Islam does not demand unreasoned belief. Rather, it invites intelligent faith, growing from observation, reflection, and contemplation, beginning with nature and what is all around us. Accordingly, antagonism between religion and science such as that familiar to Westerners is foreign to Islam. VII

The Qur'an offers a way to explore an attitude that fully embraces the quest for knowledge and understanding that is the essence of science, while at the same time, and indeed for the same reasons, fully embraces the awe, humility, reverence, and conscience without which "humankind does indeed go to far in considering itself to be self-sufficient" (Qur'an 96:6-7). VII-VIII

Therefore the Qur'an is not only called the Reading or Recital but also the Criterion: it is called a Reminder and also a Clarification. IX

"The Qur'an cause itself Hakam - 'judge' to decide between Christian and Christian, between Hindu and Hindu, between Buddhist and Buddhist, and so it did." The observation that the Qur'an distinguishes the difference within the adherents of each religious dispensation, rather than among the dispensations themselves per se, seems to be a key to approaching the Qur'an without religious bias. IX-X

Here again it can be seen at the very least advantage we can derive from reading the Qur'an has the opportunity to examine our own subjectivity and understanding a text of this nature. X

It is generally excepted that the Qur'an cannot be translated in a complete and literal manner because of the intimate relationship between its linguistic form and its semantic content, and because of the incommensurability of Arabic and non-Arabic languages. XII

According to the eminent theologian Al-Ghazali, there is no repetition in the Qur'an, because "repetition" means that no further benefit is conferred; this aspect of language and meaning in the Qur'an also dovetails with the intensive concentration of Arabic that enables a single word to yield a whole group of concepts. XIII

This "shattered" and "scattered "facade of language is one factor that makes the Qur'an difficult for many Westerners to approach, until the reason for this effect is adequately understood. Then the dramatic shifts in person, mood, tense, and mode become exhilarating exercises in perspective and translation of consciousness into a new matter of perception. XIV

Once it becomes familiar, this shifting of perspective is one of the most interesting aspects of the consciousness engendered by Qur'an reading. XVI

The selections from the Qur'an contained in this book represent with the eminent theologian Al-Ghazali calls the six aims of the Book.