Friday, December 1, 2006

The Qur'an

I ordered my first Qur'an, an A.J. Arberry translation, from Half.com in the summer of 2001. But, I got impatient, and rather than wait for it to arrive, I went out and bought a Shakir translation from the local new age store, hehe. Both Qur'ans still reside on the top shelf of my religious books bookcase, along with nearly a dozen other Qur'ans I've aquired over the years.

Any islamic journey should start with the Qur'an, the book of Allah (swt). Luckly, the online ummah is chock full of Qur'anic resources.

First, one can simply read the Qur'an online. For the non arabic speaker, the MSA of USC has three concurrent translations - Yusuf Ali, Pickthal and Shakir - available here. Islamicity has an excellent search function, as well as an excellent subject index, in addition to translations in many languages and in arabic. One of my husband's favorite websites for Qur'an is Al Tafsir. This website also contains a number of translations, as well as tafsir.

Recitor.org has the Qur'anic text and translation, sinqed with the recitation, which is great for those who may wish to work on memorizing the Qur'an. And for those of us who are still beginners in memorization, the website Mount Hira has set up ingenius little lessons to facilitate the learning of shorter surahs.

In addition to reading and reflecting on the meaning of the Qur'an, one can also listen online as well. Several websites allow you to listen to and/or download the Qur'an from hundreds of reciters, mashaAllah - Islam Channel, Islamway, and Aswat Al-Islam have some of the most comprehensive lists written in English. In addition, one can listen to the Qur'an in arabic, followed by a reading of the english translation, which can make the experience more helpful and rewarding for those non arabic speakers. For those with an ipod, check the Qur'an Weekly podcast, which puts out a downloadable portion of the Qur'an in arabic and english.

For those who like to have visuals, a real treat can be found in these flash presentations of Surah Maryam and Surah Qaf - beautiful recitation timed to an english translation on your screen.

In addition to reading the Qur'an itself, you can read about the Qur'an as well. Islamic Awareness has some excellent pieces, from an apologetics perspective, on the history and integrity of the Book. Sunni Sister, aka Umm Zaid, has an excellent website with information for converts, including a great page of links related to the Qur'an.

The Qur'an is also available for sale online. I will on occasion buy from Half.com, but I prefer the Islamic Bookstore. I have purchased books from them nearly a dozen times, and have always been pleased with what I've received.

Finally, the Qur'an is available for free from numerous sites online. By far the best is CAIR's offer of a free copy of the Muhammad Asad translation and commentary. I have heard it may take several months to arrive, but when it does, subhanAllah, it's well worth the wait. It's my favorite translation *faints*

The Qur'an is God's final revelation to mankind. Make sure to spend time with it daily, no matter where you journey is taking you.

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