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Category: Monticello College Comments: 4

A Beginner’s Review of the Qur’an, Part Three: The Best Defense

This is part three of a three-part series.
Read Part I Here
Read Part II Here

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I asked my good friend, follower of Jesus, and Muslim expert, Mark Siljander, to weigh in on this subject. Here is his reply:

“I would humbly suggest your students read A Deadly Misunderstanding. Many of their questions will be answered and much more.
I also recommend they read this article by Karen Armstrong that responds to some of the violent Qur’anic verses.
Also one must keep in mind that the Qur’an was written during a time of constant battles against the new Muslims, so several passages indeed deal with warfare.
The radicals use verses like 4:89 & 2:191 that say: ‘slay [enemies] wherever you find them!’ – against the West and numerous verses that speak of Jihad and promises to martyrs.
However, it is more prudent to undermine the extremist interpretation with the historical context and correct meanings of key words.
For example, these two verses above refer to the people of the Quraishi tribe who persecuted the Muslims wherever they found them and hence, gave permission to the early Muslim community to fight back.
Even better, we should emphasize the verse just after (4:90), ‘But, if they depart from you, and make not war against you and offer you peace, then God alloweth you no occasion against them.” And the verse just before (2:190) that says “but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.”
What about ‘Jihad’? Actually, it is an Aramaic word that means internal ‘struggle’ NOT external ‘holy war.’
And the 72 virgins? Sorry for the wasted deaths, but the word in the Qur’an is also Aramaic that actually means ‘pure (white) grapes’ and just for the record, there is no ’72’ mentioned anywhere.
Perhaps we should encourage others to focus on verses in the Qur’an such as, ‘Thus, if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm them (4:90) but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.’
‘The only permissible war is one of self-defense. Muslims may not begin hostilities (2:190).’
I am not an apologist for Islam or the Qur’an, but it behooves us all to encourage a nonviolent interpretation, embracing the arguments Christian scholars use for the over 1,000 violent verses in the Bible:

  • Historically contextual & hence not meant for today
  • Metaphorical
  • Misunderstandings of the rabbinical and Eastern traditions, parables, axioms, etc.
  • Mistranslations of the original language

Blessings dear Friend;
Mark Siljander”

I am not denying that there is a real threat from adherents of a radical interpretation of the Qu’ran.
I am not saying that the world does not have terrorist elements in it, because is certainly does.
I am saying that “an eye for an eye” will make the world blind. Careful study of original sources and documents is vital to understanding others, and certainly should be engaged in before we accuse persons of other faiths of violent beliefs or intentions.
If the threat is large, perhaps the best defensive posture we could take is to become the best followers of Jesus we can. 
Who can judge the intent of a person’s heart? How do we really know what others intend to do or not do?
Trust in God the scriptures say. At the very least, we should thoroughly and personally read the scripture and history of a people before we judge them.
And even before we do that, it might be a good idea to read our own scripture first.

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Comments (4)

  • Orso

    This is evil. You’re source is obviously pro-islam, and anti-Christian. Unsubscribe.

    December 20, 2017 at 1:49 am
    • Shanon Brooks

      No offense Orso, but that may be the most ignorant comment I have ever seen. You don’t know Mark Siljander and clearly you don’t know me.
      Mark is not a Christian but is a strong “follower of Jesus.” I will give you a chance for dialog and understanding, are you sure you want to unsubscribe or do you want to explore this more and come to a better understanding? That’s what I would prefer.

      December 20, 2017 at 8:47 am
  • John D

    Thank you for these articles, I appreciate what you have been doing all these years. The search for the truth, I have found, is a lonely road. I’ve lost many friends along the way that simply won’t ever consider questioning their own beliefs. God forbid they find their opinion may be incorrect.
    While I pride myself on searching for truth, I can’t know everything, and in the case of Islam I have to admit to making assumptions based on the statements from sources I thought I could trust. I’ve simply not taken the time to research the subject as I’ve busied myself for years on other subjects.
    It can be a tiring thing searching for the truth with so many opinions and ideologies twisting things to fit their views. In any case, keep the great articles coming.
    Thank You,

    December 20, 2017 at 9:21 am
    • Shanon Brooks

      Thanks John. Words of wisdom.

      December 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm

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