'Your desire for isolation,
even though God has put you in the world to gain a living,
is a hidden passion.
And your desire to gain a living in the world,
even though God has put you in isolation
is a comedown from lofty aspiration.'
(Ibn ʿAtallah Al-Iskandari)
Translated by Arthur J. Arberry
The Koran is a book apart, not only as Holy Scripture for Muslims, but as the supreme classic of Arabic literature. In its 114 Suras, or chapters, it comprises the total of revelations believed to have been communicated to the prophet Muhammad as a final expression of God's will and purpose for man. The revelations were received over a number of years, the first dating from AD 610, the last shortly before Muhammad's death in AD 632, and the definitive canon was established some twenty years later. The Koran is neither prose nor poetry but a unique fusion of both. In his attempt to convey the sublime rhetoric of the original, Professor Arberry has carefully studied the intricate and richly varied rhythms which - apart from the message itself - serve to explain the Koran's undeniable claim to rank among the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.