CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 25, 2016 — Comparisons between Christianity and Islam inevitably invite comparisons between the Bible and the Quran. And while Muslims claim that the Crusades are similar to Islamic jihad, there is no resemblance between the two.
In an attempt to prove otherwise, two young men from Holland conducted an experiment in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris to demonstrate “how ready people were to generalize (about) Islam without being critical of their own beliefs.”
To prove their point, the men bought a Bible and put a different cover on it to make it appear to be the Quran. Then they conducted videotaped man-on-the-street interviews, having people read Biblical passages as if they were reading from the Quran with the idea of exposing the “hypocrisy” of Christians in their opinions of Muslims.
It was a clever idea, but it didn’t work. Here are some reasons why.
Both books contain two sections. The Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments, while the Quran covers the life of the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca and Medina.
The Bible, however, is a chronological account of the evolution of Christianity, while the Quran mixes the timeline between Mecca and Medina without differentiating them. The Bible shows Christianity evolving into Christ’s enlightened “fulfillment of the law”; the Quran shows nothing similar. Islam remains the same today as it was in the seventh century while Christianity is constantly re-evaluating itself and changing.
It is virtually impossible to understand the Quran without knowing the context of the manuscript and its time frame.
Second, the Bible was written by multiple writers. The Quran, on the other hand, is entirely about the life of a single author, Muhammad.
As any avid reader knows all too well, different writers have different styles, methods of description, use of prose and terminology and any number of other variables that define their work. The Bible contains 66 books by 40 authors. The Old Testament has 39 books, and the New Testament has 27.
The Quran, on the other hand, is made up of 114 chapters, or surahs, which are arranged from the longest to the shortest rather than chronologically. The Mecca Quran, which was written first, does, as so many Muslims repeatedly remind us, refer to tolerance, tranquility, spirituality and inner cleansing. Of the 114 chapters, 86 of them came from Mecca or roughly two thirds. The remaining 28 surahs make up the Medina Quran, which was composed when Muhammad became a warrior. These are the violent chapters that are so often quoted by critics of Islam.
Of interest, however, is that, while Christianity evolved from a somewhat brutal philosophy to one of peace through the life and examples of Jesus Christ, Islam went in the opposite direction, being tolerant and spiritual at its inception and becoming an extremist movement at the end.
It was during the final 10 years of Muhammad’s life, following the Hijrah (Islamic migration to Medina) that “abrogation” became a key element of Muhammad’s teachings. There is no Biblical equivalency to the concept of abrogation.
In the simplest terms, if Muhammad needed to alter an aspect of his religious philosophy from his earliest teaching, he would replace the former idea with a new “revelation” which, in essence, overruled the previous lesson(s). In other words, the prophet frequently had “revelations of convenience” to justify his purposes and needs.
On another point, while both books are “guides” about how to live your life, the Bible is a religious manuscript while the Quran defines a complete way of life. The difference is huge.
There is no separation of church and state in Islam. The law is religious law, or Shariah, and the Quran details how every Muslim should live. Thus, whatever the Quran says is interpreted by Islam’s most faithful adherents as the method which is required to be “perfect” Muslims. Unfortunately, since Islam has not yet experienced an enlightenment, it remains in the seventh century, and those “abrogated” verses, which are the Koran’s most violent, tell a “true believer” precisely what to do.
Again, there is no such comparison or equivalent in the Bible and, in the West, religion and government are separate entities.
Of course, there are other aspects to this argument, but the few listed above are enough to demonstrate that comparisons between the Bible and the Quran are not valid. In fact, a more accurate evaluation would be to analyze the Bible versus the Quran, Hadith and Sira, all of which are essential to understanding Islam to its fullest.
Once again, someone has appealed to the lowest common denominator by attempting to make something black and white when it will always be gray.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News
Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod