Should Christians Read the Qur'an?

Christianity Today recently asked me, "Should Christians Read the Qur'an?" Here is my response:


My earliest, most precious memories revolve around my family and the Qur'an. Every day, head covered, right index finger moving leftward across Arabic text, my mother recited the Islamic scriptures to me, halting for me to recite it back to her.

In each of the five daily prayers, my father recited aloud portions of the Qur'an. His cadence was spellbinding. By age 5, I had finished reciting the entire Qur'an in Arabic and memorized its final seven chapters.

My experience was not unusual. The Qur'an is the linchpin of the Islamic worldview—the basis of Muhammad's prophetic claims, the foundation of Shari'a law, and the common denominator among all Muslims. It is the most frequently recited book in the world, and for Muslims, it is the closest thing to the Word made flesh.

So it is with due gravity that whenever Christians ask me whether they should read the Qur'an, I answer with an emphatic "no."

I have two reasons. First, the Qur'an was not designed to be read like a book. When Muhammad was alive, there was no such thing as a written book in Arabic. What the early Muslims knew as "Qur'an" were short liturgical recitations. After Muhammad died, all these recitations were compiled into a book we call "the Qur'an." This explains why many who try to read the Qur'an walk away confused and frustrated. It was not designed to be read like the Bible.

This leads to my second point: The Qur'an comprises only a small part of a Muslim's worldview. Far from "sola scriptura," the Islamic way of life mostly comes from traditions, called "hadith." How many times to pray, rules for ceremonial washing and rituals, details on fasting and commerce laws… almost everything comes from hadith. Some hadith even render Quranic verses "abrogated," or repealed, depending on which imam interprets them. Thus, a complex system of time-honored traditions, authoritative leaders, and theological branches interact with the Qur'an to form Islam.

As Muslims, we did not learn Islam directly through the Qur'an. We absorbed it by being immersed among other Muslims. Christians who wish to reach their Muslim neighbors should do the same thing: be with Muslims. See the world through their eyes. The time spent frustrated in the theological labyrinths of the Qur'an would be much better invested in living life with Muslims. Play together, fast together, laugh together, live together.

One college student followed that advice and befriended a young, zealous Muslim before knowing anything about the Qur'an. It is was through his friendship that I accepted the Lord Jesus.

Love your Muslim neighbors as yourself. When you do, and when they see you loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will open the door to God-honoring, life-changing dialogue. That is more valuable than anything you can learn by reading the Qur'an.


See the original article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/should-christians-read-quran.html

22 comments:

  1. ABSOLUTELY NOT - It is and would be a waste of God's investment and goes against the apostolic teaching Galatians 1:6-10.

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    1. The passage in Galatians is against turning to other beliefs. It is not about being ill informed of other views. Even Paul at Areopagus used knowledge of those he spoke to to establish a rapport with them to be able to speak with them. (Acts 17). I have found in comparing other views that I have come to appreciate the uniqueness of Christ and his message even more. The passage speaks of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. One could not even understand what they were about without reading about them and in reading about them one would understand the biblical passage much more in seeing their views versus what Paul was espousing. Of course, there is a wisdom in knowing how far to explore from home in a manner of speaking or one could become lost. Knightday1973

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  3. can i ask doubt . I my self a christian . I have a muslim friend who used to argue about bible and Jesus . He pointed out me a bible verse that have been edited in Rsv version . The verse is "1 john 5 -7" . Can you please provide me with a proper answer . The answer is for me . :-) GOD BLESS YOU AND WILL PRAY FOR YOU ..

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  4. The manuscripts were all kept in spite of small differences. These differences do not compromise the meaning of the bible as a whole. The bible claims to be inspired and not absolutely perfect to the letter. The thrust of the NT is that Jesus was crucified, died, and rose again. Islam denies this. The Quran had different copies and many were burned to make one unified copy. Christendom chose to keep all the copies and therefore this is the reason for slight differences. It is not denied that a part of the verse was added in the 16th century probably as a footnote. It doesn't change much in the theology of the NT when compared to the rest. Abraham said that God would provide a sacrifice. Jesus is the lamb of God - the ultimate sacrifice. The meaning of this is central to the NT. Jesus, an Advocate for our sins and dying for our sins - I have found no equal in any other 'worldview'. I would even says this is an 'other worldly' view. Note that Jesus is the Word of God- not really the text itself The text reflects this. Hope this helps. Steve

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  5. Well, this message comes at a very interesting time for me. You see, I live in a community where at least 40% of families are Muslims. I have started befriending my Muslim neighbours and have a longing to share the message of the gospel with them. In fact, I shared the gospel with a devout Muslim woman. She, of course, shared her own Muslim faith with conviction so in my effort to sound somewhat credible, I bought a Qu'ran to start "educating" myself on that religion. Yet even before opening it, I felt completely overwhelmed because I know that it will be faith that will save these souls in the end. I've wept, I've pleaded for God to show me how to share my faith in an effective way. I am so encouraged by your testimony, Nabeel. For me, it has been my "push" to keep going. God bless you and I ask that you pray for me as I reach out to my Muslim friends.

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  6. Its funny, if you guys would read Nabeel Queshi's book Seeking Allah , finding Jesus... there are a great many answers in that to most of these comments. I actually had to read the Quran in college. It did not help me really to understand Islam at all . Now I too suddenly find myself with a very good even best friend though she is online that is a Muslim and I am a Christian. I don't know what is going to happen but I know God's will will unfold. Honestly, reading that book gave me a greater understanding of the entire picture. Of course I want to run to this guy, Nabeel and say tell me tell me, now what do I do? But instead, I am making sure I love my new friend and let Jesus take care of the rest. He is God you know! As much as I love my friend, I know He loves her more. Seriously... if you have not read the book Seeking Allah , finding Jesus and you are interacting with Muslims, ... even if you are not ha ha!... you should get a copy... you won't be disappointed lol.

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  7. Hi Nabeel. Been so blessed by your life,testimony and ministry. I praise God for you and may His name continue to be glorified through you. I see in your blog that you mention fasting together. As you do not recommend a christian to read the Qur'an,what are your thoughts about Christians going to mosque and fasting alongside Muslims during the month of Ramadaan, in an effort to build relationship with them and so share the truth of Jesus with them. Given Islam's roots in pagan worship would not the very act of attending mosque and honoring the tradition of the fast be a form of compromise...as one wld in essence be paying homage to a false god and so provide a legal doorway for satan to wreak havoc in your life? Thanku so much.Looking forward to your reply.

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    1. Hi, I'm a Muslim who left Christianity 11 years ago. i don't believe in debating, in a debate two people are not listening to each other but rather simply trying to win. I personally feel that then is a waste of time as neither party can benefit from the exchange. A friend told me the same thing about the origins of Islamic worship immediately after I became Muslim. I chose to do more research rather than take their word for it. Online I found everything those against Islam have said about but also found what Muslims say about it. Obviously I was convinced by the explanations from the Muslims. Before making a decision, don't only read the non-Muslim sources, but Muslim sources too. After that you can make a decision, no matter what that is.

      as for not reading the Quraan, The Muslims also do advice fellow Muslims that they shouldn't read other scripture until they have a clear understanding of the Quraan and Islam and then they are free to read other scriptures. If you feel confident in what you know about your Faith, what would stop you from reading the Quraan. It reminds me of a story at the time of the Prophet of a man who was also told not to listen to the Prophet recite the Quraan, as it would corrupt him. At first he listened to them and ran in the other direction when he saw Muhammad, but then he said to himself he isn't so easily corrupted as he was intelligent (I'm paraphrasing). He went to Muhammad and after listening, became a Muslim. The Quraan, even in the English language is powerful for a heart approaching it with sincere intention, that I believe is the real reason the advice not to read the Quraan is given. Would the same advice be given for another scripture like the Vedas?

      Thanks for hearing me out (or rather reading, :) )

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    2. sorry, also forgot to mention, as for what Nabeel says that the Quraan was never meant to be read like a book like the bible, the Quraan itself disagrees. It calls itself a book, and it was always meant to be a book. The second chapter of the Quraan begins, "Alif Lam Meem, This is the Book about which there is no doubt".

      if you want to know about Islam, you HAVE to read the Quraan, if all you want to do is minister you Muslims, you don't have to, and thus minister to Muslims who don't know about Islam

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  8. First there was law (the fruit of the tree that grows in the middle of the garden, you shall not eat). Then there was lawlessness. Then there was law (the 10 commandments). As before, we could not live up to the law... He who cannot abide by one, can certainly not abide by 10! Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law. What Islam (and every other world religion) does is try to nullify the perfect propitiation that Jesus provides in order to thwart God's purpose of saving! But as Job so aptly declared, "No plan of Yours can be thwarted." I am so sad to know that you have fallen away. No sacrifice for sins is left! This is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, the one unforgivable sin... Denying Jesus Christ as Lord and God and Savior. May heaven help you, my friend. Where there is life, there is hope. Turn while there is time!

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  9. I am learning all about Islam through college courses, by going to the mosque, and hanging out with Muslims. However I feel like even as a Christian, it seems kind of ignorant to not read the Quran in order to learn about Islam. I have read some books about Islam and I watch all of your Biola lectures on Youtube about Islam so I do not feel like I'd be lead astray by reading the Quran. I honestly think if one has a strong foundation for their Christian faith that reading the Quran is not a bad idea but in fact a good idea, and also reading some of their most trust Hadith.

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  10. Why are you afraid that people will come to Islam after reading Quran? As a muslim, I would never say muslims must not read bible. I advice all christians to read your own scripture (Bible) instead of listening to other people. May the God who created you and me guide us.

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  11. Please help people to find an online quran teaching website to
    learn the quran .

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  12. Please help people to find an online quran teaching website to
    learn the Quran .

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  13. The New Testament names two types of people frequently to categorise the tension of the two people groups
    who shared the same land, the Christian translation and the Greeks (or Gentiles). Think of the ‘Greeks’
    as the Palestinians now. Different ancestry, free translation, culture, religion, etc.
    Christian translation services
    english to spanish translation
    spanish translation
    translate english to spanish

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  14. I wonder why you fear about Quran?I have seen many of your lecture and articles.first you sell,once upon a time you were a Muslim then become a Christan? then sell your identity like quarashi that prophet forbidden not to sell your pride......blha blha!but how many days you sell the wrong world? you are full of ignorance with some degree.Sell your story.you will get many agent and wholesale buyer of your articles.Sell yourself not sell your past.wish your life.

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  15. Its indeed important for everyone to Recite the Holy Qura'an not just because you are Muslim because there is solution of each and every problem of Life. statement of purpose architecture

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  16. Nabeel has a point. But it holds for the Bible too. One can know the text inside and out - and yet be devoid of understanding or empathy for their Christian "neighbour". That was true for the religious scholars in Jesus day. It's easy to use Holy books to distance ourselves from real people, and from our responsibility to love.

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  17. The Qur’an (in Anglicized form: Koran ) is certainly the greatest literary work in classical Arabic and for all Muslims stands as the definitive word of God (in Arabic: Allah ) spoken to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. When reading the Qur’an , you should realize that, for all Muslims, the text you are reading is quite literally the voice of God; because the Qur’an is the direct speech of God in Arabic, translation of the work is seen as blasphemy, as an unforgivable tampering with God’s own speech. Nevertheless, the Qur’an has been translated into Turkish and Farsi (the language of Iran) in this century and is recited in these languages in religious services in Turkey and Iran. The Muslim community tolerates this but just barely. For all practical purposes, to be Muslim, then, means almost universally to be able to read and understand classical Arabic, despite what one’s native language is [Ed. a Muslim reader noted that many Muslims do not understand the language, but they must only read or say the words correctly].
    I liked your blog, Take the time to visit the me and say that the change in design and meniu?

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  18. It wasn't until I read the Quran (twice) that I was able to feel the same depth of love and compassion towards Muslims as I might toward my own family. I wanted to pray intercessory prayers for Muslims fleeing Syria but was unable while judgement and fear blocked my heart. So I did read it and now see the refugee crisis more as an Exodus of people God loves. If you intend to pray for the Muslim heart, learn first how earnestly they too are seeking God. and how faithfully God is responding (Nabeel is part of His response to their earnest seeking). He even had to show Nabeel this when He did say "it is not about you." So if you are able to read it, yes do so for God may use it to increase your ministry by transforming you through it.

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