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Publisher's Summary

For people of the Muslim faith - nearly 25 percent of the world’s population - the Qur'an represents the most intimate and direct experience of the divine. For the Islamic faithful, the Qur'an is the eternal and perfect Word of God, and it lies at the very heart of their understanding of themselves and the world. And yet, many non-Muslims have little familiarity with or understanding of this influential text. As a result, myths and misconceptions about the Qur'an and how it functions in the Islamic faith abound. In an increasingly global society, it has never been more important to understand the complicated history and message of the Qur'an, and its significance to millions of believers around the world.

Often, much of what is misunderstood about Islam is the result of a lack of information - and some dangerous and prolific myths. To combat these myths and better understand the complex Islamic tradition, Dr. Martyn Oliver, a senior professorial lecturer at American University, presents 12 in-depth lectures to provide you with a multifaceted approach to Muhammad, Islam, and the revelation known today as the Qur'an. You will understand the origins of Islam, as well as its growth and development across the ages, and you will see how the religion is practiced and understood today. Along the way, you will explore familiar terms and ideas that have become complicated by misrepresentation, such as sharia and the concept of jihad. Combining literary, theological, and historical perspectives, Dr. Oliver gives you a rich introduction to a complex and influential religious text. This course is also a rare opportunity to hear the Qur'an recited aloud by an award-winning reciter who brings the beautiful language of the ancient text to life for believers and the curious alike.

Only by understanding the historical, cultural, and religious framework of Islam can we hope to understand the complexity of Islam, both historically and theologically. For those who practice Islam, this course may help believers better understand the ongoing struggle to understand God’s will and to live according to his law, while those who come from the outside can have a better understanding of an often-misunderstood tradition. Introduction to the Qur'an will show you the beauty and the challenge of Muhammad’s revelation, and how it has moved and guided its adherents for centuries.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 The Great Courses (P)2019 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Introduction to the Qur’an

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Needed a dictionary

I loved learning about the subject, but seriously, ease up on the complicated words. Your audience are not all professors in literature.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2019-10-13

A Fine Survey

Professor Oliver’s challenge in this course is to provide an intellectually satisfying critical analysis of his subject without giving cause for offence. Thus, while he sometimes alludes to scholarly debates concerning the origin, transmission and content of the Qur’an, he carefully steers clear of controversy. Likewise, Professor Oliver is much more careful than most Great Courses lecturers to preface his teaching with explanations regarding presentation and perspective. The most obvious example is his detailed rationale for choosing a female reciter when quoting Quranic verse.

Despite all this cautiousness, the actual content of the course is engaging and very well-managed. Professor Oliver does a great job outlining the social, religious, literary and historical context from which the Qur’an emerged, and his frequent comparisons between Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions are instructive. In lectures 8 and 9, for example, we are shown how variations in the stories of Abraham, Moses and Noah emphasize the need for strict obedience to divine command, effectively reworking familiar material to drive home a theological point.

A fine survey which packs a lot of learning into just twelve lectures.

15 people found this helpful

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  • William
  • 2020-01-15

Inaccuracy

I thought the speaker did well and the majority of the lecture was accurate but there were multiple times the speaker just gave inaccurate information. For example saying that the deity of Christ wasn’t settled by the 7th century. This is just a laughable assertion. We have quotes from early church fathers from the 1-the 5th centuries giving credence to the deity of Christ. It seems that the speaker is just trying to avoid the Qurans uninformed view of the trinity. Otherwise it was informative.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-01-06

70% facts, 20% apologetics, 10% criticism

So it is kinda balanced. He doesn't want to promote the Quran, but to understand it on its own merits. Like "Let's not focus on whether it's true, but let's try to understand what it's trying to say".

I would correct 2 things. Firstly he claims that the Quran is much better in Arabic and compares his monotonous reading of the English translation with a girl passionately SINGING the Arabic Quran. That's not about the Arabic Quran, but about singing versus reading! If he was singing passionately the English translation and she was reading the Arabic version in monotonous voice, the English Quran would make a bigger impression! And secondly, the division of jihad on lesser and greater jihad is based on a fake hadith.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Luis Lara
  • 2020-05-24

Intellectually stimulating

I enjoyed the academic approach to learning about the Qur' an. The problem is that I found it intellectually stimulating and find myself craving more.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher Swann
  • 2020-04-05

Tedious and superficial

A shallow series with little insight. The mock profound final lecture is especially irritating. I’m sure the lecturer means well but is clearly second tier - at least on this subject.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cheesebodia
  • 2019-12-23

Informative and Succinct

AT A GLANCE:
An overview to the study of a well-known (but often-misunderstood) book.

CONTENT:
Little prior knowledge is required as he explains basic terms, chapter divisions and structure, etc. Controversial topics are addressed like historical-critical analysis, sharia and jihad, and differing interpretations on things like free will and the purportedly uncreated nature of the text.

NARRATOR:
The narrator is clear and articulate. Best listened at 1x to 1.25x speed. There is a PDF included but not necessary; from what I saw he reads verbatim from the notes.

OVERALL:
If you've looked into this subject before then there will be few surprises, but it is a suitable introduction.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dylan Jones
  • 2020-11-16

Good grounding in meaning of the Qur'an

This starts out less as an intro to Islam course than an Intro to Qur'an one, which seems obvious or irrelevant but left me a bit more confused than I thought I would be, since I expected an in depth background on Mohammad, Arabian society and what not. But Oliver is excellent and by the end you feel like you've actually begun to fathom the depth of how important the Qur'an is to Islamic society, and why it's more integral than the Bible to Christianity or any other religious text to its respective religion.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-11-08

An exquisite introduction!

This introduction aptly summarizes the major and central features of the Quran and Quranic traditions with insightful depth. The narrations are as exquisite as informative.

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  • Frances
  • 2020-10-14

Remarkable “story” and teacher

Thoroughly enjoyed the presentation of this excellent survey of the Qur’an with beautiful “readings” of several surahs. Definitely challenged me to learn more.

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  • Anders H.
  • 2020-09-14

Context around the writing of the book

I liked that it gave a very interesting description about 600 Mecha.

It’s a series of lectures, not that long, but not too short either.

This a good introduction on what to look for and why it is written as it is.

1 person found this helpful