Monday, December 30, 2013

Rings in the Qur’an

Carl Ernst at the University of North Carolina has written on a book about the Qur’an: How to Read the Qur’an: A New Guide, with Select Translations.
... for his book Ernst tackled sura 60, the 13-verse passage that some scholars say was pasted together from separate pieces of revelation. 
“It was even better than I imagined,” Ernst says. When viewed as a ring composition, the contradictory verses make sense. The outer verses refer to warfare against enemies and to Abraham’s battle with idol worshipers. But at the very center of the passage—verse number seven— is where the sura’s core message appears:
“Perhaps it may be possible for God to create affection between you and your enemies.”
“It’s just so striking,” Ernst says. “And when you see it in the middle of a conflict that leads you to the center, you have to say, that’s quite remarkable.”

These verses have been well-studied and cherished by mainstream Muslims for centuries; religious pluralism is not a new notion for them. But today, as Islamist radicals aim to divide the believers of the God of Abraham, Ernst and others are providing strong evidence that religious pluralism is at the heart of the Qur’an. It’s not one sentiment among equals. “It is literally showing up as a central theme,” Ernst says.

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