[A third – natural – segue. This from June 21, 2015]
I previously described my journeys through the Old Testament (6/11/12) and New Testament (11/10/13). Given our trip to the Middle East, I read the Quran. All 114 suras (chapters). The Quran is intended to be read in Arabic (26:195) but my copy was in English. Whew. . . .
The Quran has an Old Testament attitude (some is pretty dark) with frequent repetition of theme. Yet there are numerous theological similarities with Judeo-Christian texts. The cast of characters, the prophets and the stories are similar. The commands (believe, do good works, charity, pray) are comparable. There are parallels in God’s (or Allah’s) warning to his people (re heaven/hell). Jesus (Isa) plays a prominent role as a Messiah. Mary (Maryam) is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran (she has her own sura – 19). At the risk of oversimplification, I discerned three fundamental areas of disagreement between Islam and Christianity. First, the Quran denies that God had a son (Jesus). Hence the repudiation of the Trinity. He simply said “Be” and Jesus was conceived (19:35). Second, there is the overarching theme that Mohammed wrote the Quran over 23 years after receiving the Word of God through the Archangel Gabriel (see 1/30/12 and 3/26/12). Third, the Quran – and thus Muslims – consider Islam to be a “perfection” of Judaism and Christianity. Islam is deemed the true religion . . . .
Notwithstanding, Jews, Christians and Sabians are considered “People of the Book” — and thus related in the Faith. Whether you call Him God, Jehovah or Allah; whether you worship on Friday, Saturday or Sunday; whether you say “Pax vobiscum” “Peace be with you” “Shalom” or “As-Salamu alaikum” the three Abrahamic religions have similar roots and much in common. So I have to wonder — why all the misunderstanding, strife, violence and hatred?