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"
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