We wanted to get right back into our reaching Muslims series. This week we wanted to talk briefly about the holy books and reverence in Islam and how to approach them as Christians.
Medearis explains the concepts of holy books and reverence quite clearly:
“Muslims treat their holy books with great reverence. Contrast this to most Christians who commonly set their Bible on the floor beneath their chairs...a Muslim would never do this with the Qur’an. They do not underline verses or write in the margins. Their books are holy; they are representative of God...The actual words in Arabic are holy in themselves.”
In order to build relationships with Muslims, we must understand their expressions of reverence and be sensitive to them. The concept of reverence is taken very seriously in the Muslim culture. It is logical to treat God, His name, and His book with unprecedented respect and reverence. The aspect of holiness is not taken lightly at all. Before prayer, Muslims must wash themselves completely as a form of respect for God and his presence. To them it is the only acceptable way to interact with the things of God. Therefore, we must be careful to show that same respect to Christ, His name, and the Bible (while also illustrating freedom from the law and life under grace). We are not bound to particular "rules" that demand our reverence. We choose to honor and revere the Lord because we love Him. That being said, our reverence creates a mutual understanding between us and our Muslim friends. It is essential in order to build proper relationships with them.
Overview of holy texts in Islam:
-The Taureh: the Torah or Pentateuch
-The Zabur: The Psalms of David which are considered holy. David is also considered to be a prophet in Islam.
-The Injil, or the Gospels: the teachings of Jesus, also considered holy.
-The Hadith: traditions set in place by Mohammad’s life.
-The Qur’an: considered the holiest text. Considered to be God’s final complete revelation to man.
So what do Muslims think about the Bible in relation to the Qur’an? We will address this later on in more detail, but for now Medearis explains that “according to one particular verse in the Qur’an, called the verse of abrogation, (Q 13:39), all later verses supercede earlier ones. To Muslims, this also includes teachings prior to the Qur’an. Thus, in Islam, because the Bible was written before the Qur’an, it is subject to the Qur’an.”
POINTS FOR CHRISTIANS:
As Christians we know that the Bible does not mention additional prophets or texts entering the scene after the resurrection of Christ and the birth of the church. If anything, the Bible only warns against the coming of false prophets (see Matthew 24:24, 2 Timothy 4: 3-4, 1 John 4:1-6, Matthew 7:15-20). However, these are not points to bring up in order to win a religious debate. If a Muslim has genuine questions about these topics it is important to be prepared to answer them in a loving manner.
When interacting with Muslims, be sure to respect both the Qur’an and the Bible.
Treat your Bible with care when presenting scripture to a Muslim. Do not place it on the floor or write in it.
We hope that these points encourage you and help you to build stronger relationships with your Muslim friends! God Bless you!