Reading Lists

Qur’an and its Interpretation

1. Secondary Literature: Encyclopaedias and Book Series

Monographs and edited volumes on the Qur’aninfo-icon and its interpretation have thrived in the last decades. Two exceptionally important contributions in recent years are the Journal of Quranic Studies,

and the Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Brill: 2001-2006.

Three further reference works have been published, which are expected to become classics in this field:

Leaman, Oliver, ed. The Qur’an: An Encyclopaedia. London: Routledge, 2005.

McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Rippin, Andrew, ed. The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.

And a useful variorum compilation of articles in four volumes:

Colin Turner, ed. The Koran: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. London: Routledge Curzon, 2005.

Vol I: Provenance and Transmission.

Vol II: Themes and Doctrines. Form, Content and Literary Structure.

Vol III: Style and Structure. The Koran and the Development of the Islamic ‘Sciences’.

Vol IV: Translation and Exegesis. Koranic Exegesis.

A valuable, high-quality contribution is Brill’s series on ‘Texts and Studies on the Qur’an’, edited by Gerhard Böwering (Yale University) and Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Georgetown University). The four titles that have appeared so far in this series include monographs on medieval commentators on the Qur’an, the edition of a classical text and the reprint of a classic (see the list below):

Amirinfo-icon-Moezzi, Etan Kohlberg, ed. Revelation and Falsification. Leiden: Boston: E.J. Brill, 2008.

Saleh, The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur'an Commentary of Al-Tha'labi Leiden Boston: E.J. Brill 2004

Lane, Andrew. A Traditional Mufitazilite Qur’an Commentary. Leiden: Boston: E.J. Brill, 2006.

Lawrence, Bruce. The Qur’an: A Biography. Oak Lawn, IL: Atlantic Press, 2006.

Jeffery, Arthur. The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an. Leiden: Brill, 2006 (originally published in 1938) with a Preface by Gerhard Böwering and Jane Dammen McAuliffe.

A new series by Routledge has been announced: Routledge Studies in the Qur’an

Ashgate has also published three volumes of re-published essays through its Formation of the Classical Islamic World Series. The Qur’an: Formative interpretation, 1999 and The Qur’an: Style and contents, 2001, and its Variorum Collected Studies Series, The Qur’an and its Interpretive tradition, 2001.

Finally, there are some catalogues of Qur’an translations and manuscripts:

The Holy Koran in the Library of Congress: A Bibliography, compiled by Fawzi Mikhail Tadros. Washington: Library of Congress, 1994.

World Bibliography of Translations of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, printed translations, 1515-1980. Istanbul: IRCICA, 1986, Compiled by Ismet Binark and Halit Eren; edited and preface by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,

World Bibliography of Translations of the Holy Qur’an. Istanbul: IRCICA, 2000, Compiled by M. Nejat Sefercioglu; edited and introduction by Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu,

2. Concordances and Dictionaries

‘Abd al-Baqi, Muhammad Fu’ad. al-Mu’jam al-mufahras li-alfaz al-Qur’an. Cairo: n.d.

El-Said, Badawi and Muhammad Abdel Haleem, ed. Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

Jones, Alan. Arabic through the Qur’an. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 2005.

Kassis, Hanna E. A Concordance of the Qur’an. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

Mir, Mustansir. Dictionary of Qur’anic Terms and Concepts. NY: 1987.

Penrice, John. Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran. London: Routledge Curzon, 1995.

3. Secondary Literature: Chronological Bibliography

The chronological bibliography provided below illustrates the increasing number of works on Qur’an and Qur’anic exegesis (please note that only books are included):
a. General introductions to the Qur’an

Bell, R. and M. Watt. Bell’s Introduction to the Qur’an. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1970. Campanini, Massimo. The Qur’an: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2007.

Cook, Michael. The Koran. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Cragg, Kenneth. The Event of the Qur’an: Islam in its Scripture. London: Allen and Unwin, 1971.

Esack, Farid. The Qur’an: A User’s Guide. A Guide to its Key Themes, History and Interpretation. Oxford: Oneworld, 2005.

Robinson, Neal. Discovering the Qur’an: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text. London: SCM Press, 1996; 2nd ed. 2003.

Saeed Abdullah. The Qur’an: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Sells, Michael. Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations. Ashland: White Cloud Press, 1999. [extracts translated, with an introduction].

Siddiqui, Mona. How to Read the Qur’an. London: Granta Books, 2007.
b. Studies on the text and style of the Qur’an:
Burton, John. The Collection of the Qur’an. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

El-Awa, Salwa M. S. Textual Relations in Qur’an: Relevance, Coherence And Structure. London: Routledge, 2006.

Gwynne, Rosalind Ward. Logic, Rhetoric and Legal Reasoning in the Qur’an: God’s Arguments. London: Routledge Curzon, 2004.

Hoffmann, Thomas. The Poetic Qur’an: Studies on Qur’anic Poeticity. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2007.

Jeffery, Arthur. The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an. Leiden: Brill, 2006 (originally published in 1938) with a Preface by Gerhard Böwering and Jane Dammen McAuliffe.

Madigan, Daniel A. The Qur’an’s Self-Image: Writing and Authority in Islam’s Scripture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Reynolds, Gabrielinfo-icon S., ed. The Qur’an in its Historical Context. London: Routledge, 2007.

Rippin, Andrew, ed. The Qur’an, Style and Contents. Aldershot: Variorum, Hampshire; Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Wild, Stefan. ed. The Qur’an as Text. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996.
c. Studies on the Themes of the Qur’an:
Abdel Haleem, M. A. Understanding the Qur’an: Themes and Style. London; New York: I.B. Tauris, 1999.

Cragg, Kenneth. Readings in the Qur’an. San Francisco: Collins, 1988.

Izutsu, Toshihiko. Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur’an. Montreal: McGill University Press, 1966; repr. 2002. [Originally: The Structure of the Ethical Terms in the Koran, 1959, repr. Chicago: ABC International, 2000.]

Jomier, Jacques. The Great Themes of the Qur’an. London: SCM Press, 1997.

Rahman, Fazlur. Major Themes of the Qur’an. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1980; repr. 1989, 1994.

On the Historical Context of the Qur’an

d. Prophets and ancient stories

Dundes, Ian. Fables of the ancients?: Folklore in the Qur’an. Lanham, MD; Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.

Tottoli, Roberto. Biblical Prophets in the Qur’an. London: Routledge, 2001.

Wheeler, Brannon, ed. Prophets in the Quran. New York: Continuum, 2002.

e. Recitation

Abdul Quasem, Muhammad. The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur’an: al-Ghazali’s Theory. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1979.

Graham, William A. Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987; repr. 1993.

Nelson, Kristina, The Art of Reciting the Qur’an. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984; repr. Cairo: AUC, 1985 and 2001.

Sa’id, Labib. The Recited Koran: A History of the First Recorded Version, translated and adapted by Bernard Weiss, M. A. Rauf and Morroe Berger. Princeton: Darwin Press, 1975; original Arabic: al-Jam’ al-sawti al-awwal li’l-Qur’an al-karim awal-mushaf al-murattal. Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘Arabi, 1967; rev, ed. Cairo: Dar al-Ma’arifinfo-icon, 1978.


f. Artistic expressions

Baker, Colin F. Qur’an Manuscripts: Calligraphy, Illumination, Design. London: British Library, 2007.

Lings, Martin. Splendours of Qur’an Calligraphy and Illumination. Vaduz, Liechtenstein: Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, 2005.

Roxburgh, David J. Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2007.

Suleman, Fahmida, ed. Word of God, Art of Man: The Qur’an and its Creative Expressions: Selected Proceedings from the International Colloquium, London, 18-21 October 2003. Oxford : Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2007.


g. Comparative approaches (very few studies to date):

Ipgrave, Michael, ed. Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur’an Together. London: Church House Publishing, 2004. [a more faith-based approach].

Jomier, Jacques. The Bible and the Qur’an. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.

McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering, ed. With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Oxford and New York: OUP, 2003.

Reeves, J. C. Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2004.

Smith, Wilfred Cantwell. What is Scripture? A Comparative Approach. London: SCM, 1993.

h. Interpretations of the Qur’an and its Reception History:

Arkoun, Mohammed. Lectures du Coran. Paris: G.-P. Maisonneuve et Larose, 1982; reprinted, Tunis: Alif, les Éditions de la Méditerranée, 1993.

Berg, Herbert. The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam: The Authenticity of Muslim Literature from the Formative Period. Richmond: Curzon, 2000.

Burman, Thomas E. Reading the Qur’an in Latin Christendom, 1140-1560. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

Dhahabi, Muhammad Husayn. Al-Tafsir wa’l-mufassirun: bahth tafsili ‘an nash’at al-tafsir wa-tatawwurihi wa-alwanihi wa-madhahibihi. Cairo: Dar al-Kutub al-Haditha, 1961-62. 3 vols.

Gätje, Helmut. The Qur’an and its Exegesis: Selected Texts with Classical and Modern Interpretations, tr. Alford T. Welch. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976; original German: Koran und Koranexegese. Zürich: Artemis, 1977.

Goldziher, Ignaz. Schools of Koranic Commentators, ed. and tr. Wolfgang H. Behn. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006; with an introduction by Fuat Sezgin on Goldziher and Hadithinfo-icon from Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums; originalGerman: Die Richtungen der islamischen Koranauslegung. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1920.

Hawting, R. and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef, ed. Approaches to the Qur’an. London and New York: Routledge, 1993.

Johns, Anthony H., ed. International Congress for the Study of the Qur’an. Canberra: Australian National University, 1981.

Lawrence, Bruce. The Qur’an: A Biography. London: Atlantic Books, 2006.

McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. Qur’anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Mohammed, Khaleel and Andrew Rippin, ed. Coming to Terms with the Qur’an: A Volume in Honor of Professor Issa Boullata, McGill University. North Haledon, NJ: Islamic Publications International, 2007.

Rippin, Andrew, ed. Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur’an. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988; New York: OUP, 1988.

____, ed. The Qur’an: Formative Interpretation. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999.

____, ed.The Qur’an and its Interpretive Tradition. Aldershot: Variorum, Hampshire, 2001; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Wansbrough, John E. Quranic Studies. Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation. Oxford: OUP, 1977.

i. Studies on individual commentators

Abrahamov, Binyamin. Anthropomorphism and interpretation of the Qur’an in the Theology of al-Qasim Ibn Ibrahim. Kitab al-Mustarshid. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.

Gilliot, Claude. Exégèse, langue et théologie en Islam. L’Exégèse coranique de Tabari. m. 311/923. Paris: J. Vrin, 1990.

Gimaret, Daniel. Une lecture mu’tazilite du Coran. Le Tafsir d’Abu ‘Ali al-Djubba’i [m. 303/915]. Louvain and Paris, 1994.

Keeler, Annabel. Sufi Hermeneutics: The Qur’an Commentary of Rashid al-Dininfo-icon Maybudi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2006.

Lagarde, Michel. Index du Grand Commentaire de Fahr al-Din al-Razi. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.

Lane, Andrew J. A Traditional Mu’tazilite Qur’an Commentary: The Kashshaf of Jar Allah al-Zamakhshari. d. 538/1144. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006.

Saleh, Walid A. The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: the Qur’an Commentary of al-Tha’labi. d.427/1035. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004.

Whittingham, Martin. Al-Ghazali and the Qur’an: One Book, Many Meanings. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.

(forthcoming: Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali and Etan Kohlberg, ed. Revelation and Falsification. The Kitab al-qira’at of Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Sayyari. Leiden and Boston: Brill).
j. Shi‘i approaches to the Qur’an:

Bar-Asher, Meir M. Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imami Shiism. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999.

k. Sufi approaches to the Qur’an:

Abü Zayd, Nasr Hamid. Falsafat al-ta’wilinfo-icon : dirasa fi ta’wil al-Qur’an inda Muhyi’l-dininfo-icon Ibn ‘Arabi. Beirut: Dar al-Tanwir; Dar al-Wahdah, 1983.

Böwering, Gerhard. The Mystical Vision of Existence in Classical Islam. The Qur’anic Hermeneutics of the Sufi Sahl al-Tustari. d. 283/896. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1980.

____ , ed. The Minor Qur’anic Commentary of Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad b. al-Husayn al-Sulami. d. 412/1021. Ziyadat Haqa’iqinfo-icon al-Tafsir. Beirut: Dar al-Mashriq, 1995; 2nd ed. 1997.

Keeler, Annabel. Sufi Hermeneutics: The Qur’an Commentary of Rashid al-Din Maybudi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2006.

Lory, Pierre. Les commentaires ésotériques du Coran d’après Qashani. Paris: Les Deux Océans, 1980.

Nwiya, Paul. Exégèse coranique et language mystique: nouvel essai sur le lexique technique des mystiques musulmanes. Beirut: Dar al-Mashriq, Imprimérie Catholique, 1970.

Sands, Kristin Zahra. Sufi Commentaries on the Qur’an in Classical Islam. London: Routledge Curzon, 2006.

l. Contemporary Interpretations:

Baljon, Johannes Marinus Simon. Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation, 1880-1960. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1961.

Saeed, Abdullah. Interpreting the Qur’an: Towards a Contemporary Approach. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2006.

Taji-Farouki, Suha. Modern Muslim Intellectuals and the Qur’an. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2004.

m. Regional Approaches:

Jansen, J. J. G. The Interpretation of the Koran in Modern Egypt. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974.

Saeed, Abdullah. Approaches to the Qur’an in Contemporary Indonesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2005.

n. Gender perspectives:

Barlas, Asma. ‘Believing Women’ in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

Stowasser, Barbara Freyer. Women in the Qur’an, Traditions, and Interpretation. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Wadud, Amina. Qur’an and Woman: Re-reading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective. Oxford: OUP, 1999.

4. Most Recent Translations of the Qur’an

Ali, Ahmed, tr. al-Qur’an: A Contemporary Translation, rev. ed. Woodstock, Oxon; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Cleary, Thomas F., tr. The Qur’an: A New Translation. Chicago: Starlatch Press, 2004.

Fakhry, Majid, tr. An Interpretation of the Qur’an: English Translation of the Meanings: A Bilingual Edition. New York: New York University Press, 2002.

Jones, Alan, tr. The Qur’an. Cambridge: Gibb Memorial Trust, 2007.

The Qur’an, tr. M. A. Abdel Haleem. Oxford and New York: OUP, 2004.

Seddik, Youssef, tr. Le Coran, autre lecture, autre traduction. La Tour d’Aigue: Aube, 2006.

Starkovsky, Nicolas, tr. The Koran Handbook: An Annotated Translation. New York: Algora Publications, 2005.

5. Websites and Electronic Resources

There are now a number of websites dedicated to the Qur’an and the Tafsir.

See the comprehensive, although maybe in need of an update, article by Andrew Rippin:

‘The Study of Tafsir in the 21st century: etexts and their Scholarly Use’, MELA Notes 69-70 (1999-2000), pp. 1-13. with two appendixes.

Carl W. Ernst, from the University of North Carolina, which includes both academic and non-academic works:

Alan Godlas, from the University of Georgia:

The Near East Department of the University of Michigan