Reaching beyond Faith
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Reaching beyond Faith: A Modern Mind Reads the Koran takes the reader beyond the realm of pure faith to explore the Koran from an essentially non-pietistic point of view and in social, historical, geographic, and above all, human contexts. Its 14 chapters, using some 800 verses from the Koran, take a critical look at a wide range of issues: from the audience the message of the Koran was meant for to the role of humans in the compilation of the Koran itself, from the nature of God’s speech to the human side of the life of the Prophet of Islam, from jihad to crime and punishment, from the Koran’s call for piety to the place of women in society, from the magnificence of God’s creation to the insignificance of man.
The rationale of such an exploration should be rather obvious. Although the state of the human mind that read the Koran some 1400 years ago may still be evidenced in many parts of the Muslim world, most modern Muslims today will be mortally offended if someone were to tell him or her that their minds harked back to those ancient times. To them, it is impossible to ignore the epochal strides made in human knowledge and circumstance since the days of Muḥammad.
There is only one way to understand a book: read it. This may appear rather obvious. Yet many Muslims form opinions on the various issues said to have been settled in the Book without having read their sacred text to find out what it says or in what context it is said.
On the other hand, the meaning of a holy text is not always self-evident. This is certainly true of the Koran which is often far from easy to understand, despite the Holy Book’s assertions of its own clarity. Yet there are those who see in it only immutable codes of individual, social, and political conduct, as formulated in the desert of Arabia a millennium and half ago.
The recent rise of violent Islamists attests to the strength of their number. The author expects other Muslims, perhaps still the majority, to reach beyond pure faith as they read their Koran. He expects that arguments for a more tolerant, vibrant, and pluralist society will be strengthened by such effort. Perhaps they will find the present study a useful framework for their reading.


Chapter 1 The Koran in Arabic, for the Arabs
Chapter 2 And so It Ts Written:
Revelation and Compilation of the Koran
Chapter 3 Speech of God
Chapter 4 Juxtaposition of Disparate Themes
Chapter 5 Expeditions, Battles, and Booty
Chapter 6 Relationship with the Unbelievers
Chapter 7 Jihad
Chapter 8 Call to Piety
Chapter 9 God's Creation and His Signs
Chapter 10 The Insignificance of Man
Chapter 11 Heaven and Hell
Chapter 12 Virtue, Equity, and Justice on Earth
Chapter 13 Women in the Koran
Chapter 14 Wives of the Prophet


Editorial Reviews

...Farabi offers a critical reading of the Quran from a secular, skeptical perspective.
In this work, the author attempts to offer a critical analysis of this holy book of Islam, seeking to remind the readers that it's an undeniably human text - transcribed and edited by humans for humans...
A thoughtful, enlightening look at the Muslim holy book.

-- Kirkus Reviews

This is a necessary exegetical resource for those who wish to understand the Koran in a pluralistic context.
In his refreshing and insightful Reaching Beyond Faith, Ibn Farabi treads the waters between blind faith in and a deep understanding of his subject, the Koran...
For those like Farabi who are are committed to "more tolerant, vibrant and pluralistic societies in the Islamic world", this study of the Koran is a necessary resource.

--Foreword Reviews
Clarion Rating *****

At the heart of the book is a single question:Should the Koran be read in the 21st century the same way it was read in the 7th century? Farabi's answer is no.
Overall, [Farabi] has produced a thought-provoking work that will spur discerning readers to reevaluate what they might think they know about this holy book
Farabi is a competent writer with a simple, terse style that is easy to follow. Well-footnoted, his approach is levelheaded and sincere.

-- BlueInk Review
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