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Discovering the Qur'an

Discovering the Qur'an

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Discovering the Qur'an

Length:
59 pages
43 minutes
Publisher:
Released:
May 11, 2021
ISBN:
9781838330392
Format:
Book

Description

Discovering the Qur'an offers a concise introduction to the holy book revered by Muslims as a perfect revelation from God.

 

While many of us in the West describe our societies as 'multicultural', if we're honest with ourselves, we feel uncomfortable about engaging with the beliefs of people who adhere to a religion other than our own. However, exploring the religious beliefs of others is an effective way of facilitating both personal spiritual growth and societal understanding.

 

Philosopher Steven Colborne, a first-class BA (Hons) graduate and author of more than a dozen books in the philosophical theology genre, decided it would be conscientious to read the Qur'an in its entirety, despite his Christian background. What he discovered was a life-changing book more relatable than he had ever imagined.

 

Discovering the Qur'an grew out of the notes Colborne made when reading the Qur'an from cover to cover for the first time. The author found various areas of resonance and dissonance with the orthodox Christian beliefs he has spent much of his adult life engaging with, and in the book Colborne discusses subjects including God's sovereignty, the oneness of God, the person of Jesus Christ, divine judgement, and others, with reference to both the Bible and the Qur'an.

 

Though only a short read, Discovering the Qur'an serves as an excellent introduction both to the Muslim sacred Scriptures and to the many areas of interfaith dialogue that might be furthered between Christianity and Islam.

Publisher:
Released:
May 11, 2021
ISBN:
9781838330392
Format:
Book

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Discovering the Qur'an - Steven Colborne

INTRODUCTION

I am delighted to be publishing this short book sharing my impressions of the Qur’an — the sacred Scripture of Muslim people — having read it for the first time in its entirety at the beginning of this year (2021) and subsequently re-read many of the surahs (chapters) a number of times over the last few months.

I would be the first to point out that this limited experience does not make an expert of Qur’anic exegesis — the very idea is laughable when one considers imams (leaders within Islamic communities) often hold the remarkable qualification of having memorised the entirety of the Qur’an before they assumed their leadership role.

My own studies of the Qur’an could be better described by the metaphor of merely having dipped my toes in the water. I have read the Qur’an one time from cover to cover over the space of a few days and then returned to the Scripture to study quite a few matters that came to mind during my initial reading.

I have shared many of the thoughts that arose during this study on my blog Perfect Chaos, but I also felt inspired to turn my reflections into this short book. The purpose of writing this book is to help friends, colleagues, and other readers to overcome any inhibitions they might have about reading the Qur’an for themselves, and also to explain how the Qur’an fits into the bigger picture of my own philosophical perspective (which I have expounded in the many books I have written related to philosophical theology to date).

For perhaps the first time ever, people of all faiths and none presently have access to an amazingly lucid English translation of the Qur’an (more about that in Chapter 1). Having read the Qur’an fully and with an open mind, I can honestly say that much of the media hype, which often seems to portray Muslims as vicious animals intent on beheading people, is very misguided.

The Qur’an repeatedly emphasises these themes: the oneness of God, the mercy and forgiveness of God for those who repent of their sins, the importance of giving to charity, the importance of praying to God, and the inevitability of a day of judgement. If we submit to God and believe in these things, we can think of ourselves as friends of Muslim believers.

Now, of course there are passages in the Qur’an which could be interpreted to reflect the stern character of the faith. Muslims are at times commanded to fight (in self-defence, when they are persecuted) and this provides a stark contrast with the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament. As is common knowledge, Jesus insisted we should always ‘turn the other cheek’ when we are confronted with aggression or persecution, submitting humbly rather than fighting back. Nevertheless, the impression one gets from reading the Qur’an as a whole is that this is a beautiful and truthful book, and far from being filled with aggression and hatred, the Qur’an is a wonderful book and a delight to read. I believe anyone who reads the Qur’an who deeply fears God, who is in awe of God’s greatness and yearns for justice, would agree.

The Qur’an, which is believed by Muslims to be a revelation given by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad over a period of approximately 23 years (ending around the year 632 CE), describes how, when some of the ‘People of the Book’ (Christians and Jews) read it, they are so touched by its truthfulness that it moves them to tears. This is exactly what happened with me. My reaction

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