The Qu'ran

Ben

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The Qu'ran, which literally means a recitation, is perhaps the most recited book in the world. Certainly, it is the world's most memorized book, and probably the one that exerts the most influence on those who read it.

It is considered to be the greatest of miracles by Muslims and it is the center of just over a billion lives. It is a book that I hadn't really looked into until about a few years ago, a book that I have always been interested in, a book that sometimes can seem to ramble on and on and on...lol.

The Qu'ran always seemed very beautiful to me and my God when I heard it being recited in Arabic in almost a kind of chant, I almost fell over. You really have no idea what it is like until you read it or at least hear it in Arabic, the flow of the words is just amazing. But even in English it is very beautiful, and certainly not the product of some unschooled, unlettered (ummi), arab, some 1400 years ago, who couldn't even write his name.

I really don't believe that Mohammed wrote the Qu'ran, there is no way he came up with all that is in the Qu'ran - I just don't see how.

So who wrote the Qu'ran?

I have always wondered, certainly it didn't come from the lips of the Angel of Gabriel, but who come up with it?

It is an amazing book, somone very well educated and an amazing poet was able to come up with it, and surely the early Muslims didn't know who this was, for they wouldn't have accepted Islam if they did.

Mohammed had many enemies, and surely they would have loved to have disprooved his most powerful weapon, the "standing miracle", the Qu'ran.

What do you all think? How did the Qu'ran come to be?


 

spiros

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The Qu'ran always seemed very beautiful to me and my God when I heard it being recited in Arabic in almost a kind of chant, I almost fell over. You really have no idea what it is like until you read it or at least hear it in Arabic, the flow of the words is just amazing.
Ben, you need to attend an Antiochian church sometime where they still use some Arabic. It is a beautfiul language, especially to hear the prayers and readings chanted.

BTW may I ask as to your new Avatar?

Spiros
 

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The Quran is quite the book, and the sounds of the call to prayer are certainly something for the ears to behold. Regardless of that, though, it's still a book that contains errors, and was written by man that was not of God.
 

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Yes it is. But why does he have a football on his head?
 

Ben

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Spiros...my local Antiochian church does not use Arabic - ALL english :(

Andreas........I agree...but who wrote the Qu'ran? Any theories? It is such an amazing and a very important book, I thought by now someone would have come up with a theory of who wrote it...etc.

And yes my avatar is Rumi, I am a big fan of his poetry.
 

Andreas

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Ben said:
Spiros...my local Antiochian church does not use Arabic - ALL english :(

Andreas........I agree...but who wrote the Qu'ran? Any theories? It is such an amazing and an important book, I thought by now someone would have come up with a theory of who wrote it...etc.

And yes my avatar is Rumi, I am a big fan of his poetry.
Well, I do know that in the part of Arabia where Muhammad lived, they would hold poetry contests. Now since Muhammad was a man who studied monotheistic faith, and probably had a decent education (the idea that he was illiterate is ridicules. No Merchant in the Ancient world was illiterate.). I will assume he just combined his abillities, and wrote the book. However, I know that some verses were taken from Gnostic Gospels.
 

Ben

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Andreas said:
Well, I do know that in the part of Arabia where Muhammad lived, they would hold poetry contests. Now since Muhammad was a man who studied monotheistic faith, and probably had a decent education (the idea that he was illiterate is ridicules. No Merchant in the Ancient world was illiterate.). I will assume he just combined his abillities, and wrote the book. However, I know that some verses were taken from Gnostic Gospels.
Actually, from all that I have read on Mohammed, from both Non-Muslim and Muslim experts on Islam, is that there is a huge possibilty that he was illerate and uneducated, not only possible but most likely. However, there really isn't a way we will ever really know for sure.

But I do find it strange that his wife, who knew him the best, was his first convert, if he was the author of the Qu'ran. She is said to have been a very smart and well educated business woman, she wouldn't have embraced a faith she knew to be false and a product of her husband's imagination, and certainly she would have known if he wrote the Qu'ran - it would have been a hard secret to keep.

I also find it hard to believe that he wrote it, since it is universally accepted that he dictated as others wrote....hard to believe that he alone came up with all of the stuff in the Qu'ran, and was able to put it together so well in his mind, and then properly recite it to others, who would then, of course, record it on I believe leaves and cow hide.

A demonic source is more likely than Mohammed, in my personal opinion.
 

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Ben said:
Actually, from all that I have read on Mohammed from Non-Muslim and Muslim experts on Islam, there was a huge possibilty that he was illerate and uneducated, not only possible but most likely. However, there really isn't a way we will ever really know.

But I do find it strange that his wife, who knew him the best, was his first convert, if he was the author of the Qu'ran. She is said to have been a very smary and well educated business woman, she wouldn't have embraced a faith she knew to be false and a product of her husband's imagination, and certainly she would have known if he wrote the Qu'ran - it would have been a hard secret to keep.

I also find it hard to believe that he wrote it, since it is universally accepted that he dictated as others wrote....hard to believe that he alone came up with all of the stuff in the Qu'ran, and was able to put it together so well in his mind, and then properly recite it to others, who would then of course record it on I believ leaves and cow hide (?).

A demonic source is more likely than Mohammed, in my personal opinion.

Merchant was a high ranking job. It was high ranking because only the litterate could hold it. It's not even plausible that he couldn't read and write, IMO. Plus, his Uncle who played a huge role in his life was a wealthy educated business man, himself. I don't doubt that satan was involved, but Muhammad played a great role, too.
 

Ben

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I'll look into, but I highly doubt Mohammed was a well educated guy, I don't think he could even read, but I'll do some reading, and do a little more research on it.
 

Nacho

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I'll look into, but I highly doubt Mohammed was a well educated guy, I don't think he could even read, but I'll do some reading, and do a little more search on it.
He can't be anymore illiterate than Joseph Smith :D :D. Atleast Mohammed came up with a book that doesn't read like it was written by a 3rd grader. :p

Actually, it's too bad these two guys didn't live in the same period of time & crossed paths. Imagine the fairytales these two minds would have come up with togethor.
 

Ben

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I must say that I'll take the Qu'ran over the book of Mormon any day! lol The Book of Mormon just puts me to sleep! At least the Qu'ran can keep me interested for a while, and has a very poetic flow to it.
 

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Ben said:
Spiros...my local Antiochian church does not use Arabic - ALL english :(
St. Elias in Denver is Arabic-speaking.
 

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One of the theories is that since the Quran was not systematized for a few centuries, that there was in fact a lot of interpolation going on in this period, and that much of what found its way into the Quran came after Muhammad's death.

It seems likely to me that (1) bits and pieces of the Quran were written by Muhammad (perhaps not literally, but conceived by him and recited to others who wrote it down), (2) bits and pieces were interpolated during his lifetime by the scribes and (3) another chunk was interpolated after his death before the Quranic text was made uniform.

Im not sure it's demonic. There are surely errors in it (most notably its errors concerning the divinity of Christ), but there are other chapters which are undoubtedly beautiful and which bespeak of some sort of authentic, if flawed, relationship with God. I think that Muhammad was a very basic monotheist who had been exposed to some forms of Christianity and Judaism and basically cobbled together what he intended to be (or, more likely, what he experienced himself as) a relatively simple, streamlined monotheistic faith in his own Arab idiom. It was mistaken (he would have been better off becoming Christian), but it is at least possible that the various divisions in the Christian world (which he would have been familiar with from some of his business trips to Palestine) offered a poor advertisement for Christianity (and this actually comes up in the Quran itself, which makes me think that it reflects Muhammad's own thinking on the issue) and so dissuaded him from becoming Christian. In rejecting Christianity, Muhammad committed his greatest error, clearly, because it set Islam over and against Christianity in a way. For while some of the more moderate Islamic scholars claim that Islam was not intended to supplant Christianity, the Quran speaks otherwise in many places and its obstinate rejection of the divinity of Christ rules out decisively for Christians any real divine connection with the Quran as a whole (if that were the case, it would not have denied the divinity of Christ), in spite of the fact that some verses and parts may have reflected a robust spiritual life in the person of Muhammad, if even a misguided one.

The Quran is worth reading, but it is a hard book to read because it is not organized to be read from cover to cover. The best way to do it is to buy a version of the Quran that has a commentary ... true, it is a biased Islamic commentary to be sure, and while you have to approach that with a grain of salt, nevertheless without a commentary many parts of the Quran are barely intelligible.

B
 

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And the Lord said "My Son was not Redeemer enough therefore a prophet I will send unto the people of the desert and he shall confuse them". Just a little fantasy here. So, the Lord goofed up the Incarnation and tried to right it by sending the Archangel to have another religion started? Just me thinking out loud. :-

JoeS

Fotina02 said:
St. Elias in Denver is Arabic-speaking.
 

Etienne

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Yes, Arabic has a beauty to it, as I recall from listening to Arabic language church services. That said:

The Qu'ran says

The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him; "Be": And he was.
(Sura 3-59)

The New Testament

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made...... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-3, 14)

The Qu'ran

In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the Son of Mary.
(Sura 5-19)

The New Testament

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father
(1 John 2:22-3)

I am puzzled by this thread and think we need to be clear Christianity and Islam are incompatible. It is not what is immediately repellant that we need to guard against, but that the may lure us away from salvation, surely?
 

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"I am puzzled by this thread and think we need to be clear Christianity and Islam are incompatible."

Yes, yes, very true, Islam is misguided because it denies the divinity of Christ. But that doesn't mean that *everything* in Islam is demonic. That's a non-sequitur. Christians shouldn't become Muslims because Muslims deny the divinity of Christ, but we can still recognize that for all its failings there is much genuine spirituality among Muslims and expressed in the Quran as flawed as it is.
 

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Hear, hear, Brendan! I've enjoyed the intelligence & thoughtful charity of your postings on this subject.

The other forum members have some valid points, but I don't see why we cannot cleave unto Orthodox Christianity and disagree certain teachings of Islam without being disagreeable.

 

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Etienne said:
Yes, Arabic has a beauty to it, as I recall from listening to Arabic language church services. That said:

The Qu'ran says...
???

I don't see how acknowledging the beauty of Arabic [or Syriac...] orthodox Christian church services relates at all to what the Qu'ran says...

Ben's questions & observations bring up what I think is a point worthy of further examination:

Not only are Arabic / Syriac church services and music beautiful, but this cultural milieu is the source of among the most ancient expressions of the Christian Orthodox Faith (Fathers such as St. John of Damascus, St. Ephrem the Syrian, and St. John Chrysostom come to mind...).

Perhaps it would be well to study the vast and rich sources of theology, spirituality, liturgy, prayer, hymnography, etc., which exist as a living and continuous part of Orthodox Christianity from the Arabic / Syriac stem, and which antedate both Islam and the Qu'ran.
 

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In acknowledging the beauty of spoken or recited Arabic I was merely acknowledging a comment made in the third paragraph of the original post. No more and no less. As correctly pointed out it does not relate at all to the merits or otherwise of Al Qu'ran.

I, as some other contributors, have read Al Qu'ran and have a copy at home. To be honest I do not share the apparent enthusiasm shown by some in this thread for its supposed merits.

The God-man took flesh, was crucified and died for us that death might be conquered. And what has Al Qu'ran to say of Our Saviour:

Al Qu'ran

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the Son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
(Sura 9-30)

The New Testament

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(John 6, 69)
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, by denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present age; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
(Titus 2, 11-13)

Al Qu'ran is not simply misguided, it denies that that we hold most dear. How many New Martyrs gave their lives for that truth against the errors of Islam. If one truly believes that the God-man, Jesus Christ, is our truly Our Saviour and then find a text which sets forth such examples of the complete refutation of this as is contained in Al Qu'ran; just who is being disagreeable. From what I have read the disagreeable and blasphemous one is Muhammed, called by some a prophet............

I openly acknowledge this without feeling any hostility to Moslems. Indeed I know and have known many whose attention to their prayer life and practice is a reproach to many of us, myself included.

We have the Old and New Testaments, the writings of the Church Fathers, the Lives of the Saints and the Service Books, among others to guide our spiritual growth. What can Al Qu'ran offer that these do not and more?
 

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Ben said:
The Qu'ran, which literally means a recitation, is perhaps the most recited book in the world. Certainly, it is the world's most memorized book, and probably the one that exerts the most influence on those who read it.
I would like to recommend reading "The Trouble with Islam" by Irshad Manji. She is a Canadian Muslim who writes that she's holding onto Islam by her fingernails because so much of it is unthinking and will not allow questioning. She writes that when she was a child/teenager and sent to islamic school they were taught to recite from the Quran but did not understand what they were saying because it was in Arabic. (But, interestingly, most of the world's muslims are not Arabs yet this culture is carried along with the religion.) Flat answers were given "Because the Quran says so." She eventually had to find a copy in English to read it for herself.

The Qu'ran always seemed very beautiful to me and my God when I heard it being recited in Arabic in almost a kind of chant, I almost fell over. You really have no idea what it is like until you read it or at least hear it in Arabic, the flow of the words is just amazing.
The subjective beauty of a language does not necessarily mean much. Someone (I'd have to look up) once said that for just the sound of it, he found the most lovely words in English were "Cellar door". Frankly, I prefer recitation in Middle English or Anglo-Saxon or Quenya. Or a good Anglican Chant. :)

Ebor
 

Ebor

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The Atlantic Monthly magazine had an article "What is the Koran" from 1999. Here is the link:
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99jan/koran.htm
to part 1.

The first part has links in it to parts 2 and 3.

It is a most interesting article on this subject

Ebor
 

Dimitrius

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Ben

Here is a great web site that I my self contribute to that answers a lot of questions you are asking about regarding the Koran.

http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Sources/index.html


http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/index.html


The Koran is really not as beautiful in the original Arabic as you might think. First of all it is horribly repetitious and in almost every single sura (chapter) the topic drifts frequently. This is indicative that the individual chapters of the Koran are a mish mash of individual stories that were poorly edited and put together. This is especially evident when the Koran starts talking about the stories of one of the Biblical prophets than the topic drifts to a totally unrelated topic and magically the we are back to talking about the Biblical prophets again.

As one who grew up in the Middle East for 17 years I can say the following about Arabs and poetry. In pre-Islamic Arabia and until today, men are encouraged to challenge each other with poetry and try to out do each other with what is known as “Tajweed” meaning making words rhyme with each other. This was especially true 5th to the 10th centuries in the Arabian Peninsula. This is what the Koran is, a book of prose.

So claiming that no illiterate person could have written the Koran is a red herring. Arabic prose is what Beduin Arabian men pride themselves in doing; namely being able to come up with a rhyming verse to answer another person.

As for the issue of Muhammed’s illiteracy, I suggest you check these article:

http://answering-islam.org.uk/Gilchrist/Vol1/3a.html

http://www.quran.org/library/articles/gatut.html


This web site answers just about any question you could have about Islam from a Christian (though not always Orthodox) perspective. I write under the name Dimitrius in this web site.

http://answering-islam.org.

One final note about the recitation of the Koran in Arabic. I was once talking to an American convert to Islam and I asked her why she thinks the Koran is a miracle. She answered that when the Koran is chanted in Arabic it is so hauntingly beautiful that such words can only come from God (Allah). I asked her to listen to a section of the Koran recitation with me and comment on what specifically she found beautiful. After I finished the tape she said the tune was beautiful and even though she didn’t understand the Arabic she felt it was Holy. She was shocked to find out that I hadn’t played a section of the Koran but instead it was Psalm 23 chanted in a similar tune to that of the Koran. I also have another tape of words similar to the Koran chanted in the same Koranic tune but the words are actually ridiculing the Koran. I will paste the link.
 

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Etienne said:
In acknowledging the beauty of spoken or recited Arabic I was merely acknowledging a comment made in the third paragraph of the original post. No more and no less. As correctly pointed out it does not relate at all to the merits or otherwise of Al Qu'ran.
...
I openly acknowledge this without feeling any hostility to Moslems. Indeed I know and have known many whose attention to their prayer life and practice is a reproach to many of us, myself included.
...
We have the Old and New Testaments, the writings of the Church Fathers, the Lives of the Saints and the Service Books, among others to guide our spiritual growth. What can Al Qu'ran offer that these do not and more?

Very good and thought-provoking post, Etienne! Eloquent and very well put.

- I apologize if I mis-read your comment a la Arabic Christian worship / music and the Qu'ran in your prior post ...

[as an aside on the subject of Internet converse, it's sometimes hard for those like myself to keep straight the threads of reflection from the several varied and obviously gifted participants...]

I must agree that, having only read English translations, I have found al-Qu'ran hard to follow, and not "in equal" to the Old & New Testament scriptures.

I have, however, always liked this verse, from the chapter "al Nur" (the Light), which consists largely of matrimonial and related legislation, until this breaks in:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things. (24:35).

I asked an Orthodox priest, a native of Indonesia who grew up Muslim, about this verse.

Interestingly, he concurred about its poetic beauty, but he theorizes that Muhammed may have taken the imagery from actually seeing a lampada lit in an Arabian Christian monastery or church (!) - [see prior thread at this forum on Mohammed and Christianity].

The said priest is currently in the USA working on a PhD. in Islamic Studies - an interesting and very intelligent fellow.

As to the observation on prayer, "I know and have known many [Muslims] whose attention to their prayer life and practice is a reproach to many of us, myself included", I'm right there with you, Brother! ;)

May we all attain such diligence, out of love for the Incarnate Christ!

 

Ebor

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Here is a quote from Taslima Nasrin, who because she dared to write against certain Islamic practices and the novel "Shame" about a Hindu family under attack by Muslim 'fundamentalists' had a fatwa declared against her and loud demands for her execution:

When I was young, I was forced to practice religion. I had to read the Koran in Arabic without knowing the meaning. I said to my mother several times: "I don't have any interest in reading something I don't understand. I want to know the meaning of the verses." My mother said, "We don't need to know the meaning. We should read because these are the verses written by God. If you read these, God will forgive you and send you to heaven."

When I was 14 or 15 years old, I found the Bengali translation of the Koran, and I learned what God says in the verses. I was surprised to read wrong information about the solar system in the Koran -- for example, that the sun is moving around the earth and the earth is not moving and standing still because of the support of the mountains.

The inequalities and injustices against women and the people of different faiths in the Koran made me angry. If any religion allows the persecution of the people of different faiths, if any religion keeps women in slavery and keeps people in ignorance then I cannot accept that religion. As an individual, I wanted to serve people irrespective of religions, race and gender. And instead of having irrational blind faith, I preferred to have a rational logical mind. In short, I became a secular humanist. To me humanity is the ultimate.
the full interview can be found here:
http://www.secularislam.org/skeptics/taslima.htm


Very interesting story, Dimitrius, about playing the tape.

Ebor
 

Ben

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I would like to recommend reading "The Trouble with Islam" by Irshad Manji.
One of the best books I have ever read. I have actually had the honor to correspond with her a little through email. Though I disagree with her on many issues, she is a very wonderful person, I respect her greatly. Gay Muslims are great, haven't met one yet that I don't like! :D

Anyway, Arabic is a very beautiful language, and many parts of the Qu'ran are very beautiful, clear, and refreshingly simple. And as I have said when the Qu'ran is recited in Arabic in an almost kind of chant, it is one of the most mystical and beautiful things I have ever heard.

But don't get me wrong, it is not the word of God, and though many parts are very beautiful, overall it is totally imcompatible with Christianity. But for sure it is a very interesting read!
 

Ben

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http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Sources/index.html


http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/index.html
Pretty good site, been there a few times, there is some good info there.


First of all it is horribly repetitious and in almost every single sura (chapter) the topic drifts frequently
.

Oh yes I know this, I have read the Qu'ran several times. It isn't a book that you want to curl up with on a rainy day! You can get lost really easy, and honestly it does drift often, but that doesn't take away from much of the great poetry you can find in the Qu'ran, or how amazing it sounds when recited in Qu'ran in almost kind of Byzantine chant.

This is indicative that the individual chapters of the Koran are a mish mash of individual stories that were poorly edited and put together.
Yes, that is totally correct.

Christians and Jews have really edited and put together the Bible. I mean orginally the Torah had no spaces, just letters, you simply had to infer where one word ended, and another began, which wasn't all too difficult.

The Bible has come a long way since it was a bunch of scrolls, without commentary, without chapters or vereses...etc.

But the difference is that the Qu'ran doesn't really follow a story line, like the Bible always does. Many parts of the Qu'ran drift from this to that to this to that, again and again, it can be difficult, but it does it with such grace, it is worth it to stick in there and read it.

This is especially evident when the Koran starts talking about the stories of one of the Biblical prophets than the topic drifts to a totally unrelated topic and magically the we are back to talking about the Biblical prophets again.
Yep.

As one who grew up in the Middle East for 17 years I can say the following about Arabs and poetry. In pre-Islamic Arabia and until today, men are encouraged to challenge each other with poetry and try to out do each other with what is known as “Tajweed” meaning making words rhyme with each other. This was especially true 5th to the 10th centuries in the Arabian Peninsula. This is what the Koran is, a book of prose.
Interesting.

As for the issue of Muhammed’s illiteracy, I suggest you check these article:

http://answering-islam.org.uk/Gilchrist/Vol1/3a.html

http://www.quran.org/library/articles/gatut.html
Thanks :)

One final note about the recitation of the Koran in Arabic. I was once talking to an American convert to Islam and I asked her why she thinks the Koran is a miracle. She answered that when the Koran is chanted in Arabic it is so hauntingly beautiful that such words can only come from God (Allah).
Isn't such a strange response to me, though it wouldn't convince me that the Qu'ran was a miracle. I must say that when chanted in Arabic it is so hauntingly beatiful, you have to wonder if a human could produce such beauty.

I asked her to listen to a section of the Koran recitation with me and comment on what specifically she found beautiful. After I finished the tape she said the tune was beautiful and even though she didn’t understand the Arabic she felt it was Holy. She was shocked to find out that I hadn’t played a section of the Koran but instead it was Psalm 23 chanted in a similar tune to that of the Koran. I also have another tape of words similar to the Koran chanted in the same Koranic tune but the words are actually ridiculing the Koran. I will paste the link.
I do think it has to do with that fact that when Arabic is recited in a kind of chant, it is just so beautiful and mystical, you feel that it must be from God.
 

Rustaveli

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... I would be interested in the reflctions of the participants of this discussion on Coptic language, music, chant, and hymnography.

Check this out:

http://www.live365.com/stations/copt?play

...Click the link above (or copy it into your browser) to listen!

 

Etienne

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Rustaveli,

Thank you for your kind remarks.

Yes, I think the Orthodox priest had a point about the link with the lampada. One western writer in a discourse about his journeys through the Middle East made an interesting comment on Islam.

He had seen the Orthodox at prayer, with prostrations and the chanting. etc. Then he lloked at the Moslems. Both seemed much closer to each other than he, an Anglican Christian. His theory was that Muhammed had been influenced by Christian and Gnostic teaching. Sadly, I cannot place either the commentator nor the piece.
 

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Well put, Brendan.

Reminds me of what you've written here on the topic before, which sounded like Etienne's story:

Yes, I think the Orthodox priest had a point about the link with the lampada. One western writer in a discourse about his journeys through the Middle East made an interesting comment on Islam.

He had seen the Orthodox at prayer, with prostrations and the chanting. etc. Then he lloked at the Moslems. Both seemed much closer to each other than he, an Anglican Christian. His theory was that Muhammed had been influenced by Christian and Gnostic teaching. Sadly, I cannot place either the commentator nor the piece.
Apparently much in Muslim practice, even the architecture of the mosque itself, was lifted from Eastern Christians.

A theme also in my collection of Muslim links.

Al-Islam can be called a bastard of Eastern Christendom, just like the (often?) Ned Flanders-ish, Stepford-nice Mormons (remember Elizabeth Smart's parents on the TV a while back?) are the 'Muslim' offshoot (way off!) of Western Christianity, culturally growing out of Protestantism.
 

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Etienne said:
One western writer in a discourse about his journeys through the Middle East made an interesting comment on Islam.

...I cannot place either the commentator nor the piece.
Would this be William (.. I think that's his name... ) Dowrimple's From the Holy Mountain?

That's quite a fascinating book from many angles. The author is a young Scottish writer, a Roman Catholic, who re-traced the journey of (Saint ?) John Moscos and the young monk who later became St. Sophronios of Jerusalem.
 

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Sir, you have it. William Dalrymple (think I've spelt it right). I did find his tales of that journey through the Middle East absorbing. ;)
 

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Aye, Dalrymple it is!

Some other interesting scenes which he descibes are Muslim women prostrate during the Liturgy before a wonderworking icon of the Theotokos (seeking aid in conceiving children), and a Maronite hermit who carries on his prayers and ascetical labors in the wilderness of a war-torn Lebanon.

Also, I believe that he notes the similarities between Coptic and Celtic Christian decorative arts (not a coincidence, perhaps).
 

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Ben said:
Isn't such a strange response to me, though it wouldn't convince me that the Qu'ran was a miracle. I must say that when chanted in Arabic it is so hauntingly beatiful, you have to wonder if a human could produce such beauty.
I don't have to wonder. I've heard plenty of "hauntingly beautiful" things that human beings have produced. God has given humanity the gift of creating so I suppose you could say that such things are from God ultimately but they come into being through the workings of people.

Both Tolkien and Dorothy L. Sayers wrote on humans and creating.

.... I do think it has to do with that fact that when Arabic is recited in a kind of chant, it is just so beautiful and mystical, you feel that it must be from God.
English Chant can be quite beautiful to some, as can Latin Chant or Sacred Harp singing or many other musics. Beauty and feelings are sometimes in the ear and mind of the beholder, I should think. To others it would not have the same appeal.

And all languages are from God, comes to that.

Ebor
 

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Ebor,

Very astute points (typical of a Tolkienist, I daresay)!

You and others posting here might enjoy listening to the online internet broadcast "Polyphonica: Byzantine" via Live365.

The station plays Gregorian chant, some Anglican settings, and a number of selections by Ensemble Organum, a wondrous group dedicated to musicological research and performance of sacred music, particularly early Western repertoires which were suppressed in favor of the Carolingian / Gregorian standard.

(... Ben, if you can obtain this Ensemble's recording of Old Roman, Beneventan, or Mozarabic chant, I believe that you will again be overwhelmed by ethereal beauty)!

"Beauty will save the world" - F. Dostoyevsky
 
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