Messages of Love

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Qu'ran and Jewish and Christian Texts

On Monday, I went to a lecture on the Relationship between the Qu'ran and Jewish and Christian texts. This lecture by Professor Gordon D. Newby from Islamic Studies Department is the first in a series of Spiritual Conversation at Emory University, where I work. It was a coincidence that I found out about it, although I don't believe in coincidences. I feel it is the answer to my desire to learn more about Islam. After my visit to Turkey this summer, and especially to Istanbul, I felt mesmerized by the power of Muslim traditions and the beauty of architecture. I want to learn more about this religion and see if the teachings of the Qu'ran are close to my understanding of spirituality.
It was nice to see that the room at Carlos Museum on Emory campus quickly became full. A nice touch was that the organizers respectfully mentioned that it's the month of Ramadan and provided dates and water at the end of the event to break the fast. The lecture was short but very insightful. I learned some facts about prophet Muhammad's life. It appeared that he only began teaching when he was in his 40's. I think there are many similarities between him and Jesus. Both liked to challenge existing rules and traditions. They were questioning existing truth and showing the new way of life. Both cured people and performed miracles by the name of God (or Allah).
I didn't know that Muhammad grew up in the area surrounded by different kinds of Jews. What striked me the most in this scientifically descriptive talk is the statistics on the number of times different names are mentioned in the Qu'ran. Professor Newby showed that the name Moses (Musa in Arabic) is mentioned 157 times, while the name Muhammad - only 4 times. The story of the creation of Earth is very similar. There is a difference in the fact that both Adam and Eve take equal responsibility for falling into the trap if the devil, and the woman is not taking the blame for seducing the man as in the Bible. I think this is more reasonable.

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