A Concise Guide to the Quran: Answering Thirty Critical Questions
By Ayman S. Ibrahim (Baker Academic)
Ayman Ibrahim, who grew up as a Coptic Christian in Egypt and earned a doctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Haifa, understands the Middle East and the Muslim world both experientially and academically. Consequently, he is able to present a nuanced and balanced picture of how Muslims across the Islamic theological spectrum view the Quran.
Ibrahim, who directs the Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, follows a simple and straightforward approach by answering 30 questions about the sacred text of Islam. They range from the basic—“What is the Quran?” and “What do Muslims believe about the Quran?”—to the complex—“Are all Arabic versions of the Quran the same?” and “Why and how was the Quran compiled?”
The author deals fairly but critically with difficult issues, such as the Islamic doctrine of abrogation—the belief that later “revelations” in the Quran render some earlier commands invalid. He does not shy away from asking difficult questions about the meaning of jihad and whether the Quran classifies Christians and Jews as “infidels,” but he avoids sweeping generalizations and broad characterizations. The sections about what the Quran says regarding Jesus and the prophets—pointing out both the parallels to the Bible and key differences—particularly are insightful and instructive.
Ibrahim offers non-Muslims a helpful introduction to the Quran. He treats the material critically but respectfully, and his approach offers a good example of how Christians can engage their Muslim neighbors in religious discussions.
Ken Camp, managing editor