A distinguished historian of religion shows precisely how the Qur'an is Islam. He describes the origins of the faith and assesses its tremendous influence on today's societies and politics.
Few books in history have been as important or as poorly understood as the Qur'an. Sent down in a series of revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an is the unmediated word of Allah: a ritual, political, and legal authority, an ethical and spiritual guide, and a literary masterpiece. It is revered by Muslims throughout the world, in whom it inspires devotion, passion, fear, and sometimes incomprehension. In this book, distinguished historian of religion Bruce Lawrence shows precisely how the Qur'an is Islam. He describes the origins of the faith in seventh-century Arabia and explains why the Qur'an is both memorized and recited by devout Muslims. Lawrence also discusses the Qur'an's commentators and doubters and assesses its tremendous influence on today's societies and politics. Above all, Lawrence emphasizes that the Qur'an is a sacred book of signs that cannot be reduced to a single, obvious message. It is a book that demands interpretation and one that can be properly understood only through its history. Bruce Lawrence's The Qur'an: A Biography is a fascinating book, and in these increasingly troubled times an invaluable one as well.