If you are Muslim, possibly so.
If you are not Muslim, probably not.
I never have...until now.
I have always wondered what people of other faiths really believe, including Muslims. It is hard to really know what they believe and why if you are never exposed to the holy text from which they read. How do we know that what we are told they believe is true?
Besides that, I would often love to have faith-related conversations with my Muslim friends as I sometimes do my friends of other faiths, but I just don't know where to start. I don't really know their way of life nor religion and to be honest, I---like many other non-Muslims---am a bit fearful of "going there."
All that said, I was extremely excited to have the chance to review this book, The Qur'an Dilemma: Former Muslims Analyze Islam's Holiest Book. (Remember, in all of my book reviews, you can click on the title of the book within the post itself and will be taken to a website that gives more detail about the book.) What a privilege to be led through this text by scholars of it while (as stated by the Glass Road PR group):
Unlike Christianity, Islam doesn't encourage its believers to own a copy of the Qur'an and read it for themselves. They are dependent on the imam (something like the local preacher, in Christianity) to read from the Qur'an and interpret it.The authors of this book describe themselves this way:
We are a group of former Muslims and professional Islamic scholars who have a passion for Muslims and a desire to assist both Muslims and non-Muslims who seek to learn more about Islam’s holiest book, to research it, to critically analyze it, and to better comprehend its teachings without the traditional religious and cultural barriers designed to indoctrinate and encapsulate the minds of many truth seekers.And their purpose for writing the book:
A book of terror or a book of peace? An inspired text or a political agenda? How is one to know the truth about the Qur'an? Where does one even begin? How can an English speaker ever hope to wade through the history, the translations, the sects, and the commentaries to begin making sense of the issues?
During the last decade, interest in Islam and the teachings of the Qur'an has grown globally. In order to allow Westerners to investigate the truth about Islam, this research text was translated from Arabic to give English speaking readers the opportunity to see the Qur’an with clear lenses that are not fogged by propaganda or missionary zeal. This book provides the background of the Qur'an in an objective manner . It also presents the text of the Qur’an with parallel commentary, addressing important issues that Muslim scholars have wrestled with throughout the centuries, shedding light on their attempts to solve them and giving a rounded view of the various schools of thought.
The critical approach in this book is inspired by the courageous tradition of those who have dared to analyze the Qur'an throughout history, while also incorporating the contemporary intellectual productions available in Arabic and foreign sources. The discoveries made through these scholarly critical methods are directed to non-Muslims and Muslims equally:
To non-Muslims who want to unravel the mysteries of Islam, this book presents information that Islamic resources rarely disclose--to allow those who seek the truth to comprehend the full picture with all its outlines, colors, and dimensions.
To Muslims who seek genuine choices far from the culture of “indoctrination,” this book opens a world of understanding to them, so that they can decide for themselves their intellectual and spiritual paths.
The Qur'an Dilemma (Volume One) – available now both in English and in Arabic - covers the first nine suras (chapters) of the Quran. The remaining suras will be covered in Volume Two.In this day of increased interest in Islam, I do encourage you to consider getting a copy of this masterful book for yourself.
As a side note, one thing I noticed while reading The Qur'an Dilemma is that it gave me a desire to read more about the history of the most holy book which I hold so dear---the Bible---the Word of God. I want to know and understand more and more about the Truth than ever before.
Other religions are okay to investigate,
but the Truth is what matters.
“I am the way &
the truth &the life.
No one comes to the Father
except through me."