sura  XVIII). The Koran tells the story of Jesus, but it doesn’t elevate Jesus to the Godhead. This is in line with what the Eastern Church and early Christianity believed. Although I don’t think the Koran goes as far as saying Jesus was divine. There is a difference between being divine and being a part of God.

4) Eblis (Satan) was cast out of heaven for not bowing to Adam. The Koran says God ordered all the angels to bow down before Adam. All did except Eblis, who refused to worship anyone but God. God cast him out of heaven because of it. It is a very interesting contrast to the typical ideas of Satan being a rebel. Here, Satan defies God seemingly out of love for Him.

Finally, the Koran is full of messages about peace and how to live with others. There are many passages about battling the infidel, but they set limitations and contain a very narrow definition of infidel. The Koran reads much like the Torah but has less violence to it. It mainly recounts warnings of what happens when one doesn’t see God as the only God. The messages are directed toward polytheists and Trinitarians.  The Koran also has a focus on compassion and the duty of helping those in need.

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