I ran across an excerpt today (in English translation) of some dialogue/narration from the modern popular writer, Paulo Coelho in his book: Aleph.(Note: bracketed text is mine.)... 'I spoke to three scholars,' [the character says 'at last.'] ...two of them said that, after death, the [sic (misprint, fault of the publisher)] just go to Paradise. The third one, though, told me to consult some verses from the Koran. [end quote]' ...I can see that he's excited. [narrator]' ...Now I have many positive things to say about Coelho: He is respectable, inspiring as a man, a truth-seeker, and an appealing writer; but one should hesitate to call him a 'literary' writer based on this quote. A 'literary' author knows that a character's excitement should be 'shown' in his or her dialogue and not in the narrator's commentary on it. Advice for Coelho: Remove the 'I can see that he's excited' sentence and show his excitement in the phrasing of his quote.(Now, in defense of Coelho, I am firmly of the opinion, having myself written plenty of prose that is flawed, that a novelist should be forgiven for slipping here and there.)Lastly, it appears that a belief in reincarnation is of great interest to Mr. Coelho ... Just think! He is a man who has achieved, (as Leonard Cohen would call it), 'a remote human possibility.' He has won lots of fame and tons of money. And yet, how his preoccupation with reincarnation—none other than an interest in being born again as somebody else—suggests that he is not happy!
...The Qur'an cannot be translated. ...The book is here rendered almost literally and every effort has been made to choose befitting language. But the result is not the Glorious Qur'an, that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy. It is only an attempt to present the meaning of the Qur'an-and peradventure something of the charm in English. It can never take the place of the Qur'an in Arabic, nor is it meant to do so...
Why does a young Muslim, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up in a bus full of innocent passengers? In our countries, religion is the sole source of education, and this is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched. He was not born a terrorist, and did not become a terrorist overnight. Islamic teachings played a role in weaving his ideological fabric, thread by thread, and did not allow other sources—I am referring to scientific sources—to play a role. It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist, and killed his humanity; it was not [the terrorist] who distorted the religious teachings, and misunderstood them, as some ignorant people claim. When you recite to a child still in his early years the verse 'They will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternative sides cut off,' regardless of this verse's interpretation, and regardless of the reasons it was conveyed, or its time, you have made the first step towards creating a great terrorist.
Arabic science throughout its golden age was inextricably linked to religion; indeed, it was driven by the need of early scholars to interpret the Qur'an.
Just as the Torah and Bible teach concern for those in distress, the Koran instructs all Muslims to make caring for widows, orphans, and refugees a priority.
Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
From the literary point of view, the Koran has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn. It is humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries, and that millions of men are still wasting time in absorbing it. (Orpheus, Salmon Reinach, 1932. See page 175 of the book here)
As Luxenberg's work has only recently been published we must await its scholarly assessment before we can pass any judgements. But if his analysis is correct then suicide bombers, or rather prospective martyrs, would do well to abandon their culture of death, and instead concentrate on getting laid 72 times in this world, unless of course they would really prefer chilled or white raisins, according to their taste, in the next.
Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes; and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the demons.
The Holy instructions of the Creator are:(i)Perfect, reviving the soul.(ii)Trustworthy, making wise the simple.(iii)Right, bringing joy to the heart.(iv)Clear, giving insight for living.(v)Pure, bringing everlasting blessings.(vi)True, bringing overflowing hope.
Every little thing makes a difference, whether you decide it yourself or whether it’s pure accident. So many people have had the whole course of their lives changed by something perfectly simple like, let’s say, crossing the street at one point instead of another.”“Yes, yes, yes, I know,” Stenham said with exaggerated weariness. “As far as I’m concerned that’s just as boring, and a lot more false, by the way. The point I’m trying to make is that he loves his world of Koranic law because it’s his, and at the same time he hates it because his intuition tells him it’s at the end of its rope. He can’t expect anything more from it. And our world, he hates that too, just on general principles, and yet it’s his only hope, the only way out—if there is one for him personally, which I doubt.
They say that Caliph Omar, when consulted about what had to be done with the library of Alexandria, answered as follows: 'If the books of this library contain matters opposed to the Koran, they are bad and must be burned. If they contain only the doctrine of the Koran, burn them anyway, for they are superfluous.' Our learned men have cited this reasoning as the height of absurdity. However, suppose Gregory the Great was there instead of Omar and the Gospel instead of the Koran. The library would still have been burned, and that might well have been the finest moment in the life of this illustrious pontiff.
This division is not one by religious affiliation, rather it separates the extremists and the peace-loving people.Therefor I'm optimistic: now a humanistic Islam is getting shaken awake. Moderate Islam needs now to finally break cover and explain how to deal with the violence-glorifying parts of the Quran. The (psychological) repression that this has nothing to do with our belief doesn't work anymore. We have to face this challenge.
In Islam, it is the moderate who is left to split hairs,because the basic thrust of the doctrine is undeniable: convert, sub-jugate, or kill unbelievers; kill apostates; and conquer the world.
You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: 'Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.' Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter. … By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: 'Produce something like it'‽
Every American should own a Koran. There are no excuses. Every day you can switch on the television or the radio or open a newspaper and hear or read pronouncements about what Islam is and“what the Koran says. Most of it is wrong—very wrong. You owe it to yourself, your family, and all the Americans killed on 9/11 and since to know the truth. Do not take anyone’s word for it. Find out for yourself by reading the actual Koran. One of the most reliable and recognized versions is the The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Once you have a Koran and start to read it, take care to note the enormous differences between the half reportedly communicated to Mohammed in the beginning in Mecca, when he was weak and without followers, and the latter half, allegedly written after he returned from Medina with thousands of followers, the leader of a mighty military force. It is the post-Medina chapters of the Koran that are naturally favored by groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. They are not in fact perverting religious texts but skillfully applying those alleged revelations that best support their cause.