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#61 of 141 Old 01-14-2009, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I would just caution against considering laymen turning to scholars -- people trained in the language, the content, the history of, the philosophies surrounding, etc, the Qur'an, trained in the content and methodology of hadith, trained in fiqh -- as their saying "I can't think for myself."

I have a wiring problem. I have a manual of electrical repair. I don't find it hard to understand overall, but I still have some questions. I could try to suss it out for myself, sure ... but it would be silly for anyone to call me unthinking because I'd rather seek out the guidance of an electrician.
Yes, but I know of people who feel they need to ask a scholar on everything... before they do anything. Should I cut my hair? Ask a scholar. Should I do this? Ask a scholar. And I've heard way too many things coming back from so-called scholars that are both illegal and questionable in Islam. So, I really think that the average Muslim would do a lot better to just think by him/herself.

There are scholars who justify suicide bombings... people with PhDs in Shariah. There are scholars who justify women being in purdah... prisoners in their own homes. There are scholars who justify women not going to school, even though Islam admonishes both male and female Muslims to seek knowledge even if it be in China.

Perhaps the problem is that there is really no way to get rid of the scholars which give Islam a bad name. Which seem to interpret things for their own gains?

In general, any person should be able to read and get a basic understanding of the Qur'an. We're not talking nuclear physics here.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#62 of 141 Old 01-14-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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There are also laymen who justify all sorts of horrors in the name of Islam based upon something they read directly from the Qur'an, or directly from the hadith. I don't consider it a problem of bad scholars so much as a problem of equal opportunity poor understandings and preconceptions. Anyone, scholar or not, with violent intentions, with misogynistic mindsets, etc, can find what they want in Islam. They may not be right. But it doesn't take an education any more than it takes a lack of one to bend things in that manner.

Anyone can have a basic understanding, there we agree. But a rich understanding, and a contextualized understanding ... that one takes education. We can either seek it ourselves, or seek out the works of those who have had it. That doesn't mean trusting their works like as though the authors are themselves gods, but it does mean giving respect to the help their insights can give those of us who do not have an equal educational background ourselves.
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#63 of 141 Old 01-14-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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This is actually a goal/desire of mine for this year. I've started but I like being able to have a schedule and I like the response questions. Thanks, OP, for this idea and being the fearless leader! I'm in!

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#64 of 141 Old 01-15-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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subbing. i thought i would do this last year, but it did not happen...i think i needed the camaraderie and companionship!

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#65 of 141 Old 01-15-2009, 05:21 PM
 
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Sign me up as well. I will be behind everyone, but I will catch up quickly.
What a great idea.
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#66 of 141 Old 01-16-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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i was reading last night, and it is clear to me that i will want to put the text in the context of the time it was received by the Prophet. for example, with the teachings about the importance of almsgiving, helping those in need--yes, this is a given to me, very important. but i wondered, in the Prophet's lifetime, was there a problem with neglect of widows, elderly, orphans? was he just reminding people of something that should be done, or was this emphasis a radical call for social justice? this is where knowing the historical context (and the work of scholars) is interesting, tho it is not necessarily required to understand the importance of giving. does that make sense?

so far, i found two items to be distracting to me. first, i do not believe in heaven or hell, except in a metaphoric sense: live a righteous life, love and serve, and life on earth will be like paradise. i found myself hoping that "eternal fire" will not be emphasized too much.

the second item, related, is the contrast between "merciful and compassionate" and "nonbelievers will suffer eternally".

thank you for this thread.

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#67 of 141 Old 01-16-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kangamitroo View Post
i was reading last night, and it is clear to me that i will want to put the text in the context of the time it was received by the Prophet. for example, with the teachings about the importance of almsgiving, helping those in need--yes, this is a given to me, very important. but i wondered, in the Prophet's lifetime, was there a problem with neglect of widows, elderly, orphans? was he just reminding people of something that should be done, or was this emphasis a radical call for social justice? this is where knowing the historical context (and the work of scholars) is interesting, tho it is not necessarily required to understand the importance of giving. does that make sense?
A totally radical call for social justice! Almsgiving as described was a totally new concept at that time, for the people of Arabia. Widows, elderly people without significant family contacts, definitely orphans were all disadvantaged people who were pretty much left to fend for themselves. Everything was based on one's clan. If you belonged to a wealthy clan and had sons and grandsons (or close nephews, etc.), then you would probably be cared for. However, for a widow without sons or orphans, things were certainly very difficult. Clans cared for their members, but had no incentive to care for anyone outside their zone.

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so far, i found two items to be distracting to me. first, i do not believe in heaven or hell, except in a metaphoric sense: live a righteous life, love and serve, and life on earth will be like paradise. i found myself hoping that "eternal fire" will not be emphasized too much.

the second item, related, is the contrast between "merciful and compassionate" and "nonbelievers will suffer eternally".

thank you for this thread.
The concepts of heaven and hell are fairly central to Islam. Heaven is described as beautiful gardens with flowing streams and all the pleasures one could desire. That which is haram (unlawful) on earth shall be made halal (allowed) in heaven. Hell is exactly the opposite and you will find it described throughout.

Allah is merciful and compassionate to those who do their best. For those who are faced with the truth of Him and choose not to believe or to deny His existence, those are the ones who will suffer. Nowhere does it say that only Muslims will go to heaven, but those who see the truth of God/Allah and do their best to follow the right path will be rewarded.

Thank you for your participation. It does my heart good to see so many non-Muslims subbing and reading along.
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#68 of 141 Old 01-17-2009, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everybody:

Well, not sure who is still here, but I'm hoping everybody is. Today we're supposed to finish the reading for the week, up to Al-Baqarah 141. You have tomorrow to catch up on anything you might have missed.

I'll post week two's schedule either tonight or tomorrow.

Let me know if you're interested in having a separate thread for each week, or just want to continue in this thread until we max it out.

Peace.

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#69 of 141 Old 01-18-2009, 01:54 AM
 
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I'm still here! Thanks so much for doing this.

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#70 of 141 Old 01-18-2009, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Week of January 19th - January 26th, 2009

Day 1 (Monday)
Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 141-160

Day 2
Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 161-182

Day 3
Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 183-202

Day 4
Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 203-225

Day 5
Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 226-245

Day 6

Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 246-266
*Note 255, it's Ayat ul-Qursi, a famous verse*

Day 7

Make Up Day/Free Day

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#71 of 141 Old 01-18-2009, 10:27 AM
 
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Thanks Umsami for posting this schedule. Keeping the schedules all in one thread works for me but I'm fine with either decision.

I'm already behind on my readings as I have found it hard to get online reading done - I'm waiting for my copy of the Qur'an to arrive in the mail!

Enjoying this thread - thanks for starting it.
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#72 of 141 Old 01-18-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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A totally radical call for social justice! Almsgiving as described was a totally new concept at that time, for the people of Arabia....

...Nowhere does it say that only Muslims will go to heaven, but those who see the truth of God/Allah and do their best to follow the right path will be rewarded.
thanks for your reply to my questions. i suspected it was more of the radical call, and i have to say the more inclusive view of heaven is heartening as i move forward with the reading.

i look forward to continuing. i am grateful for MDC as a forum where i can learn so much, from right here in my living room too!

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#73 of 141 Old 01-19-2009, 04:30 AM
 
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Can I confess that I always find al-Baqarah a challenge just to read? It is not just the length ... it is the length combined with the skipping around subject matters combined with ... not even sure, since I don't find the same challenge in the coming few chapters, and it's not as though they are so much shorter or contain much greater internal continuity. It's very easy for me to drift away from really paying attention to what I'm reading without evening noticing, kwim?
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#74 of 141 Old 01-21-2009, 01:42 AM
 
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This is such a good idea. I'm going to jump in. I read the Qur'an a lot anyway, but I usually pick a "random" Surah. It will be nice to read it with some order. I'm not sure I'll have much to say, but I look forward to reading others' comments!

I normally only look up various interpretations when I am confused or need to infuse new life into my Qur'an study.

The two versions I use are Abdullah Yusuf Ali (in English and Arabic, with commentary) and Tarif Khalidi's new translation, recommended by Zia Sardar (whose Blogging the Qur'an I really enjoyed, by the way.)

Liquesce: I've always found Al Baqarah hard to read, too. And like you, I have a hard time putting my finger on why.


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#75 of 141 Old 01-21-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Thanks SkyandLavendar for mentioning Tarif's translation of the Qur'an. I also saw it recommended on Zia Sardar's site and was eager to purchase a copy but not sure if it was really worth it. That's great news!
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#76 of 141 Old 01-21-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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Thanks SkyandLavendar for mentioning Tarif's translation of the Qur'an. I also saw it recommended on Zia Sardar's site and was eager to purchase a copy but not sure if it was really worth it. That's great news!
It's a beautiful translation. Khalidi is a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at American University of Beirut, and many Lebanese acquaintances of mine highly recommend his work on the basis of his integrity and dedication. Part of his goal in this translation was to be precise to the original meanings of the words while also capturing the flowing sense of poetry natural to the Qur'an. However, he doesn't include any commentary at all. I like to read it alongside the annotated translation I have so that I can look in that for historical context. Oh, and also, Khalidi's translation does not include the original Arabic anywhere.


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#77 of 141 Old 01-21-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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for non-Muslims like myself, i want to recommend a book that Liquesce had suggested to me in another thread: Muhammad by Demi. this is a children's biography that does a beautiful job of describing the life of the Prophet and the time in which the Qur'an was received.

this is by no means the kind of supplement that you will get from the scholarly commentaries, but for me it was helpful.

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#78 of 141 Old 01-24-2009, 10:40 PM
 
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How's everyone doing with their reading? I've been finding myself getting into it more as I go along. I'm looking forward to next weeks schedule.

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#79 of 141 Old 01-24-2009, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How's everyone doing with their reading? I've been finding myself getting into it more as I go along. I'm looking forward to next weeks schedule.
I'm doing OK, but still have some to make up tonight/tomorrow. I seem to always get stuck in Al Bakarah... but once I'm past it, life seems much easier.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#80 of 141 Old 01-25-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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I'm doing OK, but still have some to make up tonight/tomorrow. I seem to always get stuck in Al Bakarah... but once I'm past it, life seems much easier.
I'm behind and a bit daunted by how many verses in the same surah I have to catch up upon. But, I shall push through tomorrow and be caught up (I hope).

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#81 of 141 Old 01-26-2009, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Week Three Schedule
Week of January 27th - February 1st, 2009

Day 1 (Monday)
Surah Al-Bakarah (The Cow) 266-286

Day 2
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 1-22

Day 3
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 23-42

Day 4
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 43-64

Day 5
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 65-85

Day 6
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 86-107

Day 7
Make Up Day/Free Day

So, this week we finish up Al-Bakarah on Monday and then begin the Surah of the Family of Imran. The Family of Imran includes Saint Anne and Mary, Mother of Jesus (Isa in Arabic).

If you're way behind or just joining us, feel free to start here.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#82 of 141 Old 01-26-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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Ooo ... you are tempting me with skipping what I have not yet finished in Al-Bakarah! I'm looking forward to the Surah of the Family of Imran.

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#83 of 141 Old 01-26-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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I'm falling way behind in my readings. I think the issue is (and it is not a bad one) is I'm reading so many other books at the same time! I'm also reading online until my purchased Qur'an copy arrives and I find it hard to read and contemplate online. (I'm also reading "The Idiot's Guide to Islam" which is, silly as the title sounds, is an excellent introductory book.) I find so much beauty in the Qur'an and although I'm not particularly schooled in any religious faith or text - it does seem to have a different rhythm than the Christian Bible. Or rather, the Qur'an, even in English, seems poetic and rhythmic whereas the other does not. I read somewhere that is because initially the Qur'an was said aloud rather than read? Not sure if I got that right!
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#84 of 141 Old 01-27-2009, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm falling way behind in my readings. I think the issue is (and it is not a bad one) is I'm reading so many other books at the same time! I'm also reading online until my purchased Qur'an copy arrives and I find it hard to read and contemplate online. (I'm also reading "The Idiot's Guide to Islam" which is, silly as the title sounds, is an excellent introductory book.) I find so much beauty in the Qur'an and although I'm not particularly schooled in any religious faith or text - it does seem to have a different rhythm than the Christian Bible. Or rather, the Qur'an, even in English, seems poetic and rhythmic whereas the other does not. I read somewhere that is because initially the Qur'an was said aloud rather than read? Not sure if I got that right!
I love the "Idiot's Guide..." it is really well written and easy to skip around in.

One thing you (or anybody else) could consider is listening to the Qur'an rather than reading it. This might also work for people who don't find the time to read, but could listen in their car or whatever. You can find Qur'an recitation for free online in tons of places... and some have English translation after.

If you go here http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/quran/ and scroll down a bit, you'll find "Audio Recitations and Translations"

The first 23 verses of Al-Imran (about a day's worth) take less than 7 minutes to listen to in the English only version. So, if you have English + Arabic, assume you can listen to it in less than 15 minutes.... give or take (as not all verses are the same length.)

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#85 of 141 Old 01-27-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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Thanks Umsami - that's a great idea. I'll start listening - that will work for me! Yes - I am reading the Idiot's Guide to Islam - and I keep putting it aside as I read - not because of boredom or anything but because everything I'm learning about Qu'ran and Islam is making so much darn sense - it is scaring me! I'm just a person raised in a secular household whose ancestral roots are Christian. It's blowing my mind because what I see in the Qu'ran - it makes total sense and really resonates with me.
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#86 of 141 Old 01-28-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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i want to just mention a few things from last week's reading that stood out to me. i have no particular insight about these passages or anything (and i have not yet made time for reading commentaries). just throwing my gut responses out there.

190 "Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but be not aggressive. Surely Allah loves not aggressors."
i venture to say that some people today have stretched the idea that retaliation is OK. there is an injunction against taking up arms against the unarmed, yet...

223 "women are your fields: go then, into your fields whence you please."
hmm...i flinched at that one. definitely, definitely will seek commentaries to figure out what positive thing could that mean.


237 "Do not forget to show kindness to each other. God is cognizant of all your actions."
i loved this reminder, and overall the idea of being humane in our dealings with one another, even when a marriage fails.

244 "Fight for the cause of God."
i am sitting with the idea that Allah is compassionate, merciful...and that whatever way we "fight" for God should manifest those qualities.

i look forward to this week's reading. peace be with you all.

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#87 of 141 Old 02-01-2009, 10:48 AM
 
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Thanks again for the link, Umsami. I'm actually caught up with my readings!

http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/quran/ - this is great!
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#88 of 141 Old 02-05-2009, 12:47 AM
 
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bumping for this weeks reading

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#89 of 141 Old 02-05-2009, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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bumping for this weeks reading
Sorry. I've been meaning to post it since Sunday, but keep getting interrupted. (Note, if I ever forget, it's about 20 verses per day, give or take. )

Week of February 2 - February 8, 2009

Monday
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 108 - 129

Tuesday
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 130-148

Wednesday
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 149-171

Thursday
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 172 - 189

Friday
Surah A'lay Imran (Family of Imran) 190-200 (end)

Saturday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 1-22
Sunday
Catch up day/Free


I'll also post next week's reading.

Week of February 9 - February 15, 2009

Monday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 23-42

Tuesday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 43-64

Wednesday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 65-87

Thursday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 88-104

Friday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 105-126

Saturday
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) 127-146

Sunday
Catch up day/Free

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#90 of 141 Old 02-05-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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Salaam! I am way behind, But I want to join! I will start reading tonight and Inshallah, I will chatch up with you ladies!
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