The Torah (Taurat) and The Qur'an (Koran), a comparison
Subject : The POWER of Questions!
Posted Date: : 03 Nov 2007, 13:53 (1st posted MySpace)
The Power of Questions
Some Questions? There is one thing that all three of the great monotheistic religions can agree upon. And that is that the Children of Israel rejected and denied Jesus (as). But there the agreement both begins and ends.
The Jews denied him, the Christians believed in him and deified him, and the Muslims coming some 600years later affirmed the truth of his Prophethood.
However, his denial by the Children of Israel should be a source of confusion for both us and the Christians.
That confusion bears of the fact that both of us believe the Children of Israel to be the possessors of the Taurat (Torah), a book full of knowledge which we call "A book that contains an exposition on all things!".
Given this how could they not fail to recognize him? How could they not fail to serve and aid him? And if they did not, as they did not, how could they not fail to recognise that they ran the risk of angering God? (*1 SEE BELOW)
A ClarificationFor clarification I had better add that I am not asking these questions in order to heighten religious tensions, or to demonise a faith. By no means. I ask only to better understand.
Why? Of course their denial of Muhammad (saw), can be understood in the light of their racial arrogance and pride. But such an argument cannot hold for Jesus (as), who was himself a Jew.
At the time of the coming of Jesus (as), there was a resurgence in the faith of the Jews. They eagerly awaited the coming of their foretold King-Liberator. And when it came to pass that a Messenger of God came to them, they failed to recognize him and denied him.
But Why? Why, when they awaited a Messenger from God? Why, when they possessed a Book that was an exposition of all things?
We know from the mission of Jesus (as), and the parables that he articulated to his Jewish audience, that he was sent to a people who had ossified their religion.
For them the religion was all law and no spirit, all about hierarchies of authority and not about the people, all pride and arrogance and no humility, all Jewish superiority and no humanity.
It's Relevance!These attributes could quite easily apply to any and all of the Worlds religions, from Islam as it is practiced today to the Christianity that was an answer to that ossification. And that is what makes these questions pertinent to all faiths.
The POWER of Questions! Part of the answer lies in the Power of Questions to stop such an ossification. For the Torah had answer to all questions, but there was no-one there who would ask the pertinent question!
The HEIFER. (S. Baqara v67 onward) In fact, even whilst Musa (Moses) (as) their foremost Prophet lived, the Children of Israel were apt to only ask impertinant questions regarding the nature of the cow they were commanded to sacrifice.
This is the kernel of the first chapter of the Qur'an (al Baqara- the Heifer).
The command was simple, and the execution for the pious was obvious, so obvious that it was a return to the story of Cain and Abel.
That when you intend a sacrifice for GOD, you give the best you can give and do not withhold your hand, for GOD is the most generous of those who give.
But for the Children of Israel the possessors of knowledge, such a command brought for them only complexity where there should have been both simplicity and piety. And so they questioned and questioned.
The Qur'an: The First Revelation In contrast the revelation of Quran began with a question!
Angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad (saw) in cave Hira, whilst he was sojourned there in contemplation. He embraced and pressed him (saw) and said "Read!" a command! And Muhammad (saw) replied "I cannot read", for he could not read nor write. The angel Gabriel once again pressed him hard and held him and commanded him "read!", and once again Muhammad (saw) said "I cannot read!". Once again this happened, and Muhammad (saw) was gripped so tightly that he relented and said in question "What shall I read?".
A most pertinent question given that there was no book!
And the revelation came in response to that question!
And later Muhammad (saw) said that it was as if the revelation had been written on his heart.
Was he (saw) then reading what Allah t'ala (GOD, Most High) had written on his heart?
Is this part of the enigma of the first revelation, whose second sentence is "Read, for your Lord is most gracious, Who taught by the pen?"
That Allah tala had written with a pen on Muhammad (saw) heart and thus taught him directly?
Or is it in reference to the first written languages to have appeared amongst humanitys long history?
Were the first books...revelations, like the scripture of Abraham (as), now lost?
The Qur'an's first verse The first sentence of the Quran, a vocalisation that we repeat a minimum of 17 times a day, begs a question.
"All praise belongs to Allah the Sustainer/ Provider of the Worlds".
What Worlds? The Worlds of Men, Djinn and Angels? This World and other Worlds in this Universe?
The Qur'an's structure The very structure of the Quran begs questions.
We know that Muhammad (saw) informed us of the ordering of the Quran, which comprises a series of revelations over 23 years.
Every time we read it, the seasoned man of the Seerah is forced to ask the questions of when, where and why.
The Quran is not ordered in chronological order, and there are reasons for that.
One of those reasons is that every verse is a question of when, where and why!
Replete with Questions! At every turn the Quran is a book replete with questions, and it calls itself a book of guidance for the pious!
Not a book of answers, nor a book that claims to be an exposition of all things. Quite unlike the Torah!
However within it is contained a reference or guidance upon all things however brief.
And it is our job to fathom it depths.
Every book requires to be internalised before it can hold meaning for the reader.
The Quran goes further than any other book because it requires indeed demands, by its constant questioning, to be made relevant!
The Living Qur'an It is a living Quran that belongs to us all.
It is for this reason that Muhammad (saw) so ordered it so that when it was eventually written down we would know the beginning from the end. So that it would remain for as long as possible a living Quran!
And Muhammad (saw) although he fathomed it better than all of us combined could do so, left much of it unexplained. And left it for us to seek it's explanation.
May be that was part his reason for forbiding us to ask too many questions. A means of keep the Qur'an both living and relevant. Tafseer al-Qur'an.. the Science of seeking to Understand the Qur'an And it is for this reason that throughout every age the Muslims have sought to understand the Quran in the light of their experiences.
But today the Muslims see the only fluidity in the religion as being with regards to Fiqh (jurispudence and the law) and tend to forget the mother of all sciences, Tafsir al-Quran.
The understanding and the making relevant of the Quran is the most important of all Religious Sciences, that requires an understanding both of language and most importantly the Seerah of our Prophet Muhammad (saw).
May Allah t'ala reward him exceptionally, generously and without measure!
I could go on about the miracles of the Quran, but this blog has gone on long enough!
*1: In fact it is an article of faith expounded in the Quran that Muslims are to believe in all of the Prophets (as). From Adam to Noah to Abraham to all of the Prophets sent to the Children of Israel, including Moses, David and Jesus (as), Muslims believe in them all. And furthermore Muslims believe in all of the books sent down to Mankind, including the scriptures given to Abraham, the Torah to Moses, the Psalms given to David and the Gospel (which we call Injeel) given to Jesus. The Muslims go even further than that and believe that the Torah contained an exposition upon all things!
The Quran testifies that they knew Muhammad (saw) better than their own sons. That he (saw) was mentioned in detail in their books.