Words of Wisdom: The rise of Islam and the Qur’an

This is part four of a four-part series about eastern religions.

Article Highlights

  • 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 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.

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.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 2

Abdulameer writes:

You forgot the most important thing: Islam (in the Koran) considers ALL Christians to be the most monstrous of blasphemers because Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In Islam, this is the greatest of all possible sins. It is a greater sin than rape or murder or even genocide. It is the only sin which Allah will never pardon.
There are many other differences between Christianity and Islam. Here are a few:

Christianity says: Render unto Caeser what is Caesar's and unto the Lord what is the Lord's.
Islam says: Everything is for Allah. Islam is a complete code of life.

Christianity says: Go forth and preach the Gospel to every living creature.
Islam says: "Make war on the unbelievers until Islam reigns supreme in the world."

Christianity says: "Thou shalt not murder."
Islam says: "It is unlawful for a Muslim to kill another Muslim."

Christianity says: "Love thine enemy."
Islam says: "We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers." (3:151)

Christianity says: "Turn the other cheek."
Islam says: "Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female. (2:178) AND "Let evil be rewarded with evil." (42:41) AND "If anyone attacks you, attack him as he attacked you." (2:194)

Christianity says: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Islam says: "Mohammed is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Koran 48:29).

Get the idea?

mahermulseh writes:

in response to Abdulameer:

You forgot the most important thing: Islam (in the Koran) considers ALL Christians to be the most monstrous of blasphemers because Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In Islam, this is the greatest of all possible sins. It is a greater sin than rape or murder or even genocide. It is the only sin which Allah will never pardon.
There are many other differences between Christianity and Islam. Here are a few:

Christianity says: Render unto Caeser what is Caesar's and unto the Lord what is the Lord's.
Islam says: Everything is for Allah. Islam is a complete code of life.

Christianity says: Go forth and preach the Gospel to every living creature.
Islam says: "Make war on the unbelievers until Islam reigns supreme in the world."

Christianity says: "Thou shalt not murder."
Islam says: "It is unlawful for a Muslim to kill another Muslim."

Christianity says: "Love thine enemy."
Islam says: "We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers." (3:151)

Christianity says: "Turn the other cheek."
Islam says: "Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female. (2:178) AND "Let evil be rewarded with evil." (42:41) AND "If anyone attacks you, attack him as he attacked you." (2:194)

Christianity says: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Islam says: "Mohammed is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Koran 48:29).

Get the idea?

In your exchange of Christianity says, Islam says, you made sure to pick and choose, with total disregard to textual and historical context, those phrases that portrayed Islam in a negative manner, and portrayed Christianity and a positive manner. Following your logic, one must understand that Islam is an intolerant religion, and therefore teaches violence and hate toward others. This should lead us to believe that Muslims have an excuse for behaving the way they behave. My question to you: what is the excuse which defines the behavior of Christians? If Muslims are evil because of their faith, then why Christians behave evilly? Are they innately evil? I need not to list the horrible acts of Christians and the crimes they committed against humanity at large. You should read the history of Christians and figure out why they subjected humanity to shear terror. It is obvious that the teachings of the Bible did not help its believers to make the world a better place, rather the teachings of the Bible had no affect whatsoever on changing the nature of evilness of Christians. Disclaimer: my comments should not be taking in generalization. I personally knew very decent Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheist, and others.

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