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Write an Essay that compare and contrasts the Koran to the Bible, both in terms of its ideas and in terms of its literary style.

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The Bible and the Koran: Ideas and Literary Style
Both Christianity and Islam possess a body of holy writings known as the Bible and the Koran respectively, and which are believed to be divinely inspired and prescriptive for the faith and life of the believers. The Bible consists of the Old and New Testaments, which comprise thirty-nine books and twenty-seven books respectively (Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians add more books to the Old Testament) while the Koran, which is believed to God’s word spoken verbatim to Prophet Muhammad, consists of 114 chapters (surahs) and 6,000 verses (ayat). Similar to the Bible, the Koran has inspired an extensive library of exposition, interpretation, and commentary. The Koran has references to more than fifty events and persons also found in the Bible. However, it is also imperative to note that many of the stories contained in the Bible are noticeably missing in the Koran. While the ideas and literary techniques employed in each book are comparable in most respects, certain differences emerge. Often, ideas in the Koran tend to focus on the spiritual or moral significance of events instead of the details. The similarities between the Koranic and Biblical accounts of events and persons offer proof of the influence of preexistent traditions in the writing of both books.
The Bible and the Koran have some similarities. First, both the Bible and the Koran share a common idea of the oneness of God, the magnificent and awe-inspiring creator.

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The shunning of idolatry is inherent in the Ten Commandments, which dictate that there should be “no other gods before me” while the shahada in the Koran talks of “no god but God” (George 45). Both texts communicate the idea that idolatry is to be shunned at all costs, and that the one and only God demands complete loyalty. However, it is important to note that while both the books champion the idea of monotheism, unlike the Bible, which brings the doctrine of monotheism into question by introducing the doctrine of Trinity, the Koran precisely and concisely enunciates the existence, one God. Trinity refers to a doctrine contained in the Bible that contends that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate Gods, and are one, as well. In other words, while the idea of monotheism as communicated by the Koran is Unitarian, the Biblical monotheism is Trinitarian. The Koran considers the act of assigning equals or partners to God an unpardonable sin and formally rejects the concept of Trinity expressed in the Bible.
The concept of creation as portrayed in the Bible and the Koran are also similar. According to both books, God created the first human being from dust or mud and was named Adam, the Hebrew name for earth (Lawall 39). Both books hold that God breathed His spirit into man, thereby giving him life. The Koran talks of how God gave man striking forms while according to the Bible, God blessed man and saw what he had created to be good. However, there are slight differences in the manner the idea of creation is portrayed in the two books. While the Bible holds that God created both men and women in his image, the Koran gives a more abstract concept of God by holding that nobody can resemble or be like God, even though all humans must return to God upon death. Also, both books consider man as God’s appointed concierge on earth, and he is to preside wisely over God’s creation. In other words, man has both extraordinary power and extraordinary responsibility concerning the rest of creation. In the Koran, God explains his intention to create man to the angels, who are dismayed and caution God that men are likely to use their powers towards violent ends. God creates Adam and instructs the angels to bow to him, to which all angels, except one called ‘Iblis’ (the Devil), oblige. The devil’s disobedience causes him to be expelled from paradise, an idea that is also contained in the Bible, which holds that Satan fell from heaven after disobeying God.
The ideas of the Last Day and the Last Judgment can also be found in both the Bible and the Koran. In the Bible, the idea can be found in both the Old and New Testament and attains its pinnacle in the articulate language of Revelation. In the books of Daniel and Isaiah, the Prophets receive visions of the final days. Similarly, the book of Revelation is the result of the vision of John, and the related passages are the prophetic words attributed to Jesus Christ. Similar to the Bible, the Last Day is mentioned many times in the Koran, with some Suras describing several aspects, including The Folding Up, the Day of Noise, The Convulsion, and Clamor. For instance, at the end of Sura 5 (109 – 119), there is the mention of the discussion that will occur between God and his prophets on the Last Day (Judgment Day), which is meant to benefit erring people and make them change their ways (Ernst 194). However, there are significant differences between the idea of the Last Day as communicated in the Bible and the accounts given in the Koran. The Bible characterizes the last day as being filled with disasters, plagues, and contamination of seas while the Koran hardly talks about any plague or disease, save for more general descriptions that refer to people causing their moral disease.
Unlike the Bible, the Koran teaches that God is all-forgiving (Al-Ghafur) and is the source of forgiveness (Ghufran). The Koran holds that God has endowed every individual with intellect and that children are exempt from responsibility because their intellect is underdeveloped (Zulfiqar 64). Similarly, those who are insane cannot be held responsible because they lack intellectual capacity. In this manner, the Koran deviates markedly from the Biblical idea of “inherent depravity” (Perry and George 248). However, similar to the Bible, the Koran speaks of two elements of forgiveness, namely divine forgiveness (forgiveness by God) and human forgiveness. According to the two books, both are needed because humans do wrong in relating to God, as well as in relating to each other. About literary style, in contrast to the Bible, the Koran does not provide a cohesive account of creation. Rather than providing a continuous narration, it offers passages that are strewn all over the book that provide information on the sequential events that mark its development. Therefore, gaining a clear understanding of the events presented in the book requires the reader to bring together the various fragments strewn all through the many suras. The scattering of teachings and ideas throughout the Book is not restricted to the concept of creation only. Some important subjects, such as celestial or earthly occurrences, are also treated in a similar manner.
Both the Bible and the Koran use stories to give moral lessons. An example is the story of Joseph in both books. The Biblical and the Koranic stories of Joseph are largely similar. However, differences abound and may be documented. Aside from the differences in length between the two stories and the style of narration and information provided, it may be argued that the purpose of the story in the two books is different. While the biblical account places emphasis on the historical, national, and theological contexts, the Koran focuses exclusively on the theological context. The Bible contains numerous other stories, among others, the story of flooding in the book of Genesis, as well as the story of Jesus healing a blind man, resurrecting Lazarus. Similarly, the Koran also employs storytelling as a literary technique. Examples of stories in the Koran include the story of Qarun (Korah), the story of Saba’ (Sheba), the story of the Heifer, as well as the story of Abel and Cain (Habil and Qabil), which is also found in the Bible. Both the Bible and the Koran consist of poetry, teachings, and narratives, with most narratives containing the same figures and events. Muslims consider the Koran the final, inimitable, and authentic expression of God’s word passed to humankind through Prophet Muhammad. Conversely, Christians believe that God spoke to various prophets, but brought his Son, Jesus, to save humankind. Therefore, while the two books have certain similarities, the differences are also substantial. As noted before, the similarities between the Koranic and Biblical accounts of events and persons offer proof of the influence of preexistent traditions in the writing of both books.

Works Cited
Ernst, Carl W. How to Read the Qurʼan: A New Guide, with Select Translations. Chapel Hill, NC: the University of North Carolina Press, 2011. Print.

George, Timothy. Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?: Understanding the Differences between Christianity and Islam. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002. Print.
Lawall, Sarah N. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.
Lodahl, Michael E. Claiming Abraham: Reading the Bible and the Qur’an Side by Side. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2010. Print.
Zulfiqar, Muhammad. Fast According to the Quran & Sunnah. Riyadh, SA: Darussalam, 2011. Print.

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