The Qur’an

I’ve tried to achieve an understanding of Islam by reading a variety of books, but the hardest has been the Qur’ān
itself. It’s not an easy work to understand if you don’t already have the background for it, by which I mean how it’s recited, the traditions of interpretation, it’s role in the life of Islamic communities, and the like. I’m therefore grateful to a very learned friend who has also been reading a great many books on Islam, Lew Randall, who recently sent me a copy of Michael Cook’s The Koran: A Very Short Introduction. It’s helpful, learned, and even quite witty and clever. Cook’s little book provides some of the background that’s helpful to understand the various works I’ve cited below. (I should also point out that, as he is a member of the Cato Institute’s board of directors, Lew is also one of my bosses.) (A small thing, but I can’t get to put the proper diacritical mark above the “a” in “Qur’Ã?Â?Ã?¢n.” It should be a horizontal line, but keeps putting up a circumflex. Oh, well. UPDATE: Jason Kantz sent me a very kind email explaining how to generate the right characters. You can click here for all the charts of character codes.)