Hamid Algar, born in England in 1940, received his formal training in Islamic studies at Cambridge University, from which is received his Ph.D. in 1965. Since 1965, he has been teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, a wide range of courses including tafsir, Sufism, Shi'ism, the history of Islam in Iran, Arabic, Persian and Turkish literature.
Although no distinction may be made among the parts of the Qur’an in terms of relative excellence, it is obvious that the opening surah has a special significance that goes beyond its placing at the beginning of the Book. This is indicated among other things by the numerous designations given to it, some by the Prophet (pbuh) himself; by the fact the uniquely it was revealed twice; and by the fact that its recitation constitutes the core of the prayer. Many commentators have seen in it, in fact, a concise summary of the whole Qur’an, the implications of which they have sought to draw out in many volumes. In this lecture a modest attempt is made to analyze some of its principal themes and the miraculous conciseness with which they are expounded.
Publisher: ISLAMIC PUBLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL