God is Beautiful: The Aesthetic Experience of the Quran
February 2015, Polity
Drawing on a wide range of Muslim sources, from historians, theologians and philosophers to mystics and literary scholars, Kermani provides a close reading of the nature of this powerful text. He proceeds to analyze ancient and modern testimonies about the impact of Quranic language from a variety of angles. Although people have always reflected on the reception of texts, images and sounds that they find beautiful or moving, Kermani explains that Islam provides a particularly striking example of the close correlation, grounded in a common origin, between art and religion, revelation and poetry, and religious and aesthetic experience.
This major new book will enhance the dialogue between Islam and the West and will appeal to students and scholars of Islam and comparative religion, as well as to a wider readership interested in Islam and the Quran.
I. The First Listeners
II. The Text
III. The Sound
IV. The Miracle
V. The Prophet among the Poets
VI. The Sufi Listeners
This work was translated by Tony Crawford
This outstanding work fills a major lacuna in both the study of
the Qur'ân as scripture and the study of Muslim faith,
practice, and sprituality. It is an estimable scholarly and
intellectual accomplishment that will be of significant interest to
any student of Islam or the general history of
William Graham, Harvard University
Navid Kermani, himself an highly accomplished and honored writer of artistic prose, sets out to (and succeeds) in articulating the Muslim response to the Qur'an as a work of inimitable beauty, a beauty, moreover, that is only available to those capable of reading it in Arabic. Reading Kermani has opened me up to an even greater appreciation than ever of the Muslim tradition and awakened in me an even greater desire to someday read the Qur'an in Arabic. The book is anything but a "fundamentalist" defense of the Qur'an on aesthetic terms but rather a beautiful evocation of the meaning of that beauty for Muslims in the past and today.
Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley
Navid Kermani has written one of the most insightful books on
religion to appear in decades. His approach is ground breaking, a
dazzling display of his profound knowledge of Islam, and his
extraordinary insight into the nature of religious
Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College