Ever since planes were flown into the Twin Towers in New York, the mysterious religion hatched in the Arabian desert has befuddled Americans. Before 9/11, most people gave little thought to Islam.
Then suddenly, like a vast sandstorm, a huge number of titles on Islam swept over the publishing world, many of them quite good. However, as the saying goes, getting one’s information straight from the horse’s mouth is the best way to really understand a worldview.
Thus, a magnificent book has been published that sheds light on exactly what Islam is, and the book itself, “The Qur’an Dilemma: Former Muslims Analyze Islam’s Holiest Book,” focuses on the holy book of a billion souls.
The Qur’an itself is perhaps the most misunderstood book in the world today, and “The Qur’an Dilemma” is an extraordinary resource for anyone – non-Muslim or Muslim – who wishes to gain a better understanding.
This brave work, produced by a team of former Muslims, is headed by former Wahabbi Muslim Al Fadi of Saudi Arabia.
“A book of terror or a book of peace?” – This is the dilemma for Muslims and non-Muslims, as we seek to process what 9/11 unleashed on the entire world. With terms like Shariah law and jihad entering the American vocabulary on a consistent basis, we have been trying to understand why certain people hate us.
“The Qur’an Dilemma” is a commentary from the people who do understand thoroughly the agenda of radical Islam. Among the questions explored:
- Is Islam’s holy book an inspired message from God or a political agenda?
- How is the role of a woman actually defined in the Qur’an?
- Does the Qur’an really advocate tolerance for people of other faiths?
This first volume examines the first nine chapters of the Qur’an, and in one handsome package, the scholars study the historical accounts, linguistics, literary structure and coherence. In addition, the reader has access to numerous articles that discuss Islam, a list of resources and references, definitions, timelines and maps, endnotes and a “Who’s Who” section. All in all, an amazing document.
For those who wish to not only educate themselves, but also others through speaking and writing, the detail provided in “The Qur’an Dilemma” is comprehensive and easy to read. For example, it was actually Abu Bakr, the successor to Muhammad, who compiled the Qur’an. Bakr fought against tribes in the Arabian Peninsula that refused to submit to the Muslims (“The Wars of Apostasy”), setting the stage for the violence that followed.
Another interesting aspect of the Qur’an that is addressed in “The Qur’an Dilemma” is the issue of translations of the book.
Note this comment: “The Qur’an states in verses such as Q 16.103 and Q 26.195 that it is an Arabic book that was revealed to Arabs in their own language. However, in order for Islam to grow beyond the limitations of time and space, the Muslims had to translate the Qur’an and propagate it in a way that would attract the target cultures.”
In the above section, too, we learn another fascinating tidbit: “The Arabic and English languages are very different, which opens the door for several reasons behind inaccurate translations [three compelling reasons then follow].”
In the introductions to each of the sections of “The Qur’an Dilemma,” a helpful series of explanatory paragraphs educate the reader. For Sura 6, we learn that, according to Islamic sources, it was “revealed in its entirety in Mecca.” We also learn that Muhammad was highly frustrated “by the resistance to his message by his own tribe, the Quraysh.”
Attention is also paid to the apparent lack of biblical knowledge that Muhammad had, as in the listing of biblical patriarchs in haphazard fashion … not in chronological order that one finds in the Torah or the New Testament.
In the section “Selected Proper Names,” there is a list of important early figures in Islam, among them, Muhammad Ibn al-Hassan al’Askari: “According to the Shiite Twelvers, this man did not die but was ‘hidden’ by God. He is also known as Muhammad al-Muntazar, the Hidden Imam, and the Twelfth Imam.”
Al Askari, then, becomes an important person for moderns to understand, given the virtual obsession of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who routinely and openly invokes the name of the Twelfth Imam, whom he fervently believes is coming.
This and the marvelous other detail in “The Qur’an Dilemma” make it one of the most important books of the year. For Christians, Jews and Muslims who want to understand Islam, “The Qur’an Dilemma” is a must-have.