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An essential introductory text for the study of the Qur'an, its content, and its place in Muslim society. An insightful and authoritative introduction to the book at the heart of Muslim life, written by a well-known Islamic scholar Examines the doctrines contained in the Qur'an, providing a comprehensive explanation of their significance to individual Muslims and the societi An essential introductory text for the study of the Qur'an, its content, and its place in Muslim society. An insightful and authoritative introduction to the book at the heart of Muslim life, written by a well-known Islamic scholar Examines the doctrines contained in the Qur'an, providing a comprehensive explanation of their significance to individual Muslims and the societies in which they live Surveys the key themes of the Qur'an, its most significant historical interpretations, and some of the most significant figures who transmitted and taught the sacred scripture over the centuries Considers the influence of the Qur'an on all major aspects of Muslim society, including personal relationships, popular culture, law, art and architecture, political movements, science, and literature Helps the reader to understand the Qur'an, while throwing a much-needed light on what it means to be a Muslim.


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An essential introductory text for the study of the Qur'an, its content, and its place in Muslim society. An insightful and authoritative introduction to the book at the heart of Muslim life, written by a well-known Islamic scholar Examines the doctrines contained in the Qur'an, providing a comprehensive explanation of their significance to individual Muslims and the societi An essential introductory text for the study of the Qur'an, its content, and its place in Muslim society. An insightful and authoritative introduction to the book at the heart of Muslim life, written by a well-known Islamic scholar Examines the doctrines contained in the Qur'an, providing a comprehensive explanation of their significance to individual Muslims and the societies in which they live Surveys the key themes of the Qur'an, its most significant historical interpretations, and some of the most significant figures who transmitted and taught the sacred scripture over the centuries Considers the influence of the Qur'an on all major aspects of Muslim society, including personal relationships, popular culture, law, art and architecture, political movements, science, and literature Helps the reader to understand the Qur'an, while throwing a much-needed light on what it means to be a Muslim.

30 review for The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Obviously a lot of time, thought and research went into this book. I found it to be more-or-less objective (given the subject matter) and very clever in the way that it shared information - anecdotes, contextual references, stories of real people, etc. Since I live in a Muslim country, this kicked up my understanding of Islam a half a dozen notches. Took a lot of patience to read, but definitely worth the effort.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rod Horncastle

    I tried to finish this but... It boggles my mind why academic women outside of Islam would desperately want to be let into a world of abuse? Apparently when a Muslim woman gets to paradise (big if?) she gets to be a sex slave/spouse at the front of a long line of sexual houris (celestial Whores?) who are currently being locked up in pavilions (don't worry: they're being kept safe and pure from... Who knows? What kind of paradise is this Allah deity running anyway? Can't be that heavenly for women I tried to finish this but... It boggles my mind why academic women outside of Islam would desperately want to be let into a world of abuse? Apparently when a Muslim woman gets to paradise (big if?) she gets to be a sex slave/spouse at the front of a long line of sexual houris (celestial Whores?) who are currently being locked up in pavilions (don't worry: they're being kept safe and pure from... Who knows? What kind of paradise is this Allah deity running anyway? Can't be that heavenly for women if you have to lock up the eternal sex workers in your own heavenly kingdom. What the HELL?). I tried having this Quranic Content discussion with Muslim women ----- Ummmh? End of discussion. Anyway, this author rambles on endlessly about the wonderful brutal insanities and raids and political mayhem of early Islam. Then she desperately tries to cherry pick the Quran for some form of Love and Goodness. But it's obvious to rest of the world: She left a lot of CRAP out. It was fun to watch her quote the Hadiths that almost proved her points.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rashid Yasin

    I liked it and found it beautiful. As a Muslim who has thought about the Qur'an for most of my life, a lot in here is not surprising or particularly revelatory. But it's still a nice reminder of the place of the Qur'an in Islamic society and thought. There are a few nuggets throughout that make it still worth reading for someone familiar with the material. I have heard a lot about the history of the text of the Qur'an and its compilation in bits and pieces, but it is laid out here very consisten I liked it and found it beautiful. As a Muslim who has thought about the Qur'an for most of my life, a lot in here is not surprising or particularly revelatory. But it's still a nice reminder of the place of the Qur'an in Islamic society and thought. There are a few nuggets throughout that make it still worth reading for someone familiar with the material. I have heard a lot about the history of the text of the Qur'an and its compilation in bits and pieces, but it is laid out here very consistently and coherently which is really useful to read in a unified telling. Additionally, some of its overview of the traditions of tafsir and the history of schools of thought is very useful to know and to think about. It is well-cited as well, so there are a few different references that will hopefully form the basis for further reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nora B.

    great introductory text to the qur'an but it played it very safe and avoided lots of controversial topics which characterize debates on qur'an today relating to women, gender, violence and LGBT issues. I also feel it was very Sunni-centric in that it did not offer enough insight on interpretations from other sects (it did, just not enough). great introductory text to the qur'an but it played it very safe and avoided lots of controversial topics which characterize debates on qur'an today relating to women, gender, violence and LGBT issues. I also feel it was very Sunni-centric in that it did not offer enough insight on interpretations from other sects (it did, just not enough).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    As someone relativley ignorant of Islam, this book gave me a basic understanding of the origins of the Quran and its place in today's world. I would have liked to read more about how it's interpretatin affects how people live and behave today. As someone relativley ignorant of Islam, this book gave me a basic understanding of the origins of the Quran and its place in today's world. I would have liked to read more about how it's interpretatin affects how people live and behave today.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Stout

    A helpful contextualization of the life of Muhammad and explanation of approaches to the Qur'an. A helpful contextualization of the life of Muhammad and explanation of approaches to the Qur'an.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    Good intro to Islam book. Would be great for non-Muslims. Had great resources in the footnotes do further study.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian Griffith

    Mattson dispassionately wades through a religious minefield, deftly assessing the relative merits between alternative views of the Quran over the course of Islamic history. She explores how the sacred texts were assembled, how they have been used over time, and how competing schools of interpretation arose or fell. Through it all she brings heightened self-awareness to the choices that Muslims make regarding the context, scope, or authority each verse. For example, “… literalistic readings can ef Mattson dispassionately wades through a religious minefield, deftly assessing the relative merits between alternative views of the Quran over the course of Islamic history. She explores how the sacred texts were assembled, how they have been used over time, and how competing schools of interpretation arose or fell. Through it all she brings heightened self-awareness to the choices that Muslims make regarding the context, scope, or authority each verse. For example, “… literalistic readings can efface the role of the human interpreter. Decrying ‘man-made’ institutions, literalists seem unaware of their own roles as human interpreters when they select particular passages to justify their positions. … At the same time, we must also recognize that many Muslims who practice what might be called a ‘liberal’ reading of the Quran can be as intolerant of other opinions as their ideological opponents. Intolerance is rooted in the belief that one’s own reading is obviously correct, whether that reading is based on a literalistic approach to the text or on a conviction that (one’s own) reason is such a perfect instrument for assessing truth, justice, and fairness that interpretations in conflict with that assessment are dismissed out of hand” (p. 212).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashfaq Farooqui

    Dr. Mattson has presented in this book the different facets of approaching the Quran. The text is crisp and makes the content easy for any interested reader. The book an academic work and does justice by providing the various views and briefly looks at the evolution of such views. More importantly, it gives sufficient references for interested readers to further explore the various themes. Personally, it was the kind of book I was missing. There are many books that get into the depths of various Dr. Mattson has presented in this book the different facets of approaching the Quran. The text is crisp and makes the content easy for any interested reader. The book an academic work and does justice by providing the various views and briefly looks at the evolution of such views. More importantly, it gives sufficient references for interested readers to further explore the various themes. Personally, it was the kind of book I was missing. There are many books that get into the depths of various schools of thinking and facets of the Quran, this was a good survey to keep in mind before delving further.In my view, what In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan was to the Sira, The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life was to the history and development of Quranic sciences. I would have liked some more contemporary and controversial issues to have been discussed. But, I presume that would have changed the balance and also thrown the book off-course.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jon Beadle

    This is a 3.5. A sprawling piece of academic reflection and history of this controversial and revered text. I appreciated the honesty on display here. Mattson does not shy away from the hard topics within the Qur'an itself, and encourages the reader to make up their own mind. After all, history is not necessarily the past (per the book). It was not an easy read but it was rewarding. I recommend to anyone who is looking to read something about the Qur'an that is not written by a Christian poimici This is a 3.5. A sprawling piece of academic reflection and history of this controversial and revered text. I appreciated the honesty on display here. Mattson does not shy away from the hard topics within the Qur'an itself, and encourages the reader to make up their own mind. After all, history is not necessarily the past (per the book). It was not an easy read but it was rewarding. I recommend to anyone who is looking to read something about the Qur'an that is not written by a Christian poimicist.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ayman Fadel

    One of the motivations I had for this blog is guiding people to good introductory materials for non-Muslims to learn about Islam. If we can call books like Suzanne Haneef's What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims the first generation of Muslims' attempts to educate non-Muslims about Islam using contemporary English and mass, high-quality publications, Dr. Mattson's book represents a new generation of mass outreach books. "First" generation books typically avoided difficult issues such a One of the motivations I had for this blog is guiding people to good introductory materials for non-Muslims to learn about Islam. If we can call books like Suzanne Haneef's What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims the first generation of Muslims' attempts to educate non-Muslims about Islam using contemporary English and mass, high-quality publications, Dr. Mattson's book represents a new generation of mass outreach books. "First" generation books typically avoided difficult issues such as sectarian splits, slavery, marginalization of women and values not held by liberal European and American audiences. The authors were more concerned with filling a void of ignorance with a general, positive impression of Muslims. The flood of pseudo-scholarship post September 11, 2001 about Islam has reduced the effectiveness of these first generation books by claiming to tell readers about Islam through out-of-context quotes from individual Muslims and scriptures. Anybody who has actually attempted to refute this kind of literature knows the frustration of attempting to counter a simplistic, positivistic, non-contextual 2-3 line quote with the 2-3 pages of necessary technical discourse. I believe we should adopt the phrase Dr. Mattson uses to describe these critics of Muslims: "non-Muslim Islamic fundamentalists." (p. vi) What I'm calling "second" generation Muslim mass outreach books is characterized by starting from a more-or-less manageable topic, which may or may not be the object of United States or Muslim culture wars, and telling a story of how contemporary Muslims came to hold beliefs on that topic and adopt practices related to it. These books are characterized by a degree of accssible scholarship which, while not cutting edge for scholars in the field, causes the general reader to hesitate from adopting a "fundamentalist", unsophisticated, fossilized, ahistorical position based on reading statements such as "Islam advocates X" or "The Quran says X." The reader comes to appreciate that Muslims have cultural and intellectual history, just like other religious groups, and that revelation, reason, socio-economic factors, historical events and outstanding individuals have all played roles in shaping that history. I think a good example of this distinction is Martin Lings's tremendous book, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. I'd classify this, with reservations, as a "first" generation book, because it does not go into the dialogical process by which Muslims came to view the Messenger Muhammad salla Allah alayhi wa sallam. It does not discuss the factors which caused al-Qadi `Iyad to write al-Shifa, and how his ideas dominated pre-modern Muslim thinking about the topic, despite the existence and persistence of alternatives. This first generation book is unique in that Martin Lings did not allow contemporary concerns to dominate the narrative, and this independence and authenticity to the traditional Muslim viewpoint is why I still recommend this book over other English biographies of the Messenger salla Allah alayhi wa sallam. Dr. Mattson's book, therefore, will not be a simple read for the reader who wants a simple answer to the question, "Does the Quran instruct Muslims to kill non-Muslims indiscriminately?" The reader must enter the book either seeking to understand the Quran as a Muslim does or develop that desire (or else skip to Chapter 5, which of course I don't recommend!). Chapters 1 and 2 try to convey what it means to have God speaking to humans through a messenger whom God has commanded to convey His religion. Chapter 3 details the attempts Muslims have made to preserve this speech from that time fourteen centuries ago until our time. Chapter 4 shows how the speech and its written pneumonic aids function in Muslims' architecture, ritual life and popular culture. These chapters distinguish Dr. Mattson's book from the discourse which constrains itself to the contemporary audience's concerns, thereby entrenching the concerns and never guiding them to more productive questions. The problem with simply answering "Does the Quran instruct Muslims to kill non-Muslims indiscriminately?" either affirmatively or negatively is that it neither opens a door for the non-Muslim religious seeker to see the religious value of the Quran nor does it open a door for the ardent non-seeker to come to an accomodation with his/her Muslim neighbors who want to build a masjid next door, sacrifice animals for the eid or take time off work for jumu'a or pilgrimage. A particularly effective technique Dr. Mattson uses in these chapters is illustrating how these aspects of Muslim cultural and religiously history appear in contemporary life. She relates the story of a Chicagoan Muslima named Reem who acquired an ijaza to read the Qur'an just like the people we read about in the musty books which express this history. She tries to convey to the reader how the Qur'an is perceived aurally. She tried to explain how Guantanamo Bay prisoners could be more concerned with the mistreatment of the mushaf than their own mistreatment. She gave examples of how the words of the Quran are used in medicine, social occasions such as births, deaths and weddings, and even naming children. For the impatient and polemical, chapters 5 and 6 more directly answer the demands of contemporary audiences. But here again, Dr. Mattson takes the reader (gently) through the development of Qur'anic hermeneutics. In this, she echoes the writings of many good authors such as Mohammad Hashim Kamali, John Obert Voll, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Wael B. Hallaq and some new publications from the International Institute of Islamic Thought. The reader is forced to reject absolute certainty in facile interpretations of multi-faceted issues, such as "Islam liberates women" and "Islam subjugates non-Muslims." Chapter 6, "Listening for God," is a beautiful explanation of the tension between charismatic and gnostic religious authority for Qur'an interpretation and scholastic hermeneutical methods and the tension between elitist and (my terms) instictive, humane or fitri interpretation. Elites struggle among themselves to choose scholastic or gnostic methods, but it is "only with such accountability [to the greater community] and oversight that any sector of Muslim society can carry and trasmit the values their community ascribes to the Qur'an." Dr. Mattson goes on to note that "Ordinary people will never demand such accountability, however, if they do not have a certain level of confidence in their convictions and courage to articulate them. This is why we need not only to study the history of the dominant leaders and institutions in Muslim societies, but also to search for the voices of marginalized individuals and grouops - to see how they articulated and maintained their faith when they had little power." (p. 226) Yet, all involved in the interpretive project must do so in community and with introspection to avoid distortions resulting from each person's individual emotional scars and secular self-interest. Lastly, each chapter has endnotes. The book has a bibliography, glossary and index. This review appears with live links at Muslim Media Review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rona

    I've read a handful of books meant to provide understanding of how to read the Qur'an. This one has a decidedly female tone to it. This book talks about the society where Islam developed. It explains the way that Hadith (the stories of Mohammed's -PBUH- life.) It tells the story of scholars who have studied recitation and how the process of certifying proficiency is done. It takes on the question of how this text can inform a righteous life. It does not merely take on the problematic concepts th I've read a handful of books meant to provide understanding of how to read the Qur'an. This one has a decidedly female tone to it. This book talks about the society where Islam developed. It explains the way that Hadith (the stories of Mohammed's -PBUH- life.) It tells the story of scholars who have studied recitation and how the process of certifying proficiency is done. It takes on the question of how this text can inform a righteous life. It does not merely take on the problematic concepts that lead non-Muslim to hold their prejudices about how anti-woman Islam is (Other feminist books on the Qur'an focus here.) It looks at how different Muslim cultures, at different times have approached the written and recited Qur'an. It answered questions I never thought to ask, like, what change was wrought by the decision to print copies of the Qur'an, when printing presses became available? When the Qur'an became easily available, what were the customs and rules about handling the books? This is not an easy read. But it is worthy of your attention.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Diaz

    Concise and Informative Introduction to the Qur'an Very good introductory textbook about the story of the Qur'an--covering topics from the context of the revelation during the time of the Prophet (pbuh), to its compilation after his death, to the problems that come with finding systematic ways to interpret the text, to the role it plays in everyday Muslim life. I love Mattson's balance of tone in her writing; she's a believer but also a scholar who doesn't let her faith get in the way of academic Concise and Informative Introduction to the Qur'an Very good introductory textbook about the story of the Qur'an--covering topics from the context of the revelation during the time of the Prophet (pbuh), to its compilation after his death, to the problems that come with finding systematic ways to interpret the text, to the role it plays in everyday Muslim life. I love Mattson's balance of tone in her writing; she's a believer but also a scholar who doesn't let her faith get in the way of academic rigor and criticism. As such, she's not concerned with presenting islamic orthodoxy, but rather takes the perspective of an anthropologist and historian. That being said, I would say the author leans more towards a cautious modernist approach to the Qur'an. More than a dry academic textbook, the book reads like a series of lectures that a professor would give at a university. There were two main highlights about the book for me. The first is that although the book isn't explicitly about women's relationship to the Qur'an, the author made a point to include many examples of female Companions and other women throughout Muslim history to illustrate her points. We need more books (especially by male authors) that make a point to include more women in their examples. The second is that the book serves as a sort of hypertext. Although the book is relatively short, it is very dense and well researched, with plenty of fascinating references at the end of each chapter. I'm very much looking forward to using this textbook as a springboard to delve deeper into the topics that Mattson introduces in each chapter. This is a very accessible read for both Muslims who want to become more familiar with the topics mentioned above and for non-Muslims who want a good introduction to the history of the Qur'an and the role the Qur'an plays in Muslim life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    TMD

    A thoroughly well-researched book, with non-partisan objectivity clearly articulated at every stage & in every topic. Well balanced arguments, very minimal opining, and an exemplary rendition and, in some cases, critical examination, of a truly diverse range of perspectives. The above combined with lucid writing complemented by a seasoned application of multimodal literary devices made for captivating reading on a subject that tends to be rendered either too dryly or too emotionally. Ingrid Mattso A thoroughly well-researched book, with non-partisan objectivity clearly articulated at every stage & in every topic. Well balanced arguments, very minimal opining, and an exemplary rendition and, in some cases, critical examination, of a truly diverse range of perspectives. The above combined with lucid writing complemented by a seasoned application of multimodal literary devices made for captivating reading on a subject that tends to be rendered either too dryly or too emotionally. Ingrid Mattson has struck an almost sagacious balance to leave the reader appreciative of the necessity of having both an emotional-spiritual as well as a rational-scientific perspective before undertaking not only a study, but even a cursory reading of the Holy Qur'an. A truly scholarly work, this book will prove to be of great use to anyone studying Islam sincerely, whether believer or not. I strongly recommend all to read this, preferably albeit not necessarily, prior to one's first reading of the Glorious Qur'an.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nadeen Alsulaimi

    الكاتبة تحولت إلى الإسلام.. من مواليد كندا.. عاشت في فرنسا وباكستان وغيرها.. الكتاب يتحدث عن البعثة ونزول القرآن وأحداث من السيرة النبوية حتى انتهت الكاتبة إلى عصور التفسير المعاصر.. أجمل مقطع كان الخاتمة في الفصل الثاني حيث اقتبست قول أم أيمن لأبي بكر وعمر أنها حزينة لانقطاع كلام الرب عن الأرض بوفاة الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم.. الكتاب جميل لغير المسلمين ليتعرفوا على الإسلام.. فيه نوع من أسلوب القصة ومن النقد الأكاديمي البسيط

  16. 4 out of 5

    Muizz

    Dr. Mattson, true to her own personality, provides an introduction to the Qu'ran that is spiritually uplifting, academically grounded, and provides benefit to the ordinary Muslims daily engagement with the Book of God. I highly recommend the book. Dr. Mattson, true to her own personality, provides an introduction to the Qu'ran that is spiritually uplifting, academically grounded, and provides benefit to the ordinary Muslims daily engagement with the Book of God. I highly recommend the book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abu Raihan Khalid

    I did not know the writer when I started reading the book. But I had great expectations from it because of its title. However, unfortunately my expectations were not met. The Qur'an Majid is Islam's divine text, revelations from Allah Rabbul Alamin; its single source of laws and knowledge. After the death of the Prophet SA: this is what is left as a guidance for the billion Muslims around the world. However, a small number of people, including Muslims, have learnt that Khalifa Uthman ibn Affan Ra I did not know the writer when I started reading the book. But I had great expectations from it because of its title. However, unfortunately my expectations were not met. The Qur'an Majid is Islam's divine text, revelations from Allah Rabbul Alamin; its single source of laws and knowledge. After the death of the Prophet SA: this is what is left as a guidance for the billion Muslims around the world. However, a small number of people, including Muslims, have learnt that Khalifa Uthman ibn Affan Ra:, the third Caliph of Islam, has adulterated the Text, altered the order of the Chapters, or even truncated it to suit his and some other's political ambitions. Some authors wrote books about that; in fact I am reading one right now after finishing Mrs. Mattson's book: 'The Silent Qur'an and the Speaking Qur'an: Scriptural Sources of Islam Between History and Fervor' by Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali. I have watched documentaries, read articles and learnt otherwise that an alternative Qur'an Majid might be a possibility. There was one found in Yemen in 1972 - fondly called the 'The Sanaa Mushaf'. I took part in an Academia.edu discussion forum last week where one was trying to argue the same. I have watched reputed BBC journalist Rageh Omaar who tried to establish that Mecca is not the true centre, or Qiblah as the Muslims call it, of Islam - the mention of Olive groves in the Qur'an Majid suggests that the Qiblah would be somewhere further North, somewhere in the fertile crescent - the land surrounding the Mediterranean sea. As a devout Muslim, I am keenly interested about the Qur'an Majid. This is my one true compass, medicine in ailment, friend in sadness, savior in distress. I want to know if I have invested my life in a falsehood. So I read Mrs. Ingrid Mattson's book with great expectations, hoping to learn whether my Quran Majid is a real one or not. At Chapter 3 the Author addressed the paramount question: the transmission of the Qur'an Majid from the guardianship of the Prophet SA:; to us the billions of Muslims. There she did something that is worse than saying that it is false - she planted seeds of confusion in the minds of her readers. In the Section of that Chapter named aptly' The Prophet and the First Collection of the Qur’an' Mrs. Mattson states: "Umar advised Abu Bakr to order the Qur’an to be “collected” so that it would not disappear with the reciters. Abu Bakr hesitated to do “what the Prophet had never done,” but eventually relented, and appointed Zayd ibn Thabit, one of the Prophet’s most reliable scribes, to undertake the task." ... "Zayd collected recitations and written texts of all the suras, and transcribed them on loose sheets of paper (suhuf). Abu Bakr kept these pages until he died, when they were transferred to the next caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. Before ‘Umar died in 24/644, he deposited the papers with his daughter (and the Prophet’s widow) Hafsa, who kept them until another project to transcribe the Qur’an was undertaken." As a reference the Author says at the beginning of this 'story' that "Islamic tradition holds that" without mentioning any particular Hadith, books or papers, although she provided 70 notes for her writing in that Chapter. This piece of information is the umbilical cord of the Qur'an Majid - from the hands of the Prophet SA:; it comes to the hands of the Muslims after the Prophet SA:'s death - and we see that there is no proof of that information in Mrs. Ingrid Mattson's book. What a reader would think of that? There are many more to write but I have decided that the Author does not deserve a closer scrutiny after such a failure. So I shall not mention them. I wish the Author redemption.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Khalid

    Although I found this book informative, it was more about the development of Muslim society throughout the ages rather than the "Story of the Qur'an." It was overly technical at times, clearly geared towards someone with at least a moderate-advanced knowledge of Islam, and tended to get bogged down in details (really, did we have to discuss the personal histories of almost all of the people in one chain of oral transmission?). Despite its flaws, however, it did give considerable insight into a su Although I found this book informative, it was more about the development of Muslim society throughout the ages rather than the "Story of the Qur'an." It was overly technical at times, clearly geared towards someone with at least a moderate-advanced knowledge of Islam, and tended to get bogged down in details (really, did we have to discuss the personal histories of almost all of the people in one chain of oral transmission?). Despite its flaws, however, it did give considerable insight into a subject that's often vilified in western society--and from a western author, to boot. This book takes the reader from the historical genesis of the Qur'an (i.e. the social and cultural background of the society and people in which it was revealed) to the interpretation and valuation of the words of this religious book as it exists today. Overall, this book is a good addition to the larger body of knowledge about Islam and its holy text, but I wouldn't recommend it as a stand alone piece to gaining a greater insight into the Qur'an.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adil Hussain

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought the author did a good job of presenting the history and preservation of the Qur'an from its early revelation through to the present day. But I found this book to be so much more than a telling of the Qur'an's history. I thought the author did a fantastic job of communicating the different layers of the Qur'an; from its aural beauty to its role in the everyday life of a Muslim to its impact on Muslim architecture to the rich sciences that underpin how Muslim I really enjoyed this book. I thought the author did a good job of presenting the history and preservation of the Qur'an from its early revelation through to the present day. But I found this book to be so much more than a telling of the Qur'an's history. I thought the author did a fantastic job of communicating the different layers of the Qur'an; from its aural beauty to its role in the everyday life of a Muslim to its impact on Muslim architecture to the rich sciences that underpin how Muslim scholars interpret the Qur'an. It's probably this depth and detail that will make this book more appealing to Muslim readers wanting to gain an appreciation of their own history than somebody outside of the faith with a passing interesting in Islam. For me though this book far exceeded my expectations and I'd go as far as putting it in my top ten books on Islam in the English language.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bilal

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It is a magnificent book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rose B

    Loved it! So informative - I don’t know much about the Quran and this was a fantastic introduction. Academically thorough and logically sound, but still accessible to the casual reader.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Sokrati

    Very good introduction to the Quran.

  23. 4 out of 5

    C. Janelle

    I read portions of this book (roughly half of it) for a class I took this summer. What I loved about this book: It is thorough. The level of detail is fantastic and really helps put the Qur'an in context. I especially found interesting the section in the first chapter about the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century. What didn't work so well for me: The style. The transitions between paragraphs sometimes don't make sense to me, and it takes me a little while to follow Mattson's train of tho I read portions of this book (roughly half of it) for a class I took this summer. What I loved about this book: It is thorough. The level of detail is fantastic and really helps put the Qur'an in context. I especially found interesting the section in the first chapter about the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century. What didn't work so well for me: The style. The transitions between paragraphs sometimes don't make sense to me, and it takes me a little while to follow Mattson's train of thought. It's dense enough text that this slow-down can make the reading-and-comprehending process tedious for me. I hope to pick this one back up as I seek more information and understanding about the Qur'an and about Islam, but with the difficulties I have with the style, I suspect I'm more likely to turn to one of the other books from the class first.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Norhasanin

    Sebuah buku yg sesuai utk mereka yg ingin mengenali Quran. Antara teks dan kalam Tuhan. Satu usaha memahami teks agung terutama kpd yg masih mencari makna al-Quran dlm diri.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nachida

    A very good overview of the Qur'an and what it means for a Muslim. I think Mattson did a fantastic job balancing being an academic with being a believer. A very good overview of the Qur'an and what it means for a Muslim. I think Mattson did a fantastic job balancing being an academic with being a believer.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Islamic Society of Augusta

    Quran

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nurul Mohammad

  28. 4 out of 5

    Muneera

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aiman Waris

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary C.

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