The Critical Qur'an

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Puritan Board Freshman
I thought that I would share this interesting piece of information in case anyone is interested in outreach to Muslims. Robert Spencer, the founder of Jihad Watch and widely reputed "Islamophobe", recently published one of the first (if not the first) critical editions of the Qur'an, entitled The Critical Qur'an. For a short time, a Qur'an published by a Christian was the #1 best-selling Qur'an on Amazon. However, it was ultimately removed from the Qur'an category despite actually being a Qur'an. As the saying goes, Allah is the best of schemers (Surah 3:14). Spencer is not my choice of a political commentator or a theologian, but he knows his stuff on Islam.

From the description of the book on Amazon:

"...English-speaking people, however, have found attempts to understand the Qur’an and Islam impeded by unclear, densely worded translations and explanatory notes written by Islamic apologists attempting to conceal, rather than reveal, how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of the Qur’an to justify violence and supremacism, and to make recruits of peaceful Muslims.

The Critical Qur’an, in contrast, makes clear the passages that are used to incite violence. Historian and Islamic scholar Robert Spencer elucidates the Qur’anic text with extensive references to the principal tafsir, or commentaries, that mainstream Muslims use today to understand the Qur’an, showing how interpretations that sanction violence are unfortunately not outliers, but central in Islamic theology."

Based on the preview given by Amazon (containing the preface and first three Surahs), it seems very well-researched. I've just ordered my copy and hope to apply it to future interactions with Muslims. Many of us have had the interaction (or a similar one) with a Muslim in which you bring up a passage such as Surah 4:34, which commands domestic violence, only to be falsely told that the Arabic word for "beat" actually means "beat lightly (with a toothbrush?)". The Critical Qur'an seems to be a repository of quality polemics that should prove beneficial for "misunderstanders" of Islam such as myself. I have noticed that there is a large Muslim presence on my campus, but have typically avoided them during campus evangelism because of my lack of knowledge of the Islamic sources. Hopefully, after reading Spencer's Qur'an, that will no longer be the case. :)


Ordinary Guy (TM)
You can also google the Chronological Qur'an so you can see how Mhd's thoughts evolved over time. It is very interesting. Pair this also with Ali Dasthi's book 23 Years; The Life of the Prophet to understand how conveniently Allah's revelation came to Mhd to justify his killing or taking of extra wives.
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