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 Qur'an
Revised by Montgomery Watt

Chapter 11: The Quran and Occidental Scholarship


1 . Translations and studies

The scholarly concern of Europeans with the quran QurŸån may be said to have begun with the visit of Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, to Toledo in the second quarter of the twelfth century. He became concerned with the whole problem of Islam, collected a team of men and commissioned them to produce a series of works which together would constitute a scholarly basis for the intellectual encounter with Islam. As part of this series a translation of the quran QurŸån into Latin was produced by an Englishman, Robert of Ketton (whose name is often deformed into Robertus Retenensis) and was complete by July 1143. Unfortunately this translation and the companion works did not lead to any important developments of scholarly Islamic studies. Numerous books were written in the next two or three centuries, but Islam was still the great enemy, feared and at the same time admired, and what was written was almost exclusively apologetics and polemics, sometimes verging on the scurrilous and the pornographic. 1

The upsurge of energy at the Renaissance, the invention of printing and the advance of the Ottoman Turks into Europe combined to produce a number of works on Islam in the first half of the sixteenth century. These included an Arabic text of the quran QurŸån, published at Venice in 1530, and the Latin translation of Robert of Ketton, published along with some other works at Bale in 1543 by Bibliander. 2 Interest continued in the seventeenth century, and among various books which appeared there may be mentioned the first translation of the quran QurŸån into English (1649); this was made by a Scotsman, Alexander Ross who also wrote a book on comparative religion, and was based on a French translation and not directly on the Arabic. 3 A new standard of scholarship was reached by the Italian cleric Ludovici Marracci who in 1698 at Padua produced a text of the quran QurŸån based on a number of manuscripts, accompanied by a careful Latin translation. Marracci is said to have spent forty years of his life on quranic QurŸånic studies and was familiar with the chief Muslim commentators. A comparable level of scholarship was attained by George Sale, whose English translation, accompanied by a 'Preliminary Discourse' giving a brief objective account of Islam, appeared at London in 1734. Sale's interpretation was based on the Muslim commentators, especially baydawi al-Bayđåwæ, and was accompanied by explanatory notes. There have been many subsequent editions of this book, and the translation and notes are still of value. 4


The nineteenth century saw further advances in quranic QurŸånic scholarship, beginning with Gustav Flügel's edition of the text in 1834, of which there have been many subsequent editions, some being revised by Gustav Redslob. The chief advances in the study of the quran QurŸån were made by persons who were also, and indeed primarily, interested in the life of muhammad Muøammad. The first of these was Gustav Weil whose biography of muhammad Muøammad (1843), unfortunately not based on the best sources, was followed by a Historische-kritische Einleitung in den Koran (Bielefeld, 1844; second edition 1878). The two successors of Weil, Aloys Sprenger and William Muir, both spent many years in India and there found older and better sources for the biography. To Sprenger belongs the credit of first discovering these sources and realizing their importance. His first essay in biography appeared in English at Allahabad in 1851, and was not completed, being ultimately replaced by a three-volume work in German, Das Leben und die Lehre des muhammad Moøammad (Berlin, 1861-25). Some 36 pages in the introduction to the third volume are devoted to the quran QurŸån, discussing the distinction between Meccan and Medinan suras and the collection of the quran QurŸån. Muir followed in Sprenger's footsteps, but, as noted on p. 112, went more thoroughly into the chronology of the suras. His conclusions on this question were contained in an essay on the 'Sources for the Biography of Mahomet' which was attached to his Life of Mahomet (London, four vols., 1858-61; subsequently abridged and revised in various editions); and they are stated more fully in The Coran, its Composition and Teaching; and the Testimony it bears to the Holy Scriptures (London, 1878).

The growing interest in Islamic studies in Europe led the Parisian Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1857 to propose as the subject for a prize monograph 'a critical history of the text of the quran Coran'. It was specified that the work was to 'rechercher la division primitive et le caractčre des différents morceaux qui le composent; déterminer autant quil quŸil est possible, avec laide lŸaide des historiens arabes et des commentateurs et dapres dŸaprčs l'examen des morceaux eux-męmes, les moments de la vie de muhammad Mahomet aux quels ils se rapportent; exposer les vicissitudes que traversa le texte du quran Coran, depuis les rézitations de muhammad Mahomet jusqua jusquŸā la récension définitive qui lui donna la forme oų nous le voyons; déterminer dapres dŸaprčs l'examen des plus anciens manuscrits la nature des variantes qui ont survécu aux récensions'. The subject attracted three scholars: Aloys Sprenger; the Italian Michele Amari, who was beginning to make a name for himself as the historian of Islamic Sicily; and a young German Theodor Nöldeke who in 1856 had published a Latin disquisition on the origin and composition of the quran QurŸån. The latter scholar won the prize, and an enlarged German version of the prize-gaining work was published at Göttingen in 1860 as Geschichte des quran qorans Qoråns, and became the foundation of all later quranic QurŸånic studies.

The subsequent history of Nöldeke's book is itself a veritable saga. In 1898 the publisher suggested a second edition; and as Nöldeke himself could not contemplate this, the task was entrusted to a pupil, Friedrich Schwally. Schwally took up the task with traditional German thoroughness; but because of the thoroughness and for various other reasons the publication of the second edition was spread out over many years. The first volume, dealing with the origin of the quran QurŸån, eventually appeared at Leipzig in 1909; and the second, on 'the collection of the quran QurŸån', in 1919. Schwally, however, died in February 1919, after virtually completing the manuscript, and it had to be seen through the press by two colleagues. Schwally had also done no more than preliminary work for a third volume on the history of the text, but his successor at Königsberg, Gotthelf Bergsträsser, agreed to make himself responsible for the volume. Two sections of the volume (about two-thirds of the whole) were published in 1926 and 1929. A further quantity of important material had come to light by this time and delayed the third section. Next Bergsträsser died unexpectedly in 1933; and it fell to yet another scholar, Otto Pretzl, to bring the work to completion in 1938, sixty-eight years after the first edition and forty years after the first suggestion of a second edition. It is truly a remarkable work of scholarly cooperation, and deservedly maintains its position as the standard treatment of the subject, even though some parts of it now require revision.

Nöldeke's 1860 volume by no means exhausted the problems of quranic QurŸånic study. He himself made further contributions, notably in the opening section 'Zur Sprache des Korans' (pp. 1-30) of his Neue Beiträge zur semitischen Sprachwissenschaft (Strassburg, 1910). Hartwig Hirschfeld after some earlier work on the quran QurŸån published in 1902 in London his New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the Qoran, of which something has been said above (p. 112). The 'socialist' biographer of muhammad Muøammad, Hubert Grimme, in connection with his work on the biography, pursued independent lines of research into the composition and chronology of the quran QurŸån as described above (p. 112). While the twentieth century has seen many further books and articles on the quran QurŸån, the most notable work of a general kind has been Koranische Untersuchungen by Josef Horovitz (Berlin, 1926), which deals with the narrative sections of the quran QurŸån and the proper names. Arthur Jeffery's Foreign Vocabulary of the quran QurŸån (Baroda, 1938) is a useful reference volume, summarizing much previous work and making fresh contributions; there have of course been many advances in the last thirty years. His Materials for the Study of the Text of the quran QurŸån (p. 44 above) is a mark of his interest in the field in which Bergsträsser was also working. The volume containing Ignaz Goldziher's lectures on Die Richtungen der islamischen Koranauslegung (Leiden, 1920) is outstanding in its field (cf. p. 167 above).

In the last half-century three men have devoted a large part of their time to quranic QurŸånic studies. The oldest of these, Richard Bell, set out the first-fruits of his work on the quran QurŸån in the form of lectures on The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment (London, 1926). The major results of his work, though in a slightly incomplete form, are to be found in his translation-The quran QurŸån: Translated, with a critical re-arrangement of the Surahs (two vols., Edinburgh, 1937, 1939). Unfortunately it has not proved possible to publish the mass of notes which he left, explaining in detail the reasons for his conclusions. This lack is partly made good by his articles (mentioned in the list below) and partly by his Introduction to the quran QurŸån (Edinburgh, 1953), of which the present volume is a revised version.

In the case of Régis Blachčre the study of the life of the prophet, entitled Le Problčme de Mahomet (Paris, 1952) and based on the premiss that the quran QurŸån is the only reliable source, appeared after the other work on the quran QurŸån. This latter was focussed on a translation: Le Coran: traduction selon un essai de reclassement des sourates (three vols., Paris, 1947-51). The dating and arrangement of the suras has already been discussed (p.112). The first of the three volumes is entirely devoted to an introduction, of which a second edition was published separately in 1959. This deals with the collection of the text, the variant readings, the history of the text and similar matters. Specially valuable is the section on 'amélioration graphique' or improvement of the script, since this includes the results of the study of existing ancient copies of the quran QurŸån.

It is well known to the colleagues of Rudi Paret that he has been working for many years on the quran QurŸån. As in the case of Bell a small book of a general kind came first: muhammad Mohammed und der quran Koran (Stuttgart, 1957). This is a short account of the life of the prophet which for the most part passes over the military and political aspects and concentrates on the religious aspects, especially those for which there is quranic QurŸånic material. He has also published some articles, such as 'Der quran Koran als Geschichtsquelle' (Der Islam, xxxvii/1961, 24-42). At the centre of his work, however, has been the quran QurŸån itself; and a complete German translation appeared in four 'Lieferungen' between 1963 and 1966 at Stuttgart. The interpretation of each term has been based on an exhaustive comparison of all the instances of it and of cognate terms throughout the quran QurŸån. The reader may thus have a high degree of confidence that he has been given an accurate rendering of what the quran QurŸån meant for the first hearers. There is no structural analysis, apart from a division into paragraphs; and there are no notes apart from explanatory additions to the text and footnotes giving a literal rendering where for the sake of style or clarity the main translation is somewhat free. Further publications are promised in the shape of a commentary or discussions of various problems. It is to be hoped that these, which will indeed be the 'crown of a lifeswork' will not be long delayed.

Of English translations of the quran QurŸån those by J. M. Rodwell (1861) and E. H. Palmer (1880) were not without merit, but are now passed over in favour of more recent ones. That of Marmaduke Pickthall (The Meaning of the Glorious quran Koran, an explanatory translation; London, 1930), though it does not read well, is interesting as the work of an Englishman who became a Muslim and had his translation approved by Muslim authorities in Cairo. Another translation by a Muslim is that in the Penguin Classics (1956), The quran Koran, by N. J. Dawood, an Iraqi with an excellent command of English. His translation is very readable, since his aim is that it should always be meaningful to a modern man, but this leads to some departures from the standard interpretations. The most satisfactory English translation so far is that of Arthur J. Arberry of Cambridge. He first published The Holy quran Koran, an Introduction with Selections (London, 1953), which was an experimental translation of selected passages using various methods. This was followed in 1955 by a complete translation entitled The quran Koran Interpreted (two volumes, London). The method adopted for this was to put the whole into short lines, regardless of the length of the Arabic verses but varying to some extent according to the subject-matter. The diction is carefully chosen; and the translation as a whole has managed to suggest something of the grace and majesty of the original Arabic. The present writer's Companion to the quran QurŸån (London, 1967), based primarily on the Arberry translation, is intended to provide the English reader with a minimum of explanatory notes.

The following is a small selection of useful books and articles not otherwise mentioned in the text or notes of this volume. A fairly complete list of articles will be found in the relevant sections of J. D. Pearson's Index Islamicus, 1906-1955 (Cambridge, 1958) and supplements. Books as well as articles, mostly with brief comments, are listed in Abstracta Islamica, published annually as a supplement to Revue des études islamiques (Paris). Books and articles up to 1922 are discussed in the work of Pfannmüller mentioned in note 2 to this chapter.

Older works:

Christian Snouck-Hurgronje: 'La légende quran qoranique qorånique d'Abraham et la politique religieuse du Prophčte muhammad muhammad Mohammed' (1880; French translation by G. H. Bousquet, Revue africaine, 95 [1951], 273-88).

I. Schapiro: Die haggadischen Elemente im erzählenden Teile des quran qurans Korans (first section only), Leipzig, 1907.

J. Barth: 'Studien zur Kritik und Exegese des quran qorans Qoråns', Der Islam, vi (1915-16), 113-48.

B. Schrieke: 'Die Himmelsreise muhammad Muhammeds', ibid. 1-30.

Wilhelm Rudolph: Die Abhängigkeit des quran qorans Qoråns von Judentum und Christentum, Stuttgart, 1922.

W. W. Barthold: 'Der quran Koran und das Meer', Zeitschrzfl der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 83 (1929), 37-43.

Karl Ahrens: 'Christliches im quran Qoran: eine Nachlese', ibid. 84 (1930), 15-68, 148-90.

Heinrich Speyer: Die biblischen Erzählungen im quran Qoran, Gräfenhainichen, 1931 (reprinted 1961).

D. Sidersky: Les origines des légendes musulmanes dansle quran Coran, Paris, 1933.

K. Ahrens: muhammad Muhammedals Religionsstifter, Leipzig, 1935.

Articles by Richard Bell on quranic QurŸånic subjects (complete list):

'A duplicate in the quran Koran; the composition of Surah xxiii', Moslem World, xviii (1928), 227-33.

'Who were the hanifs Øanifs?', ibid. xx (1930), 120-4.

'The Men of the araf A˙råf (Surah vii: 44)', ibid. xxii (1932), 43-8.

'The Origin of the id ˙Id adha al-Adøå', ibid. xxiii (1933), 117-20.

'Muhammad's Call', ibid. xxiv (1934), 13-19.

'Muhammad's Visions', ibid. xxiv. 145-54.

'Muhammad and previous Messengers', ibid. xxiv. 330-40.

'Muhammad and Divorce in the quran QurŸån', ibid. xxix (1939), 55-62.

'Sõrat hashr al-Øashr: a study of its composition', ibid. xxxviii (1948), 29-42.

'muhammad Muøammad's Pilgrimage Proclamation', Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1937, 233-44.

'The Development of Muhammad's Teaching and Prophetic Consciousness', School of Oriental Studies Bulletin, Cairo, June 1935, 1-9.

'The Beginnings of Muhammad's Religious Activity', Transactions of the Glasgow University Oriental Society, vii (1934-5), 16-24.

'The Sacrifice of Ishmael', ibid. x. 29-31.

'The Style of the quran QurŸån', ibid. xi (1942-4), 9-15.

'Muhammad's Knowledge of the Old Testament', Studia Semitica et Orientalia, ii (W. B. Stevenson Festschrift), Glasgow, 1945, 1-20.

Other recent works:

Michel Allard, etc.: Analyse conceptuelle du quran Coran sur cartes perforées, The Hague, 1963 (2 Vols. and cards); explained by Allard in 'Une méthode nouvelle pour l'étude du quran quran Coran', Studia Islamica, xv (1961), 5-21.

Dirk Bakker: Man in the quran QurŸån, Amsterdam, 1965.

Harris Birkeland: The Lord guideth: studies on primitive Islam, Oslo, 1956.

Régis Blachčre: Le quran Coran (Collection 'Que sais-je?'), Paris, 1966.

Robert Brunschvig: 'Simples remarques négatives sur le vocabulaire du quran quran Coran', Studia Islamica, v (1956), 19-32.

Maurice Causse: 'Théologie de rupture et de la communauté: étude sur la vocation prophétique de Moīse dapres dŸaprčs le quran quran Coran', Revue de l'histoire et de laphilosophie religieuses, i (1964), 60-82.

Josef Henninger: Spuren christlicker Glaubenswahrheiten im quran Koran, Schöneck, 1951.

Toshihiko Izutsu: God and Man in the quran Koran: semantics of the quran quranic Koranic Weltansckauung, Tokyo, 1964.

- Ethico-Religious Concepts in the quran QurŸån, Montreal, 1966.

Arthur Jeffery: 'The quran QurŸån as Scripture', Muslim World, xl (1950), 41-55, 106-134, 185-206, 257-75.

Jacques Jomier: 'Le nom divin "rahman al-Raømån" dans le quran quran Coran', Mélanges Louis Massignon, Damascus, 1957, ii. 361-81.

- The Bible and the quran Koran (tr. Arbez), New York, 1964. Ilse Lichtenstadter: 'Origin and Interpretation of some quran quranic Koranic Symbols', Arabic and Islamic Studies in honor of Hamilton A. R. Gibb (ed. G. Makdisi), Leiden, 1965, 426-36.

John Macdonald: 'Joseph in the quran QurŸån and Muslim Commentary: a comparative study', Muslim World, xlvi (1956), 113-31, 207-24.

D. Masson: Le quran Coran et la révélation judéo-chrétienne, 2 vols., Paris, 1958.

Julian Obermann: 'Islamic Origins: a study in background and foundation', The Arab Heritage, ed. N. A. Faris, Princeton, 1946, 58-120.

Daud Rahbar: God of Justice: a study in the ethical doctrine of the quran QurŸån, Leiden, 1960.

- 'Reflections on the Tradition of quranic QurŸånic Exegesis', Muslim World, lii (1962), 269-307.

Helmer Ringgren: 'The Conception of Faith in the quran QurŸån', Oriens, iv (1951), 1-20.

-'Die Gottesfurcht im quran quran Koran', Orientalia Suecana, iii (1954), 118-34.

Irfan Shahid: 'A Contribution to quran quranic Koranic Exegesis', Arabic and Islamic Studies . . . Gibb (as above), 563-80.

S.H. al-Shamma: The Ethical System underlying the quran QurŸån, Tübingen, 1959.

2. Problems facing the non-Muslim scholar

(a) The question of truth.

When the question is asked, 'Is the quran QurŸån true?' it has to be countered by another, 'What does that question mean?' Before we can say whether the quran QurŸån is true or not, we have to clarify our minds on the whole problem of the relationship of language to experience and more particularly to religious experience or, better, to man's experience of life in its totality, This is a vast subject which can only be adumbrated here.

A starting-point might be a distinction between a cerebral knowledge of religious ideas and an experiential knowledge of these same ideas. This distinction is found in other fields also. A student may be taught the scientific account of the various things that happen to a man's body when he is drunk; but, if he has lived a sheltered life, has never been slightly drunk, and has never seen a drunk man, his knowledge remains cerebral. The point is even more obvious with sexual intercourse. The person who has had no actual experience cannot from reading novels or scientific textbooks form an adequate idea of the 'feel' of the experience. The person without experience may have a perfect cerebral knowledge, but only experience can give experiential knowledge.

The case of religious ideas is even more complex. The ideas may sometimes deal apparently with objective external realities, sometimes with a man's inner states. Children brought up in a community of the adherents of a religion normally acquire a cerebral knowledge of the ideas of the religion long before they have an experiential knowledge. For one thing some of the profounder experiences associated with religion come only to a few and only after the attainment of some degree of maturity. For another thing, since one cannot point to interior states as one can point to external objects like plants, a person may not always recognize in his experience the things of which he has cerebral knowledge. One day it will come with a flash of illumination that 'This (in my present experience) is that which I have known about for years'.

Normally a person can only reach important levels of religious experience through participating in the life of the community in which he has been brought up and basing his activity on its ideas. There are exceptions, but this is the normal case. It is not easy for a person brought up in a Christian environment to appreciate the religious ideas of Islam, far less to make them the basis of a satisfactory life. The same is true for the Muslim with Christian ideas. This means that it is Christian ideas which give the Christian the best chance of attaining a richer and deeper experience, and likewise Muslim ideas the Muslim. Moreover we know that some such experience has actually been attained among both Christians and Muslims. At the same time we have no even approximately objective criterion to decide whose experience of life is richer and deeper.

One of the effects on the scholar of studying a religion other than that in which he was brought up is to produce a more sophisticated attitude in him. He no longer naively accepts words at their face value. Phrases like 'the uncreated speech of God' or 'the comfort of the Holy Spirit', he now realizes, do not mean a simple object in the way the phrase 'that tree' means the object at the end of the garden. Rather he has come to understand that he is primarily concerned with realities, which enter into 'man's experience of life as a whole', but at which language can only imperfectly hint, From this sophisticated standpoint the scholar can regard the Christian and the Muslim as being both concerned with the same realities-beyond-language, though each uses his own system of ideas and of language to deal as best he can in his practical living with these realities. The scholar can further see that both these systems are effective for those brought up in the community based on the system; and fortunately he does not require to decide which is the more effective, since in his own practical living he must make use-perhaps in a sophisticated form-of the system of ideas in which he was brought up.

It follows from this that truth is to be regarded as belonging not to separate propositions in a book, but to a whole system of ideas as embodied in the life of a community. Because this is so there is no uncommitted standpoint from which different sets of ideas can be objectively compared. The only possible comparison is one which is linked with a decision to abandon one s own community and attach oneself to some other. Such a decision, however, comes at a relatively naive level. At the more sophisticated level of the scholar just described, he sees that the systems of ideas followed by Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and others are all true in so far as they enable human beings to have a more or less satisfactory 'experience of life as a whole'. So far as observation can tell, none of the great systems is markedly inferior or superior to the others. Each is therefore true. In particular the quran QurŸån is in this sense true. The fact that the quranic QurŸånic conception of the unity of God appears to contradict the Christian conception of the unity of God does not imply that either system is false, nor even that either conception is false. Each conception is true in that it is part of a system which is true. In so far as some conception in a system seems to contradict the accepted teaching of science-or, that of history in so far as it is objective-that contradiction raises problems for the adherents of the system, but does not prove that the system as a whole is inferior to others. That is to say, the quranic QurŸånic assertion that the Jews did not kill Jesus does not prove that the quranic QurŸånic system as a whole is inferior to the Christian, even on the assumption that the crucifixion is an objective fact.

What then is the non-Muslim scholar doing when he studies the quranic QurŸånic system of ideas? He is not concerned with any question of ultimate truth, since that, It has been suggested, cannot be attained by man. He assumes the truth, in the relative sense just explained, of the quranic QurŸånic system of ideas. He is interested, however, in looking at these ideas in their relationships to one another, at their development over the centuries, at their place in the life of the community, and similar matters; and he also tries to express his thoughts and conclusions in 'neutral' language which will neither deny the truth of the ideas in the relative sense nor improperly assert their ultimate truth in some naive sense.

(b) The question of sources.

Nineteenth-century European scholars were, as we now think, excessively concerned with the attempt to discover the 'sources' of quranic QurŸånic statements. Modern work on this subject may be said to have begun in 1833 with the book (in German) of Abraham Geiger entitled What has Muhammad taken from Judaism? 5 Numerous other scholars entered the lists, and there was quite a battle between those who thought Judaism was the main source and those who thought it was Christianity. Some of the more recent works will be found in the list above. Since the study of sources has been objected to by Muslims, it seems worth while making some remarks of a general kind.

Firstly, the study of sources does not explain away the ideas whose sources are found, nor does it detract from their truth and validity. Shakespeare's play of Hamlet remains a very great play even after we have found the 'source' from which Shakespeare derived the outline of the story. No more does our knowledge of the source tell us anything of importance about the creative processes in Shakespeare's mind, This is admittedly not an exact parallel with the quran QurŸån, yet men have often thought that there was some divine inspiration in the work of great poets and that we can properly speak of a 'creative' process.

Secondly, even those who accept the doctrine that the quran QurŸån is the uncreated speech of God may properly study 'sources' in the sense of external influences on the thinking of the Arabs in muhammad Muøammad's time. It is repeatedly asserted in the quran QurŸån that it is 'an Arabic quran QurŸån'; and this implies that the quran QurŸån is not merely in the Arabic language but is also expressed in terms of the conceptions familiar to the Arabs. Thus 23.88/90 has frequently been misunderstood by European scholars because it makes statements about God in terms of the distinctively Arab conception of ijara ijåra or 'the giving of neighbourly protection'. Again many of the 'narratives' of the quran QurŸån are in an allusive style which presupposes that the hearers already have some knowledge of the story.

If these two points are accepted, it will be seen that the study of sources and influences, besides being a proper one, has a moderate degree of interest. It tells us something about the spread of ideas and other cultural features in Arabia before the revelation of the quran QurŸån. We can perhaps also learn something of the general laws which cause peoples to take over certain ideas from their neighbours and to reject certain other ideas. Such matters are of interest to students of the social sciences and to like-minded general readers. Such a study of sources and influences, of course, also raises theological problems for the Muslim, or rather gives additional complexity to old problems. The doctrine of the uncreated quran QurŸån already raises the problem of the relation of the eternal and the temporal. It may be asserted that the temporal events mentioned in the quran QurŸån are eternally known to God, but this still leaves questions unanswered. How can imperfect human language represent the perfection of divine thought? If it is held that language is created by God, this seems to imply that God works through secondary causes; and the relation of these secondary causes to God who is the primary cause of all events, is but another form of the relation between the temporal and the external. Thus the problem has really only taken on another form.

The quran QurŸån has been studied and meditated on for about fourteen centuries, and much has been achieved. Yet in this strange new world of the later twentieth century when Muslims are in closer contact with devout and convinced non-Muslims than at any time since the first century of Islam, there is need for still further study of the quran QurŸån and study along new lines; and this must be undertaken by both Muslims and non-Muslims. 6