The Qu'ran

Ebor

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Rustaveli said:
Ebor,

Very astute points (typical of a Tolkienist, I daresay)!
Thank you. :) And thanks for the link to the music.

Ebor
 

Aristocles

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Ben said:
<Excerpted>

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.
Ben,
I well understand your questions here. I have two different translations of the Koran and cannot bring myself to read either as a complete read - cover to cover.
My casual studies of it show that during his lifetime Mohammed's prophesies and utterances numbered in excess of 6100 separate statements! Many were trivial or in direct contradiction of others. Mohammed was known to conveniently have visions whenever necessary even to the point that one gets the 'wink-wink' attitude among his close confidants as to the 'holy' inspiration of many of these. Others wonder if he was not prone to seizures of some sort. Nevertheless, he was very crafty in his method of political and religious domination among the various tribes.
That he co-oped so much from pre-Mohammed Meccan traditions (descent through Ishmael, reverence for the black meteorite/rock), his incorrect understanding of Christainity, and selective use of Judaic traditions just make the entire religion a construct, an artifice, to me.
After his death his personal secretary, under the orders of Omar Ibn Khattab, a relative of Mohammed, culled through this massive collection of utterances and compiled the rule of Sharia - the Law. The resulting work was the Koran comprising less than 2.5% of the recorded saying and prophesies of Mohammed. ONE single man produced this 'holy' book. I guess the rest was just trashed - some religion.
That Arabic lends an extremely pleasing melodic sound to the Koran is not surprising, however.

Demetri
 

Ebor

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Just to give more reading, here is an article in The Spectator:
I'm afraid one has to sign up to read it, but it's free and an interesting magazine.
The Triumph of the East

Ebor
 

JoeS

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The Quran is heretical plain and simple. Anyone who converts to this religion from Christianity is an Apostate. But hey, this is just me talking.

JoeS 8)
 

Augustine

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I agree that the sound of traditional Quranic recitation, the "call to prayer", etc. are haunting and beautiful. However, I think that has little to do with the content of what is being said, since Islamic poetry has similar qualities, as do the liturgical services of Middle Eastern Churches (even when not in Arabic, but in it's older sister tongue, Aramaic.)

As for the Qur'an itself, I've read from and owned different versions, and to be perfectly honest I found all of them extremely difficult reading - mainly because the text was usually not all that interesting. There are of course more sublime passages - such as that God is closer to men than their own jugular vein, etc. However, there are also a lot of things which I have no doubt were culled from Jewish folklore, so called "midrash" which generally are not even understood by the Jews to be of historical value, but are tales told for their moral content (for example, an early portion of the Qur'an recites an incident with the Israelites, where God supposedly turned them into apes as a sign against them - the difference being the Qur'an records this as a matter of fact.)

Another thing I noticed about the Qur'an, and it is really a comment on Islam in general, is that there is not "one Qur'an" really, but several which were eventually combined together, standardized and "canonized" so to speak, long after Mohammed himself was dead and buried. The bitter infighting amongst the personal friends, family, and acquaintances of Muhammed (which explains the fundamental division of Islam to this day into "Shi'ite" and "Sunni" branches, which btw. is not simply a question of sectarian loyalties but also of central doctrinal matters) and the centuries of theological and philosophical plurality which existed in Islam well into the Middle Ages is evidence of this.

This is probably why the greatest cultural achievements of Islamic peoples, occured before the onset of an "Islamic orthodoxy" amongst the Sunnis in the middle ages, when it became agreed that only four major schools of jurisprudence/interpretation (all of which were agreed on some basic, fundamental issues), the four madhabs constituted this "orthodoxy." Prior to this, Islam had within it's various strains those which were quite open to different types of learning, including a very modern tolerance for different religions. In fact this was the source for a lot of the classical learning (particularly Aristotle) that made a big comback in the west during the Crusades - the Latins rediscovering these works in their forays into the Middle East.

Thus in the Qur'an, as in historical Islam itself, you see "different religions" as it were. On one hand, you have very pacific persons and ideologies, like those embodied in Sufism or the hellenized Islam which eventually became "anathema" in the Islamic world. Unfortunately, on the other hand, you have the virulently intolerant, sword swinging Islam, which is currently embodied in Wahhabism, which is the flavor/outgrowth of Hanafi jurisprudence that reigns in Saudi Arabia, and is being exported all over the world mainly by the funding of the Saudi royal house (which is somewhat comical, since implicit in Wahhabist ideology is the rejection of the very idea of "monarchy" as such - indeed a lot of it has an egalitarian, quasi-marxist quality to it - which is why so much of the struggle of the modern mujahadeen looks and sounds like the violent marxist uprisings in Latin America.)

 

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The earlier reference to William Dalrymple's evocative book reflecting his travels in the Middle East triggered a memory.

The ROCOR monastery in Brookwood, England, regularly had extremely poor Moslem migrant workers visit and offer candles. The Igumen, Father Alexis, found they were coming to venerate particular Orthodox Saints. Interestingly, they would come on the feast day of the Saint, according to the Church calendar.
 

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I've heard plenty of "hauntingly beautiful" things that human beings have produced.
As have I, we all have.

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.
Amen

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
.

I totally agree, but there is something about the rythm and the flow of the Qu'ran in Arabic, I don't know what it is, it has converted many to Islam and confirms millions in their faith that it is the holy book of God, a standing miracle for all to enjoy.

However, I know those who wanted to convert to Catholicism just after hearing some very good Latin Gregorian and Polyphonic Chant, so I do agree that it depends on the person.
 
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