Koran ( Episode Two)

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atalanta | 00:19 Sun 29th Nov 2015 | Religion & Spirituality
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all of those souls who recently advised me on a choice of edition of the Koran will be delighted to hear that I have received a copy, free, from a bunch of ( shall we say ) Muslim enthusiasts in New Street in Birmingham today while I was shopping. But why do you suppose their leader was so suspicious of my motives ?


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Did you not ask him ?
What leads you to believe he was suspicious of your motives?
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He kept asking me why I wanted it. Even though there was a big display of the books and a large notice saying "Have a free copy of the Koran".
I presume you said as I would have done, that you wanted to read in order to better understand.
Did you tell him why, atalanta ?.
Perhaps he saw you as a potential convert?
//He kept asking me why I wanted it.// an excellent moment to answer a question with a question, i.e. 'Why do you ask me ?'
atalanta "... He kept asking me why I wanted it..."

At the risk of telling you what you already know...

He wanted to know whether or not you wanted it to read from it and *accept* it (ie. if you were a lost soul) or whether you wanted to read from it and study it for educational purposes. Two very different things. In my personal experience, muslims want non-muslims to learn about Islam. But not too much. Just a ickle bit. Just enough for you to conclude that Islam is a nice and peaceful religion. They don't like you to ask too many questions and they don't like debating specifics.

I work with a colleague who is a muslim. I like him. He's a really nice guy with a good sense of humour. That is until Islam is being discussed - then he becomes a very different person. The sense of humour vanishes immediately. It is replaced with what I can only describe as evasive passive-aggressive behaviour.

When I asked him about Mohammed marrying a six year old girl, he elected to tell me that it was normal in those days for fifty year old men to marry six year old girls. When I told him that this was nonsense and that even Aisha's own father was shocked by the suggestion that his little girl should be married to such an old man, he took great umbrage and walked away. This was not the first time I have confronted my Islamic colleague with his own religion and found him less than willing to discuss it.

Intolerance and an unwillingness to even debate their own holy texts are the hallmarks of Islam. They don't want you to read the Koran if you're just going to read it. They want you to swallow the falsehoods and accept the inhumanity and evilness contained within. They want you to become an unthinking acolyte to the cult of death.

Anything less is offensive to Islam.
What version of the Koran have you been gratuitously been given,atalanta.?
In an ideal world, you would wangle as many translations/editions as you can get your mitts on. Then, each time you encounter a contentious or repellant passage, you can look it up in the other versions to see if they concur or if certain translators are using sophistry to either harden or soften the message, the closer the edition is to the present day.

birdie, do you know of any document/book which goes through contradictions, particularly offensive (in modern terms) strictures and/or descriptions/acceptance of practice, etc., etc. quoting chapter and verse in the Koran and, for that matter, the Bible too - I would be really interested in something of that nature because I have never had the time or the patience to myself go through these scriptures.

We shouldn't be too surprised that believers are less than keen on objective scrutiny of the "holy word", after all we see direct equivalents in the secular world. So often people talk of the "best" in some way when they are comparing something they are committed to or otherwise identify with. Most people either seek security in the familiar or else align themselves with something they find believably "superior" in some way. Politicians and advertisers know this very well and heavily play on it: the former use fear induction as a means of gathering support and in a way advertisers do the same by using the discomfort they are able to induce within a large part of the population who want to feel pride in being up-to-date in all sorts of ways ("don't fall behind").

There are plenty of examples where people will suggest their country is the "best" in one way or other, even when that has no basis in fact because there are statistics and other information to prove the assertion wrong (I once pointed out one such claim being wildly erroneous, the person's retort being to in effect call me an annoying know-it-all). Wanting to be "best" on the moral/spiritual plane is important to lots of people and it is entirely understandable that religious believers are very touchy (and even illogical/irrational) when it comes to shaking the foundations of something which has (in most cases) been at the core of their identity as far back as they can remember. The most vulnerable are the ones who are the most dogmatic because their commitment is so often quite blind - maybe because in their clinging to this form of security they deliberately avoid questioning for fear of finding cracks in the pillars.
He may have been concerned that you planned to try and sabotage inland waterways with it, atalanta.
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The translation is by Zafar Ishaq Ansari, with a very odd-looking ISBN - 139780860374169 which you may or may not be able to find on any huge bookselling website. I have only reached page 66 so far, but I have been much struck by a few things - it seems to be entirely aimed at men - it declares that Islam is not a religion of compulsion, and it describes wives as "men's tilth". By that, I assume it means that women are merely the place where men sow their seed.
My motive for reading most of the non-fiction I read is to find things out.
Same here.
That's good to hear and try reading it. Try reading it with open mind. But you may still need further information about certain aspects. This is a good website.

^Don't do it, Atalanta! Dr Zakir Naik is an idiot. Just read the book.
Question Author
The copy I have is heavily annotated on every page. Everything is explained several times over, even though it seems quite unnecessary, since the text is perfectly readable. I shall plough on in my usual spirit of curiosity
Re. those footnotes; the devil is sometimes in the detail !

Sorry for the delay in replying. With regards to the Bible, a brilliant book that exposes the lies, contradictions and downright absurdities is one called "Beyond Belief: Two Thousand Years of Bad Faith in the Christian Church" by James McDonald:

Unfortunately the above book isn't free. The Kindle edition is £10.00 and the paperback is £19.99. I can thoroughly recommend it. I'm actually re-reading it, having read it about a year ago. It is truly fascinating.

A similar book (albeit shorter at around 100 pages) that does the equivalent to Islam is called "The Story of Mohammed: Islam Unveiled" by Harry Richardson. It's a free PDF download and can be found here:

If you want something less taxing (no offence intended - I found it hugely entertaining), try "Mohammed's Believe It Or Else!" by Abdullah Aziz. This is a comic book (!) charting the life of Mohammed:
Keyplus - "... Try reading it with open mind. But you may still need further information about certain aspects..."

Wow. Nothing patronising there Keyplus...
I'm pleased that the many digressions (some mine) in Episode One didn't deflect you from your aim of reading the Koran, Atalanta. I think you should read the translation you've got and see what you make of the moral instruction it gives and what kind of society you think would result in today's world if we all lived according to its precepts.

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