The Qur'an is the source of inspiration for one of the world's major religions, followed today by over a billion people. It plays a central role in Islam and ever since it appeared fourteen hundred years ago has been the subject of intense debate. Some of this has been carried out by Muslims and some by those hostile or indifferent to Islam, producing a very wide range of views. Authored by forty-three international experts, the objective of The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia is to present this diversity of thought, approach and school without priority, in order to give a strong appreciation of the range of response that the text has provoked throughout its history and providing students and researchers with a powerful one-volume resource covering all aspects of the text and its reception. Islam and the Qur'an are much in the news today and there is a public debate going on in which things are said about the Qur'an without much knowledge or understanding of the book. Every effort has been made to help the reader use the Encyclopedia as an investigative tool in Quranic studies. The volume assumes no previous knowledge of the Qur'an, Islam or Arabic. Technical terms are explained in the text itself and the style of each entry is designed to be as self-contained as possible. Entries are cross-referenced and many include a brief bibliography. At the end of the work there is a substantial annotated bibliography providing a detailed guide to the most significant books, journals and articles in Qur'anic Studies. There is a full index. The readership will include those seeking basic information on the Qur'an, however the substantial number of longer entries means that it will also be used by specialists.