The Language of God: Understanding the Qur’an

The faith of Islam, one of the three great “Abrahamic” religions, as they might be called, is closely akin to the other two, Judaism and Christianity. It is tightly bound to and thoroughly permeated by its holy book, the Qur’an. Strangely, though, despite the historical and contemporary importance of Islam and despite Islam’s kinship with the faith that has dominated Western civilization, neither Islam in general nor the Qur’an in particular is well known in the West. Nor do Westerners typically know very much about the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad. Yet the story of Muhammad is a dramatic one, and Islam, fascinating in its own right, is both sufficiently different from Christianity and sufficiently similar to allow its study to throw intriguing light upon the faith even of non-Muslims who devote themselves to the subject. Much in the way that the study of a second language may enable students to better understand their own, reflection upon Islam, I am convinced, can profit Jews and Christians as well as Muslims.

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