Reading and Mis-reading the Quran – WWCD?

I don’t think there can be much debate that the Prophet of the Lovely Star was much enamored of Islamic culture and in fact our Holy Book, Liber AL mentions the “kaaba” and “kiblah” – crucial elements of Muslim’s worship life. So perhaps there’s a point of having a reasonable understanding of the Holy Book of Islam, the Quran especially at the current times when both Muslim extremists and the most extreme critics’ thereof regularly misquote and distort this body of scripture. The New York Times Book Review recently covered Garry Wills What The Quar’an Meant addressing such issues. Here’s an excerpt of the review:

“I finally read it properly — as properly as I could, that is, using several different translations alongside the original Arabic — as part of my research for a biography of Muhammad. And that’s when I realized that the fact that so few people actually read the Quran is precisely why it’s so easy to quote. Or rather, misquote. In what I call the highlighter version, phrases and snippets are taken entirely out of context and even invented out of thin air, like the 72 virgins in paradise (I kept waiting for them, but they never appeared). This is the version favored by both Islamophobes and their partners in distortion, Muslim extremists — partners in bigotry and its correlate, ignorance…

“Wills calls this book ‘a conversation — or the opening of one,’ so there’s a particular joy when he discovers that ‘all things talk in the Quran. It is abuzz with conversation. For Allah, the real meaning of creating is communicating. The Quran is an exercise in semiotics. God speaks a special language, in which mountains and words and springs are the syllables. Everything is a sign…’

“In fact, he points out, jihad does not mean ‘holy war.’ It means ‘striving’ — as in striving to lead a moral life. The main point of the Quran’s discussion of violence is to establish limitations on its use, and to ‘abstain from violence to the degree that that is possible.’ While a few endlessly cited verses have to do with violence, ‘the overall tenor is one of mercy and forgiveness, which are evoked everywhere, almost obsessively.’ This is what is striven for in the Quran, not war.”

Read the entire interview here

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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