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I've been trying to read the Qur'an for some time now but it has been very confusing. I assume this is due to having had been raised around only Bibles, because the Bible is written like a story.

To better read and understand the teachings in the Qur'an, as an Atheist, is there anything I should be doing before I start reading? I don't mean wudu, as I already do that, but more along the lines of a mental preparation.

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For any beginner with Quran I would suggest to start with Tafseer - explanation of Quran made by high reputable scholar or islamic scientist. Yes, there are many of them, and some of them are better not to read, because they may confuse even more, but most of them can give an idea of each sura - why it was written, with references to historical events, what are the possible meanings and what God wanted to say by this. It is very hard to understand the exact message of a sura just by reading translation of it.

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Yes, one mental preparation is required. That is to be ready to face jumping from one context to another in the same chapter.

That is because the Quran is the collection of the divine commands and information that were revealed in different contexts unlike the Bible where, because of being written like a story, contents have uniform progression. Also, on some topics, some commands were replaced by a better command later.

So whenever you are confused regarding any verse, open up an exegesis, or Google, or feel free to ask in this site.

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First, Quran is not written, it is sent down from Allah to His Messenger (blessing and peace be upon him) via Jibreel, the angel.

And about your question it is always better to know as much Arabic as possible because Quran is the most eloquent text ever.

Dependeng on Tafaseer in English is not a good idea, because they will NEVER give identical meaning but if you will have to so I advice you to start with Tafheem for Abul-A'la Al-Mawdudi.

Finally, May Allah guide you to Islam.

And Allah knows best.

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