So what does the Koran say?
September 14, 2001 8:20 PM   Subscribe

So what does the Koran say? After hearing the Imam Muzammil H. Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America read from the Koran and pray at this morning's prayer service at the National Cathedral, I was sincerely moved. I also realized just how little I knew about the teachings of Islam. I found this beautiful piece of free online Koran software tonight. I'm going to do some reading, and enlighten myself.
posted by (15 comments total)
A very fine translation, beautifully laid out.
posted by EngineBeak at 10:35 PM on September 14, 2001

i could be wrong, but according to the faith, any translation of the koran means that it is no longer the direct word of god, and therefore invalid.
posted by afx114 at 11:35 PM on September 14, 2001

Thanks for the link tpoh (although I must say your username is the sneakiest self-link I've seen on MeFi so far!).

Though I'm not particularly Christian, I was going to reread the Bible again soon anyway, and so I think I'll have another bash at the Quran too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:05 AM on September 15, 2001

I've read the Koran, and I've read the Bible. Neither advocates terrorism. Any work of allegorical fiction can be interpreted in scary ways, I guess. (not meaning to offend those who view these works as gospel rather than fiction - that is just my own view.)
posted by sixdifferentways at 1:04 AM on September 15, 2001

The Humanities Text Intitiative is a site I have found useful.
posted by bjgeiger at 1:42 AM on September 15, 2001

afx114 - a translation is not the original word of God as no translator can hope to grasp the same style and cohesion that the Qu'ran has, but it can help in understanding the faith. What was the last Yiddish bible you saw? In the hadith it is stated that it is the Qu'rans right to be read in arabic, as it is a beautiful piece of prose - many thousands have memorized it completely thanks to the unity of style it has and the way it flows, but it is also the Qu'rans right to be understood.

To fully understand it though, it should not be read in isolation, but ideally in context - ie with the hadith (teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (especially the bukhari and muslim hadiths)).

The problem comes when it is read out of context.. But thats the same for most things, right? The human mind has a wonderful way of twisting even the most beautiful to its own ends..
posted by Mossy at 4:08 AM on September 15, 2001

Point of information, Mossy - the books that Jews call the bible are in Hebrew, with commentary in Hebrew and Aramaic. Yiddish didn't exist until the expulsion of Jews from medieval Germany. In what we now call Judaism, it is not sufficient to read the books, you need the commentary as well - and many rabbis have said that prayers should only be said in Hebrew, because the sages chose the words for their special resonance and effect on the spiritual world. So we think alike on this point :)

How many Christians know the Greek of the gospels?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:39 AM on September 15, 2001

Reacting to the recent atrocities by studying the Koran and commenting it on it approvingly is bizarre. I wonder how many Muslims used the Crusades as an opportunity to brush up on the Bible?

The belief system of our enemies, insofar as it is responsible for, or a justification for, their actions, might be of marginal interest but the actions -- the horrible actions -- are what matter. And if the actions are in opposition to the religion's tenets it is even less pertinent.

I am an atheist, so I take neither book seriously. On the other hand, I would never deny that there is some literary or even philosophical value in them. But the merits of the books are irrelevant in this context. The point is, what kind of psychology or set of priorities induces one to put this at the top of his to-do list at a time like this?
posted by mw at 5:55 AM on September 15, 2001

I should add that I say this not just in response to this single post but because I have seen the same sentiment in various other places.
posted by mw at 6:01 AM on September 15, 2001

"The point is, what kind of psychology or set of priorities induces one to put this at the top of his to-do list at a time like this?"

I hadn't really thought about it, mw, but since you ask, I reckon it's the kind of psychology that is horrified by people attacking citizens of middle eastern descent on the streets, and would like by whatever small action in their personal life they can make to educate themselves so that perhaps they can play a part in making sure that sort of thing doesn't happen anymore.

Self-advertising it in a thread, as I get the impression you think myself and others have done, is a wank, if it's intended in the vein of 'Look how evenhanded and wonderful I am.'

I didn't intend my comment about reading the Quran again in that way.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 AM on September 15, 2001

i_am_joe's_spleen (interesting name btw :) Thank you for the correction, silly mistake I shouldn't have made ::bows head in apology::

I doubt comparitive religion is foremost in most people's psyche - with understanding comes the peace. Right now, there has been an increasing amount of violence in America because people lump all muslims in one big terrorist category. Reading the Qu'ran is a good way of checking for yourself whether this is true - you said that this shouldn't be on the top of anyone's to-do list. I would say that learning about other people is a vital thing to do lest we fall subject to prejudice - I try and learn about Judaism and Christianity from my Jewish and Christian acquaintances whenever I can.

And it goes some way to helping my sorry state of not knowing everything..
posted by Mossy at 6:44 AM on September 15, 2001

mw: to follow your line of argument, it's because "know thy enemy" goes back to Sun-Tzu:

Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy. Next best is to disrupt his alliances by diplomacy. The next best is to attack his army. And the worst policy is to attack cities.

To follow my line of argument, it's the same motivation that allows people to appreciate that Jerry Fallwell speaks for himself, and not for Christianity.
posted by holgate at 7:32 AM on September 15, 2001

72 virgins. That's all I have to say.
posted by aaronshaf at 9:57 AM on September 15, 2001

my 1st post - after lurking for a long time - and hopefully I'm wrong here.. but after downloading the online Koran software mentioned in the original post I've picked up a backdoor.trojan virus.

I'm pretty sure it's from this source as I'd just done a clean install of windows 2K.

I could be wrong - maybe someone else who's dlled it could run a check.
posted by jiroczech at 4:59 PM on September 16, 2001

ok so my 1st post was a stupid one.. guess I was caught up in a post September the 11th fervour or something 'cos the virus had nothing to do with the online Koran.


It was hidden in a copy of Steingberg's Sonar that I downloaded via Morpheus (for a mate, honsest). Serves me right for not installing anti-virus stuff 1st.

I'll get me coat.
posted by jiroczech at 4:41 AM on September 25, 2001

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