Friday, January 14, 2011

Review of the Koran and Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

At 435 pages long, I recommend everyone read the Koran.  All of us have heard so many controversial things about Muslims and the Islamic faith that I think that it behooves all of us to inform ourselves instead of relying on what others say about the Muslim religion.

The translation I read is the most popluar by N.J. Dawood. Dawood is a Iraqi native, born in Baghdad.  He originally wrote this translation in the fifties but it has since been revised and updated.  I have heard Muslims say that a translation doesn't do the Koran justice therefore an English reader would be misled to its actual meaning.  My response is:  Does God expect the entire world to learn Arabic?  Is it fair of Him to judge us if He knows we can't?  Do most Muslims speak Arabic? (FYI:the answer to that question is no.)  Can Arabic speaking Muslims translate their thoughts into English in order to communicate?  Then why can't God? 

Overall the tone of the Koran is menacing. It is very repetitive, in a nutshell, warning everyone that they had better worship God and obey His prophet (Muhammad) or they will burn in fire, drink scalding water and eat foul food for all of eternity. Those that believe in God and perform good works will return to the Garden of Eden where rivers will flow by their feet, they will have plenty of good things to eat with many blushing virgins. (Jonah 10:10) It repeats this over and over and over again.

This is interspersed with mention of different Biblical figures, mainly Moses and Pharaoh, Abraham and Lot and Noah. The stories about these people are fragments, sometimes distorted from the Biblical stories and also repeated several times throughout the book. Others, such as Job, Jonah and David are mentioned once or twice.

Jesus is mentioned once or twice but only as the son of Mary. He performed miracles by being strengthened by the Holy Spirit. He wasn't crucified. At one point a conversation takes place between God and Jesus (Cattle 5:114)

Then God will say, “Jesus, son of Mary, did you ever say to mankind: 'Worship me and my mother as gods besides God?'

'Glory to You,' he will answer, 'how could I ever say that to which I have no right? If I had ever said so, You would have surely known it. You know what is in my mind, but I know not what is in yours. You alone know what is hidden. I told them only what You bade me. I said: 'Serve God, my Lord and your Lord. ; I watched over them while living in their midst, and ever since You took me to Yourself, You have been watching over them...”

It does allow men and women to divorce, several times, if necessary. It allows men to have more than one wife, though it doesn't mention that women can have multiple husbands, except serially through divorce and remarriage. At one point it allows marrying orphan girls as a way of providing for them.

Much of the Koran is a “cut and paste” from the Bible and I don't know how anyone could even understand the stories of the Bible figures mentioned in the Koran without first reading the Bible.

An interesting story that is repeated more than once is about why Satan fell. It was not because he tried to overthrow God but because he would not bow to Adam.

“And when We said to the angels: 'Prostrate yourselves before Adam,' they all prostrated themselves except Satan who in his pride refused and became an unbeliever.” (The Cow 2:27)

That is another interesting point. In the Koran, God proclaims to be one but is always referring to Himself in the plural as in the above quote.

Over and over again, in every chapter, the day of reckoning and the “sound of the trumpet” is mentioned and the fate of unbelievers and believers. Jews and Christians are mentioned specifically as people who received God's word but changed it and consequently are going to burn in hell.

“They declare: 'None but Jews and Christians.'  Say: 'Let us have your proof, if what you say be true...' (The Cow 2:111)

"The Jews say the Christians are misguided and the Christians say it is the Jews who are misguided. Yet they both read the Scriptures. And the ignorant say the same of both. God will judge their disputes on the Day of Resurrection.” (The Cow 2:112)

In the book Repentance 9:121 It says,

“Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous.”

“Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day... who do not embrace the true Faith until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued...

The Jews say Ezra is the son of God, while the Christians say the Messiah is the son of God. Such are their assertions by which they imitate the infidels of old. God confound them! How perverse they are!...” (Repentance 9:27-31)

“Whether unarmed or well-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of God..”(Repentance 9:41)

One thing that is utterly lacking is any mention of man's sinful nature and a plan of salvation. There is no reparation of sin only:

“Those that have faith and do good works, they shall be given their reward in full. God does not love the evil-doers.”(The 'Imrans 3:56)

Praise God!! He does love the evil doers or none of us would be saved.

For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, The Holy Bible)

And where is that life? In the presence of God. The Muslim has no hope of ever being reconciled with God. They can only hope that their belief and good works will allow them to return to the garden of Eden but there is never ever any mention in the Koran of being reconciled with God. Of ever meeting Him face to face.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1Corinthians 13:12 The Holy Bible)

On a more positive note:

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people and Assyria the work of My hands and Israel My inheritance. (Isaiah 19:23,24 The Holy Bible).

That scripture gives me great hope. I am reading books that show that it is already happening. A wonderful book is “Secret Believers” by Brother Andrew. It describes God's spirit moving in Muslim countries and bringing many to Christ. It also describes the great and horrible price they are willing to pay, even unto death, like their Savior. Many of them became Christians simply by reading the Bible and realizing that there is no comparison. The Koran threatens unbelievers, the Bible beckons unbelievers.

One Muslim who belonged to a militant brotherhood set out to prove Islam through the Bible. After reading the Bible he realized that no one could have performed the miracles that Jesus did without being God. It also struck him that there is no mention in the Koran of any miracles that Muhammad performed.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is spreading throughout the Muslim world. We as Christians must pray unceasingly for Muslims so that their religion of hatred can be replaced by God's redeeming love and salvation.


Phyllis Winn said...

thank you, Sharon, for reading the Koran and reporting on it.
I'm also glad that you finally got to read "Secret Believers". Humbling, thrilling.

Sharon Wilfong said...

It is exciting to see the work of God in the Islamic world.

Black Disaster Fairy said...

I have that same Koran. I'm not Muslim but wow there is some stuff in there. I enjoy reading it every now and then.

hopping on by... that is just one book from my many different genre loves.

Black Disaster Fairy
A World of Personality

clinch64 said...

I thought I remembered your name, and turns out you have quite an extensive blog. I was wondering if you would not mind giving out your email address, as I would like to discuss something in more detail with you. God Bless.

Sharon Wilfong said...

@Black Disaster Fairy: Thanks for visiting. I'll have to hop by your blog now.

Anonymous said...

Wow Sharon, thanks for pointing me to this very interesting review.

I read in several languages and what I often find out is that, while the context is translated well it sometimes misses the meaning, overall structure and rhythm.

Two great examples are the Jewish bible and Don Quixote. The Jewish bible, when read in Hebrew, is very rhythmic, almost like a poem. Don Quixote is very difficult to translate because it has many rhythms that only work in a Spanish beat. The book is also very funny which translators often miss.

Sharon Wilfong said...

That's wonderful that you can read so many different languages. I've only read the Bible in Spanish and English. The meaning is the same but I must say the cultural idioms give one special insight and added dimension that reading in only one language doesn't provide.
I wish I could read the Hebrew, I'm sure it is a beautiful language.
I haven't read Don Quixote since high school. I can't remember much about it so I probably need to read it again.