Lightning photo: Courtesy of Michael Bath <www.lightningphotography.com>
In spite of errors and an incomplete view of God's revelation, the Koran has spiritual value to the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. In reading it, I was impressed by the number of times Muhammad makes reference to the Signs of Allah perceived in Nature and History which point to Allah's Presence, Power, Action and Judgment. Very little reference is made to the laws of nature. What he stresses is the awareness of Allah's presence, power and action in the world which should lead to faith, worship and praise. It is He who turn day into night so we may repose. It is Allah who moved the clouds to bring rain upon the "dead" land. He teaches the bee to build cells for habitation in trees. It is He who who's lightning lights up the sky bringing fear and hope. At times, he calls us to realize that even when we think we are the cause of something, Allah is involved.
see the seed that you sow in the ground?
Is it you who
causes it to grow, or are We the Cause?"
For Signs of Allah's judgment upon mankind Muhammad points his hearers to Biblical and non-biblical events in history, to the story of Noah, Lot, Moses, Ad and Thamud which he sums up thus:
generations before you when they did wrong:
their messengers came to them with
but they would
Thus do we requite those who sin." (Surah 10:13)
In the Koran we find many expressions for the name Allah or his attributes. For example, the
All-knowing, knower "Such is He, the Knower of all things, hidden and open, the Exulted (in power), the Merciful...." (Surah 32:6)
Islam uses 99 names although there are more. Muhammad began to establish regular prayer for Islam because this restrains from sin and he says that the remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing in life. He encouraged his followers to remember the name of the Lord so as to devote one's life to Him whole-heartedly. (Surah 12:8) The use of prayer beads helps focus one's attention even as Catholics use the Rosary. This is Islam's way to remember and pray to Allah considered as the Creator of Heaven and Earth. This is unlike the Rosary which is a prayer in remembrance of the Mysteries of Christ, a prayer through Mary to the Redeemer of the World.
In the Koran the reader will also find guidance on how to live according to God's will.
"And remember We took a Covenant from the children of Israel (to the effect): worship none but Allah; treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphan and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and practice regular charity." (Sura 2:83) Islam, to a great extent, upholds the natural law. It condemns abortion and homosexuality and encourages the good of the family. However, it allows divorce and up to four wives for those who can afford them. In this it fails to uphold the design of God from the beginning. Christ told the Jews that even thought Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, it was not so from the beginning, that is, in the intrinsic relationship between man and woman.
In reading the Koran one is constantly reminded that the destiny of man transcend this world. Man is destined to live on after death and to face Allah's Judgment, Heaven or Hell. In Muhammad's view of the Last Judgment Allah (God) is the Judge. Christians here agree with an important clarification that the judgment of mankind on the Last Day will come through God's only Son in his transfigured human nature who is now already seated in glory as Judge. Everyone who has passed into the world beyond is immediately judged but since mankind is still been created, it is not yet the Final Judgment.
that is on earth will parish:
will abide (forever) the Face of the Lord, --
of Majesty, Bounty and Honor."
And the only face of God we shall see
with our bodily eyes will be
the Face of Christ.