The Qur'an, Islam's holy book, is widely misunderstood because it is a difficult book to engage. The Qur'an is t written as a straightforward narrative like the Christian Gospels but is composed of discontinuous revelations that are often unclear in placing in an overall context. Structure and Qur'anic Interpretation, aimed both at readers familiar with the Qur'an and at those opening it for the first time, differs from other books on the Qur'an in that it reveals the text's fundamental symmetrical organization. Moreover, through readings of key Qur'an chapters, Farrin shows how structure serves as a guide to interpretation. Indeed, one finds that the Qur'an's structure again and again points to universal messages of an ethical nature, rather than to messages whose application may be limited to a specific context. In addition, the book makes a contribution to Qur'anic studies by highlighting literary evidence indicating that the Qur'an was compiled by one author (in all probability, the Prophet Muhammad) and t by an official committee.
Raymond Farrin is an associate professor of Arabic at the American University of Kuwait. He studied Arabic in Cairo and received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of Abundance from the Desert: Classical Arabic Poetry (Syracuse UP, 2011).