The Koran is one of the three surviving Holy Books, revealed after the Torah and the Gospel. Its message is quite different from the others, calling for belief in the one God, Allah. Believed by Muslims to be entirely the word of God, the Koran was the beginning of Islam more than 1,400 years ago. Today, statistics say that Islam is spreading faster than any other religion across the globe. Yet, as Islam grows, so does a storm of opposing ideas.
Islam started suffering from common misconceptions in the past few decades. Somehow, a web of rumors managed to enclose it. Many Muslims tried tearing the web by spreading awareness about the truth of the Koran, but their efforts proved weak against the tide of accusations against Islam. Islam was thought of as a violent, barbaric, bloodthirsty, backward, and oppressive religion.
False accusations, every Muslim thought. All one has to do to find out about Islam is read its Holy Book, the Koran. The truth is right in it, and, according to Muslims, it's a beautiful, peaceful truth. After examining the Koran, Islam takes on a very different shape from that commonly imagined. That snarling, fiery dragon of Islam turns into an image of peace and tranquility. Interestingly, the Koran knows it is attacked, and knows it contains sufficient proof to defend itself. In it, you'll find a few hundred challenging questions directed at you, such as, “You've seen the perfect orbiting of planets, doesn't that make you wonder?” The Koran utilizes material evidence to defend its divine origin, then presents a system of behavior that is far from violence or hatred.
Some people think that because the Koran is a holy book, it might be long and boring. What's interesting about the Koran is that it jumps from one subject to another so smoothly that you hardly feel the transition, and it holds your interest. Most chapters of the Koran discuss a few dozen topics; yet the words flow from topic to topic, making them all seem like one big woven tapestry. In this book, you will find information on a variety of subjects in the Koran. Although this book is in no way exhaustive of the entire Koran, it has taken the essence of the Koran and put together a guide suited for a curious observer or an intermediate learner.
You will find supportive quotes from the Koran throughout, so having a copy of the Holy Book handy is not necessary, but it may be an advantage for further study. All quotes are taken from Mohammed Pickthall's The Meaning of the Glorious Quran. There are several other English translations, so choose whichever you are comfortable with. Pickthall's translation is very literal, while others focus on the implied meanings of the words. Remember that the Koran is originally in Arabic, which is the only accepted version for Muslims to use in worship or when reading or reciting the Koran aloud. For the purpose of understanding the text, however, the English translation can be used.
A few goals of the Koran are to instill morals in society, prevent crime, establish stability, protect the family, maintain equality between men and women, create a conscience, promote knowledge, and, of course, preach Islam. The Koran specifically discusses all these topics. The religion of Islam is taken wholly from the Koran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to whom the book was revealed. Therefore, understanding the Koran is understanding Islam.