Islam means, “total surrender to the will of Allah (God).” The Five Pillars Of Islam are: prayer five times a day; profession of faith; alms; fasting; and pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime.
Koran, or Qur’an, means, “the reading,” or “the recitation.” The Koran is the sacred book of the Muslims, by which it is regarded as the revelation of Allah. It has been at the heart of Muslim life, belief and culture for more than 1,400 years. The Koran allows no room for doubt or misbelief. It is a book of 114 chapters, or surahs, and is considered the final authority in matters of belief, worship, ethics, social and individual conduct.
The Koran is also the most reliable source for events in the life and career of Muhammad the Prophet, who lived about 632 A.D. Muslims believe that the Koran is the living word of Allah, revealed through the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad, who is seen as the last prophet of Allah. The revelation is said to have begun during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.
The structure of the Koran does not follow a linear or systematic pattern. There are stories from the past, laws and moral teachings all blended together. Rather than setting a specific and detailed historical context, including time and place, it more emphasizes the moral of a story that is seen to transcend time and space. Similar to the Bible, the oral tradition of the Koran developed long before it was put into written form. Also unlike the Bible, the Koran was put in written form during the lifetime of Muhammad.
There are several references to wisdom in the Koran, but most of the references refer to the “Wisdom of Allah,” or the “Wisdom of the Book,” as opposed to wisdom in the human person as revealed through Allah, for example, “Allah, the Mighty, the Wise,” or “Allah, the Knowing, the Wise,” or “The Book and the Wisdom.”
God is seen as “The Wise God, Al-Hakim.” Wisdom represents a manifestation of the divine in the Koran because Allah is at once transcendent and immanent. Then, because Allah is The Wise (Al-Hakim), a human person can relate to his acts of wisdom as a manifestation of the divine. You come to know Allah’s Wisdom by reflecting on his acts of wisdom.
In terms of the personification of wisdom, the embodiment of wisdom or wisdom in the human person, wisdom is seen to be within Muhammad. To find wisdom, follow Muhammad’s example (Sunna) and follow The Book. The Koran identifies verses which are absolutely clear in and of themselves as “Muhkamat.” for example, “God is One – Al-Wahid.” If a verse is open to interpretation, this is described as “Mutashabihat.”
As I’m sure you are aware, many holy wars have been fought between Christians and Muslims throughout the ages. One of the reasons is because of the differing understandings of, “Who is Jesus?” The Koran does not see Jesus as God, Son of God, Savior or divine. The Koran does, however, see Jesus as a prophet to the Jews and contrasts this with Muhammad, who is seen as a prophet to Jews, Christians and the entire human race – the last prophet. The Gospel in the Christian New Testament is not seen to be the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Muslims call the “Injil.”
The crucifixion of Jesus in the Koran gets a little complicated, as the wording seems to say that Jesus was crucified, but that Allah raised him up to heaven beforehand. It only seemed to everyone that Jesus was being crucified. Jesus went to heaven and did not die. He will return at the end of time to confirm Muhammad’s teachings and to fight the Antichrist (Koran 4:157-158).
Whatever the details and particulars of the crucifixion and resurrection are, they are fully known experientially only to God (Al-Alim–the all-knowing) and known experientially to Jesus (Al-Shaid–the witness). Neither Christians nor Muslims were present at the actual resurrection as eyewitnesses, but Christians are promised a like resurrection from the dead.
In terms of experience, Christians believe the resurrection promise which is told by the Apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians 4:14, “I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.”
Or, in my understanding of the import of Paul’s words, “From this earth, from dirt, from dust, the Lord will raise me up, I trust!” Why? Because He is forever, or “Al-Wakil – the most trustworthy.”
Michael Hickey is a local writer and poet who lives in Pelican Bay and Swampscott, Mass. His book, “Get Wisdom,” is published by Xlibris Div. Random House Publishing and is available at 1-888-795-4274, ext. 822, at www.Xlibris.com or your local bookstore. E-mail Mike Hickey at Mikehic@nii.net.