I've begun reading the Qur'an
You should get some background to the Mecca and Medina periods. The verses ascribed to each are all over the place. There is a Wiki article that might help.
Basically when Mo was under pressure he was more conciliatory. When his followers got a bit more organised and powerful he showed his true colours as a ruthless warlord.
Do I need to read all the Nag HammadI texts to know they are bollox? If a few Mormons live in my neighborhood must I read their nonsense Book of Mormon to understand my neighbours better? What about the ancient Vedic Sanskrit texts, why not read them too because there's a few Hare Krishnas in your neighborhood?
prologos: "Is there a concordance one can purchase? cross references?"
If you download a pdf you can use the word search/find function to look things up.
Well more power to you if read the whole thing the most that I want to do is get a little history so I would just do a wiki search on Muhammad for an abbreviated history:
Beginnings of the Quran
See also: Muhammad's first revelation, History of the Quran and Wahy
The cave Hira in the mountain Jabal al-Nourwhere, according to Muslim belief, Muhammad received his first revelation.
Muhammad began to pray alone in a cave named Hira on Mount Jabal al-Nour, near Mecca for several weeks every year. Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to that cave, in the year 610 the angel Gabriel appeared to him and commanded Muhammad to recite verses that would be included in the Quran. Consensus exists that the first Quranic words revealed were the beginning of Surah 96:1. Muhammad was deeply distressed upon receiving his first revelations. After returning home, Muhammad was consoled and reassured by Khadijah and her Christian cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal. Waraqah is variously described as an Ebionite priest (possibly of Mecca) or Nestorian. He also feared that others would dismiss his claims as being possessed. Shi'a tradition states Muhammad was not surprised or frightened at Gabriel's appearance; rather he welcomed the angel, as if he was expected. The initial revelation was followed by a three-year pause (a period known as fatra) during which Muhammad felt depressed and further gave himself to prayers and spiritual practices. When the revelations resumed he was reassured and commanded to begin preaching: "Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased."
A depiction of Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. From the manuscript Jami' al-tawarikh by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, 1307, Ilkhanate period.
Sahih Bukhari narrates Muhammad describing his revelations as "sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell". Aisha reported, "I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over)". According to Welch these descriptions may be considered genuine, since they are unlikely to have been forged by later Muslims. Muhammad was confident that he could distinguish his own thoughts from these messages. According to the Quran, one of the main roles of Muhammad is to warn the unbelievers of theireschatological punishment (Quran 38:70, Quran 6:19). Occasionally the Quran did not explicitly refer to Judgment day but provided examples from the history of extinct communities and warns Muhammad's contemporaries of similar calamities (Quran 41:13–16). Muhammad did not only warn those who rejected God's revelation, but also dispensed good news for those who abandoned evil, listening to the divine words and serving God. Muhammad's mission also involves preaching monotheism: The Quran commands Muhammad to proclaim and praise the name of his Lord and instructs him not to worship idols or associate other deities with God.
The key themes of the early Quranic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of the dead, God's final judgment followed by vivid descriptions of the tortures in Hell and pleasures in Paradise, and the signs of God in all aspects of life. Religious duties required of the believers at this time were few: belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth (considered to be significant in the commercial life of Mecca), being chaste and not to kill newborn girls.
Got my first copy over 20 years ago, and been wanting to do it ever since. However, I have the same problem with it that I do with the Bible. When one reads it in English, he's reading a translation. Are there different English translations? If so, how do you know which one is the most accurate, and, really whether any are accurate to the original language?
I think it would be good to do just for educational reasons.
I have read half of it. After my first try, I was given a hint that I should start reading from the end. The oldest and most readable parts are there, giving the basic foundations of the faith, like the relation between a man and his God. The long visions at the beginning of the book are difficult to comprehend without lots of background information.
Men are overseers over women because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because men are required to spend their wealth for the maintenance of women. Honorable women are, therefore, devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah requires them to guard their husband’s property and their own honor. As to those women from whom you fear disobedience, first admonish them, then refuse to share your bed with them, and then, if necessary, beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further actions against them and do not make excuses to punish them. Allah is Supremely Great and is aware of your actions. - Quran: 4:33 An-nisa' - Women
I waded through it about ten years ago. It's a lot like reading the Psalms twice, three times, ten times in a row. One Surat is much like another. At least the one I had contained a lot of footnotes that explained the historical references that made it more interesting.
I'm afraid after 40 odd years of having the bible rammed down my throat I have no desire to read another book full of BS.
Yes I read The Cow and The Women many years ago. Books of the Quran, surahs are they called? As I recall it sounded just like the Bible and women didn't come out of it very well. Although isn't there something about women having inheritance rights in Islam that they haven't had in Christian countries until recently? Can't remember exactly. There is no need for 'dislikes' I am just saying I have read the book. It's a book, ok! I see enough women with only their eyes showing and walking behind their husbands and their little sons in my UK Midland city to have no love for this religion.