Documenting the experiences of a typical Midwesterner struggling to read the Qur'an, understand Islamic extremism and its effects on American politics.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Blogging Light
Demands of my "real life" have forced me to delay blogging. Soon the log jam will burst and many comments will follow...
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
"Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!" [Qur'an 4:78]

This is striking in the 9/11 sense... I wonder if this was not the inspiration for the obsession the AL Qaida had with the WTC...
"Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of Allah, - whether he is slain or gets victory - soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? - men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppresors; and raise for us from You one who will protect; and raise for us from You one who will help!" Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith fight in the cause of Evil: so you fight against the friends of Satan: feeble inded is the cunning of Satan." [Qur'an 4:74-76]

Comments? I have none other than to say that this is clearly the thinking behind Al Qaida...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Much has been made of the following verse recently (here LGF) and (here DW), and I agree with it.

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, do not seek against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all)." [Qur'an 4:34].

I also shake my head at the lack of uproar from the feminist left for the tone of the verse. Clearly the status of women is below that of men and matter of factly they are to be disciplined at the discretion of men. This view is clearly unacceptable to most westerners, but since it is in the Qur'an, Muslims believe that it is the law of Allah. They cannot question what is written in the Qur'an.
Monday, March 22, 2004
"Yes, - if you remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels making a terrific onslaught" [Qur'an 3:125]


"Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for they are joined companions with Allah, for which He sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: and evil is the home of the wrong-doers!" [Qur'an 3:151]

Wow, it seems to me that the "Religon of Pieces" camp has a point here...

This must be a passage that the Al Qaeda types but take comfort in...

"They will do you no harm, barring a trifling annoyance; if they come out to fight you, they will show you their backs, and no help shall they get." [Qur'an 3:111]

It is hard to believe that some could see the US actions in Afganistan and Iraq as "trifling annoyance", or the recent killing of the Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin for the matter. I can see where they would draw strength from the elections in Spain as they did "show their backs" to the Al Qaeda menace.
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Quick Update
I have been reading, but there really hasn't been anything "blog worthy" in the last few days. A recap would be:

1) Fear Allah.
2) Allah is most merciful, most wise.
3) Fear Allah.
4) Allah has just to say "be" and it is.
5) Fear Allah.

The most interesting section has been the brief telling of the conception of Jesus. Basicly #4 above. I am looking forward to to story of Allah replacing Jesus with a look-alike to fool the Romans. With my luck, I would be that poor schlep...

Saturday, March 20, 2004
Had a few emails at Qur'an Blog Central and have a few comments...

I am NOT looking to convert to Islam from whatever I currently am. Thanks for asking and may the blessings of Allah be on you.

Yes, I AM a "godless hethen" that will most likely burn in a Christian hell, unless Allah gets to condem me to an Islamic hell first. This one reinforces my decision to leave the Christian church establishment to the zelots and other assorted mindless, drooling idiots and find my own way.

Please don't issue "Fatwas" or other threats, I am anonymous for this reason. It also does nothing to change my tone, opinions or resolve. It only makes the point of those already in the "religion of pieces" camp.

Keep writing! I read them!
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Now, who does this sound like? You only get 1 guess...

"There is a type of man whose speech about this world's life may dazzle you, and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet he is the most contentious of enemies. When he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah does not love mischief. When it is said to him, "Fear Allah," he is led by arrogance to (more) crime. Enough for him is Hell; - and evil bed indeed (to lie on)!" [Qur'an 2:204-206]

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Scorecard plus Slay, Fight...Limits?
So far, the score seems to be:
Religion of peace: 3
Religion of peices: 0

Now, this...

"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah does not love transgressors" [Qur'an 2:190]

OK, I can see this. Fight those who attack you. That is very reasonable. The warning on going too far in a fight is also very reasonable.

"And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter;but do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith." [Qur'an 2:191]

I guess slaughter is OK as long as you paint those whom you slaughter with the tag of "oppressors". I guess those 200 people in Madrid (whoops, sorry...) Andalucia were actively opressing al Qaida. They were not REALLY just going to work or thinking about how to feed their families, pay the bills or other personal matters. They were gathering to decide how to better oppress Muslims in Andalucia and supress their Faith. Now it makes sense...

"But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." [Qur'an 2:192]

I guess the Spanish electorate has done its homework. but...

"And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no more hostility except to those who practice oppression" [Qur'an 2:193]

For the Spanish to be truly safe, they need to give back Andalucia and find peace in Islam.

What about New York? I am pretty sure that New York was never in Muslim hands... These guys must have really good intellegence to be able to track people that have oppressed them to the World Trade Center where they MUST have been meeting to discuss how the continue their oppression on 9/11...

The acts in NYC and Madrid were outside the "limits" of any measure.

Monday, March 15, 2004
Righteousness and patience
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces East or West; but it is righteousness - to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, those who fear Allah" [Qur'an 2:177]

As I read this, I thought about how the terrorists could be interpreting this. It seems to me that it says that good Muslims should be good people and strive to overcome whatever obstacles they find in their path. I don't see any incitement to kill anyone here, in fact it seems to be saying to "turn the other cheek".
Saturday, March 13, 2004
"Can you (O men of Faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you? - seeing that a party of them heard the Word of Allah, and perverted it knowingly after they understood it. Behold! when they meet the men of Faith, they say: "We believe": but when they meet each other in private they say: "Shall you tell them what Allah has revealed to you, that they may engage you in argument about it before your Lord?" - do you not understand (their aim)?" [Qur'an 2:75-76]

I understand their aim, the people of New York understand their aim, the people of Madrid are just learning of it. The only question is that are they truly "perverting" the Word? They certainly claim to understand it.

I am reminded of the video of UBL meeting with a fellow nutcase after 911. Spouting scripture and bragging that he knew the building would fall. It seems that this passage applies...

Friday, March 12, 2004
First Hint
I have found the first hint (to me at least) that UBL and his ilk are truly crazy and using Islam as a cover for thier illness.

"Those who break Allah's Covenant after it is ratified, and those who sunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: these cause loss (only) to themselves" [Qur'an 2:27]

Of course, they would define me (and all Americans) as the one doing "mischief...
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Primer Arrived
The Primer has arrived and I am starting to read the first chapter. It is not what I expected at all.

It starts out with a somewhat bizarre series of claims that "proves" that the central story of the religion is true and perfect. What is strange is that it claims that some passages in the Qur'an predate and acturately predict some 20th century scienctific discoveries.

One example is the formation of a human embryo. The author claims that the translation of some of the Arabic in the Qur'an describes one stage of an embryo as "chewed matter" (like chewing gum) and them shows a picture of some chewed gum and a diagram of an embryo. Of course, the gum is carefully sculpted to look like the diagram. Of course, I looked up the referenced passage... The passage is from the story of creation (I have not gotten that far yet) and my translation has it different from the author of the primer.

Pressing on...
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Since the primer book I ordered has not shown up yet, I thought I would dive right in to the Qur'an translation.

My initial thought was that this sounds somewhat familiar; Allah is all-powerful and all seeing. This jibes with my internal faith-o-meter as similar to what I was taught and what I expected.

On the first page, I find the first thing that is somewhat different. I will admit that it could very well be the translation or some sort of cultural difference, but I found the hair on the back of my neck standing up with the following verse: "This is the book: in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah" [Qur'an 2:2]. My upbringing is that God loves, but I am well aware that many Christian faiths preach 'fire and brimstone' and use fear as motivation to stay on the straight and narrow.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
The copy of the Qur'an arrived today from Amazon.

First thing I learned... According to this article, I am not allowed to touch the book...

Well... I'm screwed... Might as well press on...
Starting out
I am starting this new blog to chronicle my exploration of the Qur'an. As I set up the pages better, you will be able to view some information about my background and some personal details. I am not a religious man, nor am I an atheist. I would call myself a non-practicing Christian of the Protestant variety (I grew up Presbyterian). I am really nobody special, which makes me think that I represent a large number of Americans.

Why am I doing this? Well, thanks for asking!

I know almost nothing about Islam except what is reported in the news and on other blogs. I know a little about some Eastern religions from college courses I took and some about Judaism from study of my childhood religion's roots. I knew a few Hindus from working in a company that employed many people from India. I know a few Jewish people and only one practicing Moslem. The events of September 11th were a shock to me. I never realized (or cared really) how Americans were viewed in the Middle East. Since then, I have wondered what kind of religion could create such people as UBL and the hijackers.

Very soon afterward we were bombarded with messages that UBL and his followers were "extremists" and have interpreted the Qur'an in a very narrow and unrealistic way. So, the world had "good Moslems" and "evil Moslems", sort of like "good Christians" and "evil Christians". I didn't know what to believe, these reports or the video coming from all over the Middle East showing the celebrations in honor of the attacks. I decided to do some research and see if I could find out who was right and who was wrong about Islam.

Which leads me here. I decided that this is a good time as I have just finished my Bachelors Degree in Business and need an outlet for my newfound free time and I need to keep up the writing momentum.

I just got confirmation of shipment of my Amazon order for an English translation of the Qur'an and a book that purports to be a primer on Islam.

Here are the links (at Amazon) for the books I will be using: Qur'an Primer

As I read and learn, I will post my thoughts here.

(c) 2004. Qur'an Project. All Rights Reserved

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