Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blog review : Blogging the Quran

From the authors :The Qur'an is the sacred book of Islam. In the view of Muslims it speaks to all humanity (not just those who believe) but its message is often hard to grasp. Its unconventional structure makes it unlike any other book and its 114 suras (chapters) are not arranged in chronological order but according to their length. Its literary style is considered by Arabic speakers to be neither prose nor verse but something unique.

Muslims have been wrestling with the meaning of the verses and words of the Qur'an from the early days of Islam. Non-Muslims, meanwhile, often have wildly inaccurate notions of its content. These arguments and misconceptions are played out daily on the threads of Comment is free.

Through Blogging the Qur'an, we hope to try and untangle some of those meanings and misconceptions. Over the course of this year,Ziauddin Sardar - writer, broadcaster and cultural critic - will blog the book, verse by verse and theme by theme. There are plenty of theological forums on the internet where the Qur'an is discussed in great detail; our hope is this non-theological exercise will illuminate and inform the political and cultural discussions that take place day in and day out about the role of Islam in world affairs.

If the Qur'an is the source of the religion, then going back to the book should help all those who want to know more. To that end, Guardian writer Madeleine Bunting will help frame each week's discussion by putting the questions to Zia that non-Muslims in particular struggle with when trying to understand Islam.

Readers are welcome to email comments and observations, and we'll publish a selection each week which Zia will respond to. More details of how to join in can be found here.

Each blog will be linked to three translations of the Qur'an on the website of the University of Southern California. For more about the translations, click here.

Illustrations are supplied by the British Museum.


Mudpie thinks that this is an interesting experiment, not in Qur'an teaching, or tafsir, but in da'wah. Through this medium one juxtaposes the views of non-believers with believers, and can provide a good platform for discussion. For Muslims who already believe in the Qur'an, it is not a substitute for a proper tafsir course, nor, for that matter, a teacher (the spiritual element of the Quran can only be transmitted to a student personally through a teacher with proper ijazah and silsilah). Nevertheless, for Muslims it can give a good insight into how non-Muslims may perceive what they take for granted as Quranic truth, and ponder how to share their view and belief in response.

I think a very interesting review is found here, by one of the readers of the blog,  - Noor al-Yaqeen: How the blog changed me

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