February 20, 2012

The Qur'an Dilemma

Have you ever wanted to dive into the Qur’an, yet didn’t know where to even start? “The Qur’an Dilemma” allows Muslims and non-Muslims to examine the Qur’an and look at each sura (or chapter) critically. Written by numerous former Muslims, who remain anonymous throughout the book, the book is divided into three main parts.

Part I consists of different articles on a host of controversial issues, such as women, the treatment of people of other faiths, and the chronological order of the Qur’an. This portion proved to be the most interesting for me. The authors explained that much like the Bible, the Qur’an has many different versions, published and edited by scholars of differing opinions on how the Qur’an should be organized. Also, the section covering people of other faiths, such as the Jewish population, served as a real eye-opener. The book continues on in Part II as the first nine suras are examined. Think of this as an intricate Bible study. The authors examine what certain words refer to and historical meanings behind passages. Part III holds resources, such as maps and a glossary, to aid the reader.

Overall, this book proves interesting if you enjoy examining other cultures. As for those who are already Muslim, I would imagine this take on the Qur’an would be intriguing as well. The authors claim that the Qur’an has never been critically analyzed before, as Muslims consider this holy book infallible. The core of this book rightly reflects the title: “The Qur’an Dilemma.” The authors continually point out that this holy book contains errors and issues that no longer apply to today’s society. However, no revisions are authorized. Therefore, many Muslims are presented with a true dilemma: how do you separate the truth from the negations in the Qur’an. My only issue with the book was the level of difficulty it presented. For an individual who has a basic understanding of Islam, I was constantly rereading sentences and continually flipping to the glossary to define a term. Some parts still leave me confused, however, I enjoyed expanding my knowledge concerning a religion that remains a mystery to many Americans.

3 stars

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.

post signature


  1. This sounds like an interesting book. I have wanted to learn more about the Qu'ran, but didn't really want to just start reading the book itself. (A little daunting, if you ask me). This sounds like it might be a good place to start.

  2. It really is a great book to delve into! The authors make it super easy to understand, the vocabulary just takes a little time to get used to.

  3. Honestly, this isn't the best book to learn about Islam. You have to pay special attention to the authors and their agendas. The author was former Muslim of a small sect of Islam that the majority of Muslims don't follow so you can imagine his views and what he cites and how the translation is provided is very different from the majority of Muslims. The author was a radical Muslim like Osama bin Ladin, they were of the same sect infact so whatever he learned about Islam was totally different from the majority of the Muslims.

    He finally realized what he had learned was wrong but instead of trying to figure out the true meaning of the Qu'ran from trusted scholars, he ends up writing a book with his own ideas and starts providing references to other people who think like him.

    One of the main problem I have is taking a few lines from different parts of the entire Qur'an and saying that they mean this or that. It's like taking a few random sentences from any book or even a speech and saying that the the message or ideas behind the entire piece are this or that. That doesn't work and is an easy way to suggest your own ideas. You really need to keep in mind the entire context of the sentence or paragraph and the authors fail to provide true context because the context was during that time period and all the Surah's relate to each other in ways. The authors lump different pieces together and offer their own meanings for "topics".

    Honestly speaking, I read the Qur'an everyday and what I read and how most Muslims interpret it is very different from this author and other radicals. Islam doesn't incite violence against Jews, Christians, or opresses women because if it truly did then the 1 billion plus Muslims in the world would each and every day be recking havoc for everyone, but 99% of Muslims live in peace with other people. Only 1% or so of people cause issues and portray that the rest of the 99% are just like us too. Taking a few sentences out that say "kill non-believers" in just plain ignorance, because read the sentence before and after it, read the complete context of why that was said, for who it was said and for what situation it was said. The same can be said about the Bible that has certain passages, but again we have to put them into context to understand why that is there and for what purpose.

    To gain a true understanding, I would recommend reading The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics) by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. It provides the actual complete text of the Qur'an in understandable English.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...