“There are no 72 virgins in the Quran. That idea only came into being 300 years later, and most Islamic scholars see it as the equivalent of people with wings sitting on clouds and strumming harps.” — Lesley Hazelton
Much appreciation to my friend and teacher Tom O’Brien (whose New Testament Bible Study Course just started up again at Bethesda-by-the-Sea) for recommending this wonderful video of Lesley Hazelton’s 9-minute talk so aptly described at the TED site:
“Lesley Hazleton sat down one day to read the Koran. And what she found — as a non-Muslim, a self-identified ‘tourist’ in the Islamic holy book — wasn’t what she expected. With serious scholarship and warm humor, Hazleton shares the grace, flexibility and mystery she found, in this myth-debunking talk from TEDxRainier.”
I know nothing of this amazing lady beyond what I saw and heard in the video. And what I learned from following the TED-provided links. Such as her accidentaltheologist.com site, where I’d love to spend more time.
But I’ve already taken to quoting this self-described agnostic Jew. In part because, as I’ve been known to say, I love hearing my own spirituality coming back at me in different language.
Question: In the video, Ms. Hazelton describes the opening chapter of the Quran, Al Fatihah (literally, “The Opening”), as a combination of The Lord’s Prayer and … what sounds like a Hebrew title that I can’t quite hear clearly.
I can ask her, of course, but who else might help me with that? First one gets a free year’s subscription here at InterFaith21.com
ADDENDUM. Our Dear Lady, Lesley Hazelton, was first to respond:
“Greetings and many thanks for the kind words, which came bouncing back to me this morning on the ‘dashboard’ of the Accidental Theologist –
“What I was referring to is indeed Hebrew: the Shema Israel, the central declaration of faith in Judaism (“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”). And the way the Fatiha is used in Islam — the frequency and variety of its use, that is — does indeed give it the status of the Lord’s Prayer and the Shema combined.
“Here’s to arcing, graceful bridges — Lesley H.”
— C.B. Hanif