Quran much more than a holy book to Muslims
A Muslim in Bangladesh holds a Quran during a recent protest against the government.
April 1st, 2011
04:50 PM ET

Quran much more than a holy book to Muslims

Two weeks ago, controversial pastor Terry Jones presided over what he called a trial of the Quran.

The holy book of Islam was "found guilty" by members of Jones' tiny church in Florida and burned, according to a release posted on the church's website.

On Friday, 12 people, including eight workers for the United Nations, were killed in the Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, when people protesting the burning of that Quran attacked a U.N. office.

Jones likely knew that burning the Quran would prompt protests when Muslims learned of the actions of his church, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville. He canceled plans to burn a Quran last year, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks after being lobbied by President Obama, Gen. David Petraeus and others. Petraeus said American service members in Afghanistan would be increasingly in danger if Jones proceeded with his plan.

On March 20, the parishioners at Dove burned a single copy of the Quran, thus "attacking the foundations of Islam itself," says one Muslim scholar.

"Symbolically and literally this is the most sacred reminder of God on Earth for a Muslim," said Akbar Ahmed, the chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington. " More than a mosque ... more than any other symbol it is the Quran that symbolizes the word of God for a Muslim."

But he decried the violent reaction to the burning. He said that Muslims need to understand that we are living in a world that includes atheists and people of faith who have different ideas of how to treat any holy book.

"Therefore Muslims need to respond to acts like (Quran burning) by trying to explain why they are so sensitive, by trying to reach out and trying to explain what Islam is, and not to react in anger and promote any hint of violence."

Omid Safi agrees.

"Above any scripture, what is sacred and holy is the human being," said Safi, a religion professor at the University of North Carolina and the author of "Memories of Muhammad". "The death of a person because of protesting (the desecration of) religious symbols is to misunderstand the ultimate sanctity of life."

Safi pointed out that people in these discussions compare one holy book to another, but the Quran is more analogous to Christ, so it would be like someone burning Jesus.

The reason for that is that Christ was the very being of the word of God, which has come to live among us and the Quran in the same way embodies the word of Allah, he said.

That is why Muslims hold the Quran in such high esteem. In their homes the book is often wrapped in satin and put it in a place of respect, usually high above all other books.

Some of those who don't live in the United States, where burning a holy book is considered free speech, have a hard time understanding that concept.

"It is the right of the pastor to do this, but to Muslims it is violating their religious identity and their faith," said Ahmed who is also the author of "Journey into America." "It's important to point out that in many Muslim countries it's in the constitution that you cannot blaspheme against the Prophet or desecrate the Quran."

Safi called Jones' actions hate speech intended to divide humanity.

"I'd rather focus my faith and work to bring it together," he said.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Islam • Islamic law • Muslim • Quran

soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. DC

    It is not Jewish weath that controls the United States, the people of the U.S don't like the Jews anymore than you do. It is the Saudi money that enslaves my country. Stop the oil flow to the U.S, and you will drive Satan out of the Saudi palace.

    April 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  2. abid

    This event is aimed at provoking muslims worldwide, asking for thier anger to react and again blame ISLAM and Muslims to be extremists. Some may dislike my arguments but this is inhuman to bunr a holy book when you know that it is deeply respected by MUSLIMS. This is actually very simple, people are playing with our sentiments in proving thier own actions as correct. Attacks on innocent people by ISRAEL have no justification. Same goes for attacks on Afghanistan/ Iraq/ Pakistan. These poeople create such events to justfiy thier actions of cruelty. US needs to stop now its bloody chase for OIL/ Wealth which is taking lives of millions.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:54 am |
    • DC

      Islam. listen to me. We in the United States know our leaders are corrupted with Oil money. But it comes from the backside of Saudi princesses. It is this unholy union between Saudi money and greedy America that oppresses the middle-east. Stop the oil, and you cut the head off the surpeant.

      April 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  3. mohammed

    من خلال الله، والنساء هن من يقدمن الحياة للخليقة كلها، كبيرها وصغيرها من الأرض. الشيطان يوسوس بغيرة في آذان الرجال مسلم أن تطغى عليهم ، لا تسمح لهم بالسفر خارج دون رقيب أو يعرفوا أنهم أقرب إلى الله مما كنت.

    إلا من خلال يسوع، يمكن للمرأة في الإسلام أن يكون حرا. انه قادم لك، وتأخذ بيده عند ظهوره ويكون حرا في الحياة والموت.


    Through God, women are the life givers to every creature, large and small of the Earth. Satan jealously whispers in the ears of Muslim men to oppress them, do not let them travel outside unsupervised or they will know they are closer to Allah than you.
    Only through Jesus, can the women of Islam be free. He is coming for you, take his hand when it appears and be free in life and death.

    April 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  4. David

    Islam will never get a fair shake here in the U.S. It is very sad to say this.

    Islam is a wonderful religion. There are so many similarities between the two religions as many people have pointed out. But what really needs to be done, is to look at Islam on its own merits, and I don't mean pointing to particular passages to show that Islam is this or Islam is that.

    The overall message of the Qu'ran is peace, love and justice. One can only understand that by reading the entire book and evaluating it in the context in which it was written and the overall purpose of its message. Inshallah, we will all someday use the brain God gave us and stop this nonsensical tedious line by line comparison and embrace the overall message of the Bible and the Qu'ran.

    April 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  5. Ali

    Look at our faces; the moment you stop purchasing our oil, you stop paying the tax that keeps you alive. Soon we will be in your livingrooms.

    April 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  6. DC

    The picture above is to the world, the faces of evil.

    April 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Additionally, it is necessary to differentiate between Islam and the politics of Muslims. Islam is a way of life that, naturally, includes politics and governance. However, political positions—even if they are adopted based on certain Islamic values—are not necessarily part of ‘Islam,’ and would not require every Muslim to embrace it. When it comes to women, there is a subtle but very strong link between many of the fatwas that demean women, and certain political agendas. 


    April 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • DC

      Satan hates all people, and vows to take as many as he can to hell with him on the last day. So he whispers in the Muslim man’s ears to beat and oppress the woman. She is the life giver of to all creatures large and small, with Lord God. Muslim’s listen to this jealous whisper that Satan puts in their ears, and obeys.

      April 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  8. Muneef

    The message of God to Abraham that Abraham named as 'Submission' being the Religion God wanted for us to hold to as per guidance of the scriptures inspired and revealed amongst their best of men (Prophets&Messengers of God)...kindly read the verses that explains it all and as a guidance as how it should the brotherhood between the people of the book as all be considered believers to what these verses come with;
    Honoring Previous Scripture
    [5:44] We have sent down the Torah, containing guidance and light. Ruling in accordance with it were the Jewish prophets, as well as the rabbis and the priests, as dictated to them in GOD's scripture, and as witnessed by them. Therefore, do not reverence human beings; you shall reverence Me instead. And do not trade away My revelations for a cheap price. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD's revelations are the disbelievers.

    The Law of Equivalence
    [5:45] And we decreed for them in it that: the life for the life, the eye for the eye, the nose for the nose, the ear for the ear, the tooth for the tooth, and an equivalent injury for any injury. If one forfeits what is due to him as a charity, it will atone for his sins. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD's revelations are the unjust.

    *5:44 The Torah is a collection of all the scriptures revealed through all the prophets of Israel prior to Jesus Christ, i.e., today's Old Testament. Nowhere in the Quran do we find that the Torah was given to Moses.

    The Gospel of Jesus: Guidance and Light
    [5:46] Subsequent to them, we sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the previous scripture, the Torah. We gave him the Gospel, containing guidance and light, and confirming the previous scriptures, the Torah, and augmenting its guidance and light, and to enlighten the righteous.

    [5:47] The people of the Gospel shall rule in accordance with GOD's revelations therein. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD's revelations are the wicked.

    Quran: The Ultimate Reference
    [5:48] Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you. For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites. Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you. You shall compete in righteousness. To GOD is your final destiny – all of you – then He will inform you of everything you had disputed.

    [5:49] You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations to you. Do not follow their wishes, and beware lest they divert you from some of GOD's revelations to you. If they turn away, then know that GOD wills to punish them for some of their sins. Indeed, many people are wicked.

    [5:50] Is it the law of the days of ignorance that they seek to uphold? Whose law is better than GOD's for those who have attained certainty?

    This meaning if the people of the book of the faith of Abraham who believed as a monotheist in God only not assigning sons or partners to him and would consider the Quran as scripture confirming previous scriptures that came before it..
    Believing in that even if each remained as with different prophets,laws&rites remaining within the truth of the revelations....
    All that has to be needed is to cross out any belief of a begotten son or trinity that has over turned the Table over the Abrahamic Faith to become scattered as it is between them and among them into many branches...   

    April 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      Seems this is the only way to untangle the mess that we reached in to... This is my Religious Advice to overcome all complications....! I think this is a better way than giving up the whole Holy Religion and Belief in Exchange for a Secular Bible that meant to take them all over with time,while the rest fight in dispute among them selves??


      April 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      Distorting the Word of God
      [2:75] Do you expect them to believe as you do, when some of them used to hear the word of GOD, then distort it, with full understanding thereof, and deliberately?

      Concealing the Word of God
      [2:76] And when they meet the believers, they say, "We believe," but when they get together with each other, they say, "Do not inform (the believers)of the information given to you by GOD, lest you provide them with support for their argument concerning your Lord. Do you not understand?"

      [2:77] Do they not know that GOD knows everything they conceal, and everything they declare?

      [2:78] Among them are gentiles who do not know the scripture, except through hearsay, then assume that they know it.

      [2:79] Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say, "This is what GOD has revealed," seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.
      The Quran: God's Message to the Jews and Christians
      [5:15] O people of the scripture, our messenger has come to you to proclaim for you many things you have concealed in the scripture, and to pardon many other transgressions you have committed. A beacon has come to you from GOD, and a profound scripture.

      [5:16] With it, GOD guides those who seek His approval. He guides them to the paths of peace, leads them out of darkness into the light by His leave, and guides them in a straight path.
      You Shall Not Make Any Distinction Among God's Messengers
      [4:150] Those who disbelieve in GOD and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among GOD and His messengers, and say, "We believe in some and reject some," and wish to follow a path in between;

      [4:151] these are the real disbelievers. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution.

      [4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

      April 14, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  9. annabelle

    The picture with this article looks demonic.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  10. Muneef

    The Prophets&Messengers of God were as his chosen sons to rely his holy message. Not any of those chosen prophets&messengers would want,say or call people to worship him as God rather than God the creator alone...!?
    [96:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
    [96:1] Read, in the name of your Lord, who created.*
    [96:2] He created man from an embryo.
    [96:3] Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted.
    [96:4] Teaches by means of the pen.
    [96:5] He teaches man what he never knew.
    [55:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
    [55:1] The Most Gracious.
    [55:2] Teacher of the Quran.
    [55:3] Creator of the human beings.
    [55:4] He taught them how to distinguish.
    [47:24] Why do they not study the Quran carefully? Do they have locks on their minds?
    [20:114] Most Exalted is GOD, the only true King. Do not rush into uttering the Quran before it is revealed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase my knowledge."
    [20:123] He said, "Go down therefrom, all of you. You are enemies of one another. When guidance comes to you from Me, anyone who follows My guidance will not go astray, nor suffer any misery.
    [20:124] "As for the one who disregards My message, he will have a miserable life, and we resurrect him, on the Day of Resurrection, blind."
    [20:125] He will say, "My Lord, why did you summon me blind, when I used to be a seer?"
    [20:126] He will say, "Because you forgot our revelations when they came to you, you are now forgotten."
    [20:127] We thus requite those who transgress and refuse to believe in the revelations of their Lord. The retribution in the Hereafter is far worse and everlasting.
    [2:170] When they are told, "Follow what GOD has revealed herein," they say, "We follow only what we found our parents doing." What if their parents did not understand, and were not guided?
    [2:171] The example of such disbelievers is that of parrots who repeat what they hear of sounds and calls, without understanding. Deaf, dumb, and blind; they cannot understand.
    [17:71] The day will come when we summon every people, together with their record. As for those who are given a record of righteousness, they will read their record and will not suffer the least injustice.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  11. Naomi

    While we're putting holy books on trial, why not put the bible on trial as well? The God of the Judeo-Christian bible is just as angry, genocidal and tyrannical as Allah, and so are the extremists of both Islam and Christianity. It seems that the world has forgotten that we have just as many Christian terrorists as we do Muslim.

    April 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Pumbaa

      Christian terrorists are always flying air planes into occupied building, blowing themselves up in order to kill civilians, shooting rockets at school buses and other evil deeds. Daily they stone women to death, beat them, and dress them like bee keepers. All to keep women in their place so the old perverts don't get turned on by a glimpse of bare skin.

      April 17, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  12. Abdulameer

    Essentially, the whole problem with Islam goes back precisely to the fact that Muslims consider the Koran to be Allah's literal words - perfect, complete, immutable and valid for all of eternity. The consequences of this fundamental Moslem belief is that whatever is in the Koran, everybody is stuck with forever. Here is a sampling of the doctrines of Islam from the Koran which motivate the hearts and minds of all religious Moslems:
    –“ the (only) religion (acceptable) before God is Islam." (3:19)
    - " If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him." (3: 85)
    - “You are the noblest community ever raised up for mankind.” (3:110)
    - The unbelievers among the people of the book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. (98.6).
    - Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve. (8.55)
    –The unbelievers are your inveterate enemy. (4:101)
    - Mohammed is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (48:29).
    - It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer, accidents excepted. (4:92)
    - Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. (5:51)
    - Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme. (8:40)
    - Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. (2:193)
    - The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. (4:76)
    - We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (3:151)
    - I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers. (8:12)

    April 10, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • David

      Any time some one says the whole problem with BLANK is...... I know I'm in for an interesting and probably far fetched argument. To accuse Islam of being stuck by the weight of its own words, misses the point of the Qu'ran itself. Reading the Qu'ran requires constant reflection and re-evaluation in order to be able to apply the lesson to the current situation. Only the reader can be stuck if he stops contemplating the words of the Qu'ran. The same applies to the Bible. Both require constant reflection and interpretation.
      But don't believe me read for yourself. Here is an example. Pick up a book that you read when you were in high school and read it now, the words are the same but the meaning is very different. If not, it is you and our mind that have become stuck.

      April 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
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