For many in the Western world, Islam and its primary holy book, the Qur’an, remain shrouded in mystery. With A Basic Guide to Understanding the Qur’an, Ahmad Y. Ereiqat seeks to rectify that and pull back the veil on a religion that has over 1 billion followers worldwide. “The intent of this book,” he writes, “is to make the Qur’an accessible, clear and easy to understand by all people. After reading this book, the reader will be able to make an intelligent and well-educated judgment about the religion of Islam.”
This is a tall order for sure, but the author makes good on his promise. Though he doesn’t delve deep into the history or theology of Islam, he has nonetheless written accessible commentary, delivering a concise, focused and readable book.
As the author points out, one of the reasons the Qur’an can be difficult to understand is because it is not a chronological text. Ereiqat rectifies this by arranging the story into a narrative, historical arc with a beginning, middle and end. Though the formatting of his book takes a few minutes to get used to (the layout contains the author’s commentary followed by the chapter title or surah and then an indented English interpretation of the Arabic verse), it soon becomes second nature. All of this information coalesces into a singular teaching tool that is easy to use for theological exploration.
With degrees in jurisprudence and architecture, Ereiqat has used his education to create a judicious and well-structured work. His writing is simple and declarative, which suits his work just fine; clarity is of the most importance for the author.
While readers looking for more penetrating analysis from a Muslim scholar will want to look elsewhere, those seeking a basic guide to the Qur’an, as the title of the book suggests, will find much to like here.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.