As the sacred book of Islam, the Koran, or Qur'an in transliteration, is believed by devout Muslims to be the direct word of God, inscribed in Heaven and revealed by the archangel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad before his death in A.D. 632. Written in Arabic, in rhymed prose, the text is not only regarded by believers as a guide to daily life but is also considered to be the finest work of Arabic prose in existence and one of the most important and influential books known to mankind. J. M. Rodwell's accessible translation restores the traditional ordering of the suras, or chapters, with early text dealing with God as creator, his greatness and authority, the role of Muhammad as God's messenger and of Islam in history. Later chapters deal with legal, social, and ethical issues. The text is divided into 114 chapters, each of which, like the Bible, is subdivided into verses. This edition of the Koran, in a convenient size that is ideal for prayer or study, will be invaluable to students of religion, history, and politics and of interest to anyone concerned with cultures of the Middle East.