Using the Qur’an

Some Muslims really love the Qur’an, so at times I will quote it.  However, there are two rules I prescribe to in using it.  First, although it can be a great tool, it is never necessary to use the Qur’an.  For example, many Muslims are ready to simply start reading the Bible, so if this is the case just go straight there.  Discovering how ready a Muslim is to read the Bible simply requires getting to know them.  If a Muslim is ready to talk about spiritual things and doesn’t get into the differences between Islam and Christianity right away, perhaps they are open to reading the Bible.

To be perfectly honest, I would much rather go straight to the Bible and not even use the Qur’an, but some Muslims will only open the Bible if we open the Qur’an with it.  In these situations we need to take our Muslim friends where they are at, so if I need to read some of the Qur’an with them I am happy to do so.  I sum, it’s best to think of the Qur’an as an optional resource and not as a mandatory textbook.

The second rule it to never attack the Qur’an or demean it in any way.  The listener will almost assuredly take attacking Islamic beliefs of any sort personally, and it is extremely rare to see a person come to faith while attacking them.  Yes, some Muslims enjoy debate and are actually seeking truth through it, but I have found this to be very uncommon.  As mentioned in other places on this site, Muslims often value honor more than truth.  Therefore, even if we can prove something about the Qur’an that Muslims don’t like, the fact that we dishonored them in the process will likely have them reject what we said anyway.  It is often best to simply share the truth and avoid attacking wrong belief.  The Good News should ultimately restore honor and not remove it.

One danger in learning how to use the Qur’an is using it when you don’t need to.  For example, if a Muslim doesn’t really care about the Qur’an then quoting it is of little value.  We need to assess how important it is in the life of our friend, and again this may simply take some time as we get to know them.  One way to assess this is to ask ourselves, “Will quoting the Qur’an make the truth I want to convey more meaningful for my friend?”  If not, then skip it.

Sometimes Christians learn how to use the Qur’an and begin to use it as a default.  The problem here is that instead of enhancing the conversation we are actually becoming prideful and just showing off what we know.  In this case, Muslims are not nearly as impressed with us as we are with ourselves, and this does nothing to impact their heart.  A Christian with great knowledge of the Qur’an may even look suspicious, so care needs to be taken in finding the best time and content to share.

With these rules in mind, a responsible use of the Qur’an can be a huge help.  For example, when I share the kingdom circles I say how the greatest desire in my life is to be on God’s straight path and then say, “I’ve heard that Muslims are looking to be on God’s straight path too.”  This is a concept from Proverbs 3:6 and from the first passage of the Qur’an (The Opening 1:6) which is a prayer asking God to “show us the straight path”.  Virtually every time I’ve started a spiritual conversation in this way it has drawn my friend in and allows me to ask, “what do you think that straight path is?”  By referencing a concept from the Qur’an we are entering their world in a relevant way and speaking about something they long for.

Another way I quote the Qur’an directly is in defending what I believe.  For example, many Muslims tell Christians that the Bible has been corrupted.  The funny thing is, the Qur’an is actually quite clear that the opposite it true.  Muslims believe that God gave four books, the first three make up much of the Bible and the last is the Qur’an, yet the Qur’an says that all of these books are from God and that God protects them.  So when a Muslims tells me this I sometimes say as humbly as I can “I really don’t know much about the Qur’an, but I really like where I’ve read that all of the books are from God and that God protects them.”  One example of this is from Jonah 10:64 “No change can there be in the words of God”, but I don’t quote this from memory as most Muslims know the Qur’an says this.  Communicating this with as much kindness as possible I often find my friend will change the subject, but I also know I’ve pointed out something to him that will keep him thinking!

In sum, I believe it is absolutely acceptable to quote the Qur’an as long as it is done in a responsible and humble way.  We don’t need to endorse all of it, but we can find select portions and agree with that specific nugget of truth.  One way to do this is to say, “I don’t know much about the Qur’an, but I like how it says this.”  If a person doesn’t want to use it in any way then it’s simple, don’t do it!  There are so many stories from the Bible in the Qur’an that just by telling these stories we will grab the attention of our friend and help them see the work of God through Jesus in a whole new and beautiful way!

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