The Koran

Translated by N.J. Dawood, Penguin Classics, 40 W 23rd St,New York 10010, ISBN0-14-044558-7, 447 pages, $11.95

The World Trade Center tragedy and the controversy about Muslim participation that spun out of it have motivated a great many people to want to know more about what Muslims believe and teach and what their system is all about. The problem of tolerance has reared its ugly head in the world once again, as people have blamed the current strife on the teachings of Mohammed, and many denials have been given by Muslims both overseas and especially here in America. We would suggest that the best way for a person to know what the Muslim world believes and what drives their social customs is to read the spiritual book that is the foundation of their system. Many people are not aware that the Koran in English is readily available to them through their local bookstore or library. This version is not edited nor have sections of it been removed as has been the case in some materials distributed by various groups in the U.S.

N.J. Dawood was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and came to London as a Iraq State Scholar in 1945. In 1956 he translated the Koran into contemporary English, the first one to do this. Since that time his translation has been redone and reprinted many times. The book begins by explaining the Koran and the history of Mohammed's life. It then divides the Koran into 114 Chapters (suras) each headed with an English title. At the end of the book the Arabic name of each chapter is given, although many other copies of the Koran just use numbers.

It is important to emphasize that this translation of the Koran is done by a Muslim and promotes the Koran as the message of God. Dawood states "The koran is not only one of the greatest books of prophetic literature but also a literary masterpiece of prophetic surpassing excellence." The Does God Exist? program is designed to show God does exist and that the Bible is His word. By the Bible we mean the new and the old testaments. We would disagree with our Muslim friends on who and what Jesus was and on who and what Mohammed was. The important point is however, that all of us should read the teachings of Mohammed and the teachings of Jesus and compare them. Having someone else tell what either one of them means is a sure way to misunderstand. We believe anyone can read the two writings and see the difference, and we are glad an English version of the Koran is available to allow this to happen.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun02.