By Hani Hamdan, Engage Minnesota
Last Sunday a Presbyterian church in Chaska decided to do something in stark contrast to burning the Qur’an. Its Rev. Gordon Stewart decided to have passages from the Qur’an read to the congregation by a Muslim.
Finally, somebody got it right. And although this will not make it to the national news, it did a lot in my mind. After all, the most profound move in the opposite direction of burning the Qur’an is coming from a church right here in Minnesota, to my utmost pride.
As a side note, I doubt you will ever hear of a Muslim—not even a member of the Taliban—who would desecrate or insult the Bible or the Torah, let alone burning either book in contempt. Muslims respect these texts and many keep copies at their homes. What Pastor Terry Jones was about to do was not merely to set copies of the Qur’an on fire, it was to set a new low in the war between extremes.
Reverend Stewart’s action, admirable as it is, is only logical. The linguistic meaning of the word “Qur’an” in Arabic is: “that which is meant to be read.” It is a reminder to Muslims not to leave it on the shelf and Muslims take this seriously, especially since they believe that the Qur’an is God’s direct verbatim speech.
So in days like these when there is much to hear about Islam and Muslims, the holiest text in Islam is almost saying “Read Me” on its cover. In today’s atmosphere, reading the Qur’an is worth your time. If anything, it makes you a better informed citizen who can understand where 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide are coming from.
Muslim organizations have made several attempts at promoting Qur’an translations to be read by the general public, including this campaign lead by CAIR.
Several English translations of the Qur’an are also available on websites like these:
So if you are searching for a book that will broaden your perspectives, consider the Qur’an. It is smaller than the Bible and is available in several good English translations ranging from Shakespeare-like English to simple English.