So I mentioned in a previous blog post that I would begin reading the Qur'an soon, and blog about it. By original plan was to do it in 30 days, since the Qur'an is broken into 30 sections (called a Juz') for Muslims, who are supposed to read the entire Qur'an during the month of Ramadan.
I began reading the copy I got from YourMuslimNeighbor.com, and found I couldn't realistically read AND understand AND blog about the entire Qur'an in 30 days. The Qur'an isn't like the Bible, which has stories and pseudo-history that can be read through like a story book. So far, it is a long-winded oration by God, through Muhammad. The Bible has some of this too, but it's not like the Qur'an. There are plenty of passages which are incomprehensible without some commentary. My copy of the Qur'an suggests this is because the Qur'an can only be written in Arabic, whereas translations of the Qur'an are not really the Qur'an. The word of God must be in Arabic, and any translation contains the translator's interpretation of the words. This sounds like a cop-out, meant to deal with the fact that the Qur'an really is simply incomprehensible when read critically by people who haven't already been told what to believe about the book. There's nothing magical about the Arabic language. Some might find it beautiful, but it has the same expressive power as any other language.
I still plan on reading and blogging about the Qur'an though. My plan is to use another copy which includes some commentary. I found an online one here, which looks sufficient. I know that the commentary could be biased, and probably represents what someone wants me to think about the text, but that's unavoidable. I will continue to read the Qur'an sent to me first, and double check difficult passages with the commented copy. I may not be able to read Arabic, but I can compare translations, and will keep in mind disparities when they arise. If the translations are similar enough, I'll take it for granted that its an accurate representation of the text.
Since this will take more time than just reading the Qur'an once through, I'll probably blog every few days about each Juz' I read. I should have one up soon, so stay tuned!