Category Archives: An Odyssey Of The Qur’an

A study of the books and texts of Islam…with personal commentary.

No More “Age Verification” Free Video Embedding…


Date: March 23, 2017

I’ve stopped using the embedding code, that sidesteps the YouTube age verification.

Potentially, you’ve noticed that a lot of the embedded videos from YouTube are all giving a playback error?

For years, I’ve used the embedding code that is supposed to let anyone watch a video outright, without worrying about logging into YouTube to verify their age…This was done as a courtesy to my visitors.

As always…YouTube has recently made changes to their website…and from the looks of it, they’ve disabled this method of embedding…whether intentional, or not.

This means for me, that I have already dropped the usage of it…To be honest, it was annoying having to deal with a few things about it, anyway…I’m glad to be done with it.

But, now a ton of embedded videos won’t play on this blog…Fortunately, this is why I’ve always included a direct link to the YouTube video page…So, there should be no real issue…Just click on the link…Watch it on YouTube.

All the best…

– Steve


Understanding Fundamentals: The Foundation of Muslim Principles and Practices…


Date: May 28, 2012

Sharia law is based upon three, fundamental islamic texts…the koran…the sira…and the hadith…

The sira and hadith together, are known as “the sunnah”…So, sometimes you may hear a muslim talk about how sharia is based upon “the koran and the sunnah”…What this person means, is that there are three sacred muslim books, from which sharia asserts it’s authority

The koran, is alleged to have been “the absolute voice of the true god [allah]”, dictated by the angel Gabriel, to the alleged prophet mohammed…who it is further alleged, was an illiterate, himself…neither being able to read or write, yet he allegedly scribed these dictations…This, in part, is why the koran is claimed to be “a miracle”, by many muslims…[the other reason being, that it supposedly “always existed, and always will, in the mind of allah”…and by extension, “it had no writer”]…

The sira, is the biography of mohammed…a person who is claimed to be, “the perfect muslim”…someone who is looked upon, as desirable to emulate…So, it’s mohammed’s life story.

The hadith, is commonly referred to as “the customs of mohammed”…My understanding, is that it goes “hand in hand” with the sira [which is why, together they are called “the sunnah”…They are meant to be studied, alongside each other]. I’ve not read either, so I cannot give authoritative summary at this point…but, from what I have gathered, the hadith is more about focusing on how mohammed went about his daily life, and the typical things he encountered…and in great detail…A few topics I’ve seen/heard alleged to be covered, are such things as “the cutting of fingernails”, and “which shoe to put on first, in the morning”…Though I am sure, more substantive matters are addressed also.

In short…sharia is fundamentally based upon the corroboration, of these three books.


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Sharia Law: A Brief Personal Perspective…


Date: May 28, 2012

I’ve been told…that to understand islam, means the understanding of sharia law…the social laws [constitution?] and politics of the muslim world. Sharia is the real world manifestation of islam. It is based upon radically different principles and values, from that of typical, “free western cultures”…For one thing, the sharia viewpoint interprets things like human rights, freedom, good, evil, what is best for society, etc, in such a way that many would recognize it as irreconcilable with “western” type interpretations, of the same issues…

…Which is to say, that they cannot coexist without serious conflict between them…One must be chosen, over the other…One must be submissive to [and largely, or fully, nullified by] the other…

This is true, both in terms of muslims migrating to “western” countries, setting up their own ethnic communities, and living within a sort of sharia microcosm, within the boarders of their host country…and in terms of countries where sharia law is voted into authority, where prior laws and customs are either abolished [potentially becoming a punishable offense], or substantially diminished.

The latter highlights one of the more serious concerns, and cause for unrest within a number of “western” cultures…muslims who move there, but refuse to assimilate into the culture [apparently, they did not move to that culture, in order to enjoy it’s native customs, ideals and luxuries]…instead, intentionally choosing to create isolated communities and areas, where sharia law is a de facto authority, within their own private boarders…which also creates problems socially, politically and legally, within the host country…

Not at all unlike biblical law…sharia, by it’s nature, demands to rule absolutely…and above all other systems and people…All must be in submission [and “submission”, is the very meaning of the word “islam”]. If one is not muslim, then they are forced to live a diminished life, of low class status, and forced to pay a burdensome tax [presumably, for the “privilege” of using the muslims resources (roads, businesses, police protection, etc, etc), though a lot of us would call this blatant extortion, under threat and duress]…Even that diminished status, is only afforded to christians and jews…All others are not allowed to live within muslim boarders, according to sharia. Buddhists, taoists, jains, atheists, and various pagans?…according to sharia, not only may they be killed at the whim of any muslim, but muslims are commanded to commit acts of genocide against them.

Perhaps some reading this may recall, the woman who was put on trial in Saudi Arabia, for “suspicion of witchcraft”…The punishment, if found guilty, is death by stoning…

[Saudi Arabia is, allegedly, “our friend and ally”, though I cannot see it in that way, at all…Enemies of human rights, human dignity and peace, are simply enemies of all.]

…or the young woman who was stoned to death, after being raped and becoming pregnant out of wedlock…

…or the teacher arrested, and put on trial for “blasphemy”, over naming a teddy bear “mohammed”…

It is not only astonishing [and horrifying, in some cases], what is not only allowed to take place in muslim countries…but what is the norm, within their boarders

These manifestations of sharia [which is islam, in action] are happening, literally, within this day and age, in 2012…The weight of this, should not be ignored.

When it comes to making any value judgement about this matter, one must assess the conditions within states and communities, which live under this system.

Egypt is being converted to sharia law…Amazingly, the Netherlands have experienced tremendous change, at the hands of it’s growing, muslim communities…The state of the Netherlands, alone, has become a notorious focal point…and a tragedy, frankly.

Personally…I find much that I have learned about sharia, and the cultures which exist under it, to be alarming.

Sharia is certainly nothing I can see as acceptable, to exist or hold authority where I live…I see it as incompatible, with truly relevant human rights. I see it as a threat, and a menacing enemy, to all good people seeking to live dignified, quality lives.


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The Koran…The “Miracle”?…


Date: March 18, 2012

According to islamic lore, the koran is “the absolute word of god, dictated by the angel Gabriel, to the prophet Mohammed”…

You may have heard or seen, from time to time, muslims calling the koran [the book, itself] “a miracle”…Like me, you may have initially wondered why muslims refer to it as such.

From what I have been able to gather up, thus far…I’ve noticed at least four, distinct reasons, why someone might call the koran, “a miracle”, in and of itself…

First, is the actual story, of the famous angel Gabriel, actually coming to Mohammed, and dictating “the direct word of god”…After all…that is, quite the fantastic story…How often does “god” communicate with men?…How often do “angels” approach men?…Within most examples of mythology, these occurrences are quite rare…and how often does it culminate, into a book which massively alters the course of human life, such as the koran?

If nothing else, the koran is extremely rare, for attaining that last distinction, alone…It exists, within a small class of books.

…But, speaking of massively altering human life…this leads us into our second point…

…Some muslims claim, that because the koran has existed relatively unchanged [meaning, all versions are faithful to the original text], for about 700 years…this, somehow, constitutes another element of “the koranic miracle”…

Personally, I would have to dispute this claim…as islamic history is quite infamous, for it’s cruelty and ruthless aggression, towards anyone who would actively try to change the fundamental teachings of islam…or lead any current muslim, astray from those fundamental teachings.

To attempt changing fundamental islam [especially in any place, where fundamentalist muslims are in the majority], could get you labeled a “heretic”, and executed [or, murdered, as most of us would recognise it].

It is only common sense, that under such extreme threat and duress…the masses would be mentally beaten down, broken and submissive, to those in control of the weapons, the political system, the communications systems, the history books, and with heavy influence over social fervor [the kind that could cause rampant hysterics and violence].

Who in their right mind, especially against such overwhelming odds, is going to publish a revised version of the koran?…Who is going to start, the first reformed islam?…

They are likely to just end up dead, before it even gets any social traction.

Given this set of circumstances…it is no “miracle” at all, that nobody has publicly had the guts, to publish a version of the koran, which alters and reinterprets the words of the original koran.

Before anyone else points this out…yes, I am aware…that there is at least one major sect of islam, which does not embrace strict, fundamentalist islam…and which even has some curious interpretations of the koran…[one of which allows for a muslim man, to take a muslim teenage boy, as a sexual lover, without there being anything wrong about it…because, allegedly, the koran only specifies sexual corruption, as being a matter between men and women]…but, if you pay much attention, you will find many muslims have hostile, aggressive words for that sect…I am not under the impression, that this sect is safe in choosing to do that…and they are likely only tolerated, for the time.

There is also a historical uprising [or offshoot] of islam…for which I do not currently remember it’s official name…Hundreds of years ago, there was a reformation taking hold within certain muslim communities…Very much like christianity with the bible, this new path of muslim thought, said that the koran should not be taken literally, but as an inspirational guide of sorts.

That sect was violently wiped out [in a genocidal way], through a bloody assault waged by fundamentalist muslims. People who diverged from the fundamentalist views on the koran, had a tendency to end up being violently decimated…There may have been fragments of these cultures, which have remained…but, nothing with the substance, to seriously alter the direction of islam.

So…in short…Yes…The koran has not really been substantially altered [in any way we know about]…but, again…in light of the threat and cultural atmosphere…what on earth else, could have ever been anticipated?

It’s fair to say…most people don’t want to be murdered by religious zealots and sociopaths, over making changes to the koran.

I think, this “miracle” is more about intimidation of humans, and humans silencing those who think differently.

A third angle to this “miracle”…is that islamic lore also makes the claim…that “the koran is the only book, which has always existed [and in it’s “perfect” form]”…

The theory behind this assertion, is that what we can physically hold onto in our hands, today…is merely a physical copy, of what has always existed…”in god’s [or allah’s] mind”…

Or…in other words…they can claim that the koran is eternal, and “has always been”, because it’s original version exists in “the eternal mind of god [allah]”…

One thing I do know…is that there is a growing library of books and resources, dealing with the inconsistencies within the koran…as well as the many, many examples, of teachings, beliefs and practices, which are incompatible with progressive [and even to a large degree, “western”] cultures…and these really dissect the koran [hadith, sharia, etc, etc.]…trying to assess, what threat [if any] islam poses to non-islamic cultures.

As of yet, I’ve never completely read through the koran…but, I do know enough about it…to confidently state that it does have more than one or two, inconsistencies between it’s covers…Meaning, it is not a perfect book, as some falsely claim…I also know, there are some teachings [and commanded practices] in the koran, I find abhorrent, threatening, demeaning, aggressive, corrupt and outright despicable…I condemn those sections of the koran, with extreme prejudice, common sense and human decency, and personally declare them to be wholly vile, indefensible and irrevocably null, void of all authority.

I have to question, sternly, just how “perfect” and “good” such a book as the koran can be…when it’s alleged author [allah], asserts, displays and inspires an ethical climate…which does not even come close, to living up to my own ethical standards, in a number of critical regards.

…If I have to degrade my own standards of ethical conduct, just to conform to something else…I typically do not look upon such a thing, as being good…because my own ethical standards, are based upon mutual respect amongst all humans…Anything in contradiction to this, is going to be in conflict with me…and in contradiction, to my standard of “good”.

…And, for the record…I hold the principle of mutual respect amongst all humans [call it “the golden rule”, if you like], as the singular, highest path of good…or “righteousness”, if you will…This principle is subordinate, to no other principle, past, present or future…Nothing in the koran or bible, supersedes this principle…absolutely nothing, whatsoever

This is hardly to imply, that we should avoid harsh truths…True respect, will always tell the truth…even more so, when it is hard to face that truth…But, there must always be mutual respect, a place for everyone…and a peaceful place for everyone to live in, where human equality is respected. Where these fundamental things break down in a culture, no higher rights, freedoms, safety, standards, opportunities, good life for the common man, etc, etc, can exist or thrive [except for the very corrupt and selfish, who think they are entitled to rule over all others].

While some people may think this arrogant…I believe, that I am entirely capable of writing essays, or even just footnotes, which are superior to some [and potentially all] of the things found in the koran [or the bible, for that matter]…But then, I think most people with a decent, good-willed nature, could write a book about ethical conduct, and automatically have a good, fighting chance, of it coming out qualitatively superior, to both the bible and koran.

But…to wrap this up, there is one fourth “miracle”, element…and you may have heard this one, also…

Did you know, that islamic lore asserts, that the prophet mohammed was illiterate?…Allegedly, he could neither read, nor write…Yet, “miraculously”, he managed to write down the entire body of the koran…

…Quite an astonishing accomplishment, huh?…

I think this aspect of “the miracle”, is best answered with the following…

…You cannot believe everything you read…nor can you believe everything, which gets passed around to you by social [and cultural] networks. Just because something is stated, or printed in a book, does not mean that it is true…and “word of mouth” beliefs, which everyone just knows and takes for granted…these are fertile ground, for distortion. Only someone very unsophisticated, or deceived, would accept such things as “proof” of anything.

Mohammed being illiterate, yet somehow “miraculously” writing down the surahs of the koran?…

…It sounds like a lie, to me…

Potentially, mohammed dictated it to somebody else, and they wrote it down in the Arabic language…but if mohammed could not compose a coherent version, himself…then mohammed did not write the koran, folks…

…Angels, fairy dust and “hokus pokus”, are not going to side step this fact…Not on my blog…

So…Is the koran “a miracle”?…

…At this point in time, my opinion is that this is highly doubtful…and, the koran [like the bible], is an overly hyped work of mythology, which has acolytes showered upon it, that it mostly does not deserve…


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Some Points About the Koran…


Date: September 20, 2011

Before beginning any serious examination of the koran, it would be good to understand a few things…

The word “koran” means “recitation”.

According to islamic mythology, the koran is the absolute word of allah [the islamic “god”], as dictated to mohammed by the angel gabriel…

It is alleged to be perfect, in every regard…and unlike the bible, it is not merely “inspired” by the word of “god”…

It’s considered to be absolutely authoritative, above all else except, perhaps, the hadith…which is a companion text, and often considered to be an example, of the koran in action [in the life of mohammed, “the perfect muslim”].

Many [all?] muslims believe, that the authority of it’s words supersede that of all others, and all else [for example, all personal writings, all national constitutions, all judicial and secular laws not following sharia, the bible, etc, etc, etc]. In short, “anything in conflict with the koran, yields to the koran”…

Many muslims consider only the original Koran in Arabic, to be “the” koran…and they dismiss all other translations as “invalid”. There is, however, some dispute as to whether or not even that version, represents the complete collection of mohammed’s mystical revelations…It has been suggested, that some such writings may have been lost.

As a piece of literature, the koran is a collection of writings, each intended to communicate a sort of idea or concept…These writings [surahs] were, seemingly, meant to stand on their own, with regards to context…Or, in other words, there is no surah, which depends on the content of another surah…

As such, the koran is not one long narrative, that flows seamlessly from chapter to chapter…In fact, it is quite disjointed. This has prompted some to observe, that reading the koran is burdensome…and much of what you read, seems unrelated…or jumbled…

In part, because of this…many people frown on referring to surahs as “chapters”…because “chapter” implies, that each section is more intimately intertwined with other sections, and that they are reliant on each other…Such is not really the case, when taking koranic surahs into account.

Lastly…it is accepted that the koran’s writings are separated into, generally, two different time periods. The first period is referred to as “Mecca”…The second period is referred to as “Medina”…This earmarks where mohammed was at, in his own life and journeys, when he wrote down these “revelations”.

A few personal notes:

Because Arabic and English are so different, and because the koran is native Arabic, there is no precisely accurate and correct spelling of it’s name, in English…We spell it in English, based upon phonetic sound…Hence, koran, qoran, quran, curran…any of these [and possibly other] options have been used. I chose “koran” for no particular reason…I just felt that it fit.

I recognise that cultural nuances in language and customs, can lead to a lot of confusion…and a lot of lost context…

The more extreme viewpoint, claims that anyone striving to understand the koran, needs to thoroughly learn the Arabic language, and then proceed to study the koran…

…I find this course of action, to be patently ludicrous…and it falls well outside the scope of my study [I am not converting to islam, after all]…Further, English is the most complex human language, known to have ever existed…It is extremely wide in scope, flexible and encompusing…You wont find a more versatile language, on planet earth.

The whole idea that “English language is not good enough, to accurately represent the content of the koran”, is an absurd notion.

That being said, I still acknowledge that there may be social concepts noted in the koran, for which there are no literal translations in English.

Even if things are not precisely the same in all regards…This should not seriously inhibit any enquiry, as to the general message and demeanor of the koran…Those themes, will still come to the surface, regardless of what language, we are reading the koran in.

I’ve decided to loosely refer to surahs as “chapters”, because this is a format context I am better familiar with…and, I think, most of my readers will likely be, as well…But, I do understand, that surahs are not literal “chapters”.

About surah presentation in the koran…

Surahs of the koran, are not presented in accordance, with the order in which they were written. On the contrary…As far as any timeline is concerned, surahs of the koran jump around, all over the place. The only discernible pattern, is that surahs are generally placed in order, from longest in length to shortest.

The reason behind this is unknown…but, it could be reasoned, that this choice was made in order to cause the koran, to be a bit more on the cryptic side…except for those who’ve studied it deeply, and “unlocked” it’s root meanings.

Finally…What is the relevance of Mecca and Medina?…

Both of these are ancient, Arabic cities. Mecca is said to have been the home city of mohammed. Over his lifetime, mohammed migrated to Medina…which is where he exerted his strongest, most fierce and harsh, of “revelation inspired” power.

By many [most?] accounts, by the time mohammed reached his pinnacle in Medina, he was an outright warlord…with a massive following, and the power to ruthlessly crush most who stood in his way…and, according to history, it appears that mohammed was of the mind, to do just that. As such, the tone of his Medina writings are often said to reflect just such an attitude…an attitude of dominance and aggression, towards anyone who did not follow mohammed [or islam].

Mecca, on the other hand, was a time in mohammed’s life, where he was just starting out…and he was essentially, a nobody…He was politically insignificant…He could not get away, with being a public menace…or abusing others, who had different viewpoints and pursuits. To have done such, would have gotten him into a lot of trouble. As such, he understood that he had to tolerate the differences of others, at least until he had secured the upper hand…after which…

…well, after which came Medina…

It has been pointed out by some, that most [if not all] of the more tolerant surahs of the koran, fall squarely into the Mecca period…Where as, the more ruthless, cruel and violent surahs bent on crushing non-muslims, tend to be from the Medina period.

Put another way…According to some, mohammed behaved in a non-threatening way for his own survival and advancement, when he did not have the ability to dominate and rule over others…But, when that power dynamic shifted, mohammed changed his behavior towards others [especially non-muslims], in extreme and cruel ways.

I intend on observing the Mecca and Medina factor, in order to discover if this accusation actually holds true.

There is an additional relevance in this…in that, any case where earlier surahs of the koran contradict later surahs of the koran…the later surahs are considered to have nullified earlier surahs, at least to the extent of any explicit contradiction.

In other words…if Mecca surahs somehow conflict with Medina surahs…it is the Medina surahs, which amend, “allah’s absolute word”…Mohammed’s pauper [Mecca] days, are eclipsed by his warlord [Medina] days, in this regard…

This is one way muslims are able to generally dismiss inconsistencies, in the koran.

Despite being characterised as “allah’s absolute word”…the koran has, quite literally, evolved and changed, within the borders of it’s very own book cover…

…This might make for confusing reading, but…hopefully, understanding everything previously stated here, will give us a better handle on spotting and understanding, both these inconsistencies…and what is supposed to be most relevant.

P.S. – I’d like to say one last thing, regarding my choice in focusing on the M.M. Pickthall translation of the koran…

I will likely also include corresponding passages, from the Palmer and the Rodwell translations, to provide greater variety of perspective…but, I’ll mostly focus on what Pickthall’s version has to say.

Upon doing a bit of reading, I’ve discovered that all three versions [Pickthall, Palmer, and Rodwell], have both pros and cons about them. Pickthall very well orders the verses, making it easier to pick beginning and end points, for passages one wishes to look at [it’s also been recommended, for ease of reading, citation and quotability]. Palmer groups verses together, as [presumably] coherent phrases…Yet, very poorly outlines where one verse ends, and another starts…It does have nice, interesting footnotes, to help add a deeper understanding of the context, however. Rodwell is even worse, with clarifying verse numbers [seemingly, it does not at all], but it also groups them together as phrases…making them fairly more readable…It has many, many, interesting footnotes, also.

I don’t know how deeply I am going to get, into the Palmer or Rodwell translations, but…the footnotes seem like they might add a lot, to any study of these texts…I may quote these footnotes, as both Palmer and Rodwell are entirely in the public domain…but, I make no promises. I just wanted to point these footnotes out, to anyone wanting to take a closer look.

In addition, the Yusuf Ali English translation, also seems to be about as straight forward, as these other versions…No footnotes, though…You might want to take a peek at it. I just thought, the idea of including yet another version, is overkill…and I chose the three that I did, because of their copyright status…The legal status of Pickthall is a bit more murky…but it’s still very old [and in the public domain, in many countries], M.M. Pickthall is still very long dead, and it’s still legal to make quotations, for comment and education purposes…The copyright has ran out, for both Palmer and Rodwell, so…no worries there.


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Puzzles of Islam…


Date: August 22, 2011

Probably a good place to start, is in going over what I have learned, thus far…

The koran is claimed to be, “the absolute word of allah”…

I don’t know a tremendous amount…but, I do know that the koran is essentially divided into two sections…The very early writings of mohammed, from his life before gaining any power…and then from his later life, as a powerful warlord in Mecca.

The koran is known to contradict itself…and the claimed resolution, is to regard all latter writings as replacement, for earlier writings that are in conflict.

…So, one must know the koran fairly well, in order to discern where and how, two [or more] passages of the koran, are in conflict…and which passage takes precedence…

To further complicate issues…the koran is presented in a format, where the longest chapter is presented first…and it progresses from longest chapter, all the way to shortest chapter…They are not presented in chronological order…So, it’s not necessarily easy, to discern what nullifies what…

This strange presentation, is likely due to some sort of cultural, publishing custom…

If this does not confuse one enough…yet another layer is added, in the form of “the hadith”…which is still another book, also known as “the customs of mohammed”.

The hadith, is a collection of writings [possibly from historians, people who knew mohammed…maybe, diary entries from mohammed himself, I don’t know]…They record the actions, commands, etc, of mohammed, as relates to his own “following of the koran”…

Mohammed is considered to be “the perfect muslim”…so, the hadith is thought to be even more important than the koran, in the sense that it claims to show how mohammed lived, as “the perfect muslim”…someone every muslim is supposed to aspire to be like.

With the hadith…theoretically…every muslim could know, how to react and behave, in many [most?] situations…just by reading, and emulating what mohammed did.

Eventually, I expect I will get around to the hadith…but, as you can see…there is a considerable maze, here…The teachings of islam, are not straight forward, by any stretch of the imagination…There are complex layers, to it.

In this light…it is easy to see, why it takes an islamic scholar, in order to decipher what
“the intention of allah” is presumed to be, according to the koran [or mohammed]…

Regardless, we shall persevere…with our reading of the koran…and other, various surveys of islam, and many forms of muslim behavior…

But, it may eventually prove worthwhile, to understand the things explained above…


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The Qur’an Study Template…


Date: March 6, 2011

I think…that I just might be finally content, with what I’ve designed here…

Below, is the new template, for the “Qur’an Study” version, of “An Odyssey of the Qur’an”…There will also be a sister version for commentary [Odyssey Islam], which will concern itself with islam and muslims, in the news…and personal observations, which are not directly related, to passages of the Qur’an I’m presently reading.

Anyway, the below table, represents the structure of how I am planning on progressing through the Qur’an…It is, what I am going to post and respond within, for every surah [or section of one] that I am studying, at the time.

Some of the links are dead…Most specific, the Yusuf Ali, Pickthall, Palmer and Rockwell links…

These are four different, English translations of the Qur’an…All or old, and have expired copyrights…Hence, I actually took a full copy of each…and I am going to be posting passages out of each [which I am going to back date so far, that they wont intermix with my own posts], and linking back to those posts, in the template below. This way, you can easily choose which version you’d like to view [or, view all of them], for your own informational purposes.

Alternatively, I’ve also linked to another website, where all these versions of the Qur’an [and a ton of other, religious texts] can be found…Very interesting site.

With regards to why this has taken so long…I’ve been on the fence about a number of things…

…First, I wasn’t entirely happy, with how I had this sub-blog structured…but, I think I’m okay with it, now [let me know what you think].

…Second, I honestly have been up in the air, over which version I should focus on [I’m not going to attempt juggling all four, at the same time]…The M. M. Pickthall version, was my first choice, because it is [in my opinion] more clearly worded…but, Rodwell comes with some really nice footnotes, to help explain contexts, and put things into perspective…Still, Yusuf Ali actually separates the extremely long surahs, into sections, so you have an easier way of figuring out, what points in a monstrously long surah are okay to start and stop at…and Palmer, is one of only two, that clarifies whether a surah is from the Mecca or Medina time period…

Why, oh why, cant all the convenient aspects be located in the same version?…Ugh!…

So, originally I was going to focus on Pickthall…Then I started leaning towards Yusuf Ali…but, now I think I’m just going to use Yusuf Ali as a guide, on where to start and stop, but I’ll quote the equivalent from Pickthall…and I’ll consult the other two, for timeline information…and maybe introduce some footnotes from Rodwell, if I think them relevant enough [but, I make absolutely no promises, about that last point].

See…one thing about the Qur’an, is that while most surahs [passages] are relatively short…some of them are very, very long…like, 300+ verses, long…and even the ones that go 100, or more…That is a ton of reading and summarizing…I figure, you have to take these in bite sized chunks…Though, the flip side of this coin, is that chopping it up too much, might make any “big picture” messages, harder to discern.

…But, anyway…This is going to be a good bit of work…but, I think things are falling into place…

…This has been kind of similar to my status with “In Self Defense: The Life and Times of an Atheist Boylover” project…In that, I’ve been on the fence for quite a while, because I want to bring it all here [move it here, from my website], but I’m not entirely sure how I want to go about this rather large job…I know I’m going to be treating it somewhat differently, from just a regular sub-blog…I intend on giving it it’s own blog page, with a custom index…and I want to retain the general form it has, on my website…where you just sort of get fed through the essays, from one page to the next…

So…I just thought I’d roll this out, and show it off [Ta-Da!]…If nothing else, it can serve as proof, that I’ve not abandoned this project…and I remain quite serious about it…

Oh…In addition, I’ve decided to take LOD’s suggestion…and I’m starting to round up books of the bible, for a similar [though probably less structured] project…I’ll be starting with the book of genesis…

I’m diverting off way too much, so I’ll bring this post to a close…

I hope, the following template format is agreeable, and easy to follow…

Take care, my friends!

– Steve

The template follows:

…. AJTK_KS ….

Please Note:

– You may find and follow along with these passages
(along with other koran translations), Here…
– Mecca = Early Writings
– Medina = Later Writings
– The Pickthall version was chosen, for it’s ease of
structure; but the Yusuf Ali, Palmer and Rodwell
versions will likely be quoted, also; for additional
citation, and a wider range of perspective.
– This project is explained here…

Previous posts on this surah: | 1 |

…and a very brief summary:


Surah (passage): [PASSAGE TITLE HERE]
Mecca or Medina? Mecca / Medina



Some Practical Questions Regarding This Passage:

– What stood out most, in your mind?


– Is your natural reaction positive, negative or neutral?


– Do you see this passage as peacefully tolerant, threatening or neutral?


– Would you recommend or endorse, what is stated in this passage?


– Does this passage persuade you, towards any legitimacy of islam?


– Is this a good face for islam?



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Introduction: An Odyssey of the Koran…


Date: March 5, 2011

Islam translates into English, as the literal word “submission”.

For a wide range of reasons, I find it extremely concerning that any social ideology [including islam] might exist, with pushing it’s own dominance upon others, as it’s primary focus…and by extension, forcing others into submission to it’s own rule.

My good natured tolerance for these kinds of “religion”, has grown excruciatingly thin over the years…Or, should I say, it has been stressed, battered by those who refuse to “live and let live” [and by extension, refuse to respect the differences of others]…It has been assaulted endlessly, by the lunacy of those who claim “their invisible creature in the sky, commanded them to take a crap all over people like me”…

After escaping my own personal past with this…it deeply troubles me, not knowing what to think about islam, other than reactions from what I am seeing in “islamic” countries…and what passes as “the norm”, or even “the preferred” there.

I sometimes have a very hard time seeing islam, as anything more than a menacing, cultural threat…a new, posing bully on the horizon, which thinks it wants to saddle “me”…make me it’s slave?…

I would rather be dead, than to have to live under the type of oppressive “religion” [christianity], which I grew up in. In fact, I will sooner die, than degrade myself by going back into such an existence. I will not relinquish my dignity [nor what freedoms I do have]…I will never submit to such a thing ever again, nor accept any penalties for my rejection of such a thing.

In short…I will never be a muslim…and I do reject islam. I find it very hard, to identify the social virtues of islam…There are many troubling things about islam, which as a humanist I cannot help but condemn [executions, inhumane executions, inhumane legal penalties, gross violations of human rights, extreme violations of free speech and free will, etc, etc, etc]…These things, are far below my own standards of ethics, human decency, humanity and sense of rightness…and if these things are the result of islamic [sharia] rule…then I want nothing to do with islam.

All this being said, I still am unfamiliar with the finer points of this social ideology…and more specifically, it’s foundational text, the koran.

It may come off as a bit of a shock, coming from an atheist…but, I’ve always been somewhat fascinated, by mythelogical lore…I now know not to take it literally [unlike during my childhood and youth]…but the kind of bizarre stories and beliefs and legends which come out of it, are intriguing to me.

Sometimes, they can prove to be fun fairy tales [which I do, also, like].

You might almost say, that I approach stories and texts of “gods/angels/demons and prophets”, in the same manner as a comic book reader might look upon comic book superheros [or villains].

I’ve read the bible [and forgotten most of it…No, I am not a bible scholar]…I’ve read of pagan mythologies…and ancient Greek mythology…but I’ve never dedicated any serious time and attention, to delving deep into islamic mythology.

This new “sub blog”, represents just such a project…I want to read the koran, from beginning to end…and I intend on journalizing my honest thoughts and reactions [positive, negative or neutral], to it’s verses and passages.

In an age where we keep hearing about these so called “blasphemy laws” [where extremists want to use sharia law, in order to murder anyone who criticizes islam or the koran, and get away with these murders under the guise of “legal justice”]…I think it is important, to learn more about islam…and hold it up to very close examination…come to understand it…

As an addition…this sub-blog will also be the destination, for relevant news I find to be of interest [or concern], relating to islam, muslims, sharia, the koran, the hadith…and anything else, tied to the islamic mythology or it’s social ideologies.

Sometimes, I may post my own thoughts and writings, alone…which are concerned with islam.

This is not intended to be a hostile project…but, it is intended to be an honest journey of discovery…and weighing the fruits of islam, to my own ethical standards…As such, I will not refrain, from offering neutral responses, giving positive affirmations, or even outright condemning things about islam [or the koran, etc] which I find highly objectionable.

The “acid test” for all things islam, will be present here…but, I will strive to be fair, respectful and even handed.

We’re not dragging muslims through the mud, here…just trying to get a handle, on clearly understanding them…the texts they claim to adhere too…the predominant ideologies held, and practices pursued…the end social results, in “muslim countries”…etc, etc, etc…


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Qur’an, Koran, Qoran, Quran, Kuran, Coran…


Date: March 04, 2011

Just a brief note, to let you know…

…There is no official English spelling, for the title of the book which is the Qur’an.

Because of this, and because the roots of this Qur’an Study project are so old, you may notice that I do not always use the same spelling.

In later years, I decided to use Qur’an…Mainly because I just like it better.

It’s no more complicated than that…I’m not intentionally trying to be sloppy…It’s just that some of these are old writings, and I did not see a need to change them.


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