A recent article in Christianity Today, "Should Christians Read the Qur'an?", gave three different perspectives on the question of whether Christians should be advised to read the Quran. The first author gave a categorical “no.” The second author gave a qualified “yes” — if it helps us in our witness to Muslims. The third author also gave us a qualified “yes,” if it emphasizes the differences. (To read the article see: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/should-christians-read-quran.html.)
This is certainly an important question as 1.6 billion people in the world today follow to varying degrees the teachings of the Quran (along with the Hadith). I have read the Quran twice now and can tell you it is not an easy read. But should we read the Quran? I say yes.
I would agree with the last two authors who wrote that reading the Quran helps us in our witness as well as understanding the differences between the Quran and the Bible. But I would go further and say that reading the Quran can actually help us to grow in our Christian faith. The Quran, as a post-Christian document, forces us to think our theology through clearly. For example, what does it mean to believe that God is One, yet exists in three persons? Understanding the Islamic idea of monotheism helps me to better understand a Trinitarian idea of monotheism.
In Islam, God (Allah) has many of the same qualities and characteristics that we attribute to the God of the Bible. He is merciful and compassionate. However, before Allah created angels, or Adam and Eve, he had no one with whom he could express his mercy and compassion. He existed alone, with no outlet for his attributes. The beauty and mystery of the Trinity is that God has always had an opportunity to express his attributes within Himself. Even before He created any other creatures, God’s attributes of mercy and compassion were expressed in the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father. The Trinity means that God has always had an outlet for his attributes and always will.
Proverbs 27:17 says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Could not that apply to an inter-faith setting as well?
What are your views on this topic?