The Life of the Qur’an: From Eternal Roots to Enduring Legacy

St. Martin’s Essentials. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781250282361. $30. REL
Arabic is the sole language of the Qur’an, and its interpretation is enshrined in a written and oral tradition conveying the nuances of a seventh-century CE milieu. The Qur’an’s arrangement also defies easy categorization, and some may find approaching the sacred text a bit daunting. Scriptural philologist Jebara (Muhammad, the World-Changer), known for his efforts to bridge the gap between cultural and religious divides, takes the innovative step of presenting the Qur’an as a living entity that steadily breaks into the world. Written like a biography of the text, the book presents various suras (chapters) chronologically. Jebara spotlights the efforts of early Muslim communities to revitalize an insular Arab culture, and he examines the developments and evolution of Islam, moving from being in community to taking on the trappings of empire. In Jebara’s hands, Islam is shown not just as a religion but as a way of life, with the Qur’an serving as an animating force that deserves to be cultivated rather than simply preserved.
VERDICT An extensively researched look at the text of the Qur’an. It is sure to appeal to Muslims, religious scholars, and any readers interested in learning more about the sacred scripture of Islam.
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