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Are You Closer to Muhammad than to Jesus?

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Last summer, the University of Birmingham announced a startling discovery: two manuscript pages carefully stitched into an ancient copy of the Qur’an in the university library proved to be older than the remainder of the document. Carbon dating of the two sheepskin pages revealed that the sheep was likely alive during Muhammad’s lifetime—thus the scribe could possibly have been listening to the Prophet as he wrote. The researchers also noted that the text on the two pages is essentially the same as more modern copies of the same pages, suggesting that the Qur’an has remained a consistent document through the ages.The discovery is controversial: the ink on the sheepskin may be more modern than the sheep; Nevertheless, the discovery gives more immediacy to a tantalizing story: A camel merchant named Muhammad goes into a cave and hears a voice. Initially he fears he has lost his mind. His colleagues, however, see the wisdom of God in the words. They write them down, the text goes viral, and today these very same words influence the lives of the majority of the people in over 50 countries and almost 25 perc …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.


This entry is tagged with:
IslamChristianityHistoryReligionSacred Texts

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