Prayer Time

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Question: As an American Christian, I am for peace and my prayers go against the war... I am currently reading your holy book. Any advice? Any hints I should take into account? Thank you. David


Asnswer: We really hope that the anti-war movement in US would grow. This is because I am honestly afraid; any efforts here would not be fruitful, without Americans protesting against the war.


Sir, you are saying that you are currently reading the Quran. I just wanted you to take into consideration that it is different than the Bible… In fact, we usually smile when people refer to it saying "your Bible"…The Quran is not a Bible!


The Quran is not like the bible in the sense that it is not narrated by apostles. We Muslims believe it is a book, revealed from God to Prophet Muhammad, through Angel Gabriel.


Yet, it was revealed over a number of years, addressing many events during the time of the prophet (peace be upon him). This is as well as general issues of belief and monotheism, deism, manners and social arrangements. This is in addition to economics and inter-faith relations, along with war, political relations and accords.


You will come across verses calling upon Muslims to fight non-Muslims. You need to know that these are related to certain political events. They must be put into context and they are not to be viewed as general principles. They cannot either be understood in isolation as if they were general rules.


Such case was for example, when there was a breach of an agreement, between Prophet Muhammad and some non-Muslim tribes. They were then supported by other Jewish tribes to break the oath and fight Muhammad. Here, the Quran directed him to fight back and enforce them to abide by the agreement's articles. This can be something that is comparable with measures of International Law, nowadays!


Really, you cannot read the Quran solely, without knowing the history of early Islam. Otherwise, God could have just sent a book from heaven, for people to read and saved Muhammad the effort and time! Hence, the span of time, along with the historical factor is crucial in understanding and interpreting the Holy Book of Muslims.


The point was that it relates to human nature, conflicts, daily real politic and human failures and successes. It is a representation of human dilemmas, events, social

issues and relations… It shows the path to good life, justice and reminds us of the Hereafter.


That's why prophet-hood was necessary. Prophets, however, are humans. They are not Gods or half Gods! In order to give an example of how a moral life should be lead, Prophet Muhammad’s life and his narrations should be read. This is along with the Quran too.


For examples, Muslims pray according to the way Prophet Muhammad used to pray. Generation after another, it was the very same way of praying – in each minute detail. In the Quran, you will not find any mentioning of praying exactly 5 times a day, or even how to perform it. You will only find reminders to pray.


That's why the life of Muhammad and the course of events, related to the revelation of the text, are of ultimate importance to understand, apply and explain the Quran. This means that history is important too, as well as



Human experience is highly recognized as the will of God, or as the continuous effort to apply transcendental guidance to practical daily situations. I think that the issue is that you should not be reading the Quran with a Christian mind. You should not expect similar perspective towards life and existence, as that of Christianity.


Remember that Islam is a religion for real life. It is for the human society, with both its good and evil sides. It is realistic, but does not get down to mere real-politics. Morality is always present… This is as well as the ideal conception that we try to implement and reach.


The key to understanding Islam is to start by understanding how the concept of Godis also a bit different. We Muslims do not believe in the original sin, as a destiny for us… all of us!


In fact, we believe in an opposing concept of original innocence… The Quran put it firmly that Adam did commit a sin. He then prayed for forgiveness and Allah forgave him… Full stop!


All messengers were human prophets and Allah is not incarnated and cannot be… can never be! It is stated in the Quran that nothing is comparable to Him, He being the Light of heavens and earth... Surah 112 clearly states:


(Say: He is Allah, the One and Only. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him).


This is the real starting point to understand Islam; revelation, history and human condition.


Let me thank you Sir… You know, while I am writing - I myself – am reflecting and re-discovering many aspects. It is only through questioning from the outside, that one might see the inside better


I hope that was not too long for you… and please do not hesitate to contact us for any question on your mind.


Keep well and salaam.



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