|-- Eleven --|
|Few people read the Bible from beginning to end.
Many people read the Qur'an from beginning to end, often.
Few people read the Bible from beginning to end. The various different types of books in the Bible are intended for different uses. The songs of rejoicing in the Book of Psalms are not intended to be used in the same way as the lists of commandments in Deuteronomy, or the histories of kings, or the extended genealogies.
Nowadays, the Catholic Church encourages its adherents to read the entire Bible, and there is a growing Bible study movement among Catholics. In previous centuries, however, active measures were taken to prevent reading of the Bible. John Wycliffe, a fourteenth-century translator of the Bible into English — the first such translator — is still listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia as a "heretic" and following his death his writings were condemned, his books were burned, his bones were dug up and removed from consecrated ground, and laws were passed against translating the Bible without permission and against reading it in public.
One of the most significant developments of the Reformation was Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German so that the average person could read it, or understand it when it is read.
Many people read the Qur'an from beginning to end, often. The Arabic word "qur'aan" means "reading material" — from the root "qara'a" ("he read" or "he recited"). The first word of the revelation was "iqra'" — the command, "Read!" From the beginning, the Qur'an was recited from memory and written down, then read and memorized and recited from memory.
It was the practice of the Prophet to recite the entire Qur'an from memory during Ramadan, the month of fasting, so that Gabriel, who brought him the revelations, could check its accuracy. (In the Qur'an, Gabriel — Jibreel, in Arabic — who also came to Mary, as Christians know, is also called the "Holy Spirit" and the "Spirit of Truth.")
It is still the custom of Muslims worldwide to hear the entire Qur'an recited during special evening prayers, called "taraaweeh," in the month of Ramadan, every year. Many Muslims read the entire Qur'an several times a year, throughout their lives.
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