Thank you for your questions.
The first, regarding believing in the Qur’an only requires a comparison between the different books of revelation. A short look at both the authenticity and the relevance to human life is enough. One can simply see the relevance that other converts to Islam saw. They embrace the faith and see it as the answer to the questions of our modern life.
This is as much the case today as in the past and it has inspired societies over history. Still, you do not have to “convince”, you can only explain and discuss. As for the moment of belief, it is a personal decision and there is no way you can “make” a person believe.
Your other questions, about the different concepts and regulations of social relations, the public and private sphere, can only be understood within the broad socio-logic of Islam. As you know a Muslim believes in the message of Jesus and is obliged to guarantee his non-Muslim wife’s free practice of her faith. But a Christian or non-Muslim does not see Islam as a divine message and it is not expected that he would provide his Muslim wife with the free space of religious practice.
This is definitely, while taking into account, the diverse rights women enjoy and also the different obligations they have to fulfill. Marriage is a complex social relation, not only a matter of two people deciding to live together. It entails kinship relations and bringing up children. It also entails shared understanding of divinity, religion, transcendence, morality, ethics and modes of social relations. All these factors are definitely essential for the long run.
There is a lot to be discussed and explained. There are even new horizons that need to be explored, in order to regard Islam in the context of our global era. The most important thing here, is that you should not attempt to be apologetic or defensive, but rather, you should be revisiting and exploring of your own faith, trying to bring it closer to the hearts and minds of people.
I also suggest you browse our site for more information about Islam, through the different sections. We welcome from you any further queries.
Keep well and may Allah show us all the straight path.
Mr. Lamaan Ball, former editor of Ask About Islam, adds:
"If God is completely unknowable, then how does one know that the Qur’an is God's word? - How can you know what's in God's mind?"
This is asking about the essence of belief that we have in Islam. The first reference to belief in the Qur'an is to believe in al Ghaib i.e. the unseen. What does it mean to believe in the unseen? The essence of this is to acknowledge that there is more to existence than we know about.
We cannot assert that we can deduce from the facts we observe more than those facts. However, as human beings we can observe patterns and design in the world around us which we try to make sense of. We form concepts and build language to describe and explain them and we trust and believe that the laws of nature we uncover won't just change on us.
I wouldn't say God is completely unknowable, but rather that no vision can see God completely. Through our observations and discoveries of creation, we make sense of it as coming to know something of God's design and mercy. We believe in the Qur'an as the word of God because that is the best way to make sense of what it is. There are many reasons why this is the case and a good place to refer your friend to might be http://islamic.org.uk/I4WM/amazing.htm
Credibility of the Revelation
The Qur'an: Whose Words Is It?