The Qur'an and the West

Kenneth Cragg

"Few scholars possess the mastery of Arabic and in-depth knowledge of Abrahamic faiths that Cragg exhibits in this stellar work."
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Kenneth Cragg (1913–2012) was one of the West's most gifted interpreters of Islam. In this deeply insightful, classic work of Qur’anic studies, he argues that the West must put aside a "spiritual imperialism" that draws on Western prescripts alien to Muslims and "learn to come within" Islam. Only then can a conversation begin that can relieve the misunderstandings and suspicion that has grown between Islam and the West in the years since 9/11.

Cragg’s close and thoughtful readings are as timely and relevant now as they were when The Qur'an and the West was originally published. With skill and nuance, he illuminates the difficulty that ensues through the Scripture's contradictory teachings on Islam's manifestation in the world—teachings that have brought about a crisis for modern Muslims living in both the West and the westernizing worlds, where a Muslim's obligation to Islamicize is met with anxiety and distrust.

The Qur'an and the West offers a means of study that reaches for a deeper knowledge of the Qur'an, engendering a new understanding of its holy teachings and opening a means for a fruitful discourse.

Table of Contents


1. A Deep Divide in a Single Situation

2. Humans Who Occupy: Not Gods Who Own

3. Legitimate Selfhood

4. 'Whisperings in the Bosom'

5. The Vital Point of the Secular

6. The Burdened Significance of Words

7. Where the Heart Has Its Reasonings

8. The Onus of Necessary Shape, Art and Ritual

9. The Table and the Memory

10. Journeying the Distance

11. Divinely Liable Politics

12. Our Humanly Liable Lord



Quran Citations

Biblical References

Index of Themes

Index of Names and Terms


"Few scholars possess the mastery of Arabic and in-depth knowledge of Abrahamic faiths that Cragg exhibits in this stellar work."—Theology Today

"[Cragg's book] contains material to provide endless discussion among educated readers who are concerned with interfaith and intercultural understanding, as well as those interested in the study of religion in general."—Tamara Sonn, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in the History of Islam at Georgetown University

"As up-to-date, relevant, wise, constructive, and far-sighted as were previous seminal works that Cragg has authored over the last six or seven decades."—Barbara Stowasser (1935 – 2012), was Professor of Arabic, Georgetown University

"[Cragg’s] references to the Qur’an are always accurate and well-researched, his Arabic is impeccable, and he presents the Islamic 'case' with understanding and finesse."—Jane Smith, Author of Islam in America


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Anglican Bishop Kenneth Cragg (1913-2012) was one of the world's foremost scholars of Islamic and Christian theology. His books on the Qur'an and Arab Christianity, including The Event of the Qur'an, The Tragic in Islam, and The Call of the Minaret became classics in their field. Cragg served in academic and ecclesiastical posts in Jerusalem, Beirut, Cairo, Nigeria, and the United States in addition to serving as the Warden of St. Augustine College in Canterbury. He was the author of thirty-five books.

John L. Esposito is University Professor and Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

244 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-086-4
Apr 2006
Only for sale in the US, Canada and Mexico

244 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-310-2
Apr 2006
Only for sale in the US, Canada and Mexico

244 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-62616-317-1
Apr 2006
Only for sale in the US, Canada and Mexico

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