Quran is the most unique book

Quran is the most unique book
It is not a book on "religion" in the sense this word is generally understood.

Unlike conventional books, the Quran does not contain information, ideas and arguments about specific themes arranged in a literary order.

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

Published: Sat 17 Jun 2017, 8:02 PM

Last updated: Sat 17 Jun 2017, 10:07 PM

How best to go about reading the Holy Quran? Here is the answer provided by the legendary translator of Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his preface to his English translation and commentary of Quran:
Before the reader begins the study of the Quran, he must bear in mind the fact that it is a unique Book, quite different from the books one usually reads.
Unlike conventional books, the Quran does not contain information, ideas and arguments about specific themes arranged in a literary order. That is why a stranger of the Quran, on his first approach to it, is baffled when he does not find the enunciation of its theme or its division into chapters and sections of separate treatment of different topics and separate instructions for different aspects of life arrange in a serial order.
On the contrary, there is something with which he has not been familiar before and which does not conform to his conception of a book. He finds that it deals with creeds, gives moral instructions, lays down laws, invites people to Islam, admonishes the disbelievers, draws lessons from historical events, administers warnings, gives good tidings, all blended together in a beautiful manner.
The same subject is repeated in different ways and one topic follows the other without any apparent connection. Sometimes a new topic crops up in the middle of another without any apparent reason. The speaker and the addressees, and the direction of the address change without any notice. 
There is no sign of chapters and divisions anywhere. Historical events are presented but not as in history books. The problems of Philosophy and Metaphysics are treated in a manner different from that of the textbooks on the subjects. Man and the Universe are mentioned in a language different from that of the natural sciences. 
Likewise, it follows its own method of solving cultural, political, social and economic problems and deals with the principles and injunctions of law in a manner quite different from that of the sociologists, lawyers and jurists Morality is taught in a way that has no parallel in the whole literature on the subject.
That is why the unwary reader is baffled and puzzled when he finds all these things contrary to his pre-conceived conception of a book. He begins to feel that the Quran is a book without any order or interconnection between its verses or continuity of its subject, or that it deals with miscellaneous topics in an incoherent manner, of that it had been given the form of a continuous book though it was not a book in the commonly accepted sense of the word. As a result of this, its opponents raise strange objections against the Quran, and its modern followers adopt strange devices to ward off doubts and objections.
They either resort to escapism or put forward strange interpretations to ease their minds. Sometimes they try to create artificial connections between the verses to explain away the apparent incoherencies, and, as a last resort, they even accept the theory that the Quran deals with miscellaneous topics without any order of coherence. Consequently, verses are isolated from their context and confusion is produced in the meanings.
This happens when the reader does not take into consideration the fact that the Quran is a unique book. It does not, like other books, enunciate at the very beginning the subject it deals with and the object it intends to achieve. Its style and method of explaining things are also quite different from those of other books one commonly reads and it does not follow any bookish order.
Above all, it is not a book on "religion" in the sense this word is generally understood. That is why when a reader approaches the Quran with the common notions of a book, he is rather puzzled by its style and manner of presentation. He finds that at many places the background has not been mentioned and the circumstances under which a particular passage was revealed have not been stated.
As a result of these things, the ordinary reader us unable to benefit fully from the most precious treasures contained in the Quran, though occasionally he may succeed in discovering a few gems here and there.
Only those people become victims of such doubts as are not acquainted with these distinctive features of the Quran. They seem to find miscellaneous topics scattered all over its pages and feel difficulties about its meanings. Nay, even those verses, which are absolutely clear, appear to them to be quite irrelevant in the contexts they occur.
(The writer is a former KT staffer.)

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