Robert C. Douglas Ph.D.
The challenge which Islam presents to the Christian community is enormous, one worthy of our best response in faith and love. But to provide that kind of response Christians need to do all they can to understand Islam. The Qur'an, Islam's holy book, stands at the heart of Muslim faith and practice. Understanding begins here. The Qur'an is a document that presents Muslims and non-Muslims with a host of perplexities.
According to Muslim tradition it must be read in Arabic if one wants to experience the real message it contains. But Qur'anic Arabic is a difficult language, even for native born Arabic speakers. Then there is the problem of how the Qur'an was put together. It is neither chronological nor topical. Verses jump from one subject to another with what appears to be little rhyme or reason. The end result for the non-professional is confusion, frustration and discouragement. Help of a practical kind is needed.
A Topical Study of the Qur'an from a Christian Perspective is a resource which provides this kind of help. I have known the author for many years. He is a man of integrity whose book is a noble and successful effort at sorting through the mass of Qur'an material and organizing it in a usable way. He is an ordained minister who comes at his task with a deep personal interest in Muslims. He has attempted to minister to them in a variety of settings for decades. His is an effort of love borne of a personal desire to understand. The spirit he brings to his task is open and caring.
His book collects Qur'anic material under a variety of headings; it is the result of his efforts over a number of years to draw Qur'anic verses together around subjects of concern to western readers. His translation of the Qur'an is simple, readable and has been tested again and again with Arabic speaking Muslims. No doubt some Muslims will object to his selection of topics and his rendition of specific verses. This is no surprise as the most devout reject any effort at translation of any kind!
For those who are English speakers and who want to look into the heart of Muslim thought, this book offers a great beginning place. Hopefully, the authorís conscientious efforts will give non-Muslims a basis for judging more accurately what Islam stands for.
Dr. Robert C. Douglas served as a missionary for twelve years in Libya, Egypt and Lebanon. While in Beirut he founded and directed the Middle East Bible Training College. He has presented the gospel in numerous Christian-Muslim Dialogues. For eight years he was the Executive Director of the Zwemer Institute of Muslim Studies. In addition to years of pastoral work, he has taught at Fuller Theological Seminary and Pepperdine University. He currently is the Professor of Intercultural Studies at the Lincoln Christian Seminary and continues to lead training seminars helping Christians understand Islam. He earned a B.A. in Greek and M.A. in New Testament from Abilene Christian University, M.A. in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Religion (social Ethics) from the University of Southern California.