Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Educate Yourself: Read the Koran and Other Islamic Texts Online

Reading the Koran
Want to read the Koran?  It is a good idea for those who oppose Islam.  Find out what their holy book actually says.  There is the Koran online and you can read it at this link.

The Koran isn't easy to understand because it is sorely lacking in both chronology and context.  The Koran is not arranged in the order it was written.  It is arranged by largest chapter (or Surah) first, then in descending order according to the size of the Surah.  To understand it, it should be read in conjunction with the other holy scriptures of Islam, namely, the Sira, Ta'rikh, and Hadith.  What are these funny-sounding tomes anyway?

Other Key Islamic Scriptures
The Sira (biography of Muhammad), also known as the Sirat Rasul Allah, is the earliest known biography of the life of Muhammad.  It was written by Ibn Ishaq in 750 A.D.  Faith Freedom has an online version of it at this link.  A more comprehensive history (by other Islamic authors) is located at this link.

The Sunnah (example of Muhammad)  
According to Craig Winn, author of Prophet of Doom:
The Ta'rikh is the oldest, most trusted and comprehensive history of Islam’s formation and Muhammad’s example, called Sunnah. It was written by Tabari. His History of al-Tabari is formatted like the Bible. It begins with Islamic creation and ends with the acts of Muhammad’s companions. Tabari is a compilation of Hadith quotes and Qur'an passages. As such, it provides the best skeleton upon which to flesh out the character of Muhammad and the nature of fundamental Islam.
I have been unable to locate an online English version of this text.  The History of al-Tabari is printed in 38 separate volumes, some of which can be purchased from

The Hadith (oral reports of Muhammad or his followers)
Again quoting Craig Winn:
A Hadith is an oral report from Muhammad or his companions. Muslims believe that Hadith were inspired by Allah, making them scripture. The most revered Collection was compiled in a topical arrangement by Bukhari. Allah’s Book, the Qur'an, lacks context and chronology, so to understand it, readers are dependent upon the Sira, Ta'rikh, and Hadith.
The Hadith of Bukhari is available online at this link and another version is at this link.

Craig Winn's narratives put much of these texts into a comprehensible read.  See his website "Prophet of Doom."  Winn's narratives and writings can bring you up to speed on Islam, its history, teachings and practices, faster than any other source.  I highly recommend it.

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