To Muslims the Koran is the very word of God, who spoke through the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad: ''This book is not to be doubted,'' the Koran declares unequivocally at its beginning. Scholars and writers in Islamic countries who have ignored that warning have sometimes found themselves the target of death threats and violence, sending a chill through universities around the world. Yet despite the fear, a handful of experts have been quietly investigating the origins of the Koran, offering radically new theories about the text's meaning and the rise of Islam. Christoph Luxenberg, a scholar of ancient Semitic languages in Germany, argues that the Koran has been misread and mistranslated for centuries. His work, based on the earliest copies of the Koran, maintains that parts of Islam's holy book are derived from pre-existing Christian Aramaic texts that were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who prepared the editions of the Koran commonly read today. So, for example, the virgins who are supposedly awaiting good Islamic martyrs as their reward in paradise are in reality ''white raisins'' of crystal clarity rather than fair maidens.
Koran is the great barrier between Islam and democracy
What Is the Koran? - The Atlantic
IN , during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana'a, in Yemen, laborers working in a loft between the structure's inner and outer roofs stumbled across a remarkable gravesite, although they did not realize it at the time. Their ignorance was excusable: mosques do not normally house graves, and this site contained no tombstones, no human remains, no funereal jewelry. It contained nothing more, in fact, than an unappealing mash of old parchment and paper documents—damaged books and individual pages of Arabic text, fused together by centuries of rain and dampness, gnawed into over the years by rats and insects. Intent on completing the task at hand, the laborers gathered up the manuscripts, pressed them into some twenty potato sacks, and set them aside on the staircase of one of the mosque's minarets, where they were locked away—and where they would probably have been forgotten once again, were it not for Qadhi Isma'il al-Akwa', then the president of the Yemeni Antiquities Authority, who realized the potential importance of the find. Al-Akwa' sought international assistance in examining and preserving the fragments, and in managed to interest a visiting German scholar, who in turn persuaded the German government to organize and fund a restoration project. Soon after the project began, it became clear that the hoard was a fabulous example of what is sometimes referred to as a "paper grave"—in this case the resting place for, among other things, tens of thousands of fragments from close to a thousand different parchment codices of the Koran, the Muslim holy scripture. In some pious Muslim circles it is held that worn-out or damaged copies of the Koran must be removed from circulation; hence the idea of a grave, which both preserves the sanctity of the texts being laid to rest and ensures that only complete and unblemished editions of the scripture will be read.
What ISIS Really Wants
Under the present circumstances [of Zionist-Crusader aggressions], and under the banner of the blessed awakening which is sweeping the world in general and the Islamic world in particular, I meet with you today. For [subordination to the Jews and occupation of Arabia] and other acts of aggression and injustice, we have declared jihad against the US, because in our religion it is our duty to make jihad so that God's word is the one exalted to the heights and so that we drive the Americans away from all Muslim countries. His absurd goal of driving out Americans from all Islamic lands has been answered here. In May Jonathan Miller, then a reporter with ABC News, now a consultant on terrorism for Los Angeles, interviews bin Laden, who believes that he is a servant of Allah and that his primary mission is to spread by fighting the religion of light. I am one of the servants of Allah.
The Koran does not accept other religions, while permitting unbelievers to be killed and apostasy to be punished by beheading. Many other examples can be given where activities allowed in a democracy are punished in Islam by brutal penalties such as execution. It will be clear to most readers that the Muslim world is still a long way from accepting such a reinterpretation compatible with democratic principles and refraining from following the scripture to the letter. Thursday, September 12, Columns Cartoon.