In its first illustrated edition, Armstrong’s acclaimed account even-handedly traces the troubled history of the three major monotheistic religions.
Introduced by Marmaduke Pickthall
Few books in history are as important as the Qur’ân. Evoking devotion and passion amongst the faithful, this sacred book, composed in transcendentally beautiful language, is at the heart of one of the world’s great faiths.
A series of revelations made over a span of 23 years to the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’ân is revered by Muslims throughout the world as the unmediated word of Allah. Evoking devotion and passion amongst the faithful, this sacred book, composed in transcendentally beautiful language, is at the heart of one of the world’s great faiths.
Bound in cloth blocked with a design by Frances Button
Set in Garamond
6 colour plates featuring illustrations by Sultan Baybars
Gold gilded page tops
10½˝ x 7½˝
The first Folio Society edition of one of the world’s most powerful books
A modest and deeply thoughtful man, Muhammad was 40 when he received the first revelation from the Angel Gabriel. His initial fear and reluctance, and the subsequent encouragement of his wife, is a story familiar even to non-Muslims. During the years of his persecution in Mecca, the flight to Medina and the battles which would follow, the revelations continued – sometimes relating to very specific events, at others providing guidance on timeless moral questions. Muhammad, as Muslims believe, was the last and greatest in a line of prophets that began with Adam, and included Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and Jesus. The Qur’ân’s text was finalised very soon after Muhammad’s death, providing an unbroken line of authority, from the words heard by the Prophet to the book recited and read today. This Folio edition includes Pickthall’s insightful introductions to each Surah, providing both a historical and spiritual context to the revelations.
The collection of the acts and dictums of Muhammad and his companions, known as the Hadith, prohibits the depiction of living creatures. As a result, Islamic art developed a unique emphasis on intricate, breathtaking patterns, geometric or naturalistic designs and the most beautiful calligraphy.
This Folio edition includes 6 double pages reproduced from the opulent Qur’ân of Sultan Baybars, commissioned in 1304. This is one the most magnificent of all Islamic manuscripts, with exquisite decoration added by the team of the master illuminator Abu Bakr, and it is now held in the British Library. The binding design by Frances Button is based on a frontispiece of the same work.
A sensitive and elegant translation, highly respected within Islam
Translations of Muhammad’s revelations from the 7th century Arabic have always raised deeply vexing questions. The first translation of the Qur’ân in the West was made by the 12th century monk Robert of Ketton. 800 years later, Marmaduke Pickthall was the first English Muslim to translate the Qur’ân. He himself called his work an ‘interpretation’, aware that although the literal meaning could be rendered, the perfection of the original was untranslatable: ‘That inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy.’ He collaborated closely with Islamic authorities and scholars as he worked, with the result that few translations have won such widespread respect and affection within the Islamic world.
‘With truth have We sent it down, and with truth hath it descended. And We have sent thee as naught else save a bearer of good tidings and a warner. And it is a Qur’ân that We have divided, that thou mayest recite it unto mankind at intervals.’
- Surah 17 The Children of Israel