Can we learn the Koran online anywhere

IslamHow Muslims Read the Koran

"As is customary, you learn the translation of the standard verses that you recite in prayer. And over time, the words are memorized and you can easily make connections on your own. But these days the Koran is very good Translated into many languages, and that is mostly used by Muslims. "

This young woman is not an isolated case: many Muslims read the Koran but do not understand it in the original and therefore have to resort to translations. The reason: the Koran is originally written in Arabic, a very complex language as the Islamic theologian Hureyre Kam knows:

"Where you have hundreds of terms for a phenomenon. Then these terms are not only used for one phenomenon, but also have many different levels and dimensions within themselves. That means the Arabic language is extremely complex. That is why it is It is not at all surprising that a native speaker Arab, even if he has studied, does not understand the Koran straight away. "

"You have to put yourself in the shoes of the time"

That means: Even for people who have learned the Arabic language from an early age, the Koran is difficult to understand, as the Islamic scholar Katajun Amirpur from the University of Cologne confirms.

"Even if he is a native Arabic speaker, that is a form of Arabic that one does not know. In that sense, they do not understand it. Persians, Indonesians and Turks don't understand anything anyway."

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Because: The Koran is an old text, revealed in the 7th century. At that time a different language was used, says the Muslim theologian Hamideh Mohagheghi. What makes reading difficult:

"That means you have to put yourself in the shoes of the world of that time, why are there so certain images in the Koran that have no meaning at all for us today. But it must have had a meaning for the people back then. And therefore you have to somehow get closer to these world views of the time in order to be able to understand a little what the Koran then wants to convey with it. Without it, it does not work, and without the Arabic language no one can say that I have complete access to the Koran and understand what's in it. If you want to seriously deal with the content of the Koran, you need - and not the modern Arabic, but the Koran Arabic - that is, the ancient Arabic language in order to really understand it. "

The Koran does not tell any stringent stories

The Koran uses a complicated language in the original, and the structure is not easy to understand because it is not told in a coherent way. His reading is therefore not comparable to reading the Bible.

"Because this narrative style, which is then so in the Koran, is different from the Bible, in that these stories are not told in one place and one after the other in the form of a complete story. That is, if you talk about Abraham in the Koran want to find, you cannot open a section, Abraham, and then read the whole story from beginning to end, but with the help of concordance you have to extract the passages about Abraham from the Koran, put them together and then practically build up a story that spreads is told in the Koran.

The lawyer, Islamic theologian and religious scholar Hamideh Mohagheghi (University of Paderborn)

There is also a reason for this, because the stories in the Koran are not something completely new or completely different, but of course the Koran refers to the previous books, to the Torah and the Gospels, and assumes that then the stories were known to the people. And then you just take parts out of the stories in order to get a message across. Therefore it is not the intention of the Koran to tell stories, but that is what it presupposes. "

"The divine calm descends on you"

In addition, the Koran was not initially intended as a text. Rather, it is a collection of situational revelations that have been recorded. The Koran was only published as a text decades after the first revelation. And it is primarily a listening experience: His message can be experienced through hearing, because God speaks to people, according to the Muslim view. Hence the meaning of the word Koran in Arabic: "Qur’an", which means: recitation. And the effect can only be done in Arabic to achieve the spiritual effect. Katajun Amirpur:

"The point is that when you hear a Quran recitation, of course preferably by a really good reciter, then you feel a certain form of calm: Sakina. The divine calm descends on you and you get a different approach to your Creator, and then what is actually in the text doesn't really matter at all, it's about being able to say that it was just beautiful. "

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And for this it is not absolutely necessary to understand what you hear. The effect also unfolds in this way - even with non-Muslims.

"During my time in Hamburg I took my students with me to the Imam Ali Mosque in Hamburg every semester. And there you have a wonderful Koran reciter who just read the text. Of course, my students did not understand what was being said, so what the real content of the text is, but they have developed a sense of what kind of spiritual moment it is. "

A repetition of the revelation

Yet many Muslims read the Koran without understanding it. Then what do they get from reading? The theologian Serdar Kurnaz from the Free University of Berlin explains:

"This is a spiritual situation, that you recite what the Prophet Mohammed received from God and proclaimed, so you basically play through the revelation situation for yourself over and over again and experience the revelation situation, so to speak. That is what you do with the Muslims too something to be heard and recited in the original wording yourself. "

And so you keep seeing Muslims reading the Koran, for example in mosques. It is often older men who sit on the floor and recite the Koran in a low voice.

"Especially in the older generation, they do not claim to understand the Koran, that is not at all obvious to them. Well, they only claim that you understand the Koran in such a way that you say, I am reciting it now Koran, because the prophet said one should read a page every day, I do that too, I get an otherworldly reward for every letter. That interests them. And it interests them that they read the word of God at all and experience the word of God, although they don't understand that. It's a completely different approach to the Koran than what we have today. So, we have more of an intellectual approach, they have more of a spiritual approach. "

Imams are not perfect exegetes either

And besides that, there are always special occasions for Muslims to read the Koran, as a Muslim woman says:

"That actually depends on the situation. Sometimes you just make it a routine, as you know it more or less from your own parents' childhood, and then there are occasions like the Friday prayer, where it is simply included again or other special ones Occasions like Ramadan or the Id celebrations. "

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But how can Muslims then learn to understand the Koran? The Muslim clergy are particularly in demand here - Serdar Kurnaz:

"If you have studied Koranic exegesis and have studied theology and have also mastered Arabic, that would also be imams, for example, who can take on this task, in addition to proven Koran exegesis or theologians who deal with Koran exegesis. Because the imams also do that If they have direct contact with the community, they must also enjoy a certain training in order to be able to deal with such passages and to be able to reproduce this complexity. "

"The ancient is the beautiful thing about it all"

In the Islamic world, but also in Germany, there are the so-called Koran schools. Is the reading of the Koran taught there? The theologian Serdar Kurnaz qualifies:

"You only learn to recite it correctly in Arabic and to correctly speak the letters that are in Arabic. And what you also learn is that you can recite the Koran in a beautiful way with a melody."

Katajun Amirpur underlines the spiritual effect of the recitation of the Koran (imago images / ARD)

The Koran is a complicated text in the original. But there are also translations in dozens of languages. Couldn't this be used to understand the Koran? Because: The Bible is no longer read in its original language, but has been translated. Yes, according to Islamic scholar Katajun Amirpur, but the spiritual effect only unfolds in the original

"That would be theoretically possible, but I wouldn't suggest it. Exactly this ancient thing is the beautiful thing about it all. And it is really a great spiritual experience when you hear the Koran. And this form of spiritual experience is only possible if you Arabic retains what the Koran has. "

It doesn't help: in the end, Muslims have to learn the language of the Koran in order to understand it.