The Story of The Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life
No. of pages:
RM 119.80 (Kinokuniya)
I think I would like to begin with how I found this book.
It started with when I was watching a video of Ingrid Mattson’s lecture on Youtube.
The way she spoke out her mind and delivering a lecture with details, points and in my point of view, very academic way of sharing about Islam, made me interested to look for reading materials written by her.
Turned out she wrote a book entitled ‘The Story of The Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life’ which is a textbook that has been printed in 2 editions, and the 2nd edition which published at Wiley-Blackwell is cheaper and affordable than the 1st edition which is a hard cover version of it.
It was difficult for me to find this book around my area but luckily we’re living in the time of internet and online shopping are parts of our life.
I bought this book from Kinokuniya online and sent to me by courier.
In this particular case, I agree that valuable things aren’t easy to get, but worth finding for J
If you’re looking for a book that can offer you an academic discussion about Qur’an that even a non-scholar would be able to understand it, I suggest you to read this book.
Just to make it clear, this is not a tafseer but a textbook that provide you with info regarding Qur’an.
This book consists of 6 chapters:
i. God Speaks to Humanity
ii. The Prophet Conveys the Message
iii. The Voice and the Pen
iv. Blessed Words: The Qur’an and Culture
v. What God Really Means: Interpreting the Qur’an
vi. Conclusion: Listening for God
In chapter 1, Mattson started with the story about Khawla bint Tha’laba who went to the Prophet Muhamad pbuh asking about she’s being zihar by her husband. According to the pre-Islamic Arabs, in this case she’s prohibited to be touch by her husband but at the same time she’s not free from the marital bond. Khawla knew this is some kind of injustice so that’s why she went to complain to the Prophet but the Prophet can’t do or say anything unless there’s a revelation from God regarding this matter. At first she was disappointed by what is said by the Prophet but she didn’t give up and keep channelling her complain to God. One day, the answer arrived from God as verse 1-2 in Surah Mujadila. This kind of story is known as asbab an-nuzul which literally means “occasions of revelation”. This chapter also discusses about how the current Arab world started from the event when Prophet Ismail pbuh and her mother Hajar was tested with being left at a deserted area by Prophet Ibrahim pbuh who is the father of Prophet Ismail pbuh and the husband of Hajar, then to the time when the Prophet Muhammad pbuh was living. I believe this chapter helps in understanding Qur’an since the Qur’an is Words of God that sent to the Prophet Muhammad pbuh and preached by the Prophet. So it’s important to know at least some background about the Prophet when we want to learn about the history of Qur’an.
Later in chapter 2, the writer shared about some discussion of accuracy and authenticity of Qur’an, the main gist of Qur’an that is tawhid or monotheism, human creation as servant of God, and justice. Next, in chapter 3, you’ll enjoy reading an inspiring story about a person learning, reciting and memorizing Qur’an who’s living in our time. In this chapter, Mattson discusses how the Qur’an is passed and preserved from the time of the Prophet pbuh until now, and also how Muslims have learned to read Qur’an. When I see Figure 3.1 in this book, which is the isnad that the girl is awarded, made me realize that Qur’an that I’m having right now, isn’t just a book. It’s Words of God, being transmitted and passed by generations with so many difficulties and so many things happened on the way for it to be preserved till this time and I’m having it with me right now. How lucky am I to be blessed with this gift from God but I just didn’t appreciate it enough. Sighhhh.
Further, you may gain some knowledge on the culture related to Qur’an like the calligraphy of Qur’an verses in mosques, Qur’an verses on coins and reciting Surah Yasin in funeral by reading chapter 4. Later, you may learn about discussion on interpreting the Qur’an which I found also as an interesting topic and also an issue that is very close to us since we’re living in a period when we didn’t have the chance to go and ask the Prophet pbuh directly if we have any questions especially about understanding what the Qur’an verses actually mean. In chapter 6 which is the final chapter, Mattson had summed up what she’s trying to deliver from this book and what she believes as the best way to read Qur’an.
Personally I would say I learned a lot from this book and it helps me to appreciate Qur’an much more than what I did.
Happy reading !
Ahli matematik Kampung Oren