Sources of the Quran

Revised by Montgomery Watt




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Sources of the Quran


Chapter 1
The Historical Context

Chapter 2

Mohammed's Prophetic Experience

Chapter 3

The History of the Text

Chapter 4

The external form of the Quran

Chapter 5

The features of Quranic style

Chapter 6

The Shaping of the Quran

Chapter 7
The Chronology of the Quran

Chapter 8
The names of the revealed message

Chapter 9
The Doctrines of the Quran

Chapter 10
Muslim Scholarship and the Quran

Chapter 11
The Quran and Occidental Scholariship



Bell's Introduction to the Quran
Revised by Montgomery Watt


Few books have exercised a wider or deeper influence upon the spirit of man than the quran Qurčňn. By Muslims it is regarded as a revelation from God. It is used in their public and private devotions, and is recited at festivals and family occasions. It is the basis of their religious beliefs, their ritual, and their law; the guide of their conduct, both public and private. It moulds their thought, and its phrases enter into literature and daily speech. A book thus held in reverence by over four hundred millions of our fellow-men is worthy of attention. It also demands serious study; for it is by no means an easy book to understand. It is neither a treatise on theology, nor a code of laws, nor a collection of sermons, but rather a medley of all three, with other things thrown in. Its 'revelation' was spread over a period of some twenty years, in the course of which muhammad Mu°ammad rose from the position of an obscure religious reformer in his native Mecca to that of virtual ruler of Medina and most of Arabia. As it reflects the changing circumstances, needs and purposes of the Muslims during these years, it naturally varies much in style and content, and even in teaching. Its arrangement is unsystematic, and though the Arabic in which it is written is, on the whole, intelligible, there are difficult passages whose meaning, as the Arabs say, is known to God alone.

One of the features of the second half of the twentieth century is the great increase in contacts between adherents of different religions. A consequence of this is that it is no longer possible for the occidental scholar to pontificate about the religions of Asia as he did in the nineteenth century. The adherents of these religions now belong to the same intellectual world as the occidental scholar, and will criticize him if he fails to understand and appreciate their religion as a religion. The term 'dialogue' is often applied to this new relationship between adherents of different religions. Though the term is vague, it implies, with reference to the quran Qurčňn in particular, a reverent attitude towards it as a holy book and respect for Muslim beliefs about it, even if these are not shared.