Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Update to Koran - Approved for Infidels

The Koran that CAIR sent me is titled "The Message of the Qur'an", by Muhammad Asad. Born Leopold Weiss, in Austria, 1920, grandson of a rabbi, Leopold begain traveling at a young age. In the military, and as a news reporter and writer, he visited the middle east and became interested in Islam. He was anti-Zionist, but not anti-Jewish. He became a Muslim at age 26. He died in 1992 and is buried in Spain. There is a fair amount of interresting information about Muhammad Asad on the internet, so I don't have to repeat it here.

From reading Amazon reviews, this version would seem the best translation for non-Muslims. It does not appear to be a translation intended for Muslims. From reading some other, non-Amazon reviews, it also is either published in censored version in Saudi Arabia, or banned completely. This may result from "The Message" being an "overly free interpretation". It was first published in 1980, and republished in 2003.

In any case, "The Message" is a 50 dollar book, available for 35 dollars, if the cost is of any interest. Also interesting is that some folks have many versions of the Koran, and compare them with enthusiasm. The two major comparisons involve the translation of the arabic text itself, and comparisons of the footnotes interpreting the verses. Muhammad Asad is given credit for having the most well written footnotes, also given good credit for his actual interpretations.

This book could be a virtual bomb, planted unawares by CAIR, if CAIR is sending out this version exclusively. The reason is that Muhammad Asad wrote books about Islam that tried to resolve the role of Islam in a world being overtaken and influenced by the West. He considered that reason and thought could be used by every Muslim to interpret Islam as applicable to daily life, rather than simply submit to the judgements of Islamic scholars. I read, in one review of his life, that he used to say "The door of ijtihad will always remain open, because no one has the authority to close it."

Now, that is an interesting concept.