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What is the Qur'an?


CBN.com - The Qur'an is the "scripture " of Islam. Much like the Bible is to the Christian, it represents for the Muslim the very "Word of God" which it is his duty to study and to obey. It was "revealed" to Muhammad over a 23 year period, between c. 610 AD and his death in 632, and the text is said to have been finalized about 651 AD. Written in the Arabic language, the Qur'an is slightly longer than the New Testament, and is divided into 114 "Suras" (or chapters) of very unequal length, and 6239 verses.

The Qur'an represents for the Muslim something quite different from what the Bible is to the Christian. The book claims to have existed on a "tablet" in heaven and "sent down" verse by verse to the Prophet. The Muslim understands this to mean that the Qur'an is a "heavenly book", the very "Speech of God" which existed eternally in heaven before being transcribed in a material book.

Since it is the "Speech of God," Muslims quote the Qur'an extensively in the ritual prayer. They also handle the book with great respect (we must therefore be careful in the way we handle the Bible in the presence of Muslims, e.g. do not put it on the floor.) Muslims pray in Arabic, reasoning that if the Qur'an is the Speech of God, then Arabic must be "the language of heaven".

In witness to Muslims, it is important for the Christian to keep in mind that the Qur'an does not complement the Bible. It does relate many Biblical stories and events (and apocryphal ones as well), and claims to "confirm" the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel which it calls "scripture". However, it also gives the Muslim many false ideas about what the Bible teaches and radically conflicts with Christian faith. Without having read it, many Muslims think they know more about what the Bible really teaches than Christians do.

The Qur'an's misconceptions about the Bible complicate the Christian's witness considerably. Pray for servants of Christ ministering to Muslims; they need supernatural help in the face of such misconceptions and contradictions that they might "proclaim the gospel clearly" (Col. 4:4).
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