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BIK01 - Biblical Investigations of the Koran
A Ministry Course on Biblical Content in the Koran
UNIT 02 - INNER LIMITS: Comparing the Bible and the Koran as BOOKS

046 - DIFFERENCE 7: The Existence of Supplements to Bible and Koran

A final difference between the Bible and the Koran concerns the exclusivity of the Bible and the Koran in the faith and life of Christians and Muslims.

Ever since the Reformation in the 16th century, Bible-based Christians believe that the Bible is all you need. The Protestant Christians abandoned all Christian traditions, which accumulated over the centuries and that still play an important role in e.g. the Roman Catholic Church. Luther summarized this key point with his famous slogan “sola scriptura” or “the Bible alone”. So, we as Bible-based Christians do not obey other books besides the Bible as supplementary Scripture.

In this point Muslims again differ significantly from us Christians. Both Sunnite and Shiite Muslims have additional books besides the Koran, which they obey. These additions are of two kinds: The SIRA, or curriculum vitae, i.e. biography, of the prophet Muhammad; and the HADITH, or the collection of sayings of mostly Muhammad. There are different Siras and different Hadith collections that Muslims live by, depending on which orthodox school they follow. However, the important thing here is that they do not live by the Koran alone, but also by these additional scriptures.

EXAMPLE: the Koran only commands that Muslims should pray three times, in the morning, in the evening and in early nighttime (Sura 11:114). The Sharia today, however, requires every Muslim to pray five times (morning, noon, afternoon, evening and early night). It bases this requirement not only on the Koran, but also on the Sunna, i.e. the example of the life of Muhammad in the Sira and the injunctions he made as collected in the Hadith. In this Sunna you have enjoined not only prayer at the two ends of each day and at night, as the Koran commands, but a total of five prayer times that Muslims must perform.

In such examples you can see that Muslims do not only listen to the Koran, but to other books as well.

NOTE: In our ministry among Muslims this often leads to frustrating situations. When you discuss a certain subject from the Koran with a Muslim, you often find that he or she has a different understanding of the Koran, than the literal sense, which its words suggest.

So, when comparing the Bible with the Koran, you must keep in mind that the specific understanding of Koran verses by Muslims is often deeply influenced by statements or events from the Sunna (Sira and Hadith together). Also, many Muslims do not know Arabic, so they are dependent on the interpretations of the Koran by their teachers, who many times do not follow what the Koran says, but what has become agreed tradition or opportune dogma in the Muslim world.

For us Christians, however, the meaning of the Bible in our faith and lives is exclusively bound to the literal meaning of its words.

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