Here is an idea I received while in a religion class. Lets study, and question, other books or scriptures that are considered holy to other religions. To me, the obvious choice is the Holy Qur’an, holy to those of the Muslim faith.
First, before the verse, or Ayat (note: I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do Arabic symbols on here!), of the “day,” some notes of practice and explanation.
#1: The english, or any other language, “version” of the Qur’an that you may read, is not the Holy Qur’an, but an explanation of its meaning. The reason for this is, Muslims believe that the Qur’an, which means recitation, is the literal words of God (Allah). Not the inspired words, but the LITERAL words, which were spoken to the Prophet Muhammad, by the angel Gabriel. Therefore, only in Arabic.
#2: The Koran is arranged in “Chapters” known as Sura’s, each Sura differs in length, and excluding the first Sura, the follow in order from the most words to the last Sura having the least words. The Sura’s are not in any historical or chronological order. Hence the difficulty for western scholars, as well as Christian thinkers, etc, to read and understand what is going on.
Now, for the verse:
Surah 2: Al Baqarah
Those who believe (in the Qur’an);
And those who follow the Jewish (scriptures),
And the Christians and the Sabians-
Any who believe in Allah
And the Last Day
And work righteousness,
Shall have their reward
With their Lord: on them
Shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Thats the verse. Just wondering some thoughts of you all out there on this statement. I will grant, history has not been kind between Christians and Jews, Jews and Muslims, nor Christians and Muslims. Nor has history been kind between Christians and other Christians (East vs. West, Rome vs. Protestants), nor Muslims and other Muslims (Sunni vs. Shiite). However, within all three religions, at least with Christianity and Islam, peace is at the center. Not only peace, but harmony with “people of the book.”
Obviously, the difference is that, in the teachings of Christ, He would turn the other cheek, but by the example of Muhammad, he would in turn take his enemies out. It is interesting to me that, two religions which sprang out of the Abrahamic (sp?) Monotheistic tradition, could be so closely in line, and yet be total opposites. Especially considering the influences on Muhammad during his early life with the nomadic tribes. Then again, the ruthlessness of that life almost explains the automatic selection of violence rather then peace, and yet, at the same time, the Qur’an, at least in this one verse, “guarantees” the “salvation” and peace of all three groups.
Granted, one can claim the Crusades, which ended Muslim hospitality to Christian and Jewish pilgrims – for obvious reasons, or even one could look at the European invasion of Africa and the Middle East, which obviously strained relations. But, in these cases, truly, I would have to say that the Islamic world had a right to resist, and even fight back. Now however, instead of being on the defensive, it seems that many on the radical right (sounds familiar to Christianity… hmmm) would rather fight for the sake of fighting.
Now I’m not claiming to know the Qur’an inside and out… I do not read or speak Arabic at all. And I have only read the english explanation of it through twice completely, and it is a very hard read for my western oriented mind. And though, there is depictions and reasons for violence given, it seems that the Muslim, to me, should look at the same of their religion – Islam – and take the base meaning of the word SLM, meaning peace.