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Read the Qur'an/Koran in One Year (It's Short..like the NT) All Welcome :) - Page 2

post #21 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasmagoria View Post
I'm intrigued. I've just begun digging into the Bible as well, so I may decide not to study them both at the same time, but I'm willing to try.

I would like some advice regarding version/commentaries, considering:

- I am totally ignorant regarding the Qur'an and Islam; my interest is to not remain ignorant on the Qur'an and Islam
- I enjoy beginning to look at a piece of writing in its barest essence with an eye to the historical/cultural context from which it originally emerged; I prefer a translation that isn't geared to a specific denomination or sect (if Islam has that sort of thing)
- I like translations which explain why they translated certain words a certain way, or, if the English doesn't cut it (English often isn't as expressive as other languages), expands upon the fuller meaning of a word or phrase in the original language
- I prefer commentaries that include multiple interpretations/perspectives
- I only read English

Any advice on where to start in terms of translation/commentaries considering this?

Phanta
I think there are probably others on this site who could better guide you as to which translation to use, but one recommendation that I will make which I think is essential for anyone trying to understand the Qu'ran, is to read it along with what we call "tafsir". It is an explaination of the Qu'ran by the scholars of Islam- it has been mentioned before but i will list it again... www.tafsir.com

hope that helps

umm Muhammad
post #22 of 141
So long as everyone is dealing with different translations anyway, is anyone who is able planning on reading in Arabic?
post #23 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
So long as everyone is dealing with different translations anyway, is anyone who is able planning on reading in Arabic?
I am planning to try... I'll have to read both, because I am by no means fluent, but I definitely will start with the Arabic and then check the translation(s) to make sure I'm getting it.

Dar
post #24 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I am planning to try... I'll have to read both, because I am by no means fluent, but I definitely will start with the Arabic and then check the translation(s) to make sure I'm getting it.

Dar
same here

DH can help me too
post #25 of 141
Oh good. I feel better about struggling along with that if I'm not the only one. I read pretty much in translation anyway; I was thinking this whole structured approach might be a good push towards getting away from them a little bit.
post #26 of 141
Are we discussing/commenting on a daily basis, or saving the discussion for the end of the week? I finished today's reading (and most of the introduction to the translation I bought).
post #27 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLittleWonders View Post
Are we discussing/commenting on a daily basis, or saving the discussion for the end of the week? I finished today's reading (and most of the introduction to the translation I bought).
I think it's up to you guys. I'm fine with discussing after each day's reading or waiting until the end.


Which translation, if any, are you reading? Right now, I'm reading one by Ahmed Ali, but I have tons... so I might switch around.


Any thoughts, comments on either Al Fatiha or the beginning bit of Al-Bakarah? I don't want to monopolize the conversation... so I'll leave it at that.


Oh, I did want to address the random letters in the beginning of Al-Bakarah. Alif, Lam, Mim (Basically Arabic alphabet versions of A, L, and M). Here's a bit on them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muqatta%27at
post #28 of 141

Al-Faatiha and the Tafsir

Hi!

I'm totally new to this. Here are my first thoughts, not knowing what is coming, and many questions.

------------------------------------------------------------

Section Addressed: Al-Faatiha
Topic: First Impressions
Qur'an: http://quran-online.net/

From this reading, I view the character of Allah through the eyes of the speaker as:
- kind (important...mentioned twice)
- merciful (important...mentioned twice)
- powerful, as expressed by the use of "Master"
- one who is served by others (not sure how at this point)
- a judge

Basic character of the speaker:
- a servant to Allah
- earnest
- desirous of following what is right
- trust in Allah as a guide with something to say to the speaker (and others) personally
- belief in the consequences of being on the wrong path, and the benefits of being on the right path
- belief that consequences and benefits come from Allah

Places mentioned:
- "Worlds"...I don't know what these are yet.

Events mentioned:
- "Day of Judgement" ...I don't know what it looks like yet, where it is in time (past, present, future), etc. The speaker indicates Allah is in charge on that day.

First thoughts:
7 Ayat (is that the correct word?) in, I have a basic character sketch of Allah as viewed by the speaker, a basic character sketch of the speaker as viewed by me, a reference to several undefined worlds and a reference to a special day of judgement. Because it is the only day mentioned, I reckon it's going to be pretty important in the pages to come. I'm curious how the Day of Judgement will be different from the day-to-day judgments Allah is said to make.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section Addressed: Al-Faatiha
Topic: How to Use the Tafsir
Qur'an: http://quran-online.net/
Commentary: http://www.tafsir.com/Default.asp

Having read Al-Faatiha, I visited the tafsir, selected Al Fatiha, and clicked "Go".

The first link, "The Tafsir of Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1)" leads to a page that says only a repeat of the link. "The Tafsir of Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1)". The second link, "Which was revealed in Makkah", leads to a page that says, "Which was revealed in Makkah". What are these one-liners about? Also, is Makkah=Mecca? Is one the native word for the place?

The third link, "The Meaning of Al-Fatihah and its Various Names" leads to a page with a lot more text...and some Arabic (is that right?). Is the Arabic translated on this page and, if so, how do I tell? Also, how do I determine the source of the commentary?

This commentary is additionally confusing to me..."The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants.' When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,' Allah says, 'My servant has praised Me.'" Where is the second half mentioned in the Tafsir? (What Allah says)

The fourth link, also "The Meaning of Al-Fatihah and its Various Names", leads to a page which includes the previous data, but with some new information added on the bottom. Why not just have link #4, and get rid of #3?

Clearly I'm a little confused as to how the Tafsir works. Any enlightenment in that area would be appreciated.

Thank you again for opening up this group reading to non-Muslims, and considering my (very basic and childish, I'm sure) questions. I'm curious to see where this study leads me.

Phanta
post #29 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasmagoria View Post
Having read Al-Faatiha, I visited the tafsir, selected Al Fatiha, and clicked "Go".

The first link, "The Tafsir of Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1)" leads to a page that says only a repeat of the link. "The Tafsir of Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1)". The second link, "Which was revealed in Makkah", leads to a page that says, "Which was revealed in Makkah". What are these one-liners about? Also, is Makkah=Mecca? Is one the native word for the place?
The one liners are mostly just one of the idiosyncrasies of how the site is set up ... where something appears as a heading in the text, even if nothing follows, they give it its own page. Odd. And yeah, Makkah=Mecca ... for various reasons some prefer that manner of writing it in English letters. The revelation of the Quran was split between two cities with very different social/political climates, so notes are often given as to what was revealed where.

Quote:
The third link, "The Meaning of Al-Fatihah and its Various Names" leads to a page with a lot more text...and some Arabic (is that right?). Is the Arabic translated on this page and, if so, how do I tell? Also, how do I determine the source of the commentary?
It is arabic ... the translation thereof is what appears in the parenthesis immediately following. The source of the commentary ... I'm not sure if you mean the whole body of it, or specific things within it?

Quote:
This commentary is additionally confusing to me..."The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants.' When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,' Allah says, 'My servant has praised Me.'" Where is the second half mentioned in the Tafsir? (What Allah says)
Wherever a quote is begun with something to the effect that "the Prophet said," it is something sources to the hadith -- the recorded sayings of the prophet as remembered by the Muslims alive in his own time. This particular example is mentioned again on the page titled "Al-Fatihah and the Prayer," where it is introduced with:

Quote:
Abu Hurayrah was asked, "[When] we stand behind the Imam'' He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say, 'Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer ...
"Abu Hurayrah" is the name of one of the men alive in the prophet's time whose recollections are so recorded; whatever follows is what appears in the hadith collections. If something says it was recorded by Muslim, by Bukhari, by Tirmidhi, by An-Nasa'i (as in the example you gave), etc, those are the names of the individuals (yeah, I know the one named "Muslim" can get confusing) who collected and authenticated the sayings.

Does that make any sense? Basically what I mean is that the second half comes from something the prophet said himself which was later written down as something external to the Quran. Ibn Kathir relies primarily upon direct quotes of such for his commentary.

P.S. - Not childish at all. Ibn Kathir's tafsir was not really set up for people unfamiliar with the structure of Islamic texts and the structure of authority within Islamic texts ... I really wish I knew a commentary to recommend that was a bit more clear for beginners.

ETA: Just wanted to note, since it dawned on me that not everyone might realize, that the Quran is not printed in the order of revelation, so what appears on page one is not supposed to be the first words given by god to Muhammad. The actual order of revelation is pretty all over the map, and a fair portion of it is not really known at all. (The first revealed don't appear until chapter 96.)
post #30 of 141
Salaams all mamas!!

I realized today that this is going to be challenging for me to post all my notes with my little one always needing mamas attention, but I am gonna do my best

A quick note to any non-Muslims reading the Qu'ran...
The Qu'ran was revealed directly to the Prophet Muhammad and is considered to be the exact words of God. This is different from the bible, for example, because the bible is considered to be "inspired by God, but written by man". I really recommend that everyone watch the movie "The Message" with Anthony Quinn because it does a great job giving a background of the time that the Qu'ran was reveled and makes it easier to understand some of the verses that were reveled directly to a certain group of people.

I found the first part of the movie on youtube... you might search around to see if you can find part 2 and 3... but at least part 1 is a start...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i56d-v3dzAA

my notes on al-Fatihah and beginning of al-Baqarah to come after i put my baby to sleep

I think, God willing, this is going to be a great forum! I am excited
post #31 of 141
Thread Starter 
Yes, it's definitely a pain to read through the tasfir stuff online.

I did find this... which is from a Sufi site...which pertains to Al Fatiha
http://www.nurashkijerrahi.org/book.htm

Click on the Direct Path link.... it will open in a separate window

If you click on the third link... Living Guidance...there is a bit on the beginning of Al Bakarah
post #32 of 141
Maybe Maariful Quran would be more helpful? It's a much longer read than the abridged Kathir, and I only know where to find it online in PDF form so it can be a little harder to skip around and look for particular things, but I think overall it might be a little easier content-wise on those wholly unfamilar? At any rate, anyone can skip to page 72 of the first volume's PDF for al-Fatihah and see if it's up their alley.

Oh! Tafhim al-Quran! More manageable than Maariful, more literary than Kathir.
post #33 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
Yes, it's definitely a pain to read through the tasfir stuff online.

I did find this... which is from a Sufi site...which pertains to Al Fatiha
http://www.nurashkijerrahi.org/book.htm

Click on the Direct Path link.... it will open in a separate window

If you click on the third link... Living Guidance...there is a bit on the beginning of Al Bakarah
"Spontaneous praise arising from the hearts and minds of all beings flows toward Allah alone, the Ever-Present Source and Goal of Being, Who sustains and cherishes every being, the Source of Love Who overflows constantly with compassion and forgiveness. The Supreme Source draws all conscious beings to their Day of Truth, their homecoming into the Radiance of Allah. To Allah alone, as the Source of Power and Love, can true strength and guidance be received. Most precious Allah, You alone teach human beings to turn consciously toward their own True Source. This is the direct path of Islam, revealed through all the Prophets and courageously taken by the lovers of Love who follow the Call of Love directly to the Source of Love. This is not one of the mundane paths that wander through creation, taken by those who heedlessly turn away from the Source of Creation."

-Meditation on Holy Koran, 1:1-7

This is so different. The language, the words chosen, set a totally different mood. Why? Is it a different translation?

Phanta
post #34 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Maybe Maariful Quran would be more helpful? It's a much longer read than the abridged Kathir, and I only know where to find it online in PDF form so it can be a little harder to skip around and look for particular things, but I think overall it might be a little easier content-wise on those wholly unfamilar? At any rate, anyone can skip to page 72 of the first volume's PDF for al-Fatihah and see if it's up their alley.
Thank you. I'll check this out. It seems to be another commentary?

What is the difference between the Maariful Qur'an and the abridged Kathir (is that the Qur'an I'm using, or the tasfir I am using?) What do these words, "tasfir", "Maariful", and "Kathir" signify?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Oh! Tafhim al-Quran! More manageable than Maariful, more literary than Kathir.
I am denied access to this link, but will keep trying.

Thank you for your patience with me as I get my bearings. I appreciate the guidance.

Phanta
post #35 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasmagoria View Post
This is so different. The language, the words chosen, set a totally different mood. Why? Is it a different translation?

Phanta
It's from a Sufi perspective... and this is basically one Sufi Sheikh's meditation/interpretation of Al-Fatiha.

But yes, I agree with you... it sets a totally different mood.
post #36 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
The revelation of the Quran was split between two cities with very different social/political climates, so notes are often given as to what was revealed where.
Does the location/social/political climate have bearing on the flavor of the revelation (i.e. is it significant to keep sociopolitical context in mind while reading the text?)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
It is arabic ... the translation thereof is what appears in the parenthesis immediately following. The source of the commentary ... I'm not sure if you mean the whole body of it, or specific things within it?
I guess...the whole thing. I am assuming there are many types of Qur'an commentary out there. Is that correct? There can be commentary from a spiritual perspective, historical, etc., commentary from modern people, contemporaries of Muhammad, eye-witnesses, etc. How can I tell the source/perspective of the tafsir?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Wherever a quote is begun with something to the effect that "the Prophet said," it is something sources to the hadith -- the recorded sayings of the prophet as remembered by the Muslims alive in his own time.
Let me see if I have this right. The hadith is some sort of textual record of things the Prophet said, as noted by eye-witnesses. It's not anything actually written by the Prophet. Is that correct?

If so, more questions:
Did the eye-witnesses write the hadith themselves? Was the hadith put together all at once or were bits of writings from the eye-witnesses gathered togather at a later date and compiled into one collection? Or...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
P.S. - Not childish at all. Ibn Kathir's tafsir was not really set up for people unfamiliar with the structure of Islamic texts and the structure of authority within Islamic texts ... I really wish I knew a commentary to recommend that was a bit more clear for beginners.
Thank you for your grace. I may get a handle on this tafsir with a little background and practice. Time will tell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
ETA: Just wanted to note, since it dawned on me that not everyone might realize, that the Quran is not printed in the order of revelation, so what appears on page one is not supposed to be the first words given by god to Muhammad. The actual order of revelation is pretty all over the map, and a fair portion of it is not really known at all. (The first revealed don't appear until chapter 96.)
presenting it out of order must be purposeful. Did Muhammad put it in this order? Is it always presented in the same order?

Phanta
post #37 of 141
I have completed reading up to Surah Al-Bakarah 39.

I think I need to do some more reading before I start commenting.
post #38 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
It's from a Sufi perspective... and this is basically one Sufi Sheikh's meditation/interpretation of Al-Fatiha.

But yes, I agree with you... it sets a totally different mood.
Without judging my emotional reaction, or dwelling too much on it, I observe upon reading the first text feeling discomfort, stiffness, and a little...anxiety, whereas the Sufi interpretation yielded an immediate feeling of whole comfort, being enveloped by warmth and a sense of empowerment from my center.

Phanta
post #39 of 141
Hi Phanta-
Wow! I forgot how confussing everything can seem! There is a ton of information and many different viewpoints, so be easy on yourself
You are right, with time and practice, God-willing, you will get the hang of it and it will seem a lot more straight forward.

I will tell you, this mothering forum is complicated to me LOL, I am not too good with computers, so I do not know how to do like Michelle does and multi-qoute things to respond to, but I am going to try and answer some of your questions.

Yes, I think it is important to keep the socio-political setting in mind. While still being applicable to our day in time (as the Qu'ran was reveled for all time and not just for a particular time/ group of people), it helps to give a clearer understanding of the circumstances surrounding particular revelations. I would not put too much emphasis on it, but having a general idea of the events surrounding the ayat(verses) does help.

Tafsir is an in-depth explanation of each verse of Qu'ran. There are several different scholars who have complied tafsir of the Qu'ran. Ibn Kathir (tafsir.com) is one of the most prominent.

I will throw something out there, for what it is worth...
It is important that when "interpreting" the Qu'ran, that we interpret it/ try to understand it in the SAME WAY that the prophet and the early companions understood it. It would be very easy for one to take a verse and give it their own meaning, but part of our religion is that we follow the prophet, therefore, understanding and applying the Qu'ran according to the way HE understood it is essential.

I will give you an example... There is a verse in the Qu'ran talking about the disbelievers- and it states to kill them wherever you find them. Sounds harsh, but we can see that at NO TIME did the prophet or his companions ever go around just killing non-believers wherever they found them. So obviously, this was not how they understood the verse- you can see why it is important to rely on the understanding of the prophet and his companions. This is where the tafsir is important. Basically what it attempts to do is shed some light on the verse by compiling relevant ahadeeth (traditions of the prophet) or other related verses of the Qu'ran. It also gives a historical background of events surrounding that verse.

The tafsir can feel complicated, and sometimes I feel gives too much info... but dont give up on it- play around with it a bit, and I think it will really help. And of course ASK ASK ASK

As far as the hadith, yes you are correct, they are basically "eye-witness" accounts of things the prophet did or said. These traditions have been recorded and authenticated and passed down since the time of the prophet. Some of the greatest hadith have been narrarated from his wife Aisha, or many of his companions. They are often written like, "I heard from so and so that the prophet said...." Like I said, the sources have all been verified and authenticated and classified as strong, good, weak or fabricated.

They were passed verbally for some time and collected into a book by famous scholars such as al- Bukhari or Imam Muslim. Hopes that helps.

As far as the compilation of the Qu'ran, though it was not reveled in that order, it is always compiled in that order. This is because before the prophets death, the angel Gabriel came to the prophet and recited the entire Qu'ran to him in this order, therefore the Qu'ran has been compiled according to this.

Hope this helps clear some things up... I am not the most eloquent with words and I often find myself veering of topic so I hope i did not confuse you more

Faiza
post #40 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasmagoria View Post
Without judging my emotional reaction, or dwelling too much on it, I observe upon reading the first text feeling discomfort, stiffness, and a little...anxiety, whereas the Sufi interpretation yielded an immediate feeling of whole comfort, being enveloped by warmth and a sense of empowerment from my center.

Phanta
:

Probably the most famous Sufi known to the west was the poet Rumi. If you read his poems, all about longing for his beloved God... one often gets a similar feeling.
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