by Raouf Ghattas and Carol B. Ghattas
The purpose of the book is to serve as an aid to possible bridges that might come about in daily discussions with Muslims.
Kregel Publications, P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, 2009, 448 pages, $24.99.
—Reviewed by Roy Oksnevad, director, Muslim Ministry department, Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.
The Qur’an is a sacred text that for many remains a mystery. Raouf and Carol Ghattas have done an invaluable service in giving us a Surah-by-Surah overview of this Muslim Holy Book. A Christian Guide to the Qur’an does two things. First, it gives the reader a general overview of the content of the Qur’an without wading through the cumbersome repetitive texts and wanderings of thoughts typical of the Qur’an. Second, it centers in on some of the more important themes or texts which the Christian reader should know and gives possible bridges to sharing the gospel. The book stays away from the often polemic or apologetic approach to the Qur’an—although it does not shy away from pointing out discrepancies in the Qur’an and polemic texts to which Muslims often refer. For example, Muslims argue that the Qur’an is scientific when it refers to the mountains being anchors of the earth (reflections of The Bible, The Quran and Science by Maurice Bucaille) in Surah 13. The Ghattas suggest dialoguing about the creation accounts between the two texts. Muslims use Surah 5:13-14 as proof that the Bible is corrupt. The authors bring in historical information that can help guide the discussion about the integrity of the Bible. However, this book is no substitute for the many excellent books written from an apologetic perspective.
Each chapter has two sections: (1) Overview, which includes a brief summary of the content of the Surah, including its name, a brief explanation, main content, date of when it was revealed, and possible biblical discrepancies, and (2) Comments and Possible Bridges, which highlights an important verse or group of verses along with its main content, discrepancies with the Bible, and possible bridges to sharing the gospel.
The purpose of the book is to serve as an aid to possible bridges that might come about in daily discussions with Muslims. It is not a formula for sharing the gospel using the Qur’an. Through each entry, the Ghattas masterfully weave suggestions one can use as bridges to the gospel.
The Ghattas’ unique contributions are their wealth of experience in interacting with Muslims and their knowledge of Arabic and Arab culture. The comments are full of background information from commentators such as Ibn Kathir and Islamic theology, all of which are important in understanding the Qur’an. Clarifications concerning awkward Arabic phrases or mistranslations and cultural insights make this book a must-read. A Christian Guide to the Qur’an is an excellent addition to the growing body of literature on Islam.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 494-495. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.