Besides a couple of grammatical corrections, this copy is the same as on Dr. Warner's website.
March 6, 2016
I have never read the Koran before despite having travelled extensively in Muslim countries and read on many Eastern religions.
It took me two days to read the ‘Abridged Koran’ of Dr. Warner, which as the author himself writes is more of a study guide before beginning to read the real Koran. Now I have the context of history and other Muslim scriptures in order make sense of the Koran.
The Abridged Koran is an easy read but a disturbing read. You have heard of Christian and Hindu monks having to take a bath before reading their scriptures? I had to take a shower *after* reading the Koran because I felt spiritually unclean. It was like sitting through a non-stop horror movie with no breaks. I kept waiting for the good parts, the positive sections to begin. They never did. I found a minority of moral teachings scattered here and there, and just a few poetic descriptions in a very hateful book. About 3/4 of the way through it became as if a blur of hurtfulness and arrogance. The task felt like counting the flies on a corpse, it was so grotesque. I kept wondering ‘how could any rational and kind person, any normal human being actually accept this book as scripture?’ and ‘If they do and can, do we want such people in our country?’ After I completed my read, all I could think of was: ‘We must take steps to see this religion far away from us, and if possible destroyed permanently, erased from the planet except in history. I don’t care if people become Baha'i’s, atheists, agnostics, Baptists or worship trees and dance around the Maypole naked. *Anything* but Islam will be a vast improvement’ in individual and group consciousness.
I learned why Muslims do things, why some get very upset and even violent when certain things happen. There are scriptural precedents. For example, ‘preventing’ Muslims from going to pray. Abu Jahl is criticized in the Koran for holding back a Muslim, his servant, who wants to pray. Perhaps employers at companies that do not eagerly pay for and permit pray times are likewise considered evil. Why ISIL Muslims degrade and abuse their enemies by placing a foot on the head and then turn the heads backwards after decapitating. Again Koranic precedent.
I made notes by colour-coding five tabs and writing succinct words according to my needs…
Priority 1, essential: red – fascinating fact or dangerous alert
Priority 2, very important: orange – very interesting, a warning or something unique about Islam
Priority 3, not so important: yellow – curiosity, something I didn’t know, a lead to something else, or an unanswered yet question
Priority 4, useful to know: green – Islamic trilogy facts (Koran, Hadith, Sira)
Priority 5, extra: blue – detail about the method or structure of Warner’s book
I ended up with 86 red, 129 orange, 143 yellow, 16 green and 15 blue. I find this curious because when I use a similar system reading other books, concerning the top three priorities, the ratio is usually much more bottom heavy versus top heavy. For example reading the encyclopedic Siva Purana of medieval Hinduism, or the mixed mythic and philosophical Cicero’s On the Nature of the Gods, the ratio is closer to 20/120/400. Even the brutally caste-ridden Laws of Manu of Brahminism has some nobility. The war-themed Mahabharata of the epic period of Hinduism is replete with universal teachings. By comparison, Buddhist and Christian texts have much more humanistic themes than the Koran. The only thing I felt inspired to do after reading the entire Abridged Koran, was to get out in the fresh air and sunshine. So, be prepared with some drinking water and a place to take a break, otherwise you might feel sad and negative. Reading the Abridged Koran was a pivotal experience for me, unfortunately verifying my worst fears.
With The Abridged Koran, the tag ratio from my reading was skewed to the most alarming, a lot of ‘read this and weep.’ I made almost no notes of interest regarding Dr. Warner’s book itself, further reading or even the Trilogy of Islam. The content rests squarely on the malicious, envious and otherwise anti-civil society things that the Koran itself has to say.
While a considerable amount of Abridged Koran is contextual (i.e. explanation from author but more so information from other trilogy sources such as Hadith and Sira) herein I offer only Koranic verses. So, this is an assessment of the Koran itself not Dr. Warner’s study guide to it. My next step will be to read the Koran as it commonly presented, ordered according to length not chronological (real) history, and translated by a mainstream Islamic source which presumably has no anti-Islamic ‘axe to grind’. I am giving Islam the benefit of the doubt, even though it looks like an exercise in futility.
My list is not complete, it is just what I made notes on, and a conclusion based on the gist of it. For brevity, I have reduced my own tagged quotes to a fraction or what caught my attention. I suspect that the verse numbers I quote are inaccurate as I sometimes quote the entire group of verses and Dr. Warner does not itemize them but instead writes full thoughts. All of these assessments of categories I made after reading the Koran. Although I have read and heard of others repeat some of them as part of their arguments against the atrocity and obscenity of Islam these are taken directly from my reading, not from third party sources such as websites or other books. And if I made a tag on one section of verses I didn’t necessarily add other tags if another group of verses following saying similar followed. So, in other words, these are the *minimums*, there are more than I count herein.
The following list is based on my own assessment, disregarding everybody else’s read (including the author’s), whether they agree with my own assessment or not.
Top seven themes of the Koran
1. All non-Muslims are bad just by virtue of not being Muslim. And for other reasons too 2. Non-Muslims deserve to be killed, taxed and forced to submit, simply because they are non-Muslim 3. Non-Muslims are going to hell 4. Christians are bad, Jews are really bad, Idolaters are the worst 5. Good Muslims finance holy war and if possible engage in it themselves 6. Heaven is a comfy and scenic banquet hall with beautiful women and boys, tasty drinks and lots of fountains. 7. Hell is fire with torture, and it goes on forever.
The Koran spends a lot of text space criticizing other religions and in particular the *followers* of other religions, especially Jews and Christians. The Koran doesn’t observe the nicety of distinguishing between Jews and Judaism, for example. Coming from a background of Hinduism and having a fascination for the many streams of Buddhist traditions all over the world, I find the Koran bizarre and appalling. This ‘our way or the highway’ (the ditch actually) is contrary to any Indian-origin Dharmic religion or Indian-influenced religions, which generally have a compassionate and accepting attitude to other religions, accommodating them even into their own systems (for example the historical Buddha being considered as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu). The Koran is the antithesis of Indian Islam – with its the saint worship, festivals and music . I have spent considerable time upcountry and in the cities of India (as well as lived in Buddhist regions of Southeast Asia) and pure Islam, not tempered by the modifications of Java and Cambodia etc is like something from another planet. I find Koranic Islam’s stated objections to other religions so severe as to be anti-religion. They make the Catholic Church’s ‘we know best’ perspective seem downright cosmopolitan. Bishops might disagree with my critique of their Church, even vociferously. But they are not going kill me. Probably not even mock me. Maybe ignore me. Basically, Islam as presented in its primary scripture, the Koran, is completely incompatible with diversity and human rights. After reading the Abridged Koran I do not see Islam as a religion at all.
I. Anti non-Muslim X 43
Ia. Anti-Jew *and* anti-Christian – X 8
“Keep us on the straight and narrow path. The path of those You favour; not the path of those who anger you [the Jews] nor the path of those who go astray [The Christians].” 1:5
So, the fifth verse of the Koran, wasting no time, is anti-Jew and anti-Christian. Isn’t this the verse that is repeated daily in every mosque in the world? I must investigate to see whose interpretation it is of those who anger and go astray. Who do Muslim scholars say it refers to? What do the Muslim man and woman in the street say it refers to? What would happen if every day at a political meeting within the first few minutes an announcement is made: ‘And by the way, the Muslims are wrong.’
Threat – “To those of you to whom Scriptures were given: Believe in what We have sent down confirming the Scriptures you already possess before We destroy your faces and twist your heads around backwards, or curse you as we did [the Jews] who broke the Sabbath, for Allah’s commandments will be carried out.” 4:47
Ib. Anti-Jew/Judaism – X 12
“Those [Jews] who conceal any part of the Scriptures which Allah has revealed in order to gain a small profit shall ingest nothing but Fire in their stomachs. Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, and they will pay a painful price. They are the ones who buy error at the price of guidance and torture at the price of forgiveness; how intently they seek the Fire!” 2:174
“Those to whom the Torah was given and do not follow it can be compared to a donkey who is made to carry a load of books but is unable to understand them. Those who reject Allah’s revelations are a sorry example. Allah does not guide those who do wrong.” 62:5
Jews to be eternally tortured in hell – “We gave the Scriptures and wisdom to the children of Abraham, and a grand kingdom. Some of them believe in His messenger while others turn away from him. The flames of Hell are sufficient punishment for them! Those who reject Our revelations We will cast into the Fire. As soon as their skins are burnt away. We will give them new skins so that they will truly experience the torment. Truly Allah is mighty and wise!” 4:53
Ic. Anti-Christian/Christianity – X 6
“Truly this religion of yours is the only religion, and I am your Lord, so worship me. But they have broken their religion [Christianity] into sects, and yet they will all return to Us.” 21:92
The Koran is emphatically opposed to division of any religion into sects (nobody is permitted to agree to disagree, there has to be a monolithic united front). Islam rejects Jesus as divine and the concept of trinity. Jesus was either not crucified at all or didn’t die from his torture. There was no resurrection of Christ. God has no son. Islam goes to great lengths to disparage basic Christian doctrine.
I do not know of any religion that spends so much space trying to insult other belief systems. Even in the formal intellectual debates of Tibetan Buddhists or missionary public debates of some Hindu pundit-philosophers, it is done with dignity. Islam is one long belligerent insult. It is not done in a scholarly way but disrespectful name-calling. I find this completely foreign and counter-productive (who would join a religion without rational argument, persuasion and by the exemplary life of its best examples?). Islam is entirely in opposition to civilized society. Even the onslaughts of the Mongols and the brutal Vikings primarily they just wanted booty and they moved on after pillaging. But Islam is something much more dangerous – an *ideology* the followers of which expect submission and never want to adapt or leave. Normal rules of civil behaviour and even human self-interest don’t apply. It is terrifying experience letting the import of the Koran sink in. When I read Abridged Koran I am left reeling from a nightmare.
Anti-pagan/paganism – X 3
All sins are forgivable except idol worship. 4:116
“Idolatry is a greater sin than murder.” 2:216
The libertarian philosophy of ‘no victim=no crime’ comes to mind here. It might be foolish, it might be a waste of time, but what harm comes of an Orthodox, Coptic, Hare Krishna or tribal religion worshipper tinkling a bell before an image of their vision of the Divine? It boggles the mind. This is not unique to Islam, of course. Judaism and Protestantism oppose worshipping God in any form also. But despite the Ten Commandments, leaders and members of those religions don’t claim that killing a human being is surpassed on the outrageous sins scale by bowing down to a golden calf.
Anti-Muslim not following Islam precisely/apostate – X 4
Apostates go to hell – “Any of you who renounce your faith and die an unbeliever, will have your works count for nothing in this world and the world to come. These people will be prisoners of the Fire, where they will live forever.” 2:216
Anti non-Muslim – X 9
“We give them time only hoping that they will commit more serious sins.” 3:178
Unbelievers should commit suicide – “If anyone thinks that Allah will not make His Messenger victorious in this world and the world to come, let them tie a rope to the ceiling of his house and hang himself with it. Then let him see if that course of action remedies his anger. We have sent down the Koran containing clear signs. Allah guides who He please.” 22:15
“He might destroy a portion of the unbelievers, humiliate them, and keep them from their purpose. It is none of your concern whether He forgives them or punishes them for, truly, they are evil-doers.” 3:126
Anti Jew, Christian, Zorastrian and pagan – X 1
Non-Muslims go to hell – “The unbelievers among the People of the Book [Jews, Christians and Zorastrians] and the idolaters will burn in hell for eternity. Of all the created beings, they are the most despicable.” 98:6
Anti-Islam/Muslims – X 0
Hell, descriptions of – X 3
I didn’t realize that Islam was so much stick and so little carrot, much more so than the Old Testament. It is closer to the less philosophical of the Hindu and Buddhist texts, which also describe the torments of hell. Herein I am not counting verses that specify, Christians, Jews and pagans going to hell – there are some verses in the Koran that are more general, just non-Muslims.
“If only you could witness the angels carrying off the unbelievers’ souls! They slash their faces and backs saying, ‘Taste the torment of Fire!'” 8:49
Hell, warnings to avoid/cursing of others to end up in/reason people go there – X 3
“Surely, you and those who worship besides Allah are nothing but fuel for Hell. You will be sent there. ” 21:98
Paradise, descriptions of – X 4
Heaven is described in great detail. But it sounds more like a Las Vegas garden with free escorts than a spiritual state. It doesn’t sound symbolic at all. It sounds rather like Hindu and Buddhist description of the afterlife.
“A few of those who lived later [after Islam was well established] will be on decorated couches, reclining on them face to face. They will be waited on by young boys with goblets and ewers and a cup of pure wine that gives no headaches nor muddles the wine, and with fruits that are most pleasing, and with the flesh of birds that they desire. In compensation for their past good deeds, they will have houris [heavenly companions of pleasure] with big dark eyes like pearls peeking from their shells. They will not hear any vain or sinful talk, only the cry ‘Peace! Peace!’ 56:10
“Surely, the righteous will live among delights! Seated on bridal couches they will gaze around. You will see the delight on their faces. Fine wines, sealed with musk, will be given them to drink. For those who have aspirations, aspire for wine mixed with waters of Tasmin, a fountain where those close to Allah drink.” 83:22
“He rewarded their patience with Paradise and silk robes. reclining on couches, none will suffer from extreme heat or cold. Trees will shade them, and fruit will dangle nearby. Silver cups and crystal goblets will pass among them: silver cups, transparent as glass, their size reflecting the measure of one’s deeds. They will be given ginger-flavoured wine from Salsabil. They will be waited on by eternally young boys. When you look at them you would think they were scattered pearls. When you see it, you will see a vast kingdom of delights. They will wear richly brocaded green silk robes with silver bracelets on their arms, and they will quench their thirst with a pure drink given to them by their Lord. ” 76:11
“They will have virgins of their own age, who glance modestly.” 38:49
Day of Judgement -?
I don’t claim to be a neutral reader. I frankly skipped most of this because, as a secularist with a background in non-Abrahamic religions, I am not interested.
Bible stories – ?
See comment in Day of Judgement above
Aggression, Physical X 33+
Destruction of property – I didn’t count
Theft of property (including division of spoils of war) – I didn’t count, but it is there.
Threats of violence – X 1+
“I will send terror into the unbeliever’s hearts, cut off their heads and even the tips of their fingers!” This was because they opposed Allah and his messenger.” 8:12
Jihad (warfare) is mostly in the Medina Koran. However other acts of violence are throughout the Koran as a whole.
Jihad, enjoining to participate – X 17
“March forth both the lightly and the heavily armed.”, and strive hard in Allah’s cause.” 9:40
“We will strike terror into the hearts of the unbelievers because they worship others besides Allah, which He gave no permission to do.” 3:149
“When they ask you about fighting in the holy month, say: Fighting at this time is a serious offence, but it is worse in Allah’s eyes to deny others the path to him.” 2:216
“Fight them until you are no longer persecuted and the religion of Allah reigns absolute.” 2:191
“Gather against them all of your armed forces and cavalry so that you may strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them who do not know but whom Allah knows.” 8:59
“If they do not keep away from you or offer you peace or withdraw their hostilities, then seize them and kill them wherever they are. We give you complete authority over them.” 4:91
“Truly Allah loves those who fight for His cause and stand together in battle array like a solid wall.” 61:4
Jihad, description of rewards/enjoining support/describing profit from/donors expendable – X 13
“Those who give their wealth for Allah’s cause are like the grain of corn that grows seven ears each having one hundred kernels.” 2:261
“Whoever of you acts miserly does so only at the expense of his own soul. Truly, Allah has no use for you, but you have need for them. If you turn your backs on Him, he will simply replace you with others who will not act like you!” 47:38
Early investors get more profit! – Those of you who gave to the cause before the victory and fought will receive a greater reward than those who gave and fought after it… Who will loan generously to Allah? He will pay back double what he is owed, and he will receive a noble reward.” 57:10
Jihad, criticism of those not participating/supporting – X1
“Believers who stay at home in safety, other than those who are disabled, are not equal to those who fight with their wealth and their lives for Allah’s cause. Allah has ranked those who fight earnestly with their wealth and lives, above those who stay at home. Allah has promised good things to all, but those who fight for Him will receive a far greater reward than those who have not.” 4:95
Jihad, description of attacks – X1
“Say to the unbelievers, ‘Soon you will be defeated and thrown into Hell, a wretched home! Truly, there has been a sign for you in the two armies which met in battle.” 3:12
I would like to read a study comparing violence by the founders of world religions and their most important persons. For example: How many people did Jesus of Nazareth, the Apostles and medieval saints and Popes kill or advocate killing of? How many people did Krishna, Vallabha, Ramanuja and Lord Caitanya do of same? Likewise, Moses, King David and 15th century rabbis? Gautama Siddhartha, the Arhants, and its missionaries? Guru Nanak, Govinda Singh etc. Let the actions of the best examples of religions (as defined by the religions themselves) speak for themselves. Also estimated body counts of political and military leaders claiming allegiance to specific religions. Crunch the numbers and then readers can decide who has been the greatest and least threats to peace, currently and historically. Dr. Warren and others have done so with Islam. I want to see a comparative chart.
Predestination – X 27
I was surprised to see that Islam, which is presented by apologists as so humanistic, is actually fatalistic. There is no free will in Islam.
“We have placed veils over their hearts so they do not understand, and deafness over their ears.” 18:54
“No soul will ever die unless it is Allah’s will. The length of each life is predetermined according to the scriptures.” 3:145
“For whomever Allah would mislead, you will be no help for him against Allah. Those whose hearts Allah does not desire to cleanse will suffer disgrace in this world and a grievous punishment in the next.” 5:41
Moral teachings – X 29
There *are* ethical teachings in the Koran, just not a great percentage of verses and number of words dedicated to them. Charity, generosity, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, righteousness, non-ignorance, humility, not taking God’s name in vain, kindness to parents (just don’t obey them if they ask you to worship other gods), speaking sweetly, etc. are praised. It is as if the Koran has been written or compiled by a schizophrenic.
Remorse – “When death overtakes one of the wicked, he says, “Lord, send me back again so that I may do the good things that I have left undone.” But, no, they are nothing but empty words. ” 23:99
infanticide and adultery – “Do not kill your children because you fear poverty. We will provide for them as well as for you. Surely, killing them is a terrible sin. Have nothing to do with adultery, It is a shameful act and an evil path that leads to other evils.” 17:31-32
Guardianship, keeping word, not gossiping, honesty in commerce – “Do not use the property of an orphan, except to improve it, until he reaches maturity. Fulfill your promise because every promise will be investigated. Give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an honest scale. This is fair and much better in the end. Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Every act of hearing, seeing, or feeling will be investigated on the Day of Reckoning.” 17:35
“Do not walk arrogantly upon the earth because you cannot split the earth in two, and you cannot become as tall as mountains.” 17:37
However, a lot of Koranic moral teachings mention exceptions that to most people will seem ludicrous, messages that are a mix of coercion and ethics…
“The successful ones will be the believers, who are humble in their prayers, who avoid vain conversation, who contribute to the needy, and who abstain from sex (except with their wives or slaves [slaves are bought or taken in battle], in which they are free from blame, but those who exceed these limits are sinners). Those who honour their promises and contracts and who pay strict attention to their prayers will inherit Paradise. They will dwell there forever.” 23:1
“Do not kill anyone whom Allah has forbidden to be slain [a Muslim] unless it is for a just cause [apostasy, retribution for a killing]. Whoever is unjustly slain, We have given their heirs to authority to either forgive or demand retribution, but do not allow him to exceed limits in slaying because he will not be helped by the law.” 17:33
“When you travel abroad to kill in Allah’s cause be discerning.” 4:91
“The spoils of war taken from the people in the cities and given by Allah to His Messenger belong to Allah, to His Messenger and to His family, to the orphans, to the poor, and to the wayfaring traveller.” 59:7
Poetry – X 3+
“In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful.” 1:1
In Islam’s defence, I must say that I find the very first verse of the Koran magnificent.
“Wait patiently for your Lord’s judgement, because you are in Our eye. Sing Allah’s praises when you rise up, and give him praise at night and when the stars are setting.” 52:48
“Damn him! How he planned. Again, Damn him! How he planned… We will certainly throw him into Hell.” 74:19/26
Curiously, I found almost no description of Allah other than in the sense of His qualities. This is the complete opposite of Hinduism, where gods and goddesses have very detailed physical descriptions.
Ten curious facts as part of Dr. Warner’s commentary, associated texts, or the Koran itself…
01. During Mohammed’s time there were at least six other Kaabas
02. The trinity in Christianity during Mohammed’s time was Christ, Mary and the Father
03. At the beginning of numerous Koran verses are short series of letters that are yet to be understood as to their meaning [they look esoteric/occult to me. I expect that Sufis make a big thing of these].
04. Numerous times in Koran, Arabs are told by God how lucky they are to have the Koran in their own language so they can easily understand it. So, what is the logical argument that Muslims in non-Arabic lands to not have the Koran in their local languages so that *they* can easily understand it too? Yet according to mainstream Islamic scholars the Koran can only be fully understood in Arabic. That would limit the ‘universal’ religion of Islam to Arabs only or highly educated foreigners. This is not logical. Otherwise Islam is really a tribal religion.
05. Alexander the Great is mentioned in the Koran (18:83)
06. Opponents of Mohammed have guardian devils! (43:46)
07. In Garden of Eternity, virgins will be age-appropriate. (38:49) In other places young boys are mentioned. I found no mention of adolescent or child female virgins, and certainly no specific number of any of them, as is claimed by some critics of Islam.
08. Fear in the death cult – “Believers! Fear Allah as He deserves to be feared! When death finds you, die as true Muslims.” 3:101
09. It is unIslamic to stand near the grave of anyone who is not Muslim 9:84
10. Islam cons non-Muslims out of Paradise 64:9
Now I must read at least two Hadiths (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim), Ibn Ishaq’s ‘Sirat Rasul Allah’, ‘History of Al Tabari’ and Muir’s ‘Life of Mohammed’. I am told that the Koran is the most high-minded part of Islam. I can’t wait to buy some more soap. And take walks and meditate in between reading marathons because Islamic scripture is so depressing.