Term Paper: Koran - Middle East History Islam, Judaism

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¶ … Koran - Middle East History

ISLAM, JUDAISM, and CHRISTIANITY.

The Koran's message on page 14 (2:41) seems to be saying to the "Children of Israel" - if you stay true to your beliefs and I stay true to mine we will co-exist. "Seems" is the operative word here. But going forward, the Koran says "Have faith in My revelations, which confirm your Scriptures." Around 2:47 Allah is understood to say that the Muslims "...delivered you from Pharaoh's people, who had oppressed you cruelly, slaying your sons and sparing only your daughters." The Muslims "parted the sea for you...and drowned Pharaoh's men before your very eyes."

This sets up a situation where clearly, taking these remarks literally, the Koran is saying the Jews owe Islam a lot for their survival at a time when they were struggling. Moving on to include Christians, and Jews, on page 15 (2:62), the Koran reads: "Believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabaeans - whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does what is right - shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or to regret." And so the reader in 2008 tries to digest what the Koran is relating, and digs further, finding (2:12) this: "They declare: 'none shall enter Paradise but Jews and Christians." Those, the Koran claims, are "wishful fancies" for which there is no proof. And further on page 21 the Jews claim "the Christians are misguided" and the Christians claim it's the Jews who are misguided. "Yet they both read the Scriptures," which is one of the most poignant passages in this book.

Indeed, both the Jews and Christians read the Old Testament, although it is the Christians who read and believe in the New Testament because Christians believe that Christ was sent from God as the Son of God, to save people from their own sins by dying in the Cross. But the Jews believe only that Christ was a prophet, so there will always be that schism between the two faiths. The Koran goes on, "God will on the Day of Resurrection judge their disputes."

WOMEN, MARRIAGE, DIVORCE and POLYGAMY.

Women that Muslim cannot marry include one's mother, one's daughter, sister, "paternal and maternal aunts," nieces, the mothers of one's wife, step-daughters "and the wives of your own begotten sons." Taking two sisters as wives is also against Islam (p. 63) (4:20-4:30), but if a man cannot afford to marry a "free believing woman, let him marry a slave-girl who is a believer..." So it is okay to own slaves and to marry slaves, as long as one has the permission of the slave's master, and providing that they are virgins. One assumes that is what the Koran means by saying "...providing they are honourable and chaste and have not entertained other men."

On page 64 (4:34) it is clear that men are supposed to be in control; "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other." Further, if you are a good woman you will be "obedient" to men. In marriage if a woman is not obedient, men are authorized to "admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them." Any Muslim man in 2008 who reads that and uses it as justification for abusing his wife would be considered cruel and brutally out of touch with the modern world; and yet, millions of males in the Islamic world believe everything that is said in the Koran, just as millions of Christian males no doubt believe in the literal translation of the Holy Bible.

On divorce, the Koran (p. 390) (60:10) suggests that if a woman one marries is "unbelieving" it's okay to divorce her. And how many wives did the Koran say were okay to keep for a Muslim man? If a man cannot treat an orphan fairly, (p. 60) (4:3) then he may marry "other women who seem good...two, three, or four of them." Don't marry more than you can care for, the book warns: "This will make it easier for you to avoid injustice."

SUICIDE:

On page 64 (4:34) the message from Muhammad is "Do not kill yourselves." How much more clearly can that be stated? Don't commit suicide, plain and simple. But the Islamic terrorists certainly don't accept that part of the Koran as valid, since in many cases their main weapon is through suicide bombing. Bin Laden and other notorious terrorists believe that by conducting a jihad (including blowing themselves up with a bomb strapped around the body or hijacking a plane and crashing into buildings) that includes suicide, they are acting according to the laws of Islam as laid down by Muhammad. "God is merciful to you, but he that does that through wickedness and injustice shall be burned in fire."

How ironic that the Koran spells out that killing one's self and doing it through wickedness will result in severe punishment, but the bin Laden believers are thinking that by killing innocent people through a suicide attack they will be sent to paradise where beautiful women await them in lovely gardens. The hijackers on September 11, 2001, left behind notes that indicated they believed beautiful women waited for them in paradise.

Perhaps people like bin Laden are using the Koran's passage on page 239 (22:55) to justify their evil suicide attacks. "Those that have embraced the true faith and done good works shall enter the garden of delight," the Koran reads. In the mind of a pathologically violent young radical Muslim, who has been propagandized by bin Laden lieutenants, he believes that "good works" means killing Americans or British ("infidels").

Another passage that could conceivably be twisted around to become a justification for suicide killings is on page 57 (3:169). "Never think that shoes who were slain in the cause of God are dead. They are alive, and well provided for by their Lord." Blowing one's self up in "the cause of God" could possibly by interpreted by a terrorist as meaning that eternal life will follow you if you just find you way into a place where there are Jews or Americans or British, and pull the trigger on your home-made bomb strapped around your middle. It seems every day there is another suicide bomber in the news. In the Los Angeles Times (www.latime.com) on Friday, march 7, a story titled "Coordinated Baghdad bombs kill 55" reports on a "carefully orchestrated suicide bombing Thursday in a crowded shopping district" killed "at least 55 civilians and security officials" and caused injuries to another 131 people.

The bomb caused shrapnel wounds and severe burns to "women and children enjoying an evening out" in Baghdad. The first bomb went off in a dumpster, and a crowd of people moved over to that area to see what had happened. It was at that point that a "suicide bomber wearing an explosives-packed belt beneath a leather jacket" detonated the second bomb

An article in the MSNBC resource, Encarta, alludes to the finding of a videotape in Afghanistan well after the September 11 attacks; in that tape, bin Laden is seen explaining to another Muslim that the terrorist attacks on the U.S. was to be a "martyrdom operation." The hijackers viewed death "as a goal, as if martyrdom were a form of worship to God" and in other documents found in the luggage of Mohammed Atta after the attacks, there was an instructional guide that urged the hijackers to "seek death" and even to "crave it."

Some scholars are reporting that the idea of martyrdom "departs from traditional Islamic beliefs," Encarta writers explain; generally, Islamic beliefs "underscore the sanctity of life" and support martyrdom "only in extreme circumstances, when the survival of a community is at stake." In a poll of Islamic attitudes conducted by the Gallup Organization in February 2002, "a significant minority" of respondents found the September 11 attacks "morally justifiable."

It could also be that terrorists like bin Laden and his ilk believe 3:162 (page 56) is their justification for suicide attacks, when Allah says through Muhammad, "If you should die or be slain in the cause of God, His forgiveness and his mercy would surely be better than all the riches they amass." Moreover, if you should die or be slain in the cause of God, "before God shall you all be gathered."

ALCOHOL:

In his translation of the Koran, Dawood on page 32 (2:219) points out that Allah said to Muhammad, when "...They ask you about drinking and gambling" the response should be that there is "great harm" in both of those activities. And while Allah said there is "some benefit" for men (those benefits are not explained), it is stated that there is "far greater harm" than any benefit. One wonders if Allah actually was aware that a glass of wine or two per day is good for the heart. Indeed, the Mayo Clinic reports that "various studies have indicated that moderate amounts" of various types of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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