My first exposure to the Qur’an
During the past three years, I have slowly made my journey through the canon of western literature.1 Starting with Homer’s Iliad, I progressed through the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman authors and am now in the Middle Ages at the Qur’an. The Qur’an is one of the important and influential religious texts in western literature and the sacred scripture of Islam. Consequently, as a Christian from a non-Islamic cultural background, I wanted an informed guide to help me better understand the Qur’an and its historical and cultural context and meaning. Thankfully, I found Ayman S. Ibrahim’s A Concise Guide to the Quran: Answering Thirty Critical Questions (Baker Academic, 2020).
Ibrahim is the Bill and Connie Jenkins Professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Seminary and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam.2 Ibrahim grew up in a Coptic Christian family in Egypt surrounded by the reading and hearing of the Qur’an at home, school, and his immediate cultural context. Later, he would go on to receive two PhDs in Islamic studies and write scholarly yet accessible books about Islam, the Qur’an, the Arabic language, and Muhammad. I first learned about his A Concise Guide to the Quran from a Themelios book review by Matthew Bennett.3