A common question regarding Islam is “What is the true nature of the Qur’an?” In other words, does the Qur’an promote peace or violence? Do ISIS and other groups like them have a correct interpretation of the Qur’an or have they hijacked the religion?
Dr. Peter Riddell – Islam in Context: Past, Present, and Future
Theme Song by: Nobara Hayakawa – Trail
Interlude Music by:
DJ4KAT & L’Artisan – Breakdance in Kabul
Nick Bike – Bugged [An Alternative Voice Experience]
Hyde – Mumford & Sons Inspired Instrumental
KamaSama – Transformations: Into the Heart of the Sun

Here starts the auto-generated transcription of Is the Qur’an a Book of Peace or Violence with Dr. Peter Riddell: 

Once again, Muslim terrorists A terrorist. Islamic extremist now. These is not irrelevant. It is a warning. Welcome to the truth about Muslims podcast, the official podcast of the Swimmer Center For Muslim Studies, where we help to educate you beyond the media.

Here are your hosts, Howard and Trevor. This is the Truth About Muslims podcast. Episode 11 with doctor Peter Riddell from Melbourne School of Theology. Right. We’re gonna be Skyping into Australia down under.

Land from down under. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about try our Australian accent out. No. How you going?

No. How you going? No. Alright. No.

No. We won’t do that. We’re not going to. But anyway, Peter Riddell. Yeah.

Tell us about him. Well, he has a PhD from Australian National University. His degree is actually in chronic exegesis. So cool. Yeah.

If you think about it, I mean, even somebody with a degree in biblical exegesis, you immediately think, well, that’s that’s kinda neat. Alright. I’m gonna be honest with you. I don’t really even know what that means. Chronic exegesis.

Well, no. Same as, like, biblical exegesis. Like, how do you study the Quran? What do you, how does interpretation happen? How does it apply in daily life?

How does it go to the different schools of law? Wow. That’s weird. How to read and understand the Quran. And he’s a Christian.

Yes. But here’s the really cool thing, and this is, one thing I really appreciate is he’s respected in the Muslim world for his work on Islam. Get out of here. Yes. So he actually, he taught at the London School of Theology where he was the, professor of Islamic Studies and he also was the director of the Center For Islamic Studies and Muslim Christian Relations.

Okay. Well, that’s awesome. Yeah. And, also, was a professor in the history department at University of London with, SOAS, which, SOAS, which stands for the London School of Oriental and African Studies. Wow.

So, anyway, smart dude. Right. And we get him here in the studio. In Australian accent. In Skype, but still in the studio.

You get to hear it. Yeah. You’ll get to hear it. And and believe me, and, Howard, do you remember that, that time we were hearing Sinclair Ferguson give, a message? He’s Scottish.

Right? He’s Scottish. Right. And I I kinda leaned over to Howard and I was like, I don’t know why, but every time he speaks, he just sounds intelligent because of his Scottish accent. So Peter’s got a, an Australian accent.

Which is just as good. So he just sent us a a text saying that he’s going to grab, a coffee, and he’ll be ready to go. So in Australia, I believe he caught a keppa. A keppa. A keppa.

Hey. So I’m not gonna try this Aussie accent, but if you do hear me, listeners, have grace because for some reason I’m gonna try it. When we were in London, Trevor and I were in London once, and for some strange reason I would just start to Speak with this weird like true. It wasn’t even a good English. Even when he would lead worship.

He’d be like in Matt man. No. No. No. No.

No. No. It’s so true. But I don’t know why. So anyway, so if you start to hear something weird, like my voice just sound not Yeah, mate.

I would start throwing out mate. I don’t I don’t I don’t think I’m gonna try not to do that. How you going? Actually, your accent sounds pretty good. Yeah.

I mean, how long That’s not a knife? I’ve I’ve only been for, I think I was there 2 weeks. Dude, you picked up a lot. They made fun of me terribly. What do you mean?

But, apparently, you make fun of people when you really like them in Australia. At least that’s what they told me. I don’t know. Oh, okay. Anyway, let’s give them a call.

Yeah. Let’s do it. Alright. I mean, you know Skype. I don’t know Skype.

Hello? Hey, Peter. This is Trevor. Hi, Trevor. How are you doing?

Good. And this is Howard Key. Howard, introduce yourself. Hey, Peter. Hi, Howard.

How are you doing? Great. I’m so excited about today. Yes. Me too.

Well, Peter, we we debated, whether or not to attempt an Australian accent, when we spoke with you. Well well, I actually, it’s you guys who have the accent. I don’t have an accent. Oh, nice. Nice.

So, anyway, Peter, what we’re doing here is we’re we’re trying to get as many folks as we can both from the academic community and also those who have worked extensively with Muslims to kinda give us, give give the listeners some handles on how to interpret the things that they see in the media. So that’s kinda what the topic’s gonna be today. Okay. So we’ll just kinda start with, Howard and I were kinda joking around about having, a PhD in chronic exegesis and being a follower of Christ. Like, how did that come about?

Well, I mean, it’s a long story, but I’ll give you the short version. I, I took my undergraduate studies majoring in modern languages in, Indonesian and Malay language, and French language and literature. And when I wanted to go on to postgraduate studies, I followed the Indonesian study path. And my interest was in, yeah, it was in, linguistics, really. But as I did my research, I was using Islamic texts.

So I found that, the Islamic texts and the theology that was in them was, particularly interesting, challenging in some ways. And so I ended up, reorientating my PhD towards theology and Koranic studies in in Islam. Now as a as a committed and believing Christian, that was not simply something that gave me academic interest, but, it had a direct bearing on my own faith position and and my own faith as a as a believing Christian. So, yeah, as a Christian, I was, I found that the studies that I was doing were particularly interesting beyond pure academics. So, yes.

That’s how it’s going on. You mentioned a little bit, you mentioned a little bit about, some of the texts being challenging. Was there anything specific that you found, challenging as you started studying the text? Well, I think, all sorts of things. What I was finding, for example, was that the the Quran, is a, you know, it’s a text that’s got about over 6,000 verses in it.

And some of those verses seem quite clear, but some of the other verses don’t seem clear. And of course, that sounds familiar to us as Christians, you know Right. And that we have to engage in all sorts of, you know, interpretive processes with the Bible as well. So, yeah, when I saw some Quranic verses referring to polygamy, for example, that seemed to be saying that that men could marry for for women. Well, I find that challenging.

How do Muslim how do Muslims go about interpreting that? And, of course, it’s not a simple process. You get all sorts of debates and yeah. Yeah. So, Peter, this is Howard speaking.

I’m the guy who doesn’t know much. Everything I learned about Islam, I’ve basically learned from being on this show. So Trevor’s the expert, and, we interview experts, and I’m the the normal guy that just kinda asks maybe the basic questions that maybe our listeners wanna know. So what is the difference between the Bible and the Quran? For instance, the Bible has a lot of writers, over a long period of time.

I don’t know who wrote the Quran. I don’t know, that that process, what it has in it. The Bible has a lot of allegory, parables, poetry. So could you just give us a basic rundown of the Quran? Yes, indeed.

Well, let’s first talk about who wrote the Quran. As you say, the bible’s got lots of writers. As far as the Quran is concerned, in a sense, I need to wear 2 hats. Let me first answer as if I was a Muslim. Okay?

Nice. So the Muslim answer is no no human person wrote the Quran. The Quran is is God’s word. It comes from Allah directly. Right.

And so the the the the hard copy that we hold in our hands is simply a record, that was passed on by Mohammed from God and that they’re God’s direct words. So that’s a that’s a Muslim answer. The the Quran is God’s word. A non Muslim answer answer is is so sorry, Howard. You were gonna say?

No. That that was actually me, Peter. Would the would an average Muslim take offense at the suggestion that that Mohammed is the author of the Quran? The average Muslim, take offense not necessarily, but they would wanna correct you. Okay.

Because they they they would say it’s a common, non Muslim misunderstanding that Mohammed is the author of the Quran. Okay. Wow. Okay. As far as the non Muslim answer is concerned, you get a a few different different, responses there.

For a long time, non Muslims have assumed that Mohammed is the sole author of the Quran, and he may well have been. But, there are there are especially in over the last 100 or so years, there’s been some revisionist kinds of approaches suggesting that the Quran is a compilation of different bits written by different people, and that’s quite a dynamic debate taking place at the moment. So, basically, the non Muslim answer is humans wrote the Quran, but there’s a debate as to exactly which humans did. So the non the non Muslims are the debate are debating about it. The the the Muslims would not be debating about multiple offers.

Right. Okay. So they’re not even entering in the debate. Got it. That’s right.

Yeah. The stock standard answer for Muslims is that it’s it’s from God through Mohammed’s mouth, and Mohammed was just like a typewriter. And then as far as the aspects of the Quran, like the the allegories, narrative, the what what does it have in it? Or is it just like all these laws or decrees or Yeah. Well, it’s interesting actually.

I mean, the Quran, it’s kind of like a mosaic where you’ve got a whole bunch of different elements there like we do in the Bible. I suppose the difference is that in the Bible, you can easily divide the books up according to historical books, prophetic books, wisdom literature, also you know, there there are genre types in the Bible, different styles. Whereas with the Quran, you certainly have all of those styles, but they’re much more intermixed within each chapter. So, I mean, there’s one chapter, chapter 12, the story of Joseph that’s mainly narrative. But apart from that chapter, most of the other chapters, a bit of this and a bit of that.

You know, there’s there’s didactic teaching material, there’s narrative material, there’s, prophetic material. So it’s all sort of intermixed. It’s not as easily easy to divide up according to styles as it is in the Bible. Interesting. So it would take a narrative and comment on that narrative?

I’m sorry. I missed that. So it would take the narrative like the Joseph story and then it would comment and teach on that narrative? Yes. And, when you read the when you read the the the Quran, when you read a narrative, for example, you know, from the Bible, you expect to read this flowing narrative.

And in a sense, the the the sort of lesson is to be drawn out by the reader. Right. In the Quran in the Quran, the the the the teaching comes through much more clearly. So a bit of narrative is told. And then you get a verse or 2 where the the the the the the book then kind of explains what the lesson is.

There’s this sort of didactic teaching voice that keeps coming inserting itself from time to time. And, of course, that’s understood by Muslims as being the voice of Allah who’s coming through and explaining what the purpose of the story is. Peter, what are some of the the stories that we have in the Bible that are also found in the Quran? Well, speaking at a surface level now, you’ll find because the detail of the story is often somewhat different but, in terms of the macro level, you find the story a story of Joseph in the Quran that obviously comes from the Bible, you find Moses makes regular appearances in the Quran. David, makes regular appear appearances in the Quran.

Of course, there’s the birth narrative of Jesus and some other verses that talk about his ministry. You find the story of Jonah in the Quran. Wow. So many many of these, you know, many of the names that are familiar to us from the Bible you encounter in the Quran as well. Now, when you dig down, when you go beyond that surface level and you look at the detail of the story, then you find little twists and turns and differences that sometimes are not significant, other times they are significant.

You find a creation story in the in the Quran. So there’s lots of parallels, at the macro level. When you dig down and look at the details, sometimes there are significant differences. Wow. So do you find that, the the same point is trying to be made from the from the biblical narrative as the the chronic narrative or the teachings from the Quran?

Sometimes. Yes. Yes. It’s a fascinating study really to to look at the Quran and the Bible side by side and do a similarities and differences kind of study. So you find many, many parallels.

You know, the story of Joseph, for example, is quite interesting because the the in many ways, the story is very, very similar. Joseph, you know, is is, there there are the jealous brothers who sell him off. He goes down to Egypt. He becomes famous. Those sorts of parallels are there.

But then you you you sort of get kinda you get differences as well where the story of Potiphar’s wife in the bible, also occurs in the Quran, but it’s not quite it’s a bit more oblique. And often with the I I guess another important point with the Quran is sometimes you find a story that sounds familiar but the detail is missing and you get the impression that the audience that it was written for must have known the story so that the teller only told part of the story. And today, we look at it and think, well, hang on. That’s missing. I’ll give you an example of that, the story of of David and Bathsheba.

Now that’s a rich narrative in the Bible as we know. Very colorful, very gruesome in many ways, very disturbing in some ways. In the Quran, there’s a kind of oblique reference to David having been put to the test and there are a few verses around that and you you you read it and you think, oh, that must be about David and Bathsheba. But it doesn’t actually tell the David and Bathsheba story. Oh, interesting.

So sometimes, you know, you in a sense you have to read some parts of the Quran and then read the bible to understand what the Quran, quranic context is. And and so the question I guess is that when you have Joseph who, is faithful to God, in the Quran it would be to Allah, and then the the the Jewish people, the promised, the people of God, that would be Muslims? Well, yes. I mean, the the the Quran talks about it has certain terms that the people of Israel, the they call them the Bani Israelir. The people of Israel, there are references to them, but, they’re portrayed, as having been given, an original, you know, favor, but they betray the favor.

And so as a as a people, they are they are punished. And they’re sort of kinds of outcasts. So similar again, similarity and difference. And that’s the impression I always get when I read the Quran, similarity and difference. So when you have the story of Joseph, for instance, it’s not really about, it is about Israel, and the the Muslims are interested in that.

It’s in the Quran. Or is it really about Muslims are trying to find their heritage? Like, the story of God’s people. In a sense, the the the the Israel connection or the the Hebrew connection is is more, is more tangential. In in the Quran, the purpose of the story is to give an example of one of Allah’s prophets, and Joseph is a prophet in the Islamic scheme of things.

And the prophet, is faithful to God. He follows God’s instructions. He follows, the instructions of Allah, and he he serves as a model for how people should follow the example of their prophets. That’s the core that’s the core message that’s coming out of the Koranic story of Joseph, not so much part of story of the people of Israel. Right.

So how is this how is Israel I mean, how is Joseph, an Israelite, a prophet of of Allah? The the fact that Joseph, as we understand it, was an Israelite is is not focused on The the concept of the people of Israel is a is a concept in the broader Koranic context, but Joseph is not specifically identified with them. He the the the Quranic story is really about using him as an example of one of Allah’s prophets who provides a model to to the faithful people. Oh, that’s big. So he he his his Israelite identity is not emphasized at all.

Wow. Peter, could you I mean, breaking it down to the maybe the nitty gritty of what’s happening in today’s world. I think one of the questions that I often am asked, and I’d really like to hear your your take on this, is is the Quran a a book of violence or a book of peace? And and those are the 2 categories that people always sort of present the question in. And how would you respond yeah.

Give us the give us the essence of the Quran. And so how would you respond to that? Yes. It it’s tricky, isn’t it? Because, you know, the media the media the media needs to talk in sound bites, so they can’t go into great complex answers.

So they have to boil things down to the lowest common denominator. And unfortunately, the lowest common denominator is far too low to make much sense. I like it. And of course, the the lowest common denominator is that either the Quran is a book of peace or the Quran is a book of violence. I mean, the the bottom line is the Quran is about the size of the New Testament.

It’s got, 6,200 verses roughly. It’s divided into 114 chapters. It represents 2 very significantly different periods of Mohammed’s life, and he played a very different role in those two periods. And so the, you get all sorts of messages coming through in the Quran, and you just can’t boil it down into one sound bite. You can you can find whatever you want in the Quran, and the bottom line is, one of the reasons that Muslims are so diverse today, is because they can find different models from the Quran and its associated literature to follow.

So, you know, you have the ISIS phenomenon. They take a very sort of literalist surface approach to the Quran. And, whereas you find other Muslims who reject the ISIS message, who find different messages in the Quran that they they prioritize, that they promote and so the Quran can actually support a whole range of quite opposite kinds of views. Perhaps I could give you an example of that, please. That would be great.

If you’d well, I mentioned earlier the question of polygamy. There’s a there’s an earlier verse, that, when I say earlier, it comes in chapter 4 in the Quran around verse 3 that says a man can marry 4 wives. So so how is a Muslim to interpret that? Well, some Muslims say well, the verse says a man can marry 4 wives, if he can treat them equally. So it’s simple.

A man can marry 4 wives. And so Muslims that take a very literalist approach to their religion interpret it like that. Other Muslims say, well, that verse, came came down at the time that, there were lots of battles and lots of men were being killed and women needed protection in that society. Therefore, it allowed for women to get protection that they needed. That was back then.

But today, we live in a different world, so the verse doesn’t have direct relevance for today. So in other words, we don’t follow it literally and anyway, a man can’t treat 4 wives equally. So, these Muslims say that actually Islam today does not allow for polygamy. Now they’re quite opposite points of view based on the same verse. And you can have that kind of discussion about a whole range of verses in the Quran.

And I think that’s one of the things that I try to do in in our course in to look at key Quranic verses and associated literature and say, well, how do Muslims interpret these same verses in quite different kinds of ways? Right. So Christians kind of fall fall into that historical, interpretation of whether or not it it it it’s, for us today. So when when, Muslims do that, when they interpret, the Quran, do they have other scriptures that speak into that or other sources that speak into that that support their argument, or is it just, they’re just open in in, interpretation? Well, they do have, there is a whole body of literature that sort of, surrounds the Quran.

And and in fact, the course that that I I run, for CIU is designed it it’s called understanding the Quran. My basic premise is that you can’t understand the Quran simply by reading Quranic verses, but you need to look at the literary context as well. Oh. And, there are, yes, there are there are other elements of literature that open up the Quranic pages to a whole range of different kinds of interpretations and explain why Muslims debate and differ and bitterly argue in some cases over certain, Koranic teachings. And as you say, it’s similar similar to the bible in that, you know, I mean, any sacred text, it can be opened up to should be opened up to interpretation.

How do people interpret the words on the page and different people will interpret them differently? So, Peter, if we’re thinking about this in the context of Christianity, we we obviously, you know, the seminary would emphasize proper hermeneutics, interpreting the bible in light of context, historical context, using commentaries, and and getting at the author’s original intended meaning. Would you say that as Muslims, do interpretation with the Quran that it’s equally complex? I certainly would. And of course, the question of getting at the author’s, original intended meaning, you know, that’s one of the basic questions of hermeneutics, isn’t it?

Right. But but quite simply, sometimes you you you can’t establish that. And so the question becomes, well, how does that text that’s sort of veiled or sort of ambiguous, how does it speak into the world today? And that’s absolutely that’s a question for the Bible. It’s a question for the Quran and they are equally complex.

So what is that process for Muslims? For Christians, I mean, someone could be sitting in their room at night, having a quiet time and come up with a theology and suddenly go to their friends and say, this is what I believe. I don’t necessarily know that I’ve encountered a whole lot of Muslims waking up in the morning having Koranic studies coming up with their own interpretations. So what is sort of the process of interpretations within Islam? Well, the again, it will depend what school of thought you’re coming out from.

Let let’s just take, for example, the very surface based, literalist kind of approach. And and, I mean, to to use a unpleasant example, we think of ISIS at the moment or that that that wing of Islam. They read a verse of the Quran and they say, well, that is God’s word. It is it is unambiguous. It is clear.

So there are certain verses in the Quran that talk about striking the necks of people. So they interpret that to justify beheadings, and we’ve heard the horror stories of beheadings coming out of the Middle East at the moment practiced by groups like ISIS. So they’re inter you know, they they interpret, but their interpretation is very simplistic. It it it it says, well, the words on the page say it, therefore you do it. It full stop.

Right. Other Muslims, as you know, are horrified by what’s going on in the Middle East with all the beheadings, and they say, look, you the Quran should not be interpreted that way. What we need to do is look to see how the schools have thought and how the different scholars have interpreted those verses down the ages and ask the question, how is it relevant for today? And there are, some mosques, for example, where you have scholars who are very rationalist minded, who are very philosophical, who are who are much more sophisticated in their interpretation and they train their people accordingly. So, in a sense, for for the average Muslim, the decision becomes what kind of teacher are they going to follow and that will determine what kind of interpretation interpretative approach they end up following.

Is it gonna be surface meaning, literalism, or is it going to be a more sophisticated, rationalist kind of interpretation that asks the question, what does it mean for today? It’s either backward looking or forward looking. You you mentioned teacher, so it seems like a lot of the the Muslims look to their teachers. How do they get to that point where they have that much respect or or a voice in, in Muslims, even in that just that area or or internationally? Yes.

Well, the the first the first hallmark of respect, I suppose, is knowing the Quran, knowing the Quranic contact, context, having studied the text. Sometimes it involves, being able to, you know, visibly recite the text. Some people memorize the whole text. So that’s the first step of recognition. Beyond that, often that first step is sufficient for the much more simplistic kinds of groups, literalist kinds of groups.

Beyond that, then there are Islamic seminaries, or indeed some mosques run specialist training schools, madrasas, for example. And so Muslims who wanna specialize become recognized specialists in their faith can go and do specialist studies just as we do in the Christian tradition, and they come out with certificates. You can do them online. They’re available in all sorts of traditional ways, but also specialist training to become an Islamic Scholar, a recognized scholar is is available in the most up to date IT online kinds of ways that, you can imagine. So there are all different ways that people can do it.

But the school they choose, the methodologic approach they choose to follow is going to sometimes produce quite different out outcomes. Peter, could you give us an example, maybe that we could draw a connection with Christianity in some of the ways in which Christians have the same sort of problems where there’s sort of the the literalist approach. I mean, would you say that that guys like ISIS would be the ones walking around plucking out their eyes and cutting off their hands because it causes them to sin. Is that the the sort of literalism that we’re talking about? Well, it is the that kind of literalism, but that literalism tends to, others tend to be the victims in the case of ISIS.

Right? Right. Yeah. Yeah. It’s true.

But but yeah. I mean, you know, you can choose any number of verses from the bible, can’t you? For example, is it necessary for for women to cover their heads when they go go go to church on a Sunday? Some would say, well, the Bible says yes, so they do it. Others would say, well, that was that was in the old times.

We’ve moved on really. And, yeah. So you you you can find many verses in the Bible like that. So what do we do when we hear people saying the Quran says that I mean, clearly not Muslim. You know, typically, unfortunately, sometimes they’re they’re evangelical Christians seem to speak the loudest on this, but they speak, as that Islam is so simple.

If you just understood this theory of abrogation, you would understand this. If you just understood what the Quran really says, it means this. How should Christians respond when they hear those sorts of over simplistic interpretations of Islam? Well, I think we have to distinguish between well, we have to see the the in some ways the complementarity between Islam as a system, as a theological well, in some cases, ideological political system Mhmm. And Muslims as people and what they do with those that system and its tools.

To to say that Islam is in its essence, x or y, is is is problematic. I I would want to say, well, if you’re going to talk in those terms, then you need to say that Islam in its essence is x and y and zed and a and b and c. And often, those elements will be contradictory. What’s interesting, where I think the conversation does become valuable is when you ask the question, well, what are Muslims doing with those literary materials? And they’re arriving at quite different conclusions.

So you take you often illustrate a point by taking extremes, and you can take an extreme by using a group like Al Qaeda or ISIS or very literalist groups and holding it against some of the much more modernizing kinds of groups today. And you you look to see what they are doing with their text materials. And you you can only conclude by saying, well, clearly Muslims are doing very different things with their textual materials so there is no one essential summary statement you can make about the essence of Islam because it produces different outcomes. So we have to see Islam in its diversity and it but at the same time, the only other point I would add is we we need to we need to be willing to encompass all those different viewpoints as we look at Islam so we you don’t rule one of them out and that’s where I’m also uncomfortable when you hear people say, oh, ISIS are. You know, they’re distorting the text of Islam.

They’re not real Muslims. Therefore, they’re outside the fold. In a sense, all that does is solve the problem, solve the problem. But it is a problem. There is a problem there in that some Muslims are using their text to reach some fairly problematic conclusions.

So that’s a that’s a big challenge that Muslims have gotta gotta deal with. But, you you don’t solve the challenge by simply excommunicating 1 group who are problematic and saying, therefore, we don’t have a problem. Do you understand what I’m saying? Yeah. It’s complicated.

Well, it’s really interesting because I think within the Muslim community, a lot of people get really upset and they say, why aren’t the moderates standing up and, speaking out against the extremist? And in some ways they are, but they’re not ready to excommunicate because oftentimes I find that Muslims aren’t willing to say who is or who isn’t a Muslim because they don’t even feel like it’s their their place to do so. But, we hear a lot of Christians sort of saying who is in or who isn’t it. And most of the people that’s saying, you know, Islam is a religion of peace, I’m kinda wondering, like, they’re not even part of the Muslim community, yet they’re speaking so boldly and matter of factly about Islam, whether it be peaceful or violent. Yes.

And and that’s not a not a line I take. I I I personally don’t stand up and say Islam is x or Islam is y because, well, for a start I’m not a Muslim. Secondly, I’m aware that, when you look at all the different Muslim methods of engagement with their textual materials, actually Islam Muslims end up being x, y, zed, a, b, and c. So we have to see it in all this diversity and find the debates fascinating. I find the debates within Islam fascinating.

Peter, you mentioned yourself not being a Muslim. Do you feel like that that that Christians do have a role in sort of determining what Islam is or isn’t, or is that something for the Muslim community themselves to work out? Look, at the end of the day, for the Muslim community to work out, I think Christians do have a role in, in listening to the debates, listening to the different voices, and building relationships and partnerships with certain parts of the Muslim community. It’s it’s usually hard for Christians to build friendly relationships with the ISIS members of this world. But, as Yeah.

As the the more, as the more modernizing kinds of Muslims struggle with the ISIS members, I think we should we should do what we can to support and encourage them, but they have to work it out. We can’t work it out for them. As far as textual criticism, it’s I’ve, from what I’ve learned in in bible college is that it’s pretty recent for the bible in the last, 50 years, I guess, where people are starting to look at the Bible, more deeply. Do you find that there’s any textual criticism happening in the Quran, from the Islamic side? Now that’s a very interesting question.

It it it is in its infancy, and in some ways it’s being driven by textual criticism of the Quranic materials by non Muslim scholars who ask who who have learnt from the kinds of textual critical methods developed for the Bible and are asking those same questions of the Quranic materials. Now, the purpose of non Muslim scholars in doing that is not it’s not destructive, they’re not doing it to, you know, pull the Quran apart, but it is very challenging for Muslims. The bottom line is the standard Islamic dogma, the teaching, is that the Quran is God’s word revealed through Mohammed, perfect in every way, with absolute certainty about every dot and every dash and every letter and every word. Now the bottom line is contrary to that viewpoint, there are there is manuscript evidence out there, other historical material that suggests that actually the Quran is an evolved text, just as the Bible is an evolved text. Wow.

That’s very challenging for Muslims, and non Muslim scholars have been pursuing that. And Muslim scholars are beginning to to respond and engage with that, but it’s very much in its infancy. Are they responding out of defense or, genuine curiosity in their own? Both, actually. You’re you’re getting a very defensive response from, what I would call, I suppose, well, not completely literalist, but but people who feel that the foundations of their faith are threatened by such questions, whereas some very very modern kinds of Muslims are reacting out of curiosity and looking at the materials increasingly.

But the we’ve got a long way to go on that on that school. It’s a matter of watching this space. It’s gonna be a very interesting conversation over the next 50 years. Peter, I know that a lot of your your research too deals with the history of Islam. And, I remember you wrote a book.

What was it? Islam in Context. Is there a history of jihad that ties all the way back to, you know, the 7th, 8th, 9th century and that it’s been kind of going all the way forward and it’s just coming to its kind of peak now? Or is this relatively a new idea? I mean, I think that’s a question a lot of people are wondering.

Did jihad just kinda pop up out of nowhere, or has this been been being played out through Islam throughout the centuries? Certainly the latter. The the the history of jihad has been played out from the very time of Mohammed. As for the meaning of jihad, well, you know, we we we hear that there are two meanings. One tends to be military activity.

The other one tends to be internal purification, of of oneself. And that tension has been there from very early on as well. We’ve tended to find that in some parts of Sufism, the idea of jihad being a a question of internal personal struggle has been there since fairly early on. But, certainly, the idea of jihad being a question of military struggle to defend and, in some cases, assert the supremacy of Islam has been there from the very beginning from the from the life of Mohammed. Give us a little bit on Sufism.

And and with that, I’m kinda curious. Are individuals, are they even allowed to kinda have their own personal interpretation? It’s interesting, you know, one one of the questions we look at in in our course is is beyond the Quran, how interpretation came about and how legitimate it was. And what you find is that in the first two to 300 years of Islam, I suppose more literalist kinds of Muslims were very uncomfortable about, interpreting the Quran in any way other than in a strictly literal way. Now, inevitably, you get tensions with that.

Some people are satisfied with they want simple answers. They go to the words on the page. They interpret them literally. That’s their answer. That’s that works for some people.

Other people say, well, you know, there’s more to to life and to this world of spirituality than simply reading pages and interpreting them literally. And and Sufism evolved from very early on, I think, out of a desire and a recognition by some Muslims that, you know, the the bigger questions were not being answered by such simple approaches. Often, the the emergence of Sufism of Sufism was influenced by, mystical, traditions in some parts of the world that were conquered by Muslims such such as Iran and such as India. Right. So in a sense, if you boil down the difference between Sufi and non Sufi Islam, it boils down to the question should, sacred texts be interpreted literally or are there layers to meaning, can it be interpreted much more metaphorically?

That’s the big big tension. And you get that led on to 2 2 clear streams, one very literal stream and one much more metaphorical stream in interpretation. Now you spent a lot of time in Indonesia. One of the questions that just keeps popping up in my mind is that for a Muslim, and this is what I’ve, learned before, is that, they read the Quran in Arabic. Now in Indonesia, they’re speaking Indonesian Bahasa.

Is that correct? Yes. That’s right. And so they’re not reading the the Quran in their, in their own native language. They’re reading it in Arabic.

How do they feel about that, and and how does the, yeah, how do Muslims work together as far as their views on different, regions, and their beliefs? So Yes. The, that touches on the question of translation of the Quran, of the Arabic text of the Quran because, the Quran itself is regarded as being the Arabic text. Any translation of the Quran into other languages is not regarded as the Quran. It’s usually called an interpretation of the Quran.

So Muslims the world over, whether Arab speaking or non Arab speaking, will study the Quran in its Arabic form. But in places like Indonesia and India and so forth, they won’t necessarily be able to, understand the grammar of the of the Arabic. They might know the broad meaning of a verse, but they won’t really understand the language. So they depend a lot on the translated text and, that speak, there were big debates through the years as to whether translation should have happened at all. But certainly in from the 20th century onwards, translation of the Quran into these, what they call interpretations, has been much more common and much more widespread.

And that’s what Indonesian Muslims depend on, that’s what, you know, Bangladeshi Muslims depend on. They depend on translations into their own languages, and then they learn by rote certain key verses of the Quran in Arabic that they need for prayer and so forth. So why why are these referred to as, interpretations rather than translations? Well, I mean, you know what it’s like to translate something. The question is, are you able to absolutely capture in the translated text the the essential and total meaning of the original.

And, you know, sometimes it’s easy to do. Other times, it’s quite difficult. You know, sometimes the original text is ambiguous. Well, how do you ren how do you capture that and put it into the translated text? So you if Muslims believe that the Quran it’s it relates to their view of Quran as scripture.

They believe that it’s God’s word. They don’t believe that it’s word recorded by men that’s inspired. They believe it’s absolutely God’s word. So the divine word as they see it, they’re they’re uncomfortable about a human being translating that into a human language into a a language such as English and so forth because they’re playing with the divine word if they’re worried about what they’re losing. Now when we look at the original text for the Bible, let’s say in Greek, for instance, you’ll find grammatical errors or spellings or, yeah, punctuation.

Is there anything like that in the original, Quran? Good question. Well, it depends what your point of reference is. If if you take a modern Arabic reference grammar, grammar of Modern Standard Arabic, then I could find you verses in the Quran where the Arabic doesn’t seem to quite fit the rules. However, the answer to that would be that the rules of Arabic are not determined by modern grammars, they are determined by the Quran.

So the Arabic of the Quran must be correct. Yeah. It’s interesting, isn’t it? So the Arabic of the Quran by definition is correct and therefore modern grammars need to reflect that. Wow.

That’s so interesting. It’s an interesting one. It’s a very it’s a very high view of scripture. It’s a it’s a it’s a higher view of scripture than than in the case of the bible because we’re willing to allow for there to be sort of, yeah, grammatical problems in in the recorded word that we have today. Whereas in, it’s quite different in the in the case of the Quran.

Now are there any, texts in the Quran that, Muslims have a hard time with because of contradiction, or just, it not fitting with the regular the the general flow of the Quran or the the message of the Quran? Yes. And, earlier Trevor referred to, the concept of abrogation. This again is quite interesting. If we consider that Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed through Muhammad, over a space of, 20 odd years, 22 years.

Now it was revealed over those 22 years according to the the setting of the time, the context of the time. But, of course, context change. So sometimes you find that there are inconsistencies, what appear to be inconsistencies in the Quran, but the answer to that is that, well, actually, Allah revealed verse a in a certain setting but 5 years later there was a different setting and that that, detail needed to be adapted to the new context and that’s why you’ll find differences there. So it’s not actually a contradiction as such. It merely reflects the evolving into, the revelation that took place.

Now, you know, in a sense, we have a kind of theory of abrogation, don’t we, between the old testament and the new the new testament? Right. It’s it’s somewhat similar. Yeah. Hotly debated with all all different theological interpretations even regarding the bible, whether there’s this sort of progressive revelation.

Is there abrogation? And even Christians are having a hard time settling this. But, again, we think Muslims have kinda got it all figured out, and it’s pretty simple. But it sounds just equally complex. Well, I mean, Muslims Muslim scholars generally agree on the concept of abrogation, although some challenge it, but there’s widespread agreement.

But in terms of agreeing on the exact detail of which versus abrogate which, that’s much more contentious. You recently, published a book with John Azuma. Could you tell us a little bit about that book? Yes. It’s called, well, Islam and Christianity on the Edge Talking Points in Christian Muslim Relations into the 21st Century.

John and I were, we served as directors, of the Center for this Islamic Studies and Muslim Christian Relations at the London School of Theology over many years. And, during that time, the center held a series of, seminars, that turned into into papers. And John and I decided through through conversation to, compile those papers into a volume. So the volume that that you’re referring to actually represents the papers that were given, at the London School of Theology between 1997 and 2008, I think, plus a few that are commissioned as well. Now the purpose of the book really is to do what the subtitle says, to provide talking points in Christian Muslim relations, and it talks about all different kinds of issues.

It talks about, the question of jihad. It talks about, issues of textual criticism. It talks about, some of the diversity, the the debates among Muslims. It talks about, Christian methods in engaging with Muslims. It talks about some of the debates among Christians, for example, insider movement debates and so forth.

So so what the book tries to do is to capture some of the big issues, that are talking points in Christian engagement with Islam and to compile it into a into a user friendly volume. Peter, as we wrap it up, I’d I’d really like to know from your perspective, for listeners, as as a as a textualist, as somebody that knows knows the Quran and has studied and dedicated their life to studying Islam, both text and also knowing Muslims as people. What would you encourage listeners when they think about Muslims? You know, what should they take into consideration? And this is where you have to give that media sound bite, unfortunately.

What should we think about Muslims when we think about Muslims? I think I would probably be talking about Muslims rather than Islam. So listeners who don’t have a lot of time to sit down and do the study should engage with Muslims, try and see them in their differences, and not boil it all down into one throwaway line. That that’s excellent. That’s exactly kind of what we try to to, encourage people to do on the show.

Well, doctor Riddell or Peter. Yeah. I told them, Australians, they they go by first name basis. It’s so not natural for us here in the United States. I just wanna call you doctor Riddell, but, But, thank you so much for being on our show.

We really appreciate your time. Well, thank you. It’s an honor to be part of it, actually, and I look forward to working, further with you guys. Yeah. Thanks again.

And, have a wait. I gotta try the Australian accent. Have a good day. Is that was that okay? That was terrible, wasn’t it?

I’ll do I’ll do the best. Thanks, Peter. That was an awesome interview with Peter Riddell. Yeah. And the the music there was actually a Quran recitation competition.

What did you think? It was amazing. I mean, listeners, you can’t see the video. It’s on YouTube, but, and we can actually put it in our show notes. Hopefully, we can put a link there, but, it’s actually a really young kid.

I mean, he looks like 8, 7? Yeah. Probably a 7 or 8 year old boy, Saudi citizen. And that competition is something that they do annually where they’re you’re supposed to have memorized the entire Quran. And so kids come from all over the world to this competition to compete in order to see who is the best reciter out there.

And and Peter said that the Quran is the around the size of the new testament? That’s right. Right? So they memorize the entire thing? Oh, yeah.

Now they don’t recite the entire thing at the competition, do they? You know, I’m not exactly sure about that. If I remember correctly, they will pull out one particular ayat or a verse, and you have to go back to the beginning of the chapter of that book and recite the entire book up till that particular ayat. Wow. Yeah.

We need to confirm that, but if I remember correctly, that’s how it goes. So you do need to have the entire thing memorized. It’s kinda like those exam remember those exams where the professor like, a really good exam is basically you have to know everything, but, really, they’re only gonna ask you one thing. Right. And you don’t know which one it’s gonna be.

That’s right. Right. So you memorize everything. Yep. So, basically, they get up and they recite.

I I think that this is one reason why Muslims argue that the Quran can’t be translated either because if you hear the English text and then you hear side by side the English text and the Arabic text, if I were to recite what that young boy was reciting, you wouldn’t find it nearly as pleasing to the ear. So it’s an aesthetic thing. Well, sir, I I think so. Definitely. Yeah.

His voice was haunting. Yeah. Yeah. Especially with that little little reverb, you know, it must be a giant hall that he’s singing in, but that was pretty amazing. So what what was he singing?

He was that was from, so everything starts with that Bismillah Ar Rahman, in the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, and then he says Yazeen, which is the book, the Surah Yazeen. It says, be be the wise Quran, indeed you, speaking about Mohammed, are from among the messengers on a straight path. This is a revelation exalted in might, the merciful that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they were unaware. Already the word has come into effect upon them. They do not believe.

Indeed, we have put shackles on their necks, and to their chins so that that with their heads kept aloft, we have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them so they do not see. And so it it goes on sort of like this. And, basically, just a summary. It’s about, Mohammed’s prophetic status saying that he is affirmed as a prophet sent by God to, their people. So would you say, like, you know, Christians, we sing songs and we sing a lot of scripture, in our songs, as, as worship to God.

Would you say when these young kids are coming up there and reciting the Quran and singing it that way, would that be a part of their worship? Absolutely. They they look at the so for the Quran, I remember we lived with a a family in South Asia for a while. And the young boy, his name was actually Issa, which means Jesus in the Quran. Wow.

Yeah. They named him Jesus. And his parents were pretty pretty secular, actually. But even though they were secular, Iza still had to do his Quran Quran recitation practice every single day. A teacher would come and teach him to recite, and he didn’t know the words.

He didn’t speak Arabic. He didn’t know Arabic, but he learned to recite the Quran. And they wanna get to the point where they can recite the book, Yazeem, because there is that special blessing sort of associated with being able to recite the text about Mohammed’s prophetic status. Interesting. And so he that must have been so difficult for him.

Yeah. Just every single day not understanding the text and reciting it. Yeah. But, I mean, you know, I remember teaching my son, the apostle’s creed, you know, lord’s prayer, things like that. And there were things he didn’t understand, but I don’t know.

He he still was into it because it was something we were learning together, and I figured later meaning would come. And I think maybe Muslims take that same perspective. They they do think though, a lot of the Muslims that I’ve known would believe that there is a special blessing. I don’t wanna say all Muslims believe this, but there is certainly a large amount of Muslims that believe there’s a blessing associated with the recitation of the Quran. Particularly, certain books have more power and certain chapters have more power than others and more of a blessing, that are associated with them, And so this book, Yazin, is definitely one.

Interesting. So I have I have a story actually with Yazin. Okay. Go ahead. So, Muslim friend asked if I would explain the Quran to them.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Okay. A Muslim asked you.

Yes. A non Muslim. Good friend. Yeah. Yeah.

Okay. Well, because they know that, these are some good friends and they knew that, they were actually surprised how much, we knew about the Quran. And we told them that we had read the Quran, and we’d studied, you know, a good portions of the Quran. I wouldn’t consider myself a chronic scholar by any sense of the imagination. Peter Riddell is.

Which is why he’s on the show. Right. Yeah. And so, you know, this particular Muslim, she just asked one day, would you be willing to help me understand Yazeen? And I was like, oh, boy.

I had never never been asked that by a Muslim. Right. That’s not something you think, you know, comes to mind when you’re gonna enter the conversation with a Muslim. Because there have been so many times where I was, you know, hey, let me share the story from the Bible, and we would talk about the Bible. Or, oh, let me tell you the story from the Bible.

And, you know, she was always very interested, and my wife and I had been talking with her a lot about, you know, Jesus. And then all of a sudden, she comes with the Quran and says, I’d really like you to help me understand this. What do you what do you do? And that’s what would you do, Howard? I’m just kinda curious.

I I know what I did and and I’m I’ll get to that, but I’m kinda curious. What would you do in that situation? It’s tough because you’re coming from a different worldview, faith, obviously. And so when you explain that text you’re gonna come to different conclusions than her. Right.

And she can but she’s having a hard time with the English. Okay? Oh, okay. So she wants She can recite it in Arabic. So she’s talking about intellectually, not so much interpretation.

Well, she wants meaning. Like, what does it mean to be exalted? I mean, that’s a difficult word for, English as a second language. Right. It’s it’s difficult for a lot of Americans.

Yeah. So what is what does it mean to be exalted? What about aloft? Right. You know, what are these shackles?

What does that mean? Why are their heads, You know, and so there is a lot of interpretation going on and and she wanted just basically some explanation here. And how’d you what’d you do? Oh, man. I you know, it was one of those, like, on the spot moments where I literally was praying as she was speaking and asking the lord, like, help me here, you know.

Honestly, get me out of the situation was kinda what I was thinking. I appreciate your honesty. I don’t wanna do this. I don’t wanna teach the Quran. You know, I didn’t sign up for this.

But at the same time, I had spent so much time sharing with her about the bible And something just felt very wrong when somebody was approaching me and just asking me to do something for them that they would really like help with, and I didn’t wanna do it. So as she’s asking and as I’m praying, I just basically said, I can’t really help you as far as giving you explanation because I haven’t studied it myself. You know, I know the bible and I’d rather talk about that. And she said, no. No.

No. I love it when you teach us about the bible. We really appreciate it, but, please, we also want to know about the Quran as well. And I kinda was like, well, maybe you could ask the imam and and the imam doesn’t really talk to the the women that much at the moment or at the moment. That was one question I did have.

Like, you were talking to a woman. Yeah. Yeah. What was the scenario? Was she was she with your wife and you were with other people together?

No. This is a family that I know really well, and the husband, and brother were both home. And so it was, they They didn’t think anything of it? No. No.

It was the the sister, 2 other sisters, a brother, and they’re all interested. What is he gonna say about this chronic verse? Because they all wanna know, and they don’t wanna ask. And so I, you know, I just basically had one of those moments of, alright. I’m just gonna explain the words to them.

I said, well, you read and when there’s a word you don’t understand, I’ll help you understand it. You know, I just thought that would be the the most loving thing I could do Right. And not be a compromise of what I felt uncomfortable with, which was I don’t wanna, like, proselytize the Quran like any teacher about the Quran. Right. And so and I definitely didn’t wanna, like, bash the Quran.

Because you knew that would separate polarize. Yeah. And I and I just don’t I don’t think it’s it’s right to bash, you know, something that she really holds dear and believes wholeheartedly that I’m not gonna just use an opportunity to bash something. And so, yeah, she started asking questions. And as we were reading and then we got to, like, in Yazin, if you go on later, you know, listeners, you can read the book of Yazin, and you’ll eventually get to a place where, it talks about the hellfire.

And I we got to the hellfire, and as we were reading about the hellfire, suddenly, it occurred to me, like, this is a real place in in the Quran and this is a real place for her as a Muslim. And I said, this is terrifying stuff. And she kind of stopped and she said, what do you mean? And I said, this description of the hellfire. I said, it’s it’s terrifying And her response was, well, only for those that are gonna go there.

And I said, well, how do you know who goes and who doesn’t go? And she kinda stopped, and one of the other sisters was, like, well, I know for sure I’m not going. I can’t say for the rest of these, you know, like, pointing to her. Are you serious? Well, she she was joking.

Yeah. She’s laughing, of course. And we’re we’re kinda joking around, but then I’m I’m getting more serious, and I’m like, no. But seriously, guys, what do you think about this? How can you be certain that you yourself won’t spend eternity in the hellfire?

Because it’s a real place according to the Quran. And it’s I actually did a paper on on it in in one of my classes in the undergrad, and it it really was terrifying. They were Yeah. The descriptions are intense. Right.

So much more description of the body, fluid. Right. Wow. So yeah. So I you know?

And then they start saying, well, we won’t go because, you know, we’re good and we are good Muslims. We pray 5 times a day, and they start giving me the list of all the things they do. Right? Right. Okay?

The pillars. Yeah. And all the things. And I said, I said, can we be done with the Quran for a minute and then, talk about this? And they said, sure.

So I set the Quran down and they had brought me some food. So, you know, I knew I wasn’t gonna be reading the Quran anymore so I said, I’m gonna go ahead and eat while we have this discussion. And so I’m starting to eat and I said, you know, this is really good. And Muslims are really good at doing this. And so this is kinda where I learned how to do this.

But I said, this food is is excellent. What is it? And they said, you know, it’s a rice, lamb, curry. I said, what else is in there? I need to know all the ingredients.

And they said, you know, tomato, salt, pepper, you know, and they give me all of the different ingredients and I said, are you sure? That’s everything. And they said, we’re sure. And I said, are you sure? I’m I’m getting a little bit of a hint of pork and they all die die laughing.

They’re, like, rolling on the ground laughing like, you know we would never do that because pork is haram. Right. It’s forbidden. Right. And, I was waiting to see where you’re going with this.

Like, are you messing with it? What No. I had an idea in the head. Yeah. I’m thinking it’s holy spirit broke up.

Because you offended me a little bit, but I don’t know. And they said, you know, we would never do that. I said, why not? And they said, because it’s forbidden. It’s unclean.

And I said, but if if you did, if you had put pork in here, I would be unclean. And they said, yes. Yes. And I said, well, how much? How much pork?

And they said, any. And I said, what about the pan? What if you had just cooked some bacon in a pan and then you use the same pan to make my food? Would that also make me unclean? And they said, yes.

And I said, what about if somebody was just, you know, passing a piece of pork and a drop fell into the dish, would that make it unclean? Yes. Well, how much? The whole the whole dish, it’s unclean. And I said, so I I’m defiling myself by eating even just this one tiny thing.

I’m defiled. Yes. And I stand before God defiled and then absolutely absolutely. And I looked at the youngest one that was joking. I said, are you certain?

Are you certain about that? I’m I’m good and I don’t have to worry about the hell fires. And I kid you not, it was, like, dead silent in the room, straight look at the floor, every single one looked at the floor, and the youngest one first said, I’m not good. I am not good. And it was that moment of realization of I do stand before god defiled.

I do need some way to make this right. And yeah. It was a very, sobering sobering moment. So I I, you know, I’m thankful to God that it was opportunity that actually did come out of looking at the Quran. It’s amazing that that the youngest would admit that.

Yeah. How how old was he or she? Was it a he or she? It was a she. She was 14.

Wow. Yeah. So so aware. Yeah. Well, because they they know and they know each other and they know me and we’ve known each other for a while and Right.

They’re amongst family. They’re not really hiding anything. Yeah. Everyone’s known Everybody’s well aware that we all have at least something in our lives that makes us stand before God not worthy. Wow.

So, anyway, that was one of those, moments of really just I I I think of it as a holy spirit moment of realization that came strangely enough through the book, Yazin. Right. And pork. And pork. That’s a good combined combination.

And pork. Right. And, yeah. So back to Peter, like, I think Peter Riddell with, his knowledge of the Quran, I think that it kinda opens doors, just kinda like in your story. You know, like, if you did not know the Quran, you only knew the Bible, I think there would be a limitation to what they would really understand.

I mean, like, if someone came into me and said, hey. You know, you need to read this holy book from another religion. I would look at it and be interested on that, you know, but it wouldn’t really necessarily pertain to me so deeply. Mhmm. But whenever you open the Quran, right, that’s their book.

Mhmm. And you had this really weird interesting opportunity to be able to teach them about their book. Mhmm. And then whenever you open their eyes and then use the illustration in the everyday life, kind of the relationships that we’re that we’re talking about doing as as a as a show. Right?

You have this amazing opportunity to be able to share and the holy spirit totally capitalizes on that. Mhmm. Well, I think, you know, a lot of people wonder, do I need to that’s a question that we get a lot. Do I need to know the Quran in order to share with Muslims? And the answer is no.

You don’t need to know the Quran. Does it help? Absolutely. Right. God can use anything.

Sure. And and and I don’t necessarily and I’m not advocating here because there’s there’s gonna be naysayers out there, like, you know you know, don’t pick up the Quran and you shouldn’t read it and it’s, you know, inspired by the evil one or whatever. But there are things in the Quran that are most certainly true. I mean, the Quran does testify to Jesus being born of a virgin. Which is pretty amazing.

Pretty amazing. It’s Christmas. Right? Right. It’s Christmas time.

Yeah. You know, that’s important. So we need to do a Chris Christmas show. We need to do a Christmas show. It’ll be the week after Christmas.

We’ll do the Anglican Christmas 12 days, you know. The Anglican. That’s possible. Yeah. You stay out of my denomination.

Okay? Sorry. Alright. But we’ll do some Christmas stuff. Talk about what, Jesus’s birth is in Islam But anyway thinking about the Quran So I’m not advocating that you need the Quran in order to talk to Muslims because I don’t often use the Quran to bridge to Jesus.

I don’t think you even need the bridge with most Muslims. Most Muslims are very open to talking about Jesus. Right. Especially with, you said secular. Is that was the term you were using?

Just people that aren’t, like, so radical or die hard about it. They’re they’re I think they’re more easily open to talk about anything Yeah. When it comes to faith. Absolutely. And and thinking about how much Jesus is referenced in the Quran, thinking about how much of the biblical basis there is for the Quran to even stand, I think it’s important to know because when you talk about things like sin, if you didn’t if you didn’t know the Quran, you might not talk about sin in the concept of defilement.

Okay. Explain. Well, we we talk about sin as in right and wrong, deeds, actions. Right? Right.

But when you read the book of Leviticus, you’re talking about clean and unclean. Yeah. All the time. Well, when you read the book of when you read the Quran, it’s about clean and unclean defilement. And so there’s a there’s a worldview that’s there present within the Quran that if you can see the gospel speaks to it and it uses a certain language.

So that idea of veering from the straight path, veering from the path of Allah, veering from the path of Allah’s guidance, you can talk to a Muslim about have you ever strayed from God’s path and they get it. They know what you’re asking them. Now you might say, have you ever sinned? You know, if you died tonight, would you, you know, give them the 4 spiritual laws? There would be no context.

No context. But have you ever strayed from the path of God’s guidance? Basically, you’re asking them, have you ever not done what the book or the revelation tells you to do with the the things that God has revealed? And the answer is most certainly yes. So it’s not so much, your calling or God’s will.

It’s more than that. It’s strength in the path, not doing, not being, in obedience. Right. Right. And you’re using their language.

Now what I find fascinating is that when you read the church fathers, when you read the the 7th century, 8th century, 6th century, writings of the Christian church Uh-huh. They use the same language. And I think there’s really something there. I wish I had time to do more reading about how we could use the ways in which the church was talking about issues of sin and salvation in the 6th, 7th, 8th century as to be relevant for today dealing with Muslims because they use the same type of language. There’s a religious language of the day, dude.

I think there’s an article there that we could put up on in the plumber center or something like that. That would be really cool. Yeah. Because we have talked about this, you and I, before, just about our different views, our differing views, how kind of, our our doctrine or the way we see certain aspects of our faith has changed from, earlier in church history and how how things have kind of fallen out of favor, and we see things totally different. Like, you know, of course, being American, obviously, this is a oversimplification, but, being more individualistic than, let’s say, a shame based culture, more traditional culture, maybe like in Asia where people are worried about their their household rather than just themselves.

Oh, man. This Sunday, I heard a testimony from an Iraqi Christian. At your church? Yes. Okay.

He’s, studying and, it was fascinating. He’s studying at the local university and he was kinda sharing his testimony about his family members back in Iraq and the suffering that they’re encountering under ISIS, and amazing testimony. But the very first question that was asked to him, from the pastor was, how long have you been a Christian? You you know what his answer was? What?

Well, I was born Christian. In That’s uncomfortable. Yeah. Everybody in the room is like, wait a second. Does he know Jesus?

Can you Does he have a personal relationship? Well, we immediately think about that personal relationship, right, But then he articulated it. He said, well, I was born Christian. I’ve been Christian since I was born because I trace my Christian heritage back 10 generations, and I can name every one of them. Right.

It’s a household thing. But that’s a strong, you know, root of faith. Right. Not something to be like, well, does he personally know? Of course, he personally knows Jesus.

Right. That’s the territory. It’s not even in his mind to have that context. So I personally know Jesus because he doesn’t know Jesus apart from these 10 generations of heritage, which I was just, like, I was amazed. I was impressed.

Right. Very thankful for the way that he articulated. Eye opening. Yeah. For him, it’s like, well, my whole family is Christian because we have been for 10 generations.

Yeah. And then he this is who we are. And then he began to articulate what that meant, and this guy was a die hard believer. He knew the lord intimately intimately, you know, But the way he in which he he worded it was very different. Anyway, when I when I was, you know, thinking about those dealing with, some of the questions we asked Peter, what I found probably most interesting was right at the beginning when he said what drew him into studying the Quran was actually, his own faith and looking at some of the discrepancies within the Quran and then that bringing up questions in his own faith.

And it’s really neat that he is an expert in another religious text, but also brings his own sort of experience from his own religion. And it it makes the other, more rich that he his own faith has been increased through studying another religious text. Right. Yeah. I don’t actually even think of it in terms of that, but I think when you experience okay.

Okay. This is this is me personally, but I love pho. Pho is Vietnamese noodles. Okay? And when I first started eating Vietnamese noodles, I, you know, I thought it was okay, but I would taste it, and I would think, oh, this is really good.

But then, I went to Atlanta, and I had pho in, like, you know, this really famous pho restaurant in Atlanta. Mhmm. And it was infinitely better, and I had no idea because I had no context. You know? So whenever, I went and eat the pho nowadays, I’ve had really good pho, and I can kind of tell whether or not, you know, pho’s, you know, at up you know, the utmost quality or whatever.

So it kinda reminds me, like, when when Peter reads the the Quran, I think his faith in in Christ kind of really give new perspective. Yeah. Probably that maybe he wouldn’t see if he just didn’t have faith at all. He’s just reading this this religious text and and not thinking that. But, anyway, so in terms of, what we’re saying here, I guess, is that it is good to know the Quran.

It is good to know because, you know, you really you’re you’re gaining, I guess, a credibility. If you’re real if you really have a heart for Muslims, and this is maybe something that you want to do, it would be a good thing to to learn the Quran and Quran and be able to speak to people on their own terms. I think I think at least it would give you a platform because Muslims are gonna ask you if you ever read the Quran. Right. Because then they’re like, you know, then what are you what are you telling me about religion?

I think it’s a good question though, especially if we’re speaking negatively about a religion. Exactly. Because you don’t really know. Like when somebody’s like, well, I just don’t like Christians because I think the Bible is this. And it’s like, we’ve ever read it?

And they’re like, well, no. Yeah. Exactly. It it it takes the argument out of your mouth. Yeah.

And, and but I think it’s also really good balance with Trevor. What Trevor was saying was that you don’t need to know the Quran to speak to Muslims. Don’t let that stop you. So it’s kind of like this balanced, you know, like, if you’re really interested, then go for it. Read it.

Read the Quran. We have a lot of translations now. Right? Like you said. Mhmm.

And and, we’re it’s accessible. And then with Muslims, it’s really cool to be able even to use that as a gateway. Like, hey. I’ve been reading the Quran. Really?

You’re a Christian. Yeah. But I’ve been reading the Quran because I’m interested. Can you explain some of these passages to me? I mean, just real quick.

I mean, if you think about it, like, you could be reading the Quran and come across where Jesus, you know, cleanses a leper. And there’s no story. We just know that he could cleanse the leper, that he could give sight to the blind, that he could raise the dead, that he could do all of these amazing things in the Quran, but there’s no context of the story. You could literally just go to your Muslim friend and say, I had no idea that the Quran said so much about Jesus, but also was missing so much of the stories. I know those stories.

Could I share those with you? And Muslims would be so excited to hear. Right. Because it’s filling in the missing pieces. Yeah.

Right. Like, have you ever heard the story where he raises the dead? They’re like, no. Do tell. Yeah.

Please. I’m interested. I’m all ears. I’m I’m always for a a good old dead raising story. I mean, who wouldn’t wanna hear that story?

And so you can tell us as a hero. Issa. Yeah. Yeah. So or Jesus.

Right? But yeah. So, anyway, that’s, that’s our show for this week. Yeah. Again, we are so appreciative of you guys listening and downloading and sending, this on to your friends.

Please, social media, put it out there. Whether you use Twitter or Facebook, just put our put our, link in there. Just, get people to subscribe. And something else that we want people to do is to write reviews. Yeah.

We gotta give a shout out to our first reviewer. Yeah. I was really excited. Someone else. Grace.

We appreciate it. You know, because some of the times we’re wondering, like, how many people are listening? We go and we look at the demographics, and we’re like, woah. Right. There aren’t a bunch of people listening, and then we don’t know what they think.

Yeah. And so when Grace wrote our first review, we don’t know who Grace is, but Grace, we appreciate it. Right. It was not it wasn’t us. We didn’t write it.

Yeah. Trevor didn’t write it. And it was a it was a really good question you asked. So where do I write my comments? Because we keep saying, hey, guys.

Write in. Yeah. And I don’t we’ve ever said where to write in. Right. So, go to and here’s the thing.

We just went to go set this up, and we had some problems. So, hopefully, it’ll be set up by the time this podcast releases sometime tomorrow. But, it’s comments at truthaboutmuslims.com. Comments attruthaboutmuslims.com. Alright.

And, just to say, we have, feature we feature music all over. We get it from SoundCloud and, Creative Commons licensing, but we just gotta mention who they are. So, dj4 is one of the the guys. His track was Break Hands and Comfortable. Hyde, that was the Mumford and Sons sounding, song.

Kama Sama and then Nick Bite. So thank you guys for producing that awesome music, and, we hope you guys enjoyed this podcast. We’ll see you next week. Yeah. I just like the idea of break dancing.

Yeah. Well, I’m not a dancer, but yeah. Okay. Well, we’ll see you guys next week. I’m just thinking break dance fighting, you know, like break it down.

Okay. Oh, Beat Street. Okay. Okay. We’re gone.

Bye. See you later.