Modern interpretation of the Quran opens the doors to dissent.
SAN FRANCISCO –-
(PRWEB) June 27, 2013 -- The Quran is the most widely read book in the world but also amongst the least understood. This new book attempts to help readers understand the Quran. One reason for this disconnect is that the Quran is not arranged chronologically (for instance, the first verses to be revealed are placed in Chapter 96), or by subject (different themes intermingle in the same chapter, while often enough discussion on the same subject gets distributed among different chapters). All this makes it a challenge for the uninitiated reader to follow the flow. He must therefore rely on Muslim scholars to interpret the Quran for him, who are not always forthright about the Quran’s message, and on occasion withhold verses that do not support their views. The result is that Muslim audiences frequently remain uninformed on many critical aspects of the Quran. This has allowed myths to develop regarding the Quran, and also about Muhammad, which have little basis in the Quranic text -- for instance, that the Quran is a scientific miracle (when the Quran does not make any such claim), and that Muhammad had miracle powers (whereas the Quran repeatedly refutes the suggestion).
The Quran Speaks is a long overdue analysis of the Quran that seeks to address some of the common myths about Muhammad and about Islam itself. Written pseudonymously by someone who grew up in the Muslim faith, the author, despite not being an academic scholar, brings an analytical and yet different perspective to understanding the Quran today. The book is an attempt to let the Quran speak directly on issues which are of immense interest to Muslims and non-Muslims alike but have been confounded by Muslim scholars, whether deliberately or not. The hope is that a coherent analysis based fundamentally on the Quranic word itself will shatter many of the myths associated with the Quran.
Since the analysis relies fundamentally on the Quranic text itself, it is important to identify reliable translations. The book chooses not one but four highly recognized English translations of the Quran. These are carefully selected too, to represent the entire spectrum from the conservative to the more liberal interpretations of the Quran, and thereby to make the point that when all translators agree (which is the case with an overwhelming majority of verses discussed in the book), one can be confident of capturing the true message of the Quran. On the odd occasion when the translators tend to disagree, the book discusses the disagreement as well.
The question underlying the discussion is: Is the Quran the word of Allah? The book does not answer it squarely, but lets the Quran speak on issues of significant importance. Apart from analyzing a particular Quranic challenge (i.e. were it not from Allah there would be many contradictions in it), and the claim that the Quran is nothing but a scientific miracle, the book also reconstructs Muhammad based entirely on Quranic disclosures. What emerges is a picture quite different from what is generally believed. Relying again on the Quranic text, the book also discusses subjects such as religious tolerance, the role of women in an Islamic society, the Quran’s concept of justice, Muhammad’s treatment of minorities, and even the debated incident of the “Satanic Verses”. It thus enables the reader to form an informed response to the above question.
The overall goal of The Quran Speaks is to promote a world that contains religious divisions, but is undistracted by them. It concludes: "Despite its focus on the Quran, this book would like to be counted as part of the initiative that desires to promote understanding and inclusiveness amongst all religions (not just Islam) regarding differences in human belief systems and cultures. It is written in the belief that humanity has far greater potential than realized—once religious tolerance is universally accepted as the norm. It dreams of a world totally committed to fighting misery, hunger, and disease—a truly wonderful world, undistracted by religious divisions!"
For additional information, please visit http://www.thequranspeaks.net.
The Quran Speaks
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1887-4 320 pages $19.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.
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