From Library Journal
Despite the rapid growth of Islam in this country, its precepts and scripture remain inaccessible to many readers. It is difficult, too, that many of its believers assert that the Qur'an cannot be translated. This groundbreaking work by Haverford College professor Sells goes a very long way to bridging the gap that separates the non-Islamic reader from the Qur'an; he translates and extensively annotates a careful selection of the earliest "suras" (revelations), setting them in their cultural context. Further chapters discuss sound and gender in the meaning of the Qur'an, and the book includes an hour-long CD of extraordinary field recordings of male and female Qur'anic reciters. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Approaching The Qur'An is a fluent and accessible text that flawlessly communicates the religious and literary verities of the Qur'an. The reader-listener cannot help but being carried away by the ecstasy and rhapsody that both the aural and visual 'texts' produce. Both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences, beginners as well as advanced students of Islam will no doubt appreciate the many innovative facets of this extraordinary book. It is an indispensable aid for all students of religion and Islam, with Sells again at his best." -- Ebrahim Moosa is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town
"Approaching The Qur'An is a sensitive and unusually accessible first book on the Qur'an and its function as scripture for over one-seventh of the human race. Dr. Sells is to be congratulated for a significant contribution to English-language materials on the Qur'an." -- William A. Graham is professor of the History of Religion and Islamic Studies at Harvard University
"Michael Sells has performed an invaluable service in making the beauty, spiritual energy, and compelling power of the Qur'an accessible to a Western audience for the first time." -- Karen Armstrong, author of the bestselling A History Of God
"Michael Sells is to be congratulated for making a major contribution to religious literature with Approaching The Qur'An, the best version of Muslim scriptures available in English. This is an important and illuminating work, one that will be welcomed by scholars, students, believers, and all who seek to better understand Islam and its sacred scripture." -- Carl Ernst is professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina and author of The Shambhala Guide to Sufism
"Michael Sells' Approaching The Qur'An is much more than a translation of the Qur'an. By highlighting issues of the multiple levels upon which the text conveys its meaning to its readers and auditors, Sells manages to overcome the first impression that many people have of the Qur'an being a 'difficult' book. The structure of Approaching The Qur'An, with its parallel translation and commentary, will prove valuable both for interested general readers and for students studying the text within a classroom setting." -- Andrew Rippin is professor of Islamic and Religious Studies, University of Calgary
"Scholars and students interested in the Qur'an are indebted to Michael Sells for his outstanding contribution to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Holy Book of Islam. His book, Approaching The Qur'An, with its scholarly introduction, its sensitive English translation of the early Suras, its insightful commentary on them, its analytical study of the auditory and literary aspects of selected Suras, its visually pleasing illustrations from the Arabic text of the Qur'an, and its accompanying CD is a veritable and enriching spiritual experience for everyone seeking a meaningful exposure to the Scripture of Islam." -- Issa J. Boullata is professor of Arabic Literature & Language at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University
A breakthrough rendition of the Qur'an's earliest chapters. -- Huston Smith is author of the bestselling work The World's Religions and Why Religion Matters.
Sells has made the beauty, spiritual energy, and compelling power of the Qur'an accessible to a Western audience. -- Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God
a major contribution to religious literature . . . the best version of Muslim scriptures available in English. -- Carl Ernst, professor of Islamic studies, University of North Carolina