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hongi
08-05-2006, 09:28 AM
These are some questions from an athiest. I know very, very, very, very little about Islam and I've decided to get a move on.

1) I've heard that Islam and Judaism both do not explicitly refer to God by name. Is this true?

2) What are madrassahs (sp?) and what do they teach?

3) I'm reading the Quran through the internet and already I've come across a word I do not know. In the first line of Al-Baqara, there are these three words: Alif Lam Mim. What do they mean?

4) How do you refer to the Quran's verses? For example, in Christianity, I say Matthew 23:17 when I want to specify a verse.

Thank you.
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lolwatever
08-05-2006, 09:41 AM
Heya hongi :)

1) Not true.. God is called Allah in arabic.. and we call him directly with that name...

2) Madrassah's is an arabic word for school... commonly refer to Islamic schools.. they teach Quran and Hadith etc.

3) They are 3 letters from the arabic language, only Allah knows they're meaning, very cryptic, no human knows what they eman.. there's quite a few chapters that start with letters like taht... :)

4) Yep, so Alif Lam mim would be "Baqarah verse 1" or.. "2: 1" (Baqarah= chapter 2, verse 1 )

take care all the best :)
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Muhammad
08-05-2006, 09:57 AM
Hello hongi,

Firstly, welcome to the forum and thank you for your interest in Islam :). I'll just add to what the brother above has stated:

1) I've heard that Islam and Judaism both do not explicitly refer to God by name. Is this true?
In Islam, we do refer to God by name, and we believe He has 99 beautiful names, any of which can be chosen to invoke Him by. You will find Him commonly referred to as 'Allaah'. The Jewish perspective has been explained here.

3) I'm reading the Quran through the internet and already I've come across a word I do not know. In the first line of Al-Baqara, there are these three words: Alif Lam Mim. What do they mean?
These are letters that only Allaah knows the exact meaning of, and are one of the miracles of the Qur'an in that they demonstrate a kind of eloquence in the Arabic language and a challenge.

In another thread, I noticed you were looking for an english translation of the Qur'an. There are many sites which allow you to read the Qur'an online or download it, as well as have it delivered to your house. See this thread for a discussion of which translations are good: http://www.islamicboard.com/educatio...ou-prefer.html

Peace.
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hongi
08-06-2006, 08:03 AM
Originally Posted by lolwatever
Heya hongi :)
Hello! Thank you so much for helping me. :D

1) Not true.. God is called Allah in arabic.. and we call him directly with that name...
Well, I'll bag out my friend who told me differently. It's better to come straight to the source.
2) Madrassah's is an arabic word for school... commonly refer to Islamic schools.. they teach Quran and Hadith etc.
I've seen them on T.V. Students read the Quran out-loud and rock back on forth. It can also get quite loud. I have a few more questions about madrassahs. If you only learn about Islam there, does that mean students go to two seperate schools? One to learn maths, science, etc and the other to learn the Quran?

Also, why do people rock back and forth when reading the Quran? I've seen Jews do this on the Western Wall.
3) They are 3 letters from the arabic language, only Allah knows they're meaning, very cryptic, no human knows what they eman.. there's quite a few chapters that start with letters like taht... :)
Intriguing...I love good mysteries. :)

4) Yep, so Alif Lam mim would be "Baqarah verse 1" or.. "2: 1" (Baqarah= chapter 2, verse 1 )
Then what are suras?

take care all the best
You too.

Hello hongi,

Firstly, welcome to the forum and thank you for your interest in Islam . I'll just add to what the brother above has state
It should be a crime to not learn about other people. We should all appreciate the differences that make us unique.

In Islam, we do refer to God by name, and we believe He has 99 beautiful names, any of which can be chosen to invoke Him by. You will find Him commonly referred to as 'Allaah'. The Jewish perspective has been explained here.
Thank you Muhammad, I now know better.
These are letters that only Allaah knows the exact meaning of, and are one of the miracles of the Qur'an in that they demonstrate a kind of eloquence in the Arabic language and a challenge.
Speaking of the Arabic language, I've heard that it is a special language for Muslims in that it is a divinely crafted language. Is this true? Can you understand the Quran without learning Arabic, or do you lose some of the meaning along the way?

In another thread, I noticed you were looking for an english translation of the Qur'an. There are many sites which allow you to read the Qur'an online or download it, as well as have it delivered to your house. See this thread for a discussion of which translations are good: http://www.islamicboard.com/educatio...ou-prefer.html
Thank you Muhammad. I am using the Quran in wikipedia, which uses Yusaf Ali's translation. I am finding it an intriguing read, although I wish I could hold it in my hands! Reading it on the computer screen just doesn't feel right.

Also, are you allowed to read the Quran in your spare time? Or do you have allocated periods of time during the day where you are allowed to read it? I guess I'm asking whether the Quran can be read 'recreationally' or in periods of rest.

I realise these are a lot of questions and I apologise, but I've got so many! I have chosen Studies of Religion for my Year 11 class, so I look forward to learning more about Islam soon...are we atheists allowed to visit a mosque?
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lolwatever
08-06-2006, 08:21 AM
Hello! Thank you so much for helping me. :D
lol no worries dude, anytime ;)

I've seen them on T.V. Students read the Quran out-loud and rock back on forth. It can also get quite loud. I have a few more questions about madrassahs. If you only learn about Islam there, does that mean students go to two seperate schools? One to learn maths, science, etc and the other to learn the Quran?

Also, why do people rock back and forth when reading the Quran? I've seen Jews do this on the Western Wall.
hehe well yeh people tend to go two two madrasah (madrasah just mean school in arabic, but the west uses it to refer to islamic schools only)... generally kids would go to an Islamic school which teaches secular as well as a bit of quran.. and then they go to 'saturday/sunday' schools which specialise in quran and Islamic studies... that's how it is here atleast :)

about rocking back and forth.. yeh that's very odd i agree.. there's nothing to suggset the prophet or companions use to rock back and forth.. i think its a tradition that Muslims probably picked up from... somewhere.. soemhow.. lol

Then what are suras?
Well hehe, i tried to keep it simple... for some reason non Muslims refer to Fatiha/Baqarah etc as 'Chapters', and the "individual verses" as verses...

But really... The Quran is divided into 30 chapters (roughly speaking divide 640 pages by 30 and that gives you rough idea of number of pages a chapter would contain)

and then in each of these chapters, are Surahs (so fro example.. chapter 1 (the first 30 pages of quran) contains surat fatiha, surat baqarah etc... and within these surats, are verses (e.g. verse 1 surat baqarah= Alif lam meem) etc)

so yeh.. but most non-Muslim people just tend to refer to surahs as "chapters".. no idea why :D

btw, sorry for intruding into Muhammad's territory hehe.. but regarding Arabic, it is a special language, i don't know if it's been divinely crafted, however.. it is an Islamic obligation on every muslim to learn it in order to have direct access to the sources (Quran and Hadith)... hence it's intersting to note that majority of the greatest scholars of Muslims where non Arabs, yet they where extremely masterful and proficient in the language :)

take care all the best! (feel free 2 ask if nething else comes 2mind)
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Muhammad
08-06-2006, 11:00 AM
Hello again,


Originally Posted by hongi
It should be a crime to not learn about other people. We should all appreciate the differences that make us unique.
Indeed, it is important to learn about others to understand them better :).

If you only learn about Islam there, does that mean students go to two seperate schools? One to learn maths, science, etc and the other to learn the Quran?
Those students which cannot go to Islamic schools attend normal state schools like everyone else, and might attend the madressah after school if not on weekends. It depends on the type of community I suppose.

Then what are suras?
Sorry for adding confusion, but I think an easier way to understand this would be to say that surahs are chapters of varying length in the Qur'an and there are 114 of them. The Qur'an has been divided into various portions, for example sevenths and thirtieths, to aid in its completion in certain amounts of time - a week, month etc.

Speaking of the Arabic language, I've heard that it is a special language for Muslims in that it is a divinely crafted language. Is this true? Can you understand the Quran without learning Arabic, or do you lose some of the meaning along the way?
Arabic is a very powerful and comprehensive language, and the reason it is special to Muslims is because it was the language in which the Qur'an was revealed. Although the basic meanings of the Qur'an can be grasped through a translation, Inevitably, some of the meaning of the Qur'an is lost through its translation into another language, since we believe the Arabic Qur'an is the actual words of God, whereas the translation is merely the words of a human interpreter. Thus the beauty, eloquence and rhythm of the Qur'an cannot be appreciated in this form.

Also, are you allowed to read the Quran in your spare time? Or do you have allocated periods of time during the day where you are allowed to read it? I guess I'm asking whether the Quran can be read 'recreationally' or in periods of rest.
The Qur'an can be read at any time of the day or night - as Muslims, we are encouraged to read it as much as possible due to the mercy and blessings contained in the Qur'an as well as the vital message it conveys.

I realise these are a lot of questions and I apologise, but I've got so many! I have chosen Studies of Religion for my Year 11 class, so I look forward to learning more about Islam soon...are we atheists allowed to visit a mosque?
There's no need to apologise - we are very happy to be able to assist you in learning about Islam :). Yes, you can visit a Mosque to learn more about Islam - perhaps you can arrange something with someone in your area.

If you live in the US, you may be able to get a free Qur'an from here, although I don't know which translation they will give.

Peace.
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