I challenge anyone who believes Islam is a religion of peace to read through the Quran for themselves. I’ve read large chunks of it before. I’ve determined to read through the whole thing. Here are some early observations:
The Quran acknowledges the Jewish and Christian religions, as it should. It was founded 600 years after Christianity and thousands of years after Judaism. But it claims to be a fulfilment of “that which was previously revealed [in the Bible]”. In other words, Islam claims the Bible had some good things to say. Several familiar Bible stories are reiterated (and muddied), particularly about Moses. But according to the Quran, the Bible is not complete. A long section at the beginning of the Quran is an appeal to Jews and Christians to recognize Muhammad’s visions as God’s final revelation and regard them above anything “former prophets” (including Christ) had to say.
Okay, I’m having major issues with that one. How can you say Jesus was a great prophet and then disregard everything He claimed about himself by trumping it with completely different teachings? Islam does not hold with the deity of Christ. Jesus himself claimed to be God! So was Jesus lying? I’d never acknowledge a liar as a great prophet. Was Jesus deceived about who he was? If he was that mentally unstable, again, not a great candidate. If he wasn’t a liar (why would anyone die for a lie?) and he wasn’t unbalanced (profundity of his teachings…enough said), he must have been who he claimed to be–the Son of God sent to earth as a sacrificial payment for sins. The miracles he performed were a supernatural verification of his message. The historical evidence supporting his resurrection is extremely compelling.
So 600 years after Christ, Muhammad comes along and decides his visions trump the message and work of Christ. I was absolutely astounded by the audacity of that statement! Keep in mind, there were thousands of witnesses to the miracles of Christ, and hundreds who saw him alive after his death. The contemporary timeframe of the Gospel accounts that circulated in the early church and eventually realized canonization overlapped the lives of these witness who, through their lack of objection, bear them out. Muhammad was the only, singular, sole person who witnessed and wrote out the revelations of the Quran. His message was entirely unconfirmed by any supernatural signs or miracles. And keep in mind Muhammad’s political aspirations. Conquest and subjugation of Arabia were his life’s chief ambitions. The political, social, and economic rules (and brutal punishments) he wrote into the Quran provided a means of maintaining his control. Here in America, we call such individuals cult leaders. Muhammad was a cult leader of military genius and unopposed power. In my opinion, his life compares quite unfavorable with the peaceful, sacrificial ministry and teachings of Christ.
So obviously, I’m starting my reading of the Quran with some prior knowledge of Muhammad’s life and with serious reservations about its authenticity as a God-ordained method of worship. But a few more observations:
The Quran cannot be “fulfilling” the Bible if it disregards the Bible’s central tenant of the deity of Christ. This leads me to believe that Muhammad either misunderstood the Bible, or he was intentionally trying to mislead those who followed it. Or quite possibly, Muhammad was deceived by the spirit who revealed itself to him–a spirit that certainly was not the God of the Bible.
The spirit that revealed itself to Muhammad was quite unoriginal. The Quran copies major ideas from the Bible, often in the same language as the Bible, and gives them a slight warp: Heaven/rewards (rivers, fruit), punishment/torment, “Good News”, parables, unbelievers having no understanding/eyes and ears sealed, foolishness of unbelievers.
A few difference I’m noting: Heaven includes seven heavens (a copy of the Bible’s important number seven). Heaven is also sexualized in Islam. Already I’ve seen mention of “pure spouses” issued to the faithful. I’m pretty sure that is a sanitized reference to the famous virgins, as this translation is targeted at English speakers, and Western culture doesn’t take very well to Islam’s non-status of women. Also, Islam is works based, while biblical salvation is a free gift.
That’s it for my initial reactions. I may report back as I work through more of the Muslim “holy” book. I might not. Several versions of the Quran are free on Amazon. I’d encourage you to delve into the teachings of Islam for yourself instead of having lies and half-truths handed to you from those who wish to make it appear a religion of peace. It is not.