Welcome back, friends! Yesterday we launched week 7 of our study together by looking at the rise of Islam and its prophet Muhammad. Today, we’ll continue our study by taking a brief look at the Qur’an and Muslim sects.
“Qur’an” (Koran) means “recitation,” as according to Muslim tradition, Allah recited the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammad. Muslims consider the Qur’an to be inspired, while the Bible is thought to be outdated and corrupt. But let’s consider these pieces of evidence to the contrary:
- There are many versions of the Qur’an. In fact, at one point, Muslim leaders demanded that all versions except the one certified as official be burned. However, in 1972, copies of other ancient versions were discovered, and the discrepancies became clear.
- Allah supposedly recited the Qur’an to Muhammad, who was supposedly illiterate. Thus, it was not immediately written down. Thus, the recitation was allegedly kept in perfect memory for over 35 years before Muhammad recited it to scribes who wrote it down.
- About 300 years later, vowels and diacritical marks were added. Diacritical marks are extremely important in Middle Eastern languages (including Arabic), thus leaving lots of room for many different interpretations.
- The Qur’an contains passages that have definitely proven untrue. For example, the Qur’an indicates that the earth is flat, the sun revolves around the earth, and man was created from nothing.
Yet, in the Muslim mind, the Bible is corrupt and outdated.
Differences between the Bible and the Qur’an are very striking. For example, there is absolutely no reference in the Qur’an to God’s interaction with people. There is no relationship indicated or implied with Allah, and Muslims don’t dare relate to Allah as “father.” Also, the Qur’an contains no guarantee of salvation, as Islam is a religion of works. Unfortunately, the Qur’an does not define how many “good works” it takes, or how good the works must be in order to obtain salvation. Thirdly, the Qur’an was originally meant to be read only in Arabic. However, if Islam was to become a worldwide religion, that would prohibit a large portion of the population from being able to read and understand the Qur’an. Thus, that rule was changed and the Qur’an was translated into many different languages. According to former Muslims, the English versions of the Qur’an are “toned down” for Western minds, particularly when it comes to the principle of jihad.
Ironically, the Qur’an speaks of “the Book” (Bible or Torah). Sura 3:3 indicates that the Torah was sent for guidance, but it is believed that Allah sent it. Given that Moses wrote the Hebrew scriptures 2000 years before the birth of Islam, how is that possible? The Muslims also claim to have written the psalms. Again, how does that happen when the Psalms were written long before Islam’s birth? Muhammad also applied Mark 4 (Parable of the Sower) to Muslim people. All examples of the Qur’an “borrowing” from Scripture that preceded it by thousands of years.
Concerning Muslims sects, there are two primary sects: Sunnis and Shi’ites. First, understand that a Muslim person, whether Sunni or Shi’ite, is born a Muslim. A person may convert to Islam, but to convert from Islam is done at risk of death. So, why are there different sects of Muslims? A severe division occurred over who should succeed Muhammad. After his death, close contemporaries became the next caliphs (leaders). However, the 4th caliph was a relative of Muhammad, and the division arose as to whether contemporaries or family members should be caliphs. One group (Sunnis) held to strong tradition and believed contemporaries should become caliphs, while the other group (Shi’ites) believed the line of succession should be family members. Shi’ites, the more liberal of the two, soon migrated to the modern-day area of Iran. So, though 80% of Muslims are Sunni, roughly 90% of Iranians are Shi’ite.
The division became a civil war of sorts and, to this day, Sunnis and Shi’ites consider one another infidels. They think nothing of killing one another, but will join forces if the common enemy is Israel! For example, ISIS is a Sunni terrorist group who has burned down more Shi’ite mosques than Christian churches in Iraq and Syria. Likewise, Iran (strong Shi’ite) thinks nothing of arming and assisting Hamas (a Sunni terrorist group) in their battle against Israel.
So, there you have it…a very brief look at the Qur’an and Muslims. This week, we will pursue an answer to the question, “Is Islam a religion of peace?” We’ll also examine the Iranian agenda, evaluate the radicals, reformers and revivalist throughout the Middle East, and will touch on what I believe may be the most challenging lesson in the entire study: In Search of the One True God. That is one you don’t want to miss!
So, follow along this week as we look at these exciting lessons!
6 thoughts on “The Qur’an and Muslim Sects”
I find this very interesting and would just like to correct you on some things.. If you dont mind 🙂
1st of all the Koran only has 1 version (in arabic) as english translations will never do the book justice as arabic is a very precise language much more than any other language such as english. 2nd of all, there is no verse that says the sun rotates around the earth, and that it is flat, perhaps the version you read translated made you think it meant that way but in the arabic version, theres no such verse. Also, as for attaining salvation as you mention, people can never be sure whether they will go to heaven or hell or how they will be judged, this happens on Day of Judgment and it is God who judges us alone, no priest or any spiritual person can guarantee your salvation. Therefore our goal as humans is to worship God alone and be the best people we can be, hope for God’s love and mercy on Day of Judgment and hopefully God will enter us into heaven :). Simple as that. We don’t call God our father because fathers are your biological parents of flesh and blood. God is our Creator, Master, Sustainor and He loves us more than any parent could love their child. Allah is one of his 100 names meaning the One worshipped also Eloh in judaism. Finally, as Muslims we must believe that revelation from God through messengers (peace be upon them all) to several people (the Jews, the Christians and several others) they all had a messenger and revelation from God relevant to their time and place. The Koran is simply the final revelation to humanity from God and is for everyone not just arabs. Hope that clarified things more lemme know if you have questions/comments! Have a good day
Thank you for stopping by, and for your comments. I appreciate the sincerity in which you comment, but because salvation is a matter of eternal significance, I want to provide a response. The Creator of the Universe created each human in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) and He loves every person supremely. In fact, He loves every person in the world so much that He gave His Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice so that we may have eternal salvation (John 3:16). Jesus died for your sins and mine (as well as everyone else on the planet), so that we might inherit His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). That doesn’t make a Christian perfect, it makes us forgiven…forever. We don’t “hope for God’s love and mercy on Day of Judgment” or hope that He will “enter us into heaven.” We have absolute assurance of salvation and eternity in heaven…assurance no “religion” can give us. The book of 1 John is written to Christians and is filled with assurance of salvation. Here are a couple of examples: This is the promise He Himself made to us: eternal life (1 John 2:25); And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life… And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:11-13, 20). I invite you, my friend, to KNOW that you have eternal life. It comes through Jesus Christ, and He desires that all will know Him personally. See http://www.calvaryphx.com/know-god/to discover how to know God. You are loved, and are invited to join us as we study Looking for the Blessed Hope on this blog. (All Scripture references may be found on http://www.BibleGateway.com. Just enter the verse references in the search field.)
Honestly the love I feel Christians have is amazing. I wish more Muslims would be as welcoming and loving as you guys are. However, for me a religion is the most perfect way of living and is a revelation from almighty God. Love must be present, but wisdom and sound logic and reasoning must be there. God wouldnt be just if me adont person whos striving to do well lets say gets salvationnas well as a murdered. That would make God unjust, and God is Just and Perfect. Good people should go to heaven and bad people should be punished, as what will happen on Day of Judgment. Also why would a person die for our sins? So that we can commit sins all we want murder, commit adultery, take the poors money, steal, lie and still get salvation? Logically it doesnt make sense to me I hope you can enlighten me some more 🙂 God is not expecting us to not make sins, were human. But we should always strive to become better humans, and ask or Gods forgiveness every time. He is Ever forgiving.
Sunriseglow26, thanks again for engaging with Looking for the Blessed Hope. I appreciate your honest inquiry. You make a point that “good people should go to heaven and bad people should be punished,” and you follow it up by asking a very good question, “Why would a person die for our sins?” Those two things are inextricably linked.
First, by what standard do you determine “good” and “bad?” You see, what one person might believe is “good,” may be “bad” to another person. Who is correct? There must be an absolute standard…one that never changes. That standard is Jesus Christ and His Word. For example, if He says killing innocent people is wrong (bad), then it is wrong no matter what anyone else believes. Why? Because He created the world and has power and authority over it. (Matthew 28:18, Ephesians 1:18-23) That is unlike other religious leaders who not only condone murder, but encourage it. (Which is what we see happening with ISIS and other terrorist groups right now.)
Now, to connect that truth to your question, “Why would a person die for our sins?” Because NO ONE can be perfect like Jesus Christ was perfect. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners. Romans 6:23 tells us that the penalty for sin is death. Everyone deserves death, but the FREE GIFT OF GOD is eternal life…salvation! Jesus died for our sins because we all deserve to die and we all deserve hell because we are not perfect. However, Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life and died so that we can live with Him forever. He died for the wrong things that you and I have done because we could not get to heaven any other way! We can’t do enough “good” things to make it. (How many “good” things would be enough?) Likewise, we have done nothing so “bad” that He will not forgive us! No other religious leader gave his life for us. That is why every other religion known to mankind demands that we work for our salvation. For a Christian, Jesus did the work.
Thanks for your comments and questions. I hope you’ll see that Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life in heaven!
Hello again, thank you for attempting to answer my questions. But I have more. I simply dont understand the basic concept of christianity. Jesus (peace be upon him) for us Muslims is a prophet and messenger of God. Jesus PBUH was also never crucified, God elevated him to the heavens and made his enemies crucify an imposter, which is why one of the great signs of the day of Judgment he will be resurrected. And so the concept is quite easy to understand. There is One Creator, who sent prophets to humanity in order to guide them. Now in christianity, I dont understand how Jesus PBUH “died” for our sins, if he is also God. How can a God die if he is truly God. By definition a God cannot be created or die. That is my main issue, it is kind of an inconsistent system, but if I understood wrong please correct me. My last question is if christianity is the one true religion how can you prove it? How can I know for sure that the Bible Im reading is a direct revelation from God if there’s so many different versions of it? Thank you for your time.
Hi sunriseglow…you ask very legitimate questions that have very legitimate answers, and I’m happy to do my best to answer accurately and in a way that is meaningful.
One difference between Christianity and Islam is that, while Muslims believe that Jesus is “a prophet and messenger of God,” Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) He said that because forgiveness of sin requires a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was that perfect, sinless sacrifice who died for the sins that you and I (and every other person) commit. Therefore, Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only giver of life. Every person who believes with their heart and confesses with their mouth will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Yes, Jesus was crucified. Not only does the Bible teach that, but historical evidence also supports that. (Here is an article that deals with that fact: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-great-offense-was-jesus-really-crucified)
You ask, “How can a God die if he is truly God?” That is a fair question. Again, Christianity is totally different than all other “religions” of the world because of this very idea. You see, there is not one perfect person in the entire world. Everyone sins. (Romans 3:23) The punishment for sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Sin requires a perfect sacrifice, yet no one is perfect. Therefore, we have to have a sinless, perfect sacrifice in order to pay the penalty for sin. Jesus was that perfect sacrifice and that is why He died. Every other religion requires man to work his way to god. The God of Christianity knows it is impossible for man to work his way to God, thus He gave Himself up for us! He is the ONLY perfect sacrifice that is capable of atoning for sin. That is why He died for us.
Finally, you ask, “How can I know for sure that the Bible Im reading is a direct revelation from God if there’s so many different versions of it?” Though there are many translations (not versions) of the Bible, all are translated from the same original manuscripts. (Different translations simply say the same thing in different ways. Every authentic Bible contains the same 66 books, in the same order, and with the same message.) I trust the Bible because its truth is validated in many, many ways. Prophecy is one example. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled perfectly. (Examples: Jesus would be born in Bethlehem to a virgin, Jesus would be crucified, Jesus would be betrayed, the nation of Israel would be re-born after being scattered throughout the world.) The Bible is the ONLY book that contains prophecies that have been accurately fulfilled hundreds of times without error. (Check out http://www.calvaryphx.com/media-library/sermon/the-foundation-of-the-word-part-6-prophecy/)
I pray you will trust in the One True God who died in order to take away your sins! He loves you and invites you to spend eternity with Him. In your Bible, read the book of John and pray, asking the God of Christianity to reveal Himself to you. He will be faithful! I’m praying for you!