Few books in history have been 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 that inspires devotion, passion, fear, and sometimes incomprehension.
In The Qur’an,
distinguished historian of religion Bruce Lawrence shows precisely how the Qur’an is the embodiment of 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 long and storied history.