Ramadan through the eyes of a non-Muslim - Day 24

Ramadan through the eyes of a non-Muslim - Day 24
Until this first Ramadan, I had never taken the time to actually read through the text of the Holy Quran.

Until this first Ramadan, I had never taken the time to actually read through the text of the Holy Quran.



By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Published: Sat 11 Jul 2015, 4:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 May 2017, 5:36 PM

Most non-Muslims will probably never take much time to read the Holy Quran or listen to a Muslim prayer. There is no real need, and in a religiously tolerant country such as the UAE, we are not expected to. Nor, of course, would a Muslim be expected to sit through Sunday Mass in our own countries. But the holy month of Ramadan provides those of us who are curious an opportunity to be exposed to the text.
Aside from providing insight into the religion of the region, a glance at the text of the Holy Quran helps understand the laws and culture of the country. Islam is, of course, the state religion of the Emirates, from which laws and regulations are derived. But from a non-religious perspective, it can also be seen as a historically relevant document describing the early days of Arabia.
In the West - at least in my experience - the history of Islam is often overlooked. It's almost assumed that after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) appears, an Islamic empire emerges almost immediately, stretching from Cordoba to the subcontinent. This, of course, is not true.
Some of the Sura (chapters) of the 21st Juz (equal portion of the Holy Quran) which would have been said at Taraweeh prayers a few nights ago, for example, provides a great deal of insight into the geopolitics of the region in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
"The Romans have been vanquished in the neighbouring land and within a few years after their defeat, they shall be victorious. And it will be the day when the believers will rejoice in the victory granted by Allah," reads a portion of the text.
This, it turns out, is a reference to the struggle at the time between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire - which the Byzantines were badly losing. This was occurring roughly at the same time as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was being oppressed in Makkah and migrated to Madinah.
By 628 AD, however, the Byzantines led by the Emperor Heraclius had forced the Sassanids to capitulate, the same year as the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah between Madinah and Makkah, which allowed the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers to return to Makkah on a peaceful pilgrimage.
Until this first Ramadan, I had never taken the time to actually read through the text of the Holy Quran. But I'm glad I did. It has provided me with historical background which remains relevant in the region to this day.
bernd@khaleejtimes.com


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