Peace be with you, one and all… In keeping with my current penchant for publishing my current material, I thought I’d also post some of my current lecture notes (suitably adapted of course). This one (on the Quran) is perhaps a good place to start, insha Allah. So, here goes… Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim (‘In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful’) Understanding the Quran Introduction In previous lectures, we explored the life of Muhammad and the early Muslim community after his death. We saw how the ideas and ideals of the early Muslim community were shaped by their belief in Muhammad as the Messenger of God. As the bearer of divine revelation, Muhammad’s example quickly became normative for the fledgling community, to the extent that his recorded sayings ultimately became one of the most significant sources of Islamic thought and law. It is perhaps axiomatic that a messenger should have a message. Or, to put it another way, what message did Muhammad deliver to his contemporaries? In other words, what was the nature of the revelation which Muhammad sought to share? As is perhaps widely known, the central scripture of Islam is the Quran. The purpose of this lecture is to explore the Quran. In particular, we will explore its nature, role and significance, before looking briefly at the historical development of the text. We will conclude today’s lecture by looking at some of the key Quranic themes. In other words, because the Quran is quite correctly seen as the centre of Islamic religious life, it is important to understand some of its principal concepts.