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Reply to Jennifer Solis

Reader comment on item: On Islam and Islamism
in response to reader comment: Safraz's error

Submitted by Safraz (United States), Apr 7, 2008 at 10:48

Jennifer,

I think your misunderstanding is in interpreting the war verses in the Koran as general commands to Muslims for all time. They are not, and well established Islamic jurisprudence have interpreted them in their context, as commands to the early Muslims during time of war - very much so like the Old Testament.

However, extremists and radicals like Al Qaeda view the war verses as general commands for all time - and that's where the intellectual difference between moderate Islam and extremist Islam lies.

I think your problem (and the extremist problem) in interpreting the Koran is because you read it like you read the Bible. While the Bible is a narrative written by a third party inspired by God, the Koran is the actual words of God (as Muslims believe).

So imagine now if Exodus were written from God's perspective - as if God were speaking - and he commanded Moses directly to rid the world of the pagans who worshipped the golden calf etc. And that was all written - no context - then you get exactly what the Koran is - the words of God, seemingly violent commands for all time, but what was in reality God's words in a particular context of war in a particular time.

That's why when you interpret the Koran, it is crucially importaant to understand it's context. Otherwise it makes little sense and is contradictory. When interpreted in its historical context, it makes perfect sense and has been the spiritual guide for the world's Muslims - the mass majority of whom are peaceful, God loving people.

Safraz.

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