by A.J. Arberry translator
Many Muslims still consider any efforts to translate the Koran to be an abomination, which explains why this English translation is entitled The Koran Interpreted. Don’t let the title fool you: this painstaking effort by a Cambridge professor of Arabic is viewed as the “classic, definitive English translation of Islam’s sacred text.”
It goes without saying that a Christian student needs to understand Islam. Setting aside the fact that Islam is one of the most influential worldviews in history, after the fall of the Iron Curtain it became the greatest threat to individual liberty in the world.
Unfortunately, in modern America many politicians and most of the media misrepresent Islam as a “peaceful” religion. Students who believe what they hear on T.V. will see little difference between Muslims and Quakers—which is absurd.
Students who read the Koran discover a much different picture. In the Koran, faithful Mulsims are admonished to “fight the unbelievers totally even as they fight you totally.” In the same sura (a sura is a division of the Koran), Muslims are commanded to “fight the unbelievers who are near to you, and let them find in you a harshness . . .”
Who are the unbelievers? The Koran refers not only to atheists, but also Jews and Christians as such: “The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted!”
It’s a sad fact that both Christians and Muslims forcibly converted people in past centuries. But only the Christian worldview looks back upon those times as tragic. A right reading of the Bible eventually led Christians to repent such forced conversions and to call for freedom of religion; Islam, properly understood, is still an enemy of freedom of religion.
by Jeff Baldwin