Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
In a month or two I want to read the Qu'ran from cover to cover and since I can't read Arabic, what's the best English translation?
Why do I want to read it? I'm interested in all of the religious documents out there from all the religions, just for my own edification (although I don't see them being spiritually harmful). I would like to form my own opinion on why I reject other religions and not consistently cite other people's opinions on them.
I've read it, an interesting book, though in truth it comes across as about as dull sometimes as the Book of Mormon. It lacks the sophistication of the Bible, however this is because the Bible is both older and has endured more translations and copying, so it has absorbed more flavors than the Quran, Quranic literature and development has been relatively stagnant in comparison. This is of course because of the literalist interpretations of inspired writings in Islamic thought, they read the Quran like fundamentalist evangelicals read the King James Bible, word for word, line for line as if God Himself had written them instead of having inspired them. That is also why whichever English version we read is inadequate, no true Islamic scholar invests in English translations, it is considered sacreligious, instead such serious minded folks are taught to read Arabic.
I would recommend two translations, both with commentary. Reading the Qur'an without commentary is a relatively fruitless exercise, sort of like reading the Bible without Church Tradition:
Agreed completely, in fact all the more, because the Bible we believe is indeed Divinely inspired, and God speaks through the Holy Spirit. I do not believe the Quran is Divinely inspired in this sense, and so to understand what Arab culture and Islam intends behind this literature we need to have commentary. In other words, its like trying to understand Shakespeare without an English professor