Conversation with an American secularist regarding starting to read Quran

Ishmael Abraham Quran 90:13 taught liberation of slaves unlike Bible. Bible was meant for a tribal society while Quran is meant for global audience.

Nick Elam I’m certainly not nearly as familiar with the Quran as I am with the Bible, I intend to study it thoroughly someday.
Ishmael Abraham The stories are same but more accurate as Reza Aslan got it. For example, Bible talks about six days of creation and resting on seventh day while Quran says that God is not a static entity who needs rest rather God is a dynamic entity. Reading Eastern translations is not helpful because they give a bad taste. Reading western translators like Leopold Weiss( Asad), Arberry and Joseph Lumbard (Study Quran) is more helpful.

Nick Elam Now I’ve heard some say that the Quran can only truly be understood in Arabic. What do you think about that?
Ishmael Abraham Reading cover to cover is difficult, just like reading scientific journals cover to cover is difficult because one cannot process too much data at once. Using a Google search based topical approach is more helpful. For example, looking for the instances of the word fear or love can give you an idea how faithful understand them. Like Odin Text research found out how Quran is less violent than Bible by looking at the number of instances a word is used.

Ishmael Abraham Arabic helps you to appreciate the beauty of the text more. But one can the moral lessons in any language. But there are many Americans who have mastered Quranic Arabic like Jonathan Brown, Hamza Yusuf, Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah, but it depends upon the amount of passion which is deficient in 21st century. Truth can be boring like science but the courageous overcome the boredom and beyond that one finds true intellectual and mystic ecstasy.

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