247: Tuesday Quiz: Can you recognize the words of the Quran?

his week, for the start of Ramadan and the debut of our landmark new online series, SharingRamadan.info — we’re exploring the intriguing question: “How different do ‘we‘ look?”
    We’re drawing parallels between our diverse spiritual experiences that may, at first glance, seem very different from each other. (Come back tomorrow, for example, for an intriguing look at one particular Hindu tradition that has had a significant impact on American life.)
    TODAY, our Tuesday Quiz challenges you to distinguish passages from the Quran and the Bible. This is similar to an earlier ReadTheSpirit quiz that still is popular with readers, “The Bible or the Bard,” in which people had to sort out the words of Shakespeare from the words of the Bible.
    Below, you will find 10 short texts. You have to determine whether the words are from English translations of the Quran, the Bible, Both  — or Neither. So, you’ve got four choices today.
    (Please understand that Muslims believe the Quran was revealed by God in Arabic and anything short of the original language of the Quran loses something in the translation. But millions of Muslims regularly read the Quran in translation, so we are showing no disrespect here in offering some English versions below.)


Are they from: Quran, Bible, Both — or Neither?

1.) For those who believe and work righteousness there is every blessing and a beautiful place of return for eternity.

2.) If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.

3.) God helps those who help themselves.

4.) We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, all evidence of the truth and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Yet is it ever so that when there comes to you a messenger from God that you do not desire, you grow arrogant and some messengers you disbelieve and some you slay?

5.) Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God has chosen thee and made thee pure and hath raised thee above all the women of the world.”

6.) True piety does not consist of turning your faces towards the east or the west — but the truly pious believes in God and the Last Day and the angels and revelation and the prophets; and spends his substance — however much he himself may cherish — upon kinsfolk and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and the freeing of human beings from bondage.

7.) “O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in this garden, and eat freely thereof, both of you, whatever you wish; but do not approach this one tree, lest you become wrongdoers.”

8.) Behold, God requires justice, and the doing of good, and generosity toward one’s fellow men.

9.) Moses prayed for water for his people and We replied, “Strike the rock with thy staff!” Whereupon 12 springs gushed forth from it, so that all the people knew where to drink.

10.) The Day when they will hear a mighty Blast in truth: That will be the Day of Resurrection.

WHEN YOU’VE GOT YOUR ANSWERS — if you’re taking this quiz online, then you can click on the link below to have the answers pop up. If you’re taking the quiz via our daily Email service, then the answers are next — so don’t peek until you’re ready.


    First of all — give yourself some leeway today in scoring this quiz and interpreting the answers. Today’s quiz is a glimpse at many of the parallels between the Quran and the Bible, so most of today’s passages are echoed in both sacred texts — in terms of the essence of what is conveyed (with one notable exception).
    To be more specific, though, all of today’s passages are taken from English translations of the Quran (except one). If you’re among our readers who like really challenging quizzes — you can grade yourself more strictly following the answers we’ve provided.


1.) Quran — from Chapter 13, Verse 29. (However, this is close to a number of biblical passages, including Psalm 15, which asks, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? The one who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”

2.) Quran — from Chapter 5, Verse 32. (This famous line is repeated frequently these days by the millions of Muslims who condemn terrorism. It shows up in the Don Cheadle movie, “Traitor,” as well — haunting Cheadle’s character for the rest of his life, because he is Muslim and knows the sacred value that Islam places on each human life.)

3.) Neither. (But this line frequently shows up in quizzes about “religious literacy,” because more than half of respondents think this line is part of biblical wisdom. It’s not. Most of the world’s great religious traditions rest upon building compassionate community — not going it alone.)

4.) Quran — from Chapter 2, Verse 87. (Islam highly reveres Jesus. The Quran, in passages like these, echoes themes and phrases that also are sprinkled through the New Testament.)

5.) Both. (In the Quran, look at Chapter 3, Verse 42. In the Bible, look at Luke 1, Verse 28.) Islam takes a very high view of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

6.) Quran — from Chapter 2, Verse 177. (There are similar passages elsewhere in the Quran as well. And, yes, this does sound a lot like the biblical teachings in Isaiah, Jeremiah and the New Testament that measure our faith by the way we treat the hungry, the orphan, the widow, the stranger and the prisoner.)

7.) Quran — from Chapter 2, Verse 25. (Again, it’s very close to Genesis 2, Verses 16 to 17, but there are distinctive differences, including the chronology of the biblical story. In this portion of the Genesis creation story — Eve isn’t created when Adam is warned about the tree. In the Quran, God warns both of them at the same time.)

8.) Quran — from Chapter 16, Verse 90. (Very close, though, to Micah’s famous verse 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”

9.) Quran — from Chapter 2:60. (Of course, this is the same ancient story recalled in the Bible of God telling Moses to produce water by striking the rock. The Quran specifies that the striking of the rock produced 12 springs — one for each of the 12 tribes. In accounts from Numbers and Exodus, the striking of the rock — and the reference to 12 springs — appear in different parts of Moses’ story. So, as in most of these answers today, you can be flexible in counting yourself “right” or “wrong.”)

10.) Both (In the Quran, look at Chapter 50, Verse 42. In the Bible, look at 1 Corinthians 15, Verse 52. The English words differ slightly, but this is essentially the same poetic vision of the final days. Corinthians says: “In a moment … at the last trump: For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

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