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The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life [Paperback]

Ingrid Mattson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

13 Nov 2007 1405122587 978-1405122580 1
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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The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life + Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (The Foundations of Islam) + An Introduction to Islamic Law
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (13 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405122587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405122580
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 606,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Ingrid Mattson has written a stimulating and scholarly account of Islam, focusing on the Quran. She has a gift for condensing complex material without oversimplifying and her approach, although scholarly, is far from being a dry analysis of well–known historical events and religious debates. ( Journal of Islamic Studies , September 2009) This well–researched, informative, carefully written introduction to the Qur′an by a young Muslim scholar is a sign of the times. Mattson (Hartford Seminary) brings to her work an impressive set of credentials. Readers of whatever stripe will find her introduction a welcome addition to the academic literature on the Qur′an. This is an ideal undergraduate text, but also a useful resource for a general audience. Highly recommended. ( Choice Reviews , October 2008) A balanced, academically–based, and well–documented introduction Mattson throws a much–needed light on what it means to be a Muslim. ( Islamic Horizons)


“It takes rare skill to make an introduction to scripture compelling, but Mattson has done it. Students will find the text fascinating, a delicate balance of highly scholarly material and inviting anecdotes. Scholars will also find the text of interest, particularly its deft compilation of a remarkable breadth of scholarship. Perhaps most importantly, this text is the first full introduction to the study of the Qur’an from the perspective of a Western Muslim woman, bringing the Qur’an alive in ways only someone fully engaged in and sensitive to twenty–first century realities can do.” – Tamara Sonn, College of William & Mary “The author has been entirely successful in accomplishing her aims: she has written an academically–based, well–documented introduction to the Qur′an which will find wide readership.” –Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of Islam 30 Mar 2010
This book provides an excellent overview of Islam focussing on the Qur'an. It covers a number of early theological debates without excessive jargon and would be a good coursebook for students or those interested in gaining a better grasp of Islamic thought.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific resource on the Quran 24 Feb 2009
By Maxwell Grant - Published on Amazon.com
I am a Christian pastor and high school Religion teacher, and I'm currently using "The Story of the Qur'an" as part of a course for Juniors and Seniors on Islam. It's an excellent resource: deeply scholarly, but also user-friendly. It's technical, but absolutely approachable. Even those just beginning to learn about Islam and the Qur'an will be able to get it.

For teachers: Mattson's book occupies a niche that others don't cover. It explains "what's in the Qur'an," to be sure, but also questions including: "how did the Qur'an take shape?" and "what role(s) does it play within Muslim culture throughout history and today?" and "how have Muslims interpreted the Qur'an?" (Note: these are my summaries, not its chapter headings, per se.)

It's really the last three questions that set the book apart from other introductory texts. Most of these will tell you THAT the Qur'an is important, and many will tell you WHY, at least in a general way. But none I know offer the same nuanced view of HOW the text evolved and how its reception and interpretation have also evolved.

Why does that matter? Well, I've found that my students come to the Qur'an with a great deal of interest, but also suspicion. They are attracted to its emphasis on social justice and are often surprised by its beauty, but put off by its eschatology (which, in fairness, they have only just begun to learn). They struggle mightily to understand the authority of a text -- a struggle that is made harder by the general distrust of any authority that is typical of their age, but also compounded by the media treatments of Islam which are often all they know of the faith.

Mattson is brilliant in giving them ways to understand that authority as the product of revelation, but also history.

If you're serious about introducing students to the Qur'an as part of a course on Islam, this is an invaluable resource. Also good for helping students develop paper topics and bibliographies, as well as for developing a mental framework to understand the Qur'an on something closer to its own terms. It quotes a lot of Qur'anic material, so it might also be used as a reserve book or for the teacher to prep a unit for him/herself. Easy to use as a roadmap for teachers trying to decide which passages to teach and how to understand them.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will never Hear the Qur'anic Narrative the Same Again 5 Feb 2008
By Bilal Ansari - Published on Amazon.com
If you are among the fortunate ones to read Dr. Mattson's book before your first encounter with the Qur'anic narrative, I envy you. As a prison chaplain I offer that this book will be very pivotal in helping to broaden the frame of reference of new Muslims with limited access to traditional sources. Moreover, as a graduate student in seminary I suggest this introduction to the Qur'an will develop your intellectual capacity to hear God's Voice in the most subtle and generous ways possible. The Story of the Qur'an takes into account where mainstream America is and graciously extends an invitation to sit and engage the divine narrative in the classroom of Dr. Mattson. The normal patriarchal Qur'anic history meets herstory's narrative in this book and an absolutely inspiring transformation occurs to those who suffered from gender tone deafness. Read it for yourself and I guarantee you will never read the Qur'an the same way thereafter. First time readers of Qur'an will be enriched by the supportive and diverse resources to help novices be engaged intimately with the scripture. More seasoned Qur'anic readers are challenged to listen deeper and more affectionately to the Voice of God, so I envy the novices who will be able to listen to the Qur'an almost as if they were with the Prophet Muhammad and the first community of revelation both males and females.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quran--History, Traditions and its Relevance. 4 Sep 2008
By Faroque Ahmed Khan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An outstanding book addressing the commonly asked questions--is Quran really word of God, how was it compiled, who is the author, have no changes been incorporated etc.The book describes in detail the importance of oral traditions and how they are continued in 21st century--chap 3 describes the journey of a 17yr old American teenager-Reem- in ensuring the continuation of the oral traditions.
Reader will also learn about the role played by some women and Jews during the life of the prophet. A great book written by a practicing Muslim female adresses most of the commonly asked questions regarding Quran and Muslims. Highly recommend it.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again a Great book 6 Oct 2008
By Dr. Malahat Qureshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once again Dr. Mattson provide a great insight about Islam & Quran and it's values in a easy to read format,,,
I'm looking forward to see one from Story from Ahadiath's soon --
Masha'Allah Great work keep up the good work Dr. Mattson.
Malahat Qureshi Ph.D.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A view from Arabic native reader perspective 2 Jan 2010
By Mediterranean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I may not repeat the other reviewers input, but the appeal of Mrs. Mattson book is her view as a very capable scholar and native westerner convert. This is very refreshing and important contribution which is free from the influence of the regular cultural heritage and baggage of the common muslim scholars in the middle east. I only wish that English language books that quote Quran in translation would also add paragraphs for the original quotation in Arabic for the benefit of their native Arabic readers, it is not smooth read as we're constantly trying to get the original text which we may not memorize without interrupting the line of thought which the author is conveying, this is my advise.
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