Islam students at LUC

Archive for February 18th, 2013

Last week we read the story of Joseph from the Qur’an. The story talks about a young brother of a large family who is picked by God for a special mission. Josephs’ brothers full of jealousy try to get rid of his brother, kill him and because all this fails they finally tell their father that he has disappeared–something that the father does not believe. Through a series of events, Joseph is sold as a slave and eventually wins favor with a royal court for his gift interpreting dreams. He interprets the king’s dreams and comes to meet his brothers again through a hard time in the land through which they had come to ask for food to the royal court. The ending of the story relates many themes: a forgiving Joseph, a promised fulfilled, abundant mercy, the unfailing faith of Joseph’s father being rewarded, etc.

The story is told in the Torah in the Jewish tradition and the Pentateuch of the Christian Bible–which essentially are the same. To my surprise the Qur’an presents many new aspects to the story. Mainly, that the Archangel Gabriel is dictating the story to Muhammad so that he can understand the full revelation of the story as it happened in Joseph’s time along with small details throughout the story. However, I can’t help but to be very skeptic of the way in which the story is revealed. Given that, this story had circulated the area for thousands of years before the Prophet through Jewish and Christian tradition. Although the end of the story confirms that the Qur’an confirms the books that preceded it–the burden of proof then is the source of the text. In other words, whether this particular story is in fact was divinely revealed or brought through other sources.

In response to Seatowntochitown:

Religion implies ethics. Ethics is a logical system of morality. In other words, whether from a holy source, book, etc. a religion develops a system of what is right and wrong and is then backed up or explained why is it so through their theology. Islam, like every major religion also has a system of morality–or Ethics. This is because Religion and morality are deeply interconnected. Morality refers to our belief of what is right and wrong, and ethics to a logical system that explains why is that so. The Torah for instance, has only 10 Laws, the Commandments, but from that they build a large system of morality.

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Before this most recent class, I was not aware that there are different interpretations of the Qu’ran. We learned the three interpretations in class. There is specific, general and personal. Specific is how the founders saw the world. General is a universal reading methodology. Personal is how an individual applies the readings to their own life.

The second part of class was dedicated to reading and comprehending the reading. We read it in groups. I think reading the story in groups was helpful to understanding the story. Talking about it and hearing everyone give their opinion and interpretation helped create an overall understanding of the text. I think the point of the exercise was to see how people can read the same thing and have a different interpretation.

in response to behappy9,

This was also my first time reading the story. At times I did not understand what was going on so I would have to re-read a paragraph. However going over the story with the group made it much easier to understand the story. I think after the skits there will be even greater understanding of the story throughout the class.

Professor M continues his lecture about the Quran and how it can be intrepreted in many ways. I felt like this was an important thing to distinguish because many followers probably differ in these interpretations as to what Islam means to them. It also shined light on how complex the Quran is. With one line, the Quran could be referring to a historic event or character and simultaneously be giving a lesson to muslims about a certain topic.

In response to littlebamboo1711,

I agree on the effectiveness of this type of analysis because it breaks down the historical lessons as well as applying it to the life lessons that are attached to the surah. I think it is important for muslims and non-muslims to take a closer look at the quran through this process to find its deeper and more important messages. By telling stories understanding Islamic topics are easier.

 

Discerning from classmates blogs, an effort was made to translate a Qu’ranic text.  From personal experience, it was only a year or two ago that I found out Qu’ran  has many translations and there are a few credible ones that some Muslims follow. Reading the Qu’ran since I was young, I thought the translation I was reading was the only translation. Since the Qu’ran is poetry, it can be translated into different meanings just like poetry.  After I found out that there are other translations, I came to understand why there could be disputes. Just like how I thought the translation I was acquainted with was the only translation, others can think the same.  I have also learned that when phrases are taken out of context from the Qu’ran, the meanings can change. This is why responsibility is required when handling such a piece of writing .

I agree with audiblechimp’s comment that most popular stories have similar central themes. The Bible, Torah and the Qu’ran have many similar central themes. It makes the idea of religious wars very unnecessary. I think rather than focusing on differences, one should focus on the similarities and the central theme.

 

 

This week class was a continuation of the Quran lecture and the reading of Joseph. The lecture concluded with the Quran overall message being guidance. But it focuses in both justice and character. But which one is more important in Islam? Prof. Mozzafar concluded that character was more important. And its shown in Life of Muhammad when Muhammad keeps preaching when the tribe is boycotting and torturing fellow Muslims. That creates backbone. Till today we can see that backbone.

Also we talk about the different schools of interpretation. The specific is referring to a more literal approach, general looks at the big picture and the personal by his experiences. I believe Prof. Mozzafar gave us the assignment to act the reading to show how different the same text can be interpreted. Tuesday class is going to be a fun way to get the point that everybody interprets things different.

 

In response to audiblechimp:

            I agree with you there are so many lessons in each of the scenes but the overall message is belief in the guidance of God and Mercy. Being a group activity really help the understanding of the reading because of its complexity and I am excited to see how it turns out Tuesday.