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World religion Islam - What is actually in the Koran?
Terrorists refer to the book, but it is also quoted from it at funeral services for victims of terrorism. According to Islamic understanding, the Koran - the word means "reading" - was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by Allah for several years from around 610 AD. Today the Koran is the holy scripture of 1.6 billion Muslims. He is hardly known in the West; nevertheless it is seen by many as a stumbling block in the integration of migrants or as a license to kill. But what is really in the Koran? Or better: What can be read from it? An attempt at enlightenment.
- How is the Koran structured?
Roughly speaking: lengthways. It consists of 114 chapters, the suras, which in turn are divided into verses. The suras are not arranged chronologically or thematically, but lengthwise. The long ones stand in front, the short ones behind.
- How bloodthirsty is the Koran?
Terrorists who want to justify misdeeds quickly find what they are looking for in the Koran: "Kill the idolaters wherever you find them", it says there, 9th sura, verse 5. Nevertheless, the Christian Islam expert Adel Theodor Khoury, born in Lebanon, breaks a lance for the Koran: passages in the text that affirmed violence were created in times of war when Muslims were harassed by enemies. “Most Muslims read the Koran as a call for peace,” he says.
- Is the Bible More Peaceful Than the Quran?
There, too, there are martial passages: "Oh God, you wanted to kill the wicked", it says in Psalm 139. And Christ says: "I did not come to bring peace, but the sword" (Mt 10:34) - a saying that requires interpretation, which most critics of Islam would probably rather assume in Mohammed.
- How do Muslims read the militant passages of the Koran?
Very different. Scholars such as the Shiite theologian Burhanettin Dag from the Islamic Center in Hamburg do not see text passages such as Sura 9.5 as an invitation to violence: "Some verses in the Koran are general, others are time-bound," he says. Sura 9.5 is about the fight against such "idolaters" who would have violated certain contracts in a specific historical situation: "One must not tear such passages out of context," he says. Otherwise one would commit the same mistake as the man in the old Muslim joke: He read in sura 107 “Woe to those who pray” - and promptly stopped praying. He had overlooked the second part of the sentence: "Woe to those who pray who are slack in their prayers."
- How bloodthirsty is the Koran?
Just like terrorists, liberal Muslims can also refer to the Koran: “There is no compulsion to believe,” says Sura 2,257. And there is also a prohibition of killing: “Whoever murders a soul”, it says in sura 5:35, “should be like one who has murdered all of humanity.” However, there is one restriction: the prohibition of killing does not apply to someone who Has committed acts of violence himself - critics of Islam believe that radical Muslims can find a back door to justify attacks on those who think differently.
- Does the Koran say that thieves should have their hands cut off?
Yes, in sura 5, verse 42: "Cut off their hands as a reward for their deeds." However, even states in which the Islamic legal order Sharia is the source of the constitution, often read this today in such a way that criminals are prevented from further theft should be. And in the same passage it also says: "Whoever repents and improves himself after his sin, Allah turns to him too."
- Is the woman oppressed in the Koran?
The Koran was written in a patriarchal culture. In the 4th sura, verse 38, it says: "Men are superior to women." Men are allowed to beat unruly women, polygamy is theoretically allowed. Such passages from the Koran mean hard work for liberal exegetes. Nevertheless, some researchers do not see it quite as gloomy - like Kathrin Klausing from the Institute for Islamic Theology at the University of Osnabrück, who herself converted to Islam and did her doctorate on gender roles in the Koran: She believes that there is a lot to be interpreted if there is 4. Sura means that men should lead women: "Most commentators say that this means a duty to provide financial support."
- Is the Quran for Democracy?
“He is not against democracy,” says the Christian Koran expert Khoury. However, democracy was not an issue at the time of its creation. After all: State affairs should be decided "in consultation". With a little good will, one can read that as the justification for a parliamentary order.
- Why are Muslims so sensitive to images of Muhammad?
There is no explicit ban on images in the Koran, but it has a long tradition in Islam. Behind this is the idea that Allah as the Creator has a monopoly - and that he is so big that a picture cannot capture him: "The ban on images emphasizes the transcendence of God," says the Christian Islam expert Khoury. “The worship of God should not turn into the worship of a statue.” In Judaism and Christianity there are also prohibitions of images, but these have often been less observed in history. In earlier times, for example, Persian illuminators created images of Mohammed, some with a veiled face. Nevertheless, the depiction of the prophet is already considered sacrilege by many Muslims today - not to mention caricatures.
- Are there any denominations in Islam?
There are different beliefs. The Sunnis form the largest of them, whereby the Sunna ("tradition of the Prophet") can be divided into different schools of law. In Iran and Iraq, Shiites are the largest group. They are of the opinion that after the death of Muhammad in 632 it was not Abu Bakr but Muhammad's relative Ali Ibn Abi Talib who should have succeeded the Prophet. Since that time there have been different religious, political and cultural currents in Islam.
- Who teaches Islam in Germany?
According to estimates, around 2000 imams preach in Germany's mosques. Many hardly speak German; In the past, many imams were only sent to Germany by the Turkish religious authority for a few years at a time. But that is about to change: Since 2012, courses in Islamic theology have been set up at universities in Münster / Osnabrück, Tübingen, Frankfurt / Gießen and Nuremberg / Erlangen. The approximately four million Muslims in Germany will in future be increasingly taught by imams and religion teachers trained in Germany. Experts see the establishment of a “Euro-Islam” as a milestone for integration.
- Can you convert to Islam?
It's simple: You just have to pronounce your creed with conviction, preferably in front of at least two witnesses and in a mosque: “There is no true God but Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet of God.” After that, you should live according to the rules of Islam . The opposite way is more problematic: Although the Koran itself does not provide for a punishment in this world for apostasy, there are Islamic schools of law and states in which it is the death penalty.
- What does the Koran say about other religions?
Jews and Christians are "people of the book" in Islam. In the early days of Islam, they were regarded as subjects of protection (“dhimmis”) of Muslims who were tolerated. According to Islamic doctrine, these book religions are based on originally divine revelations, but these have been falsified by their followers over the years. Jesus ("Isa Ibn Maryam") is venerated in the Koran as an important prophet, as the son of the Virgin Mary who healed the sick and raised the dead (Sura 5,110) - but not as the Son of God.
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