American Qur'an

American Qur'an

Book - 2016 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A Holiday Gift Guide Selection in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle

This triumph of American art, reflecting a decade of travel in the Islamic work, unites two cultures with its transcendent power.


At a time when the United States was involved in two wars against Islamic nations, American-born artist Sandow Birk wanted to understand the Qur'an as it is, and always has been intended: a universal message to humankind. But to do so, he first needed to comprehend what Islam's holiest book meant to an American living in the twenty-first century. Indeed, how has the Qur'an related to us, as Americans, in this life, in this time?

In an attempt to answer his own question, Birk embarked on the most ambitious work of his career. Following in the grand traditions of ancient Arabic and Islamic artists, he began hand-transcribing the entire Qur'an as was done in centuries past--abiding by the traditional prescriptions as to the colors of ink, the formatting of the pages, the size of margins and illuminations of page headings and medallions marking verses and passages. He then took each sura and set it against a backdrop from everyday American life, one that reflected his renowned "skate-surf" ascetic.

Even before the first images of what became known as the American Qur'an began appearing in public, in 2009, veteran art critics were concerned about its reception. While Birk wasn't illustrating the Qur'an itself, the pairing of Islam's holiest text with scenes from contemporary American life seemed adventuresome, given the climate of the times. The project, however, was not only welcomed by the Muslim community but also celebrated as an "ambitious and valuable undertaking" ( New York Times ). At the same time, many saw it as taking part in an ancient tradition, one that, according to Yale University professor Zareena Grewal, "eschewed the irony and satire that have become the knee-jerk impulse of so many Western artists."

Now appearing in full for the first time ever, this lavishly designed volume--containing all 114 suras--melds the past with the present, East with the West like nothing before it. The result, hailed by Reza Aslan as "a great favor, not only to Muslims, but also to Americans," is one of the most original art books to appear in decades.

Uniform Title: Qurʼan. English.
Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781631490187
1631490184
Branch Call Number: Oversize 297.122521
Characteristics: xvii, 443 pages : color illustrations ; 42 cm

Opinion


Featured Blogs and Events

Ramadan Mubarak!

With the sighting of the new moon earlier this month (during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar), the holy month of Ramadan began, with a focus on fasting and prayer for those who observe. Ramadan commemorates the revelation by God to the Prophet Muhammad of the first chapters of the Qur'an. St. Louis Public Library has copies of the Qur'an in English and/or Arabic available to be… (more)


From Library Staff

Artist Sandow Birk hand-transcribed the entire Qur'an with images from everyday American life (& beyond), but "abiding by the traditional prescriptions as to the colors of ink, the formatting of the pages, the size of margins and illuminations of page headings and medallions marking vers... Read More »


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SLPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top