Islam students at LUC

Archive for September 2014

Last class we took a quiz on Tariq Ramadan’s book. This book was a lot more straightforward than Safi’s, and Ramadan did a solid job telling the story of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). The Prophet Muhammad went through many trials and tribulations to spread the message of Islam. He suffered greatly as shown in his tragic orphaned childhood and the year of Sorrow, where he lost his beloved wife and uncle.The Prophet Muhammad’s companions went through ridicule, humiliation, and physical torture and still held to their beliefs. Despite the way the muslims were treated by Quraysh, the Prophet Muhammad showed restraint when it was time for war. Muslims are not allowed to attack any innocent bystanders, women and children, or religious folk in places of worship. They also aren’t allowed to use fire in battle, destroy any natural resources, and they should even avoid battle completely when possible. These heavy restrictions on warfare prove that Islam is not a religion of war and violence. War is a last resort in Islam and this was displayed in Tariq Ramadan’s book. This quiz was better than the last one and hopefully the rest of the quizzes follow a similar fashion.

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This week in class we discussed the Quran in further detail. Specifically, we went over the stages of compilation i.e. the way in which it was presented and the way it has “evolved” today. We first learned about the first stage, which relates to how the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. We learned that one year, he was told to recite the Quran twice and that he saw this to be his end (something I didn’t know before). We learned that Abu Bakr refused to put the Quran in writing at first because Muhammad didn’t do it. I found this interesting because it was said that The Prophet would have “secretaries” writing on skins. Nonetheless, I think the fact that it wasn’t truly written down before shows that this is a different type of scripture. One that is more significant being memorized than being read. Or, perhaps, it was simply the culture to memorize rather than writing.

In response to user2016, I will chime in with everyone else who are saying that they burned the other Qurans to leave no room for error. It is easy for us to think that they burned the others because they had self interest in what one of them were saying or they wanted to morph the message in their own way. However, I believe that that attitude is a product of the society we live in today i.e. a society that can’t trust big authority and is always skeptical. For example, the NFL is going through some turmoil right now and everyone wants the commissioner’s head. I think that sort of anti-authoritarianism is being carried over when thinking about this topic. Also, in response to thekriddler2014, I also agree that translating a text does take away from some of the significance of what it is trying to say. For example, when I am talking to people in Urdu, there are instances when I can’t get my point across because some things just sound better in English…I don’t know, maybe that’s just me though.

In class this week we discussed the Quran and the different stages of its revelations and recording. It is very interesting to see how many students were so fascinated at the fact that many followers of Islam have taken the time to memorize the Quran. As a Muslim, I have personally not memorized the entire Quran. I have memorized a few Juz of the Quran, but no where near the entire thing. I hope to someday be able to memorize it as every follower of Islam should. One thing I have pondered, like many students in the class, is why it is never heard of for followers of Judaism or Catholicism to memorize the Torah or Bible. I do not know the size difference between all 3 of the Holy Books, but I can imagine the the complexity is quite the same. This is just something I have thought about and would like to know more about.

In response to Bennett Wakenight, the reason I believe that the other copies of the Quran were destroyed is quite simple Having only one copy of the Quran as the most accurate and standard copy allows for standardization of the Quran for years and years to come. What I am trying to say is if there were 2 or 3 more copies of the “alternate” version then that would leave room for contradiction and disambiguation between the multiple versions. The fact that there was only one copy makes it much easier for the Quran to  have no change in the different versions. If there were multiple copes then people and followers would begin to choose which “version” of the Quran the want to follow and read and this can cause many problems. I look forward to seeing everyones interpretations of Surah Yusuf next week in class.

This week in class we took a quiz on Tariq Ramadans book in the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons in the Life of Muhammad. The quiz was much fairer than the last one. We discussed the Qur’an in further detail and I found it very interesting because I am a Christian and I don’t know much about the Qur’an. I cannot believe that there are Muslims in this world that can memorize the entire Qur’an. This truly amazes me and I give them props. Also it is not just the Muslims overseas, almost all the Muslims in the class had a relative/brother/sister who memorized it. We also learned about how the Qur’an was written down during Muhammad’s life. They didn’t have any paper so they wrote it down on what they could and it is still preserved word for word thousands of years later.

In response to Rahmannoodles, it amazes me that in individual can memorize a book that large word for word. Not only that but some of these people have memorized it at an early age and some have memorized it at a much older age. On top of memorizing it all they still were going to school and had to study for exams and quizzes. I cannot imagine the amount of time and effort that goes into the lifestyle of a hafiz. If you ask me to recite a verse out of the bible, you are shit out of luck, I cannot do it. Is it more of a thing where the parents want their children to do it or is it something that a child or teenager would do on his or her own, because I cannot see my child come up to me and tell me “hey I want to memorize the bible word for word”. I would literally look at my kid like they are crazy or something.

This week in class we had a quiz on Tariq Ramadan’s book, In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad. I thought this quiz was more fair than the last quiz we had, and i liked having the option of choosing only 5 questions to answer. However, I accidentally answered 6 questions. We also continued discussing the Quran this week. I am a practicing Muslim, and I found it interesting to learn more about the history of the Quran, especially how it was written down and later translated. i wonder what non-muslims thought of how the Quran is at ext that is memorized. It was fascinating to see how the majority of people who had a relative that had memorized the whole Quran did not speak Arabic. I had never thought about that before. I also am really looking forward to presenting our project on Surah Yusuf. My group came up with a very creative skit.

In response to wimam11, I agree. I also like how the subject is divided into two different parts: guidance for the individual and guidance for society. Guidance for the individual teaches muslims how to handle different situations and different people they encounter. The Quran is something muslims can turn to seek any advice on how to live their lives. I agree society is not following the guidance for society. We can look at the world today, the muslim world in particular, and see how the guidance from the Quran is neglected for they are still many oppressive sentiments and governments that hold a significant amount of power in this world. Therefore, the Quran can alter and enhance the individual’s perspective and behavior, provide guidance on how society’s should be structured and function, and through those two aspects of the Quran, the world can be bettered.

This week, we finished the first part of the new book “In The Footsteps Of The Prophet.” I feel this book is easier to follow and more interesting than the last one since it is composed of many small stories. Also, the last one is more academic, but this one gives us a chance to get closer into the Prophet’s own life and experience. Each time I finish one story, I would like to think what I would do under the same situation; thus, I can get a deeper understanding on the Prophet and even Islam. Also, we talked about how Quran came from the first place to today. It really surprised me that the Quran was not written during Muhammad’s life time, and how it was spread by people only through memorization. Meanwhile, it is really good to see the influence of Quran is not only confined in Arab area today, but has already been translated into many different languages.

In response to phenom11, yes, I feel the same way that it is much better for us to pick five questions out of ten. And there are some hints, too. It makes more sense because people may have very different understanding on the book. Hints really help to clarify  it. It is indeed very amazing when you think about the history of Quran. It was totally based on memorization. Even today, if we lost those copies, there is no any real harm to Islam because most people still can recite it. It makes me very impressive for such perseverance.  We can also see such perseverance or sincerity from how they made the first 25 copies. In order to standardize it, they only kept 6 or 7 of them and burned the rest.

This week in class we learned about the six stages of the history of the Quran. The first stage of the Quran came in parts, as surahs, to Muhammad (PBUH). The Prophet would then have secretaries write down whatever surahs he would learn from Angel Gabriel. The secretaries couldn’t record this on paper however, so more often than not they would have to memorize it. During Ramadan, Muhammad (PBUH) would recite whatever he had learned that year to Angel Gabriel. The next stage was when the Quran was finally in a written form. The third stage was when 40 Qurans were made, and then 25 of the most accurate among those 40 were selected. The list of 25 was then slimmed down to just 6 Qurans, the rest were burned. The next stage was Haraj B. Yusuf’s project of making the Quran more accessible. Stage five was when the full Quran was finally translated. The last stage was when The Quran was translated to English.

In response to user2016, the reason why they only chose 6 and burned the rest was so they could establish a 100% authentic book of God. Having Qurans that might contain errors would hinder the authenticity of the book and ill intentionally change the word of God. Having one small error in an ayah (sentence) could drastically change the meaning of it, something the companions would never want to do. In addition to this response, I wanted to also to talk about how amazing of a task it is to memorize the Quran. Such a task is mind blowing to me, to have 600 pages fully memorized is quite the accomplishment. I wish I had the perseverance to fulfill such a task. Having the Quran passed down from person to person by memorization and now, in this day and age, we continue to the tradition by having many Muslims put in long hours in memorizing the Quran.