Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I read the Qu'ran!

This whole Year of Faiths idea popped into my head at the start of the year. I was reading the Qu'ran and decided that I ought to read the whole thing in 2017... which led me down a rabbit trail of other ideas - Why just one holy book? Why not explore a different faith each month (on top of seminary)?

I never thought I'd finish the Qu'ran by February. And I realize that, as my Muslim friend Sofia said to me over brunch this month, that you can't just read the Qu'ran front to back, because any holy book is like an onion, requiring you to pull back layer upon layer, day after day.

But I did read it through, all the way, marking my progress on a chart. I thought it was at least a noble beginning, and a grateful gesture toward Mahmoud, the stranger I met on a plane who mailed this lovely Qu'ran to me as a gift.
In reading it, I loved soaking in the familiar stories from the Bible, with small twists and suprises: stories of Mary's youth in a sanctuary, paralleling gnostic texts; Abraham's sacrifice of his son (not Isaac, but Ishmael); Adam and his wife in the Garden of Eden, not sullied by original sin; warnings of blessings and doom, in nearly equal measure and with an especial nod toward helping the poor and disenfranchised (emphasized in both scriptures). I began marking the parallels between the Qu'ran and Bible characters with post-its, until I realized I was running out of post-its.

I feel like a better Christian, with a deeper appreciation of the Bible, for having read this book.
I'm still looking forward to a podcast soon with Dr. Sofia Khan, about helping refugees. This month dedicated to Islam has been such a blessing with new friendships - Khalil, Mahnaz, Sofia - and a deeper appreciation of the Muslim faith.