Archive for the ‘Qur'an’ Category

Arabic Calligraphy

Everitte Barbee is an American living in Beirut. He is a calligrapher and does some really great work. I read about his project, The Quran for Solidarity at the Daily Star. He is not a Muslim, but is seeking to handwrite the entire Quran in figural Arabic calligraphy. He hopes that his project will help Americans have more positive views of Muslims. Here are a couple of quotes from the article.

“I mean the fact that you can just say churches are allowed here but mosques are not is just absurd,” says Barbee.

“I hate the way Americans look at the Middle East right now, especially mainstream Americans,” he adds.

Here is Surah 55, The Merciful:

He also does portraits:

and some more patriotic fare:

HT: Islamicate

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At muslimmatters.org, Camilla Morrison has written an essay that gives the Islamic view of Jesus. In the first few paragraphs (pasted below) she describes how the Qur’an views Jesus, referring to most of the texts about him. This is a helpful starter for understanding how Jesus Christ is seen within Islam today.  It’s a long essay and unless you are also interested in knowing how secular and liberal scholars view Jesus and the formation of the orthodox view of him, you can skip the rest.

The Qur’an contains ninety-three passages in reference to Jesus and, together, they present a clear picture of what Muslims believe. Chronologically, this begins with Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Qur’an tells the story of Mary’s birth and describes how God graciously accepted her, making her grow in goodness, and entrusting her to be raised by Zachariah[3][4]. God chose Mary above all other women as the most pure and sent angels to give her news that she was to give birth to a pure son[5] called Jesus, the Messiah[6]. The angels tell her that Jesus “will be held in honor in this world and the next”, he “will be one of those brought near to God”, “he will speak to people in his infancy”, and “he will be one of the righteous” [7]. Mary has an entire sura named after her, one of only eight people to have this honor, and is affirmed to have given a virginal birth and to have afterward remained a virgin[8]. It is believed that Jesus was able to speak as an infant; after Mary gives birth to Jesus and carries him back to her people, she is accosted with accusations and it is then where Jesus speaks his first words and defends her honor[9]. In these first words, Jesus declares himself as a prophet and a servant of God who will be raised up after death and return at the final judgment[10].

Throughout his life, Jesus is believed to have performed several miracles by the permission of God; he transforms a clay bird into a real one, heals the blind and the leper, and brings the dead back to life[11]. He was sent to follow in the footsteps of previous prophets and to confirm the Torah that had been sent before him[12]. The Qur’an also says that God gave Jesus the Gospel with guidance, light, and confirmation as a guide and lesson for the followers of God[13]. Jesus is believed to be a fully human prophet; he is never said to claim divinity but instead attributes all he does to the power of God. When asked by God if he ever said for people to take him as a god, Jesus replies, “I would never say what I had no right to say”[14]. The Qur’an also mentions the disciples of Jesus, although not by name. The disciples are said to follow Jesus and declare themselves as Muslims[15].

Regarding the death of Jesus, the Qur’an denies that Jesus actually died or was ever crucified[16]. Muslims believe that Jesus physically ascended into heaven and that the disbelievers claimed victory only because “it was made to appear like that to them”[17]. The Qur’an states that Jesus will return again at the end of days when everyone will be judged on their adherence to Islam[18].

In addition to the Qur’an, Muslims look to the Hadith as an authority on Jesus. Several Hadith expand upon elements of Jesus described in the Qur’an, particularly about the end of his existence on Earth and what comes after. The Hadith present an “image of Jesus as an end-of-time figure”[19]. In one Hadith, Muhammad says, “the son of Mary will come back down among you very soon as a just judge”[20] and in another he says that he has been shown that Jesus will return to defeat the Antichrist[21]. This supports the general thought that Jesus is currently awaiting the end of time when he will “descend to the earth and fight against the Antichrist, championing the cause of Islam” and “point to the primacy of Muhammad” before dying a natural death[22]. Muslims see Jesus as a precursor to Muhammad and believe that Jesus predicted Muhammad’s coming in the canonical Gospel of John.

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The Quran in Legos

Mezba commented on a post I had written and had included a link to his blog, “Teaching Kids the Holy Quran.” After I looked at his blog I knew I wanted to post a link. He creatively uses Legos to teach the Quran.

Here is a link to Surat Maryam, which tells of the birth of the Messiah. Many Christians don’t realize that Muslims also believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. This is a good example of commonality between us. The second part of his Lego rendition of this Surah (chapter) of the Quran is a good example of one of our differences.

Let’s enthusiastically embrace our commonalities and never be afraid to make clear our differences. We don’t have to be offended when people make plain their disagreements with us, especially since we already knew we didn’t agree anyway!

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On youtube I noticed a song listing the 66 books of the Bible. Then I searched to see if there was something similar for the 114 Surahs of the Qur’an. For those of you who would like to learn them in order, here you go:

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Everyday Muslims pray that Allah would guide them on the straight path. Verse 6 of the opening Surah of the Qur’an says:

“Guide us to the straight path”

This is a good prayer. I was thinking about it today when I read Isaiah 35:

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there (verses 8-9).

The highway is a highway of holiness. There are two key things about it: 1) You must be clean in order to be on it and 2) It is really safe, for even fools will not stray from it and nothing dangerous will be found on it.

Yes, God, guide me to the straight path.

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I Also Hate This

I am not afraid to admit that I don’t believe the Qur’an is the Word of God. If I did I would be a Muslim. However, that doesn’t make me any less incensed when I see things like “International Burn a Koran Day” hosted by a church in Florida. This can’t get much further from loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

*I intentionally did not link to the facebook page because I don’t want you to go see it. Same with the church’s website.

Related Posts:
I Hate This
I Hate This Too
Our Greatest Enemy

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Here is a short video with Governor David Beasley sharing his experience of finding common ground with a Muslim friend from Yemen. Unbeknownst to him, Jesus is in the Qur’an. I really appreciate his humility by confessing that he didn’t know something and by learning about Islam from a Muslim.

HT: Carl Medearis

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