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A Concise Guide to the Quran

Answering Thirty Critical Questions

series: Introducing Islam

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What is so unique about Islam's scripture, the Quran? Who wrote it, and when? Can we trust its statements to be from Muhammad? Why was it written in Arabic? Does it command Muslims to fight Christians? These are a few of the thirty questions answered in this clear and concise guide to the history and contents of the Quran.

Ayman Ibrahim grew up in the Muslim world and has spent many years teaching various courses on Islam. Using a question-and-answer format, Ibrahim covers critical questions about the most sacred book for Muslims. He examines Muslim and non-Muslim views concerning the Quran, shows how the Quran is used in contemporary expressions of Islam, answers many of the key questions non-Muslims have about the Quran and Islam, and reveals the importance of understanding the Quran for Christian-Muslim and Jewish-Muslim interfaith relations.

This introductory guide is written for anyone with little to no knowledge of Islam who wants to learn about Muslims, their beliefs, and their scripture.


Introduction: My Earliest Encounters with the Quran
Part 1: The History of the Text of the Quran
1. What Is the Quran?
2. What Does "Quran" Mean?
3. Are There Other Scriptures in Islam?
4. What Do Muslims Believe about the Quran?
5. Who Is Muhammad, the Recipient and Proclaimer of the Quran?
6. Did Muhammad Really Exist?
7. When and Where Did Muhammad Receive the Quran?
8. What Is the Most Important Feature of the Language of the Quran?
9. Why and How Was the Quran Compiled?
10. Did Uthman Burn False and Forged Qurans?
11. What Do Shiite Muslims Believe about the Collection of the Quran?
12. Do Sunnis and Shiites Have the Same Quran Today?
13. What Do We Know about the 1924 Royal Cairo Edition of the Quran?
14. Are There Any Other Qurans?
15. Are All Arabic Versions of the Quran the Same?
Part 2: Content, Features, and Themes of the Quran
16. How Should I Begin Reading the Quran?
17. What Are the Recurring Features at the Beginning of All Suras?
18. What Is Abrogation in the Quran?
19. What Are the Satanic Verses in the Quran?
20. What Is the Most Important Concept for Muslims in the Quran?
21. Are Jews and Christians Infidels?
22. Does the Quran Really Say the Bible Is Corrupt?
23. Who Is Jesus in the Quran?
24. Who Are the Prophets in the Quran?
25. Did Muhammad Perform Miracles?
26. What Does the Quran Say about Jihad and Fighting?
27. How Do Muslims Treat the Quran's Verses on Violence Today?
28. Who Are "the People of the Quran"?
29. What Do Today's Non-Muslim
Scholars Say about the Quran?
30. Concluding Question: How Does This All Fit Together?


"Ayman Ibrahim's latest work is an important resource for non-Muslims seeking to understand the Quran in the light of Islamic tradition and critical academic scholarship. He introduces the Quran with vivid examples and clear explanations, adding a new voice to the vibrant academic conversation in the field of Quranic studies."

Gabriel Said Reynolds, professor of Islamic studies and theology, University of Notre Dame

"A Concise Guide to the Quran is a wonderful introduction to the sacred text of Islam. It answers many questions non-Muslims have, but it also raises a number of questions we should be asking yet often don't. Yes, it answers those questions too! I will be recommending this book for any person who wants to understand Islam and the Quran better and more correctly. Thank you, Ayman Ibrahim. You have served us well."

Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Ayman Ibrahim's new book is an eminently accessible and lucidly written introduction to the contents and contexts of the Quran. Conversant with the latest scholarship and rich with insight, it challenges readers to consider the historical and literary aspects of the Quran without ever losing sight of its importance as a religious text. For those embarking on their first Quranic journey, A Concise Guide to the Quran is a beacon and a road map."

A. J. Droge, author of The Qur'an: A New Annotated Translation

"In A Concise Guide to the Quran, Ayman Ibrahim has produced a handy-yet-comprehensive overview of Islam's most sacred text: its origin, history, message, and impact. Skeptical yet respectful, this book will equip Christians and other non-Muslims to be well-informed about one of the most influential books in world history."

Mark Durie, pastor and adjunct research fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam

"In his latest book, Ayman Ibrahim has struck the perfect balance between rigor and accessibility. He poses a wealth of commonly asked questions about the Quran and helps his readers to negotiate their way through Islam's sacred text. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning both Muslim perspectives as well as a range of features that subject the Quranic story to scrutiny."

Peter G. Riddell, senior research fellow, Australian College of Theology

The Author

  1. Ayman S. Ibrahim

    Ayman S. Ibrahim

    Ayman S. Ibrahim (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary; PhD, Haifa University) is Bill and Connie Jenkins Professor of Islamic Studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in...

    Continue reading about Ayman S. Ibrahim


"An ideal introduction to the history and basic tenets of the Islamic faith, A Concise Guide to the Quran is deserving of the widest possible readership and is a timely and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Islamic Studies collections."

Wisconsin Bookwatch