The blessing of Islamic Korans during Sunday's regular worship services at Irvine United Congregational Church will go on despite a Florida pastor announcing he has canceled plans to burn copies of the Muslim holy book on Saturday, the anniversary of the 9-11.
The counter-demonstration falls in line with the Irvine church's "Just Peace" stance, a view that holds devout Muslims and Christians build relationships with the same God, that Islam's practices and holy scripture are therefore worthy of honor, and that United Church of Christ followers stand with Muslims who find themselves and their faith assaulted and disparaged. (Find out more at ucc.org.)
This sinner has another reason to honor the Koran: there's some great stuff in there. This is being discovered thanks to a copy of the holy book sent by a kind Texas woman as part of a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) program to educate journalists about Islam. Indeed, my Koran is one heavy book, both spiritually and literally. If it toppled over, it would easily crush the Old and New Testaments it resides next to in my bookcase.
There's a long way for this pagan reader to go, but some passages have already stood out. Keep in mind these are presented totally out-of-context and that religious scholars warn some things are lost in Arabic-to-English translations.Verily, those who have attained faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians* - all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds - shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.
*Sabians were apparently a monotheistic religious group intermediate between Jews and Christians.
[A] paradise vast as the heavens and earth . . . has been readied for the God-conscious (3:133) who spend [in his way] in time of plenty and in time of hardship, and hold in check their anger, and pardon their fellow-men because God loves the doers of good; (3:134)Unto every community have We appointed [different] ways of worship, which they ought to observe. Hence, [O believer,] do not let those [who follow other ways than thine] draw thee into disputes on this score, but summon [them all] unto thy Sustainer: for, behold, thou art indeed on the right way.
(22: 67)And if they [try to] argue with thee, say [only]: "God knows best what you are doing."
(22:68)[But] it may well be that God will bring about [mutual] affection between you [O believers] and some of those whom you [now] face as enemies: for, God is infinite in His power - and God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
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Make due allowance for man's nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right; and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant.** (7:199)
**It took every fiber in my being not to type after ignorant, "especially redneck Florida preachers."
Peace be with you.