I am a Christian pastor who works as a collegiate minister with the Virginia Baptists at Virginia Commonwealth University. One of my areas of vocational interest and spiritual work is Christian-Muslim relations, including text-centered dialogues or conversations. During Ramadan 2011, I read through the entire Qur'an, in English, via Tarif Khalidi's 2008 translation (Penguin Books). What follows is a personal, meditative rendering of the Qur'an portion of the day. This rendering is devotional in nature, not scholarly. And it comes in the form of textual observations, spiritual reflections, theological questions or poetic responses.
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Day 25 || Reading: Qur'an 41:47 - 45:37
Rendering from Qur'an 42:24
Reading the Qur'an all the way through, during Ramadan, has been an invaluable way for this deeply committed Christian to allow this book's themes to wash up onto the daily shore of the mind. In the process, something of the highly repetitive nature of the Qur'an comes across.
One of the oft-repeated recitations in the Qur'an is the proverbial-sounding wisdom from the verse above: He knows full well what lies within breasts (Khalidi translation).
The phrase, if we are truly to hear it, maintains the distinct quality of an ominous message passed along by a dutiful warn-er. God's intimate knowledge of us -- if we stop the rat-race long enough, if we unplug long enough, if we search our breast long enough -- is as terrifying as it is comforting.