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New book answers challenge issued by Islam’s holy book

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–For nearly 1,400 years, challenges to the Qur’an and its claims of divine origin and purity have been few, far between and, when necessary, forcibly silenced. Now Islam’s holy book is facing a new challenge — “The True Furqan,” a 368-page book mirroring the Qur’an, or Koran, in language and style, but challenging its teachings and divine authority.
“We believe that our Muslim friends — numbering more than 1 billion mostly in 39 countries — have not received the true message of the gospel,” said Al-Mahdy, a member of the executive committee of Project Omega 2001, which released The True Furqan in April. “Furqan” is synonymous with Qur’an.
The hardcover book was delivered to Muslim countries’ embassies in Paris on April 17 and to various entities in London such as the BBC on April 20. On May 15, it was delivered to Arabic, Hebrew and English periodicals in Jerusalem and, during the week of May 17, to Arabic periodicals in London.
“The purpose of The True Furqan is a tool of evangelism, because so far we have not found a breakthrough way to reach the Muslim world for Christ,” Al-Mahdy said. “We have tried medicine, schools, books, movies and many other methods.
“There has not been a classical Arabic translation of the Bible that Muslims would consider reading,” he continued. “They make fun of the one translated into their spoken language because they consider it of lesser quality.” Quality and style of language is a source of pride for Arabic people, whose classical written language is one of the most difficult in the world. Muslims claim the writings of the Qur’an are powerful as relayed in perfect classical Arabic, a rich language of words which often have no equivalent in any other language to fully express their meaning.
Now, The True Furqan not only presents the gospel message in classical Arabic, but moreover, it seeks to become a key to reaching the Muslim world for Christ by answering a 1,400-year-old challenge from the Qur’an:
“Say: ‘If the whole/ of mankind and Jinns/ Were to gather together/ to produce the like/ of this Qur’an they could not produce/ the like thereof, even if/ They backed each other/ With help and support’“ (The Holy Qur’an, Surah 17:88).
“The Qur’an challenged the world to produce a book like it,” said Al-Mahdy. “In fact, the Muslim world bases its entire religion on this challenge. But no one has tried it because they would be beheaded or banished. Even Taha Hussain, a well-known Egyptian scholar and writer of this century, was threatened with death if he attempted it. No literary document has surfaced in 1,400 years as a response to the challenge.”
Until now.
Al-Mahdy said The True Furqan will be a breakthrough to Muslims not only because it answers the Qur’an’s challenge, but because it also questions many of the Qur’an’s teachings, as well as presenting the gospel message, all in the language Muslims revere — powerful, perfect, classical Arabic.
“Muslims will want to see a book that accepts the Qur’an’s challenge,” said Al-Mahdy. “Then the evidence presented against the Qur’an will shake their foundation. They will seek a more solid base.
“And the gospel message in The True Furqan will provide it.”
An Internet site — http://members.xoom.com/TrueFurqan — is scheduled to be opened during the week of May 31 relaying various parts of The True Furqan. Orders for the book, at $19.99 including postage, can be sent to Project Omega 2001, P.O. Box 293627, Sacramento, CA 95829.
The Qur’an of the seventh century was formulated over 23 years by Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. “The True Furqan took only seven years,” Al-Mahdy said, adding that the new book also relays its message with eloquent English alongside the classical Arabic.
In answering the Qur’anic challenge, The True Furqan is written in both prose and poetry like the Qur’an, with the same style of articulation. It is divided into surahs or chapters, just like the Qur’an, dealing with 77 theological themes, such as Peace, The Messiah, The Triune God, The Crucifixion, Women, Fasting, and Prayer, which challenge the Qur’an’s teachings and present the gospel. Each surah begins, “In the Name of the Father, the Word, the Holy Spirit, the One and Only True God,” an echo of the Koran’s “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”
“The style, language and power is exactly like the Qur’an,” said Al-Mahdy. “But whereas the Qur’an has 100 linguistic and grammatical mistakes, The True Furqan will have none.”
In 1988, Salman Rushdie published his fictional novel, “The Satanic Verses,” a work stereotyping Islam, its prophet, its people and way of life. The Ayatollah Khomeni, leader of the Iranian revolution and the target of a fiercely satirical portrait in the novel, responded by calling for the author’s death. Al-Mahdy said Muslim backlash from the release of The True Furqan ultimately may prove even worse. “This book answers the Qur’an’s challenge, which has never been done before, plus it’s a scholarly work, not a novel. The True Furqan contains foundational truths, not jokes.”
(An overview of academic and theological theories about — and challenges to — the Qur’an and Islamic history appeared in the January 1999 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.)
Already, Al-Mahdy has witnessed amazing reactions from Muslims and other Arabic people to The True Farqan. “I spoke with a man from Bangladesh who said he knew classical Arabic, so I recited about six verses of The True Furqan. He beamed and announced that it was the Holy Qur’an. I told him it was the new Holy Qur’an. He jumped out of his seat and screamed, ‘Impossible!’ I said ‘You have just testified to it.’”
For Christians, The True Furqan also raises a question, Al-Mahdy said. “Will the Christian communities throughout the world be prepared to welcome a flood of new converts from Islam into their midst?”

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  • C.S. Arthur