File Size: 7950 KB
Print Length: 2048 pages
Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (November 17, 2015)
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
An irony of our age is that most Western opponents of radical Islam use the same proof texts to justify bigotry against all Muslims. Just Google “Islam and Violence, ” and you will find 100s of proof-text pages with quote after quote from the Quran seeming to justify, and even require, acts of violence—which, of course, happens to be exactly the same thing that most Islamist terrorists believe. Rarely do enemies agree so completely on first principles.
Typically the big problem though, is that (like most assertions supported by chains of oversimplified proof texts) the assertion is false. Or perhaps, at least, it is not always true, and it is not true in many ways that both violent Muslims and chaotic anti-Muslims assume when they start mining the Quran for reasons to fight.
In to this rhetorical context comes the long-anticipated, ten-years-in-the-making, Harper Study Quran. Based on the wildly successful Harper Study Bible, and edited by practicing Muslims who will be also trained and respected scholars, the Study Quran offers itself as an the first English interpretation to incorporate significant discourse made to contextualize nearly every ayah (verse) in the sacred book.
And Ill be dag-nabbed if it doesn’t do it. By my rough estimates, about 百分之九十 of the book contains verse-by-verse commentary keyed to the text with a functional (and merciful) two-color printing scheme that keys the text to the notes with bright red figures.
As I read this new Quran (and I read it straight through because I am odd like that), I found that I could not genuinely read all of the commentary and still follow any type of narrative flow. I read the majority of the text without the commentary, glancing down at the footnotes only when I felt that I needed more context to understand the basic that means of any passage.
The Examine Quran supports this kind of reading, but it is actually designed for intensive research of a passage or a theme. The content apparatus makes this kind of reading very easy. A comprehensive (and multi-colored) index allows readers to follow along with themes and ideas through the text, and a set of essays at the end of the volume brings together concepts like “Quranic Ethics, Individual Rights, and Society” and “Conquest and Conversion, Battle and Peace in the Quran. ”
But however one reads it, the Study Quran’s overwhelming strength is that it provides, for nearly every sentirse in the Quran, both context of its original recitation and a survey of 1400 years of scholarship.
To know why this is important, consider how a Quran is structured. Unlike the Bible, it consists of hardly any sustained narrative, and the person surahs (chapters) were not all revealed as discrete units, so each ayah has an independent circumstance of original reception.
Typically the Quran, put simply, lends itself to proof texting better still than the Hebrew or Christian Bibles—and that’s stating something. The editors of the Study Quran with patience and painstakingly reconstruct, to the extent possible, the original context of each recitation in the complete guide and make that reconstructed context available to any reader willing to commit time attention required to understand it.
The results are remarkable, found the wonderful added effect of restricting the ability of both adherents and detractors to manipulate the book’s meaning through uncritical prooftexting.
Here is an example (though I wish I had the room for a dozen) of what happens when a passage often used to justify both violence and Islamophobia undergoes the Study Quran’s contextualizing treatment. Within the 33rd Ayah of Surah 5 (The Desk Spread), we read the following injunction:
Verily, the recompense of these who salary war against God and His Messenger, and try to work corruption after our planet is that they be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off from opposite sides, or be banished from the land.
Pretty gruesome, to be sure, and also quite clear. Nevertheless the editors of the Study Quran want us to know two things that no other single-volume English translation will explain to us: 1) that this passage was recited in a specific instance and for a specific purpose; and 2) that there is a long tradition of Muslim scholarship and tendu interpreting this verse.
Typically the context was a specific and extremely bloody attack after the Muslim community in Madinah. After accepting a group of Bedouins into the community under the pretense of conversion, Mohammad allowed them to leave when they claimed that we were holding not comfortable with city life. He sent camels with them “for dairy and sustenance” and a Muslim camel herder to help them on their way. “Once outside the city, however, they brutally maimed and killed the camelheard and made off with the camels the Prophet had given these to use (293).
In circumstance, then, the punishments in the passage were decided against specific people who had acted with impunity to terrorize the Muslim community. And, the editors explain, the verse has NOT REALLY normally been interpreted as an over-all process for working with apostates:
Considering the fact that the perpetrators were also, among other things, apostates... since they accepted Islam in the existence of the Prophet, then renounced it through their actions, a little minority have considered the verse to apply to apostates in general. It seems clear, however , that the severe punishments in this sentirse pertain specifically to those who commit various offences brazenly with exceptional violence, violence and terrorization of innocent people. (293)
This particular contextualizing commentary does not erase the violence in the text, of course. But it does reduce its application among those willing to think about things like why a passage was initially given and what it has meant to fourteen centuries of devout Islamic scholars. And these are things that both Muslims and non-Muslims need to understand.
For those who believe, as I do, that humanity’s survival into the next century will require us to understand and appreciate each other’s deepest beliefs, The Examine Quran is a gift idea and a treasure. This does not make understanding Islam easy, but much more it possible—if we are willing to invest the effort it takes to accept the gift idea and weigh the treasure.
And for English-speaking Muslims who are not terrorists and revolutionary Islamists (which is about 99. 9% of the total), it provides a valuable tool for deepening faith and demonstrating the shallowness of the proof-texters who constantly attack them.
In an interview with CNN shortly after the volume’s publication, the business lead editor, Seyyed Hossein Nasr argued that “the best way to counter extremism in modern Islam is a revival of classical Islam. ” That is a tall order for just about any single book, but I suspect that, if a revival of classical Islamic ever happens in the English-speaking world, the revivalists will all carry copies of the Study Quran–and the revolution will be thoroughly footnoted., Alhamdulillah: this is a book that is so detailed and designed for Ease in studying the Quran. I am woman convert and I have been reading the Quran in excess of thirty years now. There's always been some things in it that I failed to know exactly what it was referring to, and I'm so happy to see something written that gives opinions as to what the students think and feels this is to be. I love it Alhamdulillah., I borrowed the book from library. (It's already in the open public library.. how awesome is that! ) I have been reading back and forth from different parts of the book and it's has been very interesting. Below are some of the factors that I think are important. I will add to them ?nternet site keep reading the book.
1) The actual translation is new and absolutely love it. It's better than the translations of Haleem and Yusuf Ali (in my opinion).
2) Below the translation section, the first is exposed to opinions and commentaries of traditional college students from a variety of different options and views such as traditional Sunni (including Sufi, Hanbali etc), Shia, Mu`tazila, even Shia Mu'tazila and more!!! I wanted to know about other views besides Tafsirs of Ibn Kathir and Jalalayn. This particular books provides a glimpse into these other opinions.
3) Although, I kind of be familiar with reasoning of keeping away from a massive bulky book, I still hate the thin papers. It's so thin that I can see the writings from all other side of the page. I would rather have a thicker book with durable papers that will last. I am afraid that by the time I go back the book to the library after three renews, I will leave many damages.
4) This guide should not be approached as one approaches Shuyukh and Ulema for intelligence and guidance. Rather, it is an " academic book" with loads of knowledge, that will tremendously assist one to understand how Qur'an has been analyzed and interpreted over the centuries and context of the verses. However, a layperson, like myself, more than likely not be able to judge on his/her own, which views or understandings are/aren't compatible with his or her creed/school etc .
Update: Merely got my own backup today in the postal mail: ), I purchased this on pre-sale and was looking forward to acquiring it the day it was released. The book is wonderfully designed and the ultra thin pages allow this 2000 page book to be very portable. Typically the commentary is straightforward to understand and am love the extra features in the rear (essays, maps, etc)., The research Quran is beautifully hardbound. This provides a refreshing commentary on the Quran that is much needed and greatly appreciated coupled with a great translation. A treasure for Muslims and a delightful edition to Islamic scholarship grant. Broad as it is beautiful, may this work revive the centuries old custom of intellectual, spiritual, and cultural advancement., It truly is a bit of a new interpretation with MUCH MORE discourse and printed on the thinnest paper possible, in other words, a lengthy read but one I will be definitely looking forward to concluding!!, Very comprehensive Qu'ran with very in depth description of each verse.
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