An Abridged Koran

4.73 out of 5
(33 customer reviews)

$17.95

An Abridged Koran is identical to A Simple Koran, except all of the repetition is removed. Practically speaking, this means that the book is half as long.

Product Description

An Abridged Koran

The standard Koran is arranged by length of chapter. The longest chapter is at the beginning and the shortest chapters are at the end. This makes it confusing and hard to understand. You can read and understand An Abridged Koran. The words of the Koran are woven back into Mohammed’s life. This is the way the Koran unfolded in the first place. It was recorded over the course of Mohammed’s life.

An Abridged Koran recreates the historical order of the Koran of Mohammed’s day. The first chapters start with Mohammed’s first recitation and the last chapters are those he recited before he died. Mohammed’s life gives the Koran clarity, meaning, and order. When the Koran and Mohammed’s life are brought together, the Koran becomes a powerful epic story.

An Abridged Koran is identical to A Simple Koran except it has all of the repetition removed. For instance, the story of Moses and the Pharaoh is told 39 times. In An Abridged Koran the story is told only once. Read An Abridged Koran. It will change the way you see the world.


English
6″ X 9″ Paperback
Number of Pages: 220


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Additional Information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 6 x 1.25 x 9 in
Language

English

Pages

220

Medium

6″ x 9″ Paperback

33 reviews for An Abridged Koran

  1. Luns Hubert
    5 out of 5

    :

    Finally a readable Koran
    By Luns Hubert on March 21, 2007

    The Koran is a book without context. What is context? For example: “Yesterday president Bush went to visit Jerusalem and said the following on account of the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Everything in this sentence is context. If you take what Bush has said during his presidency out of context and the dates and names are omitted from his speeches and all references to precise events and you do not respect the chronology of when something was said, then you get a book very similar to the Koran, but now it tells the feats of someone called Bush. Such a book needs a decoding by means of a narrative that restores the context. The decoding books for the Koran are the Hadith and Sira. If you merge the three (Koran, Sira and Hadith) you get a story in its original perspective and if you omit the repeat stories of similar speeches for different audiences, you get the “An Abridged Koran” by CSPI. How glad I was to get that book!

  2. F. Rosenzweig Lives
    5 out of 5

    :

    The Little Red Book of Political Islam
    By F. Rosenzweig Lives on May 29, 2007

    In 1964 a paperbound volume was published by the government of Communist China that shook the world: “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung” (original transliteration from the Chinese of the Chairman’s name), a/k/a “The Little Red Book.” This book laid out the doctrinal threads of Chinese Communism.

    The Center for the Study of Political Islam’s (CSPI) new English version of the Koran does the same for political Islam, also called “Islamism” – “Islamicism” – “Islamic fundamentalism” – “Islamofascism” – “Radical Islam” by post-9/11 pundits, theoretically so as to contradistinguish it from putative plain old “Islam.” Whether there is any distinction between Islam per se and “political Islam” is, in the last analysis, for the theologians to decide. But, in any event, you can get a great leap forward on your political-Islam learning curve by reading all 216 pages of this brilliant little red paperback book.

    According to “An Abridged Koran: Readable and Understandable” (at p. ix), Volume 4 in CSPI’s incredible ten-volume series, the Koran is so difficult for your average Western reader because it is organized like a mystery novel from which one has torn out the book’s spine, then has the book rebound, not topically, not chronologically, and not logically, but soley according to the length of each chapter! In contrast to all other English versions of the Koran, this book presents VERBATEM quotations from the Koran, in easily readable “newspaper”/middlebrow English, WHICH ARE ORGANIZED topically, chronologically and logically by the CSPI scholar-editors. The only reason this edition is termed “abriged” is that the Koran’s many redundant ayas (verses) are excised. For instance, there are over thirty versions of the story of Moses and the Pharaoh. (N.B. If you are a theological purist and want an unabridged version of the Koran, order CSPI’s Volume 3, “A Simple Koran: Readable and Understandable” — 408 pages in length — which contains every word of the original classic Koran.)

    This book comes with a terrific 6-page overview providing all-important context, and a 6-page commentary at the end that is a theological and philosophical tour de force in both depth and in breadth. There is also a helpful one-page bibliography to help the inquiring layman.

    *WESTERNER-INFIDELS!*>

    Read this groundbreaking Little Red Book, the very best English version of the Koran, the sacred source-text and doctrinal foundation for 1,400 years of political Islam and counting.

    It will blow you away!

  3. ChrisLA
    5 out of 5

    :

    Finally, a Koran that makes sense!
    By ChrisLA on June 11, 2007

    It is important for Muslims and non-Muslims to read and understand the Koran. I have six different English versions of the Koran, but I have never been able to wade through the jumbled, redundant, and vague text in any version. This book, An Abridged Koran, makes it possible in three distinctive ways — the surahs are presented in their true chronological order, the history of Muhammad and his new religion is integrated into the text, and most of the redundant verses – comprising about half of the Koran – have been eliminated. With this version of the Koran, it is easy to see how Mohammed’s early, moderate preaching of a new monothesistic religion in Mecca descended into to militant tyrant’s justification of all sorts of evil in Medina. While the book is an accurate rendering of the sacred text, its proper order and context makes it a chilling read for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

  4. ChrisLA
    5 out of 5

    :

    Finally, a Koran that makes sense!
    By ChrisLA on June 11, 2007

    It is important for Muslims and non-Muslims to read and understand the Koran. I have six different English versions of the Koran, but I have never been able to wade through the jumbled, redundant, and vague text in any version. This book, An Abridged Koran, makes it possible in three distinctive ways — the surahs are presented in their true chronological order, the history of Muhammad and his new religion is integrated into the text, and most of the redundant verses – comprising about half of the Koran – have been eliminated. With this version of the Koran, it is easy to see how Mohammed’s early, moderate preaching of a new monothesistic religion in Mecca descended into to militant tyrant’s justification of all sorts of evil in Medina. While the book is an accurate rendering of the sacred text, its proper order and context makes it a chilling read for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

  5. J. Leary
    5 out of 5

    :

    Facinating
    By J. Leary on April 28, 2008

    If you want to better understand what Islam is all about this is the book to read. It is written very well and presents Mohamed and the Koran in a historical sequence so it becomes meaningful. It also presents the basis for Jihad and it’s origin. This is one book in a series. I am tempted to get the entire series. This is a thin book so it purposely doesn’t go into extensive detail. But it does cover a great deal of information on Islam.

    Highly recommended.

  6. Zippy
    4 out of 5

    :

    Far more readable than A Simple Koran
    By Zippy on March 13, 2009

    I haven’t finished reading this yet, but find it so much easier to follow the chronology of his message than ‘A Simple Koran’, which I originally purchased, because all of the repetition of the whole unabridged Koran has been edited out. Muhammed tries to warn the unconvinced with monotonous re-runs of similar verses of veiled threats along the lines of ‘hey dont forget how God fracked so-and-sos’ shed up for daring to disbelieve’ and by constantly repeating a rehash of the same tale sophisticated modern readers can easily lose the desire to wade through what they’ve already been told just to get to his next new ‘revelations’. Perhaps this repetition is precisely why the Koran was taken apart and reordered, since the chronological order keeps all the repeated crap together, while the traditional order of longest to shortest chapter nicely disguises some of the repetitive nature of his ‘revelations’.
    This abridged Koran also nicely interjects the revelations of Muhammad with updates of the situation that Muhammad and his muslims were in each time. This helps to highlight how conveniently his revelations served the interests of him and his men rather than serving any God, such that serving ‘Allah’ always nicely serves Muhammad and his followers, either by answering a question in his favour or changing the accepted rules of the contemporary culture to achieve his personal goals, like allowing war in the sacred months of non-aggression if it helps the muslim cause.
    I’m about a third of the way through the book, and from what I understand the Meccan chapters (surahs) are supposed to be the more peaceful start of Islam, yet the aggression and intolerance is already apparent even in these, his earliest revelations. Although I know some of whats to come in the more famously violent passages of the Koran, itll be interesting to see how it evolved from vague warnings of hellfire and punishment after death, to the far more specific calls for removal of heads and other body parts of non-believers, and the confiscation of their women, lands and property ‘for the good of Allah’ (aka Muhammad).
    I thought the Old Testament was bad enough in terms of the terribly inhuman morality of those with blind faith in a silent invisible god, but the Koran manages to resurrect the nastiest elements of the holy books it attempts to displace, and reinforces the idea that we should kill and die for a god called Allah to gain distinctly Earthly pleasures in paradise.

    If you want to know what the Koran says in simple English, with an accompanied history of how and why each bit was ‘revealed’ by Muhammad, then this book is highly recommended.

  7. Zippy
    4 out of 5

    :

    Far more readable than A Simple Koran
    By Zippy on March 13, 2009

    I haven’t finished reading this yet, but find it so much easier to follow the chronology of his message than ‘A Simple Koran’, which I originally purchased, because all of the repetition of the whole unabridged Koran has been edited out. Muhammed tries to warn the unconvinced with monotonous re-runs of similar verses of veiled threats along the lines of ‘hey dont forget how God fracked so-and-sos’ shed up for daring to disbelieve’ and by constantly repeating a rehash of the same tale sophisticated modern readers can easily lose the desire to wade through what they’ve already been told just to get to his next new ‘revelations’. Perhaps this repetition is precisely why the Koran was taken apart and reordered, since the chronological order keeps all the repeated crap together, while the traditional order of longest to shortest chapter nicely disguises some of the repetitive nature of his ‘revelations’.
    This abridged Koran also nicely interjects the revelations of Muhammad with updates of the situation that Muhammad and his muslims were in each time. This helps to highlight how conveniently his revelations served the interests of him and his men rather than serving any God, such that serving ‘Allah’ always nicely serves Muhammad and his followers, either by answering a question in his favour or changing the accepted rules of the contemporary culture to achieve his personal goals, like allowing war in the sacred months of non-aggression if it helps the muslim cause.
    I’m about a third of the way through the book, and from what I understand the Meccan chapters (surahs) are supposed to be the more peaceful start of Islam, yet the aggression and intolerance is already apparent even in these, his earliest revelations. Although I know some of whats to come in the more famously violent passages of the Koran, itll be interesting to see how it evolved from vague warnings of hellfire and punishment after death, to the far more specific calls for removal of heads and other body parts of non-believers, and the confiscation of their women, lands and property ‘for the good of Allah’ (aka Muhammad).
    I thought the Old Testament was bad enough in terms of the terribly inhuman morality of those with blind faith in a silent invisible god, but the Koran manages to resurrect the nastiest elements of the holy books it attempts to displace, and reinforces the idea that we should kill and die for a god called Allah to gain distinctly Earthly pleasures in paradise.

    If you want to know what the Koran says in simple English, with an accompanied history of how and why each bit was ‘revealed’ by Muhammad, then this book is highly recommended.

  8. Maiaibing
    5 out of 5

    :

    Everyone interested in Islam should read this book
    By Maiaibing on August 27, 2009

    So many Muslims have little or even no idea about what the Koran really says. This book makes it much more clear. Of course one can argue (as another reviewer has) that the selection of parts of any work will leave a subjective mark. However, reading this book does not exclude or preclude reading the original. On the other hand it makes reading the original much, much more rewarding. A must read for anyone studying Islam to understand it.

  9. Maiaibing
    5 out of 5

    :

    Everyone interested in Islam should read this book
    By Maiaibing August 27, 2009

    So many Muslims have little or even no idea about what the Koran really says. This book makes it much more clear. Of course one can argue (as another reviewer has) that the selection of parts of any work will leave a subjective mark. However, reading this book does not exclude or preclude reading the original. On the other hand it makes reading the original much, much more rewarding. A must read for anyone studying Islam to understand it.

  10. merchanb
    4 out of 5

    :

    Ignorance Is Bliss
    By merchanb on September 19, 2010

    Just as many Christians do not know what the bible actually says, it is very likely that many good Muslims do not know what the Koran actually not only says but commands.

    If the talking heads on MSNBC, FOX, etc., would only read and understand this, they would begin to have an inkling of what the Koran actually demands, spend less time emoting over where to build a mosque and, at their own peril, perhaps even perform a service to their listeners.

  11. BK Johnson
    4 out of 5

    :

    Know clearly the facts and the issues
    By BK Johnson on October 7, 2010

    To be able to know what drives the terrorists to such extremes requires studying their ideology… I’ve chosen to read their doctrine and found that the repetitive nature of Mohammed’s writing first communicates the doctrine then begins to create a rhythmic repetitive chant that borders on ‘brainwashing’. This abridged edition by-passes this technique and offers the information in a chronological detailed format. This is a book, written around 6oo AD by one man who seemed to be more inclined to tell everyone how to live their life (according to his ego-centric perspective) and lacks any proof of his appointment as a prophet… indeed, he is a self-declared prophet.

    Simply put: The Koran (Qur’an) together with the Sira and Hadith becomes a diatribe of “Do’s” that dictatorially eliminates freedom of choice and simultaneously infuses mankind with a suffocating Fear of Death without Martyrdom. In contrast, the Chrisitan Bible written over a period of 1500 years by over 40 authors which carries a prophetically detailed story of the establishment of a flawed people who learn from their mistakes are given a mild-mannered righteous Savior who introduces mankind to the core character of God and does not leave a list of “To-Do’s”, but instead announces “It is Done!”

    I have read their book… now I invite them to read one of the 66 books in the library we call The Bible (may I suggest the Book of John)… God will help the reader discern the truth for themselves.

  12. Fat Cat Godfodda
    4 out of 5

    :

    Never stop learning
    By Fat Cat Godfodda “Ink Stained and Groovin” on October 15, 2010

    Recently I became interested in learning more about Islam but found any attempt I made to read the Koran frustrated by its obscure language and references. When I read a review of “An Abridged Koran” I felt that it would help me in my attempt to understand. I was right.

    This is a must read book for anyone who wants to know more about the fundamental roots of what’s going on in the world today. The basic premises of Islam and it’s world view are clearly explained and easy to understand. Do yourself and your family and friends a favor. Get this book, read it, learn from it and encourage others to read it as well. You’ll be glad you did.

  13. Cyber Gypsy
    5 out of 5

    :

    Everyone Needs To Read This; Both Muslim and Non Muslim
    By Cyber Gypsy on October 19, 2010

    I bought this book and was reluctant to read it at first, since I found the standard versions of the Koran very difficult and hard work to read. But this version makes fascinating reading, and once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down.

  14. Michael A. Johnson
    5 out of 5

    :

    You can read it
    By Michael A. Johnson on April 8, 2011

    Most Korans are uniintelligable. This one, like Readers Digest, tosses out the endless repeat verses cutting the size by half. It adds context and time from other Muslim sacred books, putting chapters in chronological order, making it much clearer where Mohammad changes his mind, or even to find out what the heck he is talking about. From “Why can’t we get along?” to “Agree with me or die messily!” It uses ordinary English, not fake King James. The Overview in front of the Koran and the Epilogue after it are even more useful than the Koran itself.

  15. James E. Horn
    5 out of 5

    :

    Clearly Written, Clearly Understandable
    By James E. Horn on May 23, 2011

    This book is a winner. I have read two different English versions of the Koran that follow the Arabic Koran in organization and structure – a jumble that has no thread to follow, misses context, and are thus a very difficult read.

    Warner has sorted it all out, established a contextual and historical thread and offers something that rational minds can follow to obtain the clear message/s of the Koran.

  16. Imran Khan
    5 out of 5

    :

    Complete and Concise
    By Imran Khan on September 20, 2011

    This book shows the full picture while being concise. It has references all along which adds to its value. If you want to buy one book on this subject, this is it! Excellent read, highly recommended!

  17. Amy
    5 out of 5

    :

    FINALLY
    By Amy on May 23, 2013

    Whenever you speak with a Muslim about Islam they tell you to “read the Qu’ran”. Well sure because it was almost impossible to do so. Now you can easily understand the Koran and, more importantly the message of Islam. We in the west better open our eyes as to what this religion/ideology is really all about. You can judge for yourself if you believe Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace. Definitely worth getting!

  18. Amazon Customer "Richard"
    5 out of 5

    :

    A version in historical order helps you to understand it. And those who believe in it.
    By Amazon Customer “Richard” on September 4, 2013

    An epic tale in its own right. It sets two worlds one for the believer and one for those who dont, beyond that read it for yourself.

  19. S D Weston
    5 out of 5

    :

    A useful abridged Koran
    By S D Weston on December 3, 2013

    The Koran, in original form, is difficult to understand, especially for those who wish to learn about the basic tenets of Islam.
    Bill Warner has refashioned the presentation of the Koran in such a way as to present the material in a manner comprehensible to those of us with a Judeo-Christian background, without detracting from the original, which is liberally presented throughout.
    This should render a copy of a translation of the Koran into English from the Arabic more readable.

  20. Ronald T.
    5 out of 5

    :

    Abridged Koran
    By Ronald T. on March 6, 2014

    Easy reading. All that I have time for. No longer need I be told that I should not express an opinion if I have never read the Koran.

  21. Daniel Espinosa
    5 out of 5

    :

    By Daniel Espinosa on March 15, 2014

    Islam in theory man be considered a value to society with natural law, however, Islam does not conform to any civilized society on earth as it stands now.

    In reality as this book illustrates the issue of violence is so intrusive that Islam has no value to countries that tried to blend Islam in with multiculturalism, but do to the ideology it present Islam is best served isolated within its own constraints until some major portion of the population deals with and isolates the massive number of Islamist still in the 7 century.

    My vote for Islam is a NO vote to accept as a Religion but rather a violent ideology.

  22. MC Miller
    5 out of 5

    :

    Revealing in its simplicity and order. Opens ones eyes to the real teachings of this book.
    By M. C. Miller “MC Miller” on March 19, 2014

    YOU HAVE HEARD Islamic terrorists quoting violent passages from the Koran (also spelled Quran), justifying their actions. And you’ve heard other Muslims saying the terrorists have it all wrong and quoting peaceful passages.

    How do you know what is really in that book? Anyone talking about the Koran may have an agenda, may be biased, and may be deliberately distorting the contents. The only way to really know for sure what’s going on is to read it yourself.

    The Koran also repeats itself many times, making it difficult to stay focused while you read it. The chapters are arranged in order from the longest to the shortest chapter, rather than in chronological order, so it seems to jump around, which is confusing.

    This version of the Koran fixes these problems putting these passages in chronological order and translates them into modern, readable English.

    An interesting thing comes to light in reading this version. Because the chapters are laid out in chronological order, you can clearly see the progression from tolerance at first — tolerance of the Jews, and even seeking the approval of the Jews — to rejection of them and their “evil ways,” to outright hatred, condemnation, and urging war against them.

    The way the Koran is normally laid out, you would never notice this progression as the revelations changed.

    But wait a minute, you might be thinking, the fact that the revelations changed means there are conflicting passage in the Koran, right? So can’t believers pick and choose what they want?

    Unfortunately, the Koran itself tells the believer how to handle its own contradictions. It says if a revelation contradicts one that came before it; the newer one overwrites the older one. This is the principle known as “abrogation.” The bad news for non-Muslims is that all the intolerant and violent passages abrogate the earlier tolerant and peaceful ones.

    The first three-fourths of the book are difficult to read because it is uninteresting. But then the book completely changes its tune. So when you’re reading, just keep going.

    The reason it becomes interesting for non-Muslims is because the nature of Mohammad’s revelations totally changed once he gained military power. When he first started out (when Islam was a small minority) Mohammad preached peace and tolerance. But once he gained enough followers, started raiding caravans, and gained military and financial power (from the booty he gained from the caravans), he stopped trying to curry favor with the Jews and Christians and his revelations became intolerant and then downright hateful. Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take anybody’s word for it! Find out for yourself.

  23. Fred
    5 out of 5

    :

    A must read if you want to understand what the …
    By Fred on July 9, 2014

    A must read if you want to understand what the Islamic Holy books really say. You can’t just read the Koran and understand anything. The author weaves in the other two Islamic Holy books and gives the Koran meaning and context. You can then draw whatever conclusions you think wise.

  24. John Sewell
    5 out of 5

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    An Understandable Koran – An Essential Step In Understanding Islam From The Outside
    By John Sewell on June 23, 2014

    Are you confused by the conflicting claims about Islam? Is it a religion of peace or military conquest? Are its adherents taught to deceive non-Muslims or are Muslims free to truly befriend non-Muslims? Is it really only understandable in Arabic? Is it a highly political movement set on violently enforcing its laws on the entire world or is it just another set of harmless spiritual choices for people to live by? Did its message change over time, and if so why and how? How are women treated in Islam? What about slavery, including sexual slavery? Does it really teach hatred of Jews? What does it emphasize?

  25. Andy K
    5 out of 5

    :

    Brilliant clarity on Mohammed’s poor character
    By Andy K on July 1, 2014

    Brilliant clarification of the teachings of Mohammed in chronological, logical, and ideological order. Reveals the agenda of the man over his lifetime with crystal clarity. Highly recommended!

  26. Timothy Scott
    5 out of 5

    :

    Great Idea, Great Execution, Great Book, Not Overly Biased. Every Academic Student of Islam should read this
    By Timothy “T. M. Kane – living through history” on July 15, 2014
    Great Idea, Great Execution, Great Book, and Not Overly Biased.

    Every academic student of Islamic studies should read this book. They should probably start here. Actually, they should start at “The Spirit of Islamic Law” by Bernard G. Weiss first, then come here. Also should have a decent historical atlas.

    I teach comparative law. I have a section on Islamic law that I am trying to continue to develop. Sooner or later, I needed to know what was in the Koran and this looked like the easiest and best way to get an idea of what was in there.

    I’ve read the Koran, have several versions. I love the way one of them starts out: “This book is not to be doubted” (Penguin version I believe); nor is it to be comprehended because the classical Koran is without context. Here the author has done all the work for you.

    Bill Warner does have a thesis (some might say an agenda): that Islam is primarily a political movement, and he basically proves his thesis in the execution of the book. At the end in an epilogue he points out the amount of space the Koran is dedicated to political subjects as opposed to theological subjects.

    I am sympathetic to the author’s agenda. Quite often when Islam is trying to extend its politics it emphasizes religion. Quite often when Islam is trying to extend its religion it emphasizes its politics. It can seem much like a ruse – and the author points out that the Koran permits the use of a ruse to expand Islam. It reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live Skit: “Its a floor wax; No it’s a dessert topping; no its a dessert topping and a floor wax”.

    But the thesis/agenda thing is only a small part of the utility of the book. If you are going to study Islam, you should have a reasonable idea of what it says. The Koran itself is in penetrable because it is disorganized by size – it’s a bit like reading the dictionary. This book re-organizes the book by chronology, and has step by step narrative of events and it is all neatly tied to sources. But also the Koran repeats itself quite a bit, and so the author has consolidated things down to “usually” one version. Even still it seems like it repeats a great deal – but he saves you from a lot of repetitive stuff – unfortunately, not all the repetitive stuff.

    So by reading this book you will know a great deal of what the Koran says and the context of why it is saying it, and so have a great deal of comprehension of the Koran — without having to drag yourself through the actual thing.

    Unfortunately it is rarely flattering to the religion. I remember 3rd grade when my school brought in medical doctors who were also parents of classmates to teach us how babies were created. My first, pre-pubecent reaction was “ewe, my parents would never do a thing like that.” I think a lot of Muslims might have the same reaction about how their religion was originally created.

    I think what would make this book better is to know more about the context of history of this time in the region – that’s why I recommend looking at an historical atlas while studying the history of Islam. However, I can offer some up here – short, cheep and free.

    Some things that could enhance this book is to realize that there was a prolonged (multicenturied) war taking place between Byzantium Roman Empire and Sassanian Persian empire – that war heated up in the 6th century. The normal east-west flow of trade (silks from China, spices, cottons and manufactures from India) went through the fertile cresent (Indian Ocean trade came up the Persian gulf and then went overland through Iraq, Syria and Palestine into the Mediterranean basin). The hostility between Byzantium and Sassanians forced the bulk of the trade to take an indirect route – either north of the Black Sea or south through Arabia. Also, the means of convenience had to be done by parties neutral to the two parties. North of the black sea this was done by a people called the Khazars, in Arabia this was done primarily by Meccans. The Byzantines were Christians, the Sassanians were Zoroastrian, and religion indicated political allegences so the neutral parties maneuvered to have neutral religious systems. The Khazars adopted Judaism. The Meccan Arabs were pagans. But as Pagans they were looked down upon by both Byzantines and Sassanians. So it appears Mohammed was attempting to move the Arabs upmarket from paganism but still maintain neutrality in the form of a uniquely Arab expression.

    Mohammed had his motivations. The Arab peninsula was, in most spots, too arid to produce a state or civilization. So pre-Islamic law was based upon a refined and ancient form of vendetta law. To understand why this occurs see Robert Axelrod’s “The Evolution of Cooperation”. Basically vendetta law is revenge based law. If you kill me, my brother or my relatives (clan) will avenge me, or your clan will have to pay blood money to my clan. Mohammed, however, was an orphan. So he was constantly seeking protection from relatives that weren’t bound. When he finally lost all protection after the death of one of his Uncles, only then did he migrate to Yathribe (Medina). But as a youth, Mohammed’s grandfather and uncle had taken him on Caravans to Palestine and Syria. There he would have been under Roman – the most advanced and refined legal system in the world – Justinian’s recompilation having occurred as recently as 535. In Syria and Palestine, Mohammed did not require protection: murder was illegal. So Mohammed had greater motivation than most to try and figure out a way to upgrade the Arabs.

    Mohammed would have also noticed Byzantium’s biggest problem: a lack of theological cohesion. Constantine originally embraced Christianity with the idea that it could be used to create cohesion in the Roman empire. Towards that Constantine herded the Christian leadership towards defining one orthodox version of Christianity – which they did and was manifested by the Nicean creed. To this day the only Christian sect in violation of it is the Mormons. However, Christianity East and South of Constantinople was already theologically fractured over the nature of Christ (Human, God, both?) and there was no undoing it. In Syria, Palestine and Egypt, the Coptic, Arian, Nestorian and/or Monophosyte versions were popular, wide spread and under persecution by the Byzantine government who championed Orthodox Christianity. So any new system Mohammed was going to create was going to emphasize cohesion and end all the debates: one god, one prophet, one law, one theology, one community, on political entity: one, one, one, one – cohesion. And he even attempted to clear up the issue on the nature of Christ.

    The Koran is an incredible achievement – even if you were an atheist and you believe it to be entirely a work of fiction, you’d have to acknowledge that. The agnostic in me thinks of Mohammed as an ancient Steve Jobs – he had a flair for business enterprise, personal management, theology and poetry, able to think outside the box and break down a problem. But Mohammed’s Koran was still an incredible work, and that alone most have generated him some converts. Still it’s not entirely unique: Joseph Smith pulled off something similar with the Mormons – both were prophets, both ran their own enterprise/religious community and both got a lot of wives and girlfriends to boot and both were kicked out of communities.

    The war between the Byzantines and Sassanians diverted the major East – West trade up the peninsula, where it conjoined with existing trade in aromatics (myrrh) from Yemen and made Mecca suddenly wealthy. But also there was a concentration of wealth. Mohammed’s early convert were the losers: the poor and the slaves. Mohammed’s system would champion their cause by outlawing usury and taxing the wealthy to provide charity to the poor. A friend who traveled from Vietnam to Istanbul told me, that despite India being richer (when he made the journey – before 9/11, and to note he was Canadian) Pakistan was less dirty and there was less evidence of extreme poverty.

    The old saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” seems to be evident. Mohammed’s early career as a preacher was tolerant. And it looks as if he innitially benefited from an Mecca which was very tolerant of various religions- one might even say they had freedom of religion and had learned to profit from it too. People from throughout the region pilgrimaged to Mecca and attend trade fairs there as well. But as Muhammad gained more followers, he became less and less tolerant of other religions, promising them all that they were hell bound. This was bad for business and it was upsetting the community. Mohammed was unrelenting and so, push came to shove and something had to give. As it turned out, it was Muhammad that had to give. He and his movement migrated to Yathribe (Medina).

    That’s is where the story changes. Just as the early Roman’s imported their executives (Kings from Etrusca) from outside their community to keep piece between the various factions, so the Medinan’s thought they could bring in Muhammed as an honest broker between the various tribes and clans in Yathribe. Some how Muhammed got executive powers as well as mediator/judicial powers included into his contract with Yathribe, as well as acceptance of his Muslim followers. I never understood why the “migration” to Medina was the start of the Muslim calendar. Now they were duly enfranchised and able to practice their religion out in the open. According to the author, Muhammed brought with him 150 followers to Medina.

    While Mecca was a mercantile city, Yathribe was a thriving (if they could keep peace between the clans) agricultural community. Obviously the Muslims did not have any land to work or property to live off of, they left behind in Mecca. So it appears that they resorted to banditry. Muhammed knew the value of the caravans that ran past Medina on their way from Mecca to Palestine. By raiding these caravans he was able to usurp Mecca’s wealth. The spoils he brought back to Medina and spread around helped attract new converts. Half of Yathribe was Jewish. But the other half was not. That other half quickly was attracted to Islam.

    And here is the trick that most people don’t understand on why Islam was so successful.

    Mohammed shaped Islam into a tribe based upon religion. All the other clans were based upon kinship. They could only grow by the natural reproductive rate. Islam was not held back by the natural rate of reproduction – it could grow much faster – by people merely submitting themselves to it. And initially Muhammed was flexible: you could join by being a believer, or you could join initially by submitting yourself to it (you’ll believe later). The attraction was the booty he was bringing in.

    What emerges is a kind of pyramid type of organization.

    Lots of businesses organize this way – Amway is the most famous, another is Enterprise rent-a-car.

    The thing about pyramid enterprises, is, the earlier you get in, the higher up you will be pushed as the pyramid grows. Therefore there is a great incentive to get in early. And the author points out that the early Muslims kept track of who joined early versus later: immigrants, helpers, later converts, etc… In an environment where all other clans couldn’t effectively grow, once Islam became a big enough clan that it showed it could not be destroyed, there was every incentive to join and join early as possible so that one was higher up on the totem pole for the division of spoils and prestige. Pyramid style organizations are famous for going through high, almost geometric growth spurts until they become too extensive – and this is exactly what happened in with Islam. The author demonstrates some of this in a graph at the end of the book. The inflection point is Muhammed’s move to Medina.

    But as he gets more adherents, Muhammed becomes less and less tolerant. In some ways he remained remarkably humble person. In other ways he demonstrated incredible cruelty: sitting for hours with his 12 year old wife watching the beheading of 800 Jews, while selling the women and children off into slavery and confiscating their property.

    All of this plays into the author’s thesis. If Muhammed was merely about religion, he could have kept at it in Mecca, as long as he let other religions do their thing too. Even in Medina, he could have concentrated on the development of religion. The author suggest that’s what most of the Muslims wanted to do. It was Muhammed who chose to go to war. Maybe he just chose banditry and it ended up being war. Maybe, as the author’s narrative seems to suggest, there was no choice between the two. Undoubtedly Muhammed (and his followers) had left most of their property behind, and so felt some justice in raiding the Meccan Caravans. Either way they needed a way to make a living and banditry provided a way.

    But he didn’t stop at just raiding Meccan caravans. He raided other tribes too. He made offers that they couldn’t refuse: either augment his size by joining his community (and enjoying the spoils of war) or pay extortion money (“tax”) or be killed. In fact, at Medina, Muhammed seems to be running a racket that looks mafia-esque, complete with him having his followers whack (knock off, kill, murder, assassinate) people he didn’t like. I started remembering scenes from “Goodfellows”, Mohammed was the ‘don’. He was able to behave like this all the while maintaining the head of a religious movement/community.

    By 630 Mohammed’s movement at Medina had grown so much that he was able to raise an Army of 10,000 and move on Mecca. Meanwhile, the Meccans don’t have the social cohesion to match up against Muhammed – indeed, there were still muslims living in Mecca, and no shortage of spies for Muhammed. The logic of pyramid enterprises, the trend towards geometric growth, was overwhelming on both parties. Mohammed was fully aware of the dynamic, expecting for his community to keep growing until it one day encompased the entire world – this is evident in the Koran’s insistence on Muslims not making friends with non-muslims. The Koran prophesies global growth for the religion. When the head of Mecca came out to parlay with Mohammed, Mohammed just said, when are you going to join (submit)? Such a joining would effectively double the size of Mohammed’s community and make it the political hegemon of the Arabian peninsula. Both knew that.

    What the Meccans did at that point was use their size, power and position, to get themselves pushed closer to the top of the pyramid than they deserved by their late arrival to it. Muhammed agreed to the arrangement. The future Arab Islamic empire, while initially run from Medina, would be run by Meccans, not Medinans. The Medinans got shorted – but by that point, what could they do. The logic of pyramid organizations became so compelling that in less than two years all of Arabia was joining. The Medinans were humble farmers, the Meccans were sophisticated business men – the kind that know how to run enterprises, such as large empires – there was a place for them at the top of Muhammed’s state.

    Shortly after Mohammed’s death, many of the tribes fell away, thinking Islam as a one time event tied to Mohammed’s life. But Mohammed’s deputies managed to keep the organization at the top and the enterprise together and used the system Muhammed created to consolidate his state in the two years after his death.

    Only a few years after Mohammed’s death, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt had all been brought into Mohammed’s state. A few years after that, all of the Middle East, except Anatolia were controled by the Muslims. 100 years after Muhammed’s death the Muslims finally met a strategic defeat in far away central France. A few years later they defeated a Chinese army not far from China’s current western border. Everything west of the Indus river was also controlled by the Muslims. The pyramids geometric growth rate finally reached its limit.

    It is still a growing system today – just not geometric. It’s a fascinating story of enterprise and entreprenurialism mixed with religion and politics and empire building. And at the end of the day, the author proves his point – Islam is a political movement. A religious movement needs only persuasion. A political movement, by definition is impelled and sustained by coercion.

    The story of conflict is the story of the pursuit of fairness. In theory we had it when we were living in hunting and gathering communities. Agriculture lead to classes and divisions and to strife. The great teachers of history tried to restore fairness through teachings that created the Golden Rule. But teachings of fairness are not binding as law. Some of these teachings were put into religions. But religious norms are not binding as law. The wealthy and powerful tend to bend the law in their direction. So, in Islam we have a situation where religion and state are merged so that in theory the law achieves fairness that is binding. That is the case in support for Islam. But Islam’s solution was a bundled comprehensive system that inhibited various disciplines from evolving – stunting the growth of human development and most of society being stuck in a subsistence level of existence. If Islam could unbundle its wares, insisting on separation of church and state, freedom of religion, it could maybe even thrive in the modern era, but that essentially means letting go of Mohammed which is not something to many Muslims appear ready to agree to.

    In the west, where everything was unbundled (Christ, remember, said separate politics from religion, and god is three in one), disciplines were eventually free to evolve at their own natural rate (once the Protestant reformation ended Catholicisms monopoly on thought) which lead to the ascendancy of the west. I like to think that democracy solved the problem, but lately we are now seeing the wealthy bend democracy towards their direction too. Hopefully this is just a temporary phenomena. If not, Islam is still waiting in the wings for another chance at ascendancy.

    All of this strife would end if we could agree to fairness – something today to which we can only imagine.

  27. Quendos "Bookworm"
    2 out of 5

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    Two Stars
    By Quendos “Bookworm” August 17, 2014

    Difficult to follow and/or read for understanding of content.

  28. Brandon
    5 out of 5

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    Five Stars
    By Brandon August 19, 2014

    Excellent book

  29. groy
    4 out of 5

    :

    An Easy Way To Understand Islam
    By groy August 27, 2014

    Finally an understandable edition of one of Islam’s primary source books. (The Koran as commonly used is virtually incomprehensible due to it’s structure I.e. Organized by length of verse – longest to shortest, without reference to the chronology of the life of The founder of the “faith”!!) this version is in English, is written in a chronological order and eliminates many of the repeated stories included in the original. While not a “true/valid edition in the eyes of Islamic scholars (in their view the only valid Koran must be writing and read only in Arabic) this edition is usable, understandable, and gives a first hand understanding of what and how Islam came to be. Suggest reading the Gospels and then the Abridged Koran – determine which teaching represents a “loving religion”.

  30. Dennis Parish
    5 out of 5

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    Islam’s Three Foundational Texts Integrated into One Narrative
    By Dennis Parish September 4, 2014

    This book includes more than the Koran. It incorporates the Sira text (which narrates Mohammad’s life) and then explicates the text using the Hadith (traditional reports of Mohammad’s teachings, deeds and sayings). Each block of material is referenced back to authoritative editions of these Islamic scriptures, so readers can verify the accuracy of Warner’s work for themselves.

  31. David D
    5 out of 5

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    Every-man’s Koran, Finally a Readable Koran, Islam is no longer just for the Imams
    By David D “David D” September 8, 2014

    Finally there is an accessible Koran for every-man. Islam is no longer just for the Imams, to dispense wisdom from above.

    If you want to understand what is happening in the world today, you need to understand Islam. Islam is the fastest growing religion on the planet, and the Koran is the perfect word of Allah.

    Reading the real Koran is a real slog. It is like reading all of the speeches of a politician that were randomly assembled. There is endless repetition and no reference to what is happening in the world that inspired the speeches.
    An Abridged Koran assembles the speeches in a chronological order and gives you basic background on what is happening in the prophets life at the time. Exact references are included so you can go to the original sources on the internet. Many things in the Koran don’t seem to make sense, so these ‘chapter and verse’ references are essential, not only for the original source but for finding the Islamic scholar’s debates of these mysteries.

  32. Paul Doherty
    5 out of 5

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    Five Stars
    By Paul Doherty October 19, 2014

    Excellent, better than I expected.

  33. charley
    5 out of 5

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    THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK ON THE KORAN
    By charley December 20, 2014

    THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK ON THE KORAN. THE BOOK ORGANIZES THE KORAN INTO A UNDERSTANDABLE FORM MAKING IT EASY TO READ AND GRASP THE FULL IMPLICATIONS OF WHAT ISLAM AND SHARIAH LAW WILL MEAN IF JIHAD IS SUCCESSFUL IN AMERICA.

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