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What the Qur'an Meant

And Why It Matters
Narrated by: Robertson Dean
Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

America's leading religious scholar and public intellectual introduces lay listeners to the Qur'an with a measured, powerful reading of the ancient text

Garry Wills has spent a lifetime thinking and writing about Christianity. In What the Qur'an Meant, Wills invites listeners to join him as he embarks on a timely and necessary reconsideration of the Qur'an, leading us through perplexing passages with insight and erudition. What does the Qur'an actually say about veiling women? Does it justify religious war?

There was a time when ordinary Americans did not have to know much about Islam. That is no longer the case. We blundered into the longest war in our history without knowing basic facts about the Islamic civilization with which we were dealing. We are constantly fed false information about Islam - claims that it is essentially a religion of violence, that its sacred book is a handbook for terrorists. There is no way to assess these claims unless we have at least some knowledge of the Qur'an.

In this book Wills, as a non-Muslim with an open mind, reads the Qur'an with sympathy but with rigor, trying to discover why other non-Muslims - such as Pope Francis - find it an inspiring book, worthy to guide people down through the centuries. There are many traditions that add to and distort and blunt the actual words of the text. What Wills does resembles the work of art restorers who clean away accumulated layers of dust to find the original meaning. He compares the Qur'an with other sacred books, the Old Testament and the New Testament, to show many parallels between them. There are also parallel difficulties of interpretation, which call for patient exploration - and which offer some thrills of discovery. What the Qur'an Meant is the opening of a conversation on one of the world's most practiced religions.

©2017 Garry Wills (P)2017 Penguin Audio

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Doesn't come close

Doesn't come close to doing what it proports on the cover. The author spends a lot of time ranting about politics and even when he gets to the subject mater, just cherry picks. End result is a unhelpful bias apologia. I would recommend reading the Quran is self rather than this rubbish.

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no words to describe my happiness

stilness and silence are expressions of my feelings. no words are needed to express my abundance that i feel when i listen this beautifull audio book. that is why i have no questions about this audio book. thank you for all your good work.

1 person found this helpful

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  • The Agha’s
  • 04-12-17

Great insight.

We have so much more in common with these people than we think. We need to take a look in the mirror before passing judgement the way we sometimes do.

4 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 10-01-18

Important book glad I read it

Liked intro and how made topic so relevant. Liked comparing and contrasting to Torah and gospel. Helped my understanding. Good reader very professorial sounding

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  • Darwin8u
  • 02-02-19

Encouraging Each Other

"We recognize ourselves in the true image of other believers, in the Qur'an or Torah. We believers encourage each other over the barriers raised by people who do not wish any of us well."
- Garry Wills, What the Qur'an Meant

Garry Wills' What the Qur'an Meant: And Why It Matters follows his format used previously in:
1. What the Gospels Meant
2. What Paul Meant
3. What Jesus Meant

It is one of the first books (I've read) that uses heavily The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. As other have noted, the title is a bit misleading. Part I of the book actually looks at Why It Matters; Part II looks at What the Qur'an means.

This is not a complete exegesis of the Qur'an and isn't meant to be. It is a look at a book that is viewed as scipture by about 1/4 of the world, by a believer from another faith tradition (Catholic). Wills is trying to be fair and generous. He looks at the Qur'an using the same skills he uses with the Bible. He looks at what others have written, academic resources, and the text. He tries to distill the text from both how the faith is practiced in History and how it is practiced by extremists now and puts into context some of the most tortured verses, showing parallels from the Torah and the New Testament.

I liked his approach, his tone, and his agenda. While I'm skeptical of most faiths (often even of my own) I am drawn often to writers who can talk about religion without condesencion or without being too hot (zealous, biased) or cold (abstract, clinical). Faith and belief are powerful aspects of our humanity. We need to view others (both belivers and nonbelivers) with respect. Often, we need to use care to insure that we aren't spreading rumors and false narratives about other traditions or people. We need to follow the Golden Rule in how we define others. Define them with the same charity we would like to be defined by. I don't want my faith tradition defined by polygamists who marry underage children, and I'm certain 95 percent of Muslims would prefer to no have their traditions defined by their most extreme elements. I'm certain many Christians would prefer that their faith wasn't defined by the Duggers or Westboro baptists either.

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  • Hizzi Hezbawi
  • 08-09-19

Great book for non Muslims

Great book for non Muslims to get educated about Muslims. It will help eliminate " judgments based on ignorance"

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  • Nadim Ali
  • 08-09-19

An honorable tribute to the Qur’an.

The authors knowledge of the various faiths, and philosophies added Depth to his interpretation of the Qur’an. It would be good to see Mr. Willis interviewed on national TV to counter the many Islamophobes that saturate the media. Excellent effort at inter-faith understanding.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-08-19

Terrible

This book was supposed to talk about the Quran; however, was completely political. Little discussion of the book or its meaning. Completely misrepresented.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-07-19

Amazing book

I can’t stop listening is so interesting. Highly recommended answer so many question and doubts I had . Thank you!

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  • Yusuf Ruyyashi
  • 16-02-19

Open minded author

Have good understanding of what is going on
Fair in delivery
Honest opinion
Open minded author
I loved the book, the author, and the narrator

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  • Mark K. Fulk
  • 02-01-18

Wonderful Guide

Excellent. Should be required reading for all Americans, especially those on the political right wing.

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