Nearly one in five people consider themselves Muslim, slightly fewer than those who would call themselves Christian. Although common misconception would have us believe otherwise, fewer than 15% of Muslims are Arab. Many sources estimate that within two decades, Islam will become the world’s dominant religion. At a time when understanding the cultures of the world is more essential than ever, here is a window to the primary scripture of over 1.3 billion of the globe’s population.
If the concept of divine unity dominates the mind, it is the principle of divine compassion that rules the heart in Islam. Contrary to the harsh stereotypes of Islam-fostered both by fanatics within the religion itself, and by biased critics-the culture of this religion is steeped in the ambience generated by mercy and compassion, expressions of divine love. This spiritual culture issues from heartfelt conviction that God is to be taken absolutely seriously when he declares in the seventh chapter of the Koran, “My mercy encompasses all.”
Drawn from his own translations of the text, scholar and author Reza Shah-Kazemi has selected key verses from the Koran which manifest the various facets of this mercy, a mercy which bestows profound peace and infinite love. In the spirit of Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Wendell Berry’s collection of quotations from the Bible, here is a book to help us illuminate an immensely influential text.