Quran at a Glance

One of the problems of Islam and ironically a key to its success is that its holy book, the Quran is a confusing and tedious book that most people don’t enjoy to read.   Whether you agree with the content of the Bible or not, you can agree that it is a readable book. Its stories are engaging and its lessens and parables are thought provoking. It is written in clear language that anyone can understand. Some of the older translations have outdated language, but even then the book is fun to read.

The Quran is very different. The author of the Quran seems to be very confused, unable to communicate his thoughts coherently and often jumps from one subject to another in the same sentence. Some verses have to be read together to make sense and some have to be split in two or even three. The Quran rambles without making itself clear. The only clear subject in that book is violence. Every other thing is confusing and needs interpretation.

You don’t need a book of interpretation to make sense of the Bible. Despite claiming to be a clear book, easy to understand, clearly explained, and with no doubts in it, Muslims understood that without interpretation the Quran cannot be understood. Hence they wrote several voluminous books of interpretation, explaining it.

Despite claiming that his words are the words of God, Muhammad never paid much attention to collecting and preserving them. In fact after his death when a lot of Muslims were killed in wars Umar became concerned that the Quran which was memorized by these Muslims could be lost forever. He asked Abu Bakr to collect the scattered verses but Abu Bakr was hesitant and said how he could order something the prophet himself never ordered. Eventually he accepted and they called a youth by the name of Zayd ibn Thabit to collect the verses and compile them in a single volume. This young man had no education. He was chosen simply because he could read and write. But it is doubtful that he had ever read a book.

Not knowing how to edit a book chronologically or by subject, he simply collected the verses in suras often arbitrarily.   These verses have no relations with each other. That is why they jump from one subject to another. This project lasted many years and finally was completed during the caliphate of Uthman who decided to compile the book based on the length of the suras.

So the Quran is a book dictated by an illiterate man with no understanding of grammar who is unable to communicate his thoughts coherently and orderly, it is then collected and edited by a youth with no formal education and finally it is compiled without regards to subjects or chronology. As the result the Quran is the most confusing and incoherent book ever written.

The irony is that this has worked to the advantage of Islam. Because it is confusing people assume that it contains hidden wisdom that they don’t understand.

To understand the Quran we need to know the Life of Muhammad. Only then we can know the occasions for which the verses were dictated. But this is simpler said than done, because the books of sira are no less confusing and boring than the Quran. But that is the subject for another article. So learning the biography of Muhammad is a sin qua non in understanding the Quran.

Another thing that partially helps is to recompile the Quran and at least read them chronologically. This does not solve the problem, but helps a lot. I am glad to announce that fortunately one friend has done just that. Now you can read the Quran in its chronological order and not only that, this friend has highlighted the main themes of the Quran. If you are curious to know what this book says and were put off by how it has been compiled, this site is for you. www.koran-at-a-glance.com

However, if you really want to master the Quran you have to read the sira and the best book is my book The Life of Muhammad. Although I write about his life, I mention the Quranic verses that he dictated in each situation.

Ali Sina

Ali Sina is the author of Understanding Muhammad and Muslims.

12 Responses

  1. Az Akh says:

    @ A.H. because it is very likely Walter has not even read or studied the Quran properly and is brainwashed by anti Islamic propaganda just like this one.

    I have read the Quran several times and it is clear that God advocates righteousness and forbids evil, it is repeated time and time again.

    No God condones the killing of innocent people, but evil cowards like Isis have distorted the great religion of Islam and hijacked it for their own sick agenda.

    I found the majority of the Quran very easy to understand especially when referring to God’s Laws and Commandments such as condemning murder, aggression, oppression, rape, usury, suicide, adultery, dishonesty, fornication, theft, alcohol/drugs, back biting even bad language is discouraged.

    I suggest you read quranix.org it has clear and good translations of the Quran.

  2. A.H. says:

    “Walter you got it wrong. You quote out of context verses”.

    How do you know he is wrong. Are you an infallible interpreter of the quran?

    Each text or book can be interpreted differently, that is why it is such a mess within islam for 1400 hundred years because it is lacking a central authority to interpret the holy writ. The same applies to Protestantism, same Bible, but thousands of denominations (different interpretations). Each interpreter is his own pope.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2014/01/clark-frame-and-the-analogy-of-painting-a-magisterial-target-around-ones-interpretive-arrow/

  3. Az Akh says:

    Walter you got it wrong. You quote out of context verses.

    The Quran has to be taken as a whole as some verses are linked to verses which come later on.

    The war verses are to fight back against the aggressors not innocent people. Unfortunately evil extremists such as Isis have distorted the great religion of Islam and I guarantee the majority of their recruits (who are young and easily manipulated) have not even read the Quran properly but are brainwashed by their cowardly leaders who have invented their own laws and distort God’s scripture. God warned us of such people.

    The real context of the war verses is the following:

    Quran [2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
    Quran [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
    Quran [2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
    Quran [2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

    Quran 2:190 All fighting is regulated by the basic rule in 60:8-9. Fighting is allowed strictly in self-defense, while aggression and oppression are strongly condemned throughout the Quran.

    Quran [5:87] O you who believe, do not prohibit good things that are made lawful by GOD, and do not aggress; GOD dislikes the aggressors.

    Quran [8:61] If they resort to peace, so shall you, and put your trust in GOD. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.

    [Quran 16:90] God advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.

    Quran 4:89 They wish that you disbelieve as they have disbelieved, then you become equal. Do not consider them friends, unless they mobilize along with you in the cause of God. If they turn against you, you shall fight them, and you may kill them when you encounter them in war. You shall not accept them as friends, or allies.

    Quran 4:90 Exempted are those who join people with whom you have signed a peace treaty, and those who come to you wishing not to fight you, nor fight their relatives. Had God willed, He could have permitted them to fight against you. Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no excuse to fight them.
    Quran 4:91 You will find others who wish to make peace with you, and also with their people. However, as soon as war erupts, they fight against you. Unless these people leave you alone, offer you peace, and stop fighting you, you may fight them when you encounter them. Against these, we give you a clear authorization.

    Murder is clearly condemned in the Quran.

    Quran [6:151] Say, “Come let me tell you what your Lord has really prohibited for you: You shall not set up idols besides Him. You shall honor your parents. You shall not kill your children from fear of poverty – we provide for you and for them. You shall not commit gross sins, obvious or hidden. You shall not kill – GOD has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand.”

    Quran [17:33] You shall not kill any person – for GOD has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder; he will be helped.

    Quran [25:68] They never implore beside GOD any other god, nor do they kill anyone – for GOD has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. Nor do they commit adultery. Those who commit these offenses will have to pay.

    Quran 5:32 Because of this, we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. Our messengers went to them with clear proofs and revelations, but most of them, after all this, are still transgressing.

    Quran [2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.

    Quran [16:125] You shall invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and kind enlightenment, and debate with them in the best possible manner. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who are the guided ones.

    Quran 9:13 Would you not fight people who violated their treaties, tried to banish the messenger, and they are the ones who started the war in the first place?

    For good clear translations of the Quran read quranix.org

  4. Ron says:

    The Quran is not the word of God.
    Mohamed could not do any miracles

    Please hear this testimony of a former Hindu Priest and be blessed.

  5. maria says:

    I completely feel the same way as this author does about the difficulty in understanding the Quran. After 9/11 occurred, I read the Koran and I was shocked and astounded at how difficult it was to read. I am an attorney and have read an enormous amount of reading materials. The Quran has no beginning, middle or end as most books do. It does not tell a story. After you read a verse, you just set there and ask yourself what can this mean? So then I started researching Mohammed biography, and I went from confusion to extreme fear.
    Mohammad’s biography is terrifying indeed. Muslims have been unbelievably duped.

    No civilized person with any common sense could have accepted Mohammed as a man of God. The whole religion is his invention. The only excuse i can make for him is that he attempted to build an empire together and used religion and god. Unfortunately, it explains the state of the Arabs today. Look at how much more advanced South Korea and Japan have become and they have no oil and gas resources, even China will surpass them. The Arab are buying their time. The Arab Spring is nothing compared to what will happen. They are in for a ton of trouble and a ton of suffering, most of it self-inflicted.

  6. raj.hyd says:

    quran is fundamental mistake, imagin- allah,124000 nabi -rasul, farishte , hure -gilme , jannat ,jahannum etc.

  7. Massoud Levy says:

    Dear Dr. Sina, please also say that all Quran was in Koofi writing, which is much more difficult to understand since it has no dots and makes a word to be read several different ways with very different meanings. When today’s arabic language with dots was adopted for Quran, many more mis-spelling and mis-pronounced words appeared in Quran, which of course, the Islamists called those mistakes and vagueness a miracle and wrote books about the mistakes to explain that they are not errors. Note that one of these big !!! scholars, proposed to change arabic language to match the mistakes of Quran.
    Strange thing is that Muslems don’t see these (or they don’t want to see).

  8. Walter Sieruk says:

    Many parts of the Quran because of what in printed in is may define it as a death manual. For example 47:4. instructs “Whenever you encounter the unbelievers strike off their heads until you make a great slaughter among them…” This is so very deadly and destructive that militant jihad Muslims ,as the ISIS members who follow this Quranic teaching can be described ,in character, as similar to the heinous villains described in the Bible. For the Bible in Romans 3: 5-17 reads “Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are their ways, and the way of peace have they not known.” [K.J.V.]

  9. Walter Sieruk says:

    One of the many ways Islam may be defined is the it may described as a death cult. The reason for this is because of the deadly instructions in the “holy book” of Islam, the Quran. For example the Quran teaches in 9:111. “The believers fight in Allah’s cause, they slay and are slain, they kill and are killed.” Furthermore, many times jihad minded Muslims have chanted “We love death, they love life. ” In great contrast to this is Christianity. For Jesus taught ” I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. {K.J.V.]

  10. Walter Sieruk says:

    The Quran is is the very foundation of the cruel, brutal and murderous behavior of the many jihadists Muslims who engage in the ruthless violet jihad for Islam. To site only a few of the many place in the Quran that instruct in violence and killing for the god of Islam,Allah, are Sura 9:5, 111. 47;4. Therefore, the many malicious and murderous jihad terror entities , such a ISIS , Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, etc. are ,indeed, actual Islamic organizations and the members of the deadly groups are real Muslims. To take in Islamic terror entity ISIS, as an example, this is a genuine Islamic organization because its based on the deadly violence that the Quran teaches. Thus the members of the Islamic terror jihad group are real Muslims. So the jihadists of ISIS are not engaging some kind of “hijacked or warped form of Islam for politics” as many of the apologists for this religion claim as an attempt to hide or cover-up the reality of the truth for the American public. Nevertheless, there are some people who might understandably ask Just who can the members of ISIS, beings so very religious, also be so extremely heartless, vicious ,malice-filled and murdering in their jihad ?” The answer to that question is found in the Bible. For the Bible teaches that there are some people who are very unfeeling, cruel callous and dangerous because they have had “their conscience seared with a hot iron.” First Timothy 4:2 [K.J.V.] The “hot iron” in this case is Islam.

  11. Ra says:

    To easily understand the Quran we need to believe that it is a pile of shit, BEFORE READING IT. Only then that we will understand it just fine. Wallahu aalam (and God knows best).

  12. Commoner says:

    Very true Dr. Sina. I tried a couple of times and failed to understand the meaning, purpose and cotext of many of the suras in Quran. It may be interesting tonote that I found the same to be true with the Vedas of Hinduism.

    Very difficult to comprehend, relate and come to a reasonable understanding of what is said. So people assume something hidden inside them and only the enlightened will understand. Gods seem to be not interested in making their points clearer and simpler for common man to understand.

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