Back to Index

Is there a Koran scholar in the house?

Paul Simon asked two questions. The first: "I have always heard that Al-Quiran says that in the end times Christ will return and break the Cross, and all Christians will have to accept Islam and all Jews must be killed. It sounds ominous, but is it true? Ed Jajko says " There are searchable translations of the Qur'an on-line that should enable readers to answer in the negative". It must be folklore, like the folklore which sprang up around Christianity. I wonder if there is a study of these stories, of which there must be many.

Paul Simon's second question: "As for taking one's holy book literally, do students of religion think this practice is more common among Muslims or Christians? To me it seems much more prevalent among Muslims". Ed Jajko replies: "I would agree that this is more prevalent among Muslims, and for a basic and most important reason. Orthodox Christian belief, pace the fundamentalists, is that the Bible is a divinely inspired work; not the literal word of God but a human work that has God's hand in it. I hope I do not misstate Jewish belief by saying that it is the same. But in Muslim belief the Qur'an is literally the word of God, existant with God from all eternity, inseparable from God. I have long felt that one of the best explanations of this belief is in the first line of the Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God". If one has a book that is what God said, in pure, clear Arabic, one has no choice but to accept and follow it literally".

My comment: It would seem to me that the quotation from John would support the views of those Christians who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. The present Christian-Muslim confrontation has stimulated the development of a group of liberal Muslims who are promoting new interpretations of the Koran. Words can be interpreted differently. Perhaps the group also wishes to clear the faith of stories like the one in Paul┤s first question, which many Muslims thought were part of it, just as the Vatican is decanonizing many saints whose life or deeds are in question. Poor St. George, but íViva Juan Diego!.

Ronald Hilton - 3/6/02