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One of the world's foremost commentators on religious affairs on the history (and destiny) of the world's most misunderstood religion. In the public mind, Islam is a religion of extremes: it is the world's fastest growing faith; more than three-quarters of the world's refugees are Islamic; it has produced government by authoritarian monarchies in Saudi Arabia and ultra-republicans in Iran. Whether we are reading about civil war in Algeria or Afghanistan, the struggle for the soul of Turkey, or political turmoil in Pakistan or Malaysia, the Islamic context permeates all these situations. Karen Armstrong's elegant and concise book traces how Islam grew from the other religions of the book, Judaism and Christianity; introduces us to the character of Muhammed; and demonstrates that for much of its history, the religion has been a force for enlightenment that promoted liberties for women and allowed the arts and sciences to flourish. ISLAM shows how this progressive legacy is today often set aside as the faith struggles to come to terms with the economic and political weakness of most of its believers and with the forces of modernity itself.
An introduction to the development of Islam from its birth among the nomadic peoples of seventh-century Arabia to its present status as one of the world's great religions. The book includes a brief account of the life and teachings of Muhammad and the creation of the Arab nation.
Islamic South Asia has become a focal point in academia. Where did Muslims come from? How did they fare in interacting with Hindu cultures? How did they negotiate identity as ruling and ruled minorities and majorities? Part I covers early Muslim expansion and the formative phase in context of initial cultural encounter (app. 700-1300). Part II views the establishment of Muslim empire, cultures oscillating between Islamic and Islamicate, centralised and regionalised power (app. 1300-1700). Part III is composed in the backdrop of regional centralisation, territoriality and colonial rule, displaying processes of integration and differentiation of Muslim cultures in colonial setting (app. 1700-1930). Tensions between Muslim pluralism and singularity evolving in public sphere make up the fourth cluster (app. 1930-2002).
Through a detailed sequential study of the beginnings of Islam, its movements through history, and its rich cultural and religious heritage, this newly revised and expanded edition highlights the potential significance of the past as it envisions a promising future for the world's Muslims.
Works include: - Jihad in Islam - Understanding the Qur'an - The Religion of Truth - Islam and Ignorance - On Education - Towards Understanding Islam - The Process of Islamic Revolution - Biography of the Last Prophet
Does history matter? This book argues not that history matters, but that Islamic history does. This Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history; the controversies surrounding its study; and the significance that it holds - for Muslims and for non-Muslims alike. Opening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to twenty first century, the book charts the evolution of what was originally a small, localised community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherents. Chapters are also dedicated to the peoples - Arabs, Persians, and Turks - who shaped Islamic history, and to three representative institutions - the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate - that highlight Islam's diversity over time. Finally, the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts are analysed, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys amongst Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as little more than something that is not to be repeated. Some of the questions that will be answered are: · How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of twenty first century media? · How do we know what we claim to know about Islam's rise and development? · Why does any of this matter, either to Muslims or to non-Muslims? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
If Westerners know a single Islamic term, it is likely to be jihad, the Arabic word for "holy war." The image of Islam as an inherently aggressive and xenophobic religion has long prevailed in the West and can at times appear to be substantiated by current events. L. Carl Brown challenges this conventional wisdom with a fascinating historical overview of the relationship between religious and political life in the Muslim world ranging from Islam's early centuries to the present day. Religion and State examines the commonplace notion—held by both radical Muslim ideologues and various Western observers alike—that in Islam there is no separation between religion and politics. By placing this assertion in a broad historical context, the book reveals both the continuities between premodern and modern Islamic political thought as well as the distinctive dimensions of modern Muslim experiences. Brown shows that both the modern-day fundamentalists and their critics have it wrong when they posit an eternally militant, unchanging Islam outside of history. "They are conflating theology and history. They are confusing the oughtand the is," he writes. As the historical record shows, mainstream Muslim political thought in premodern times tended toward political quietism. Brown maintains that we can better understand present-day politics among Muslims by accepting the reality of their historical diversity while at the same time seeking to identify what may be distinctive in Muslim thought and action. In order to illuminate the distinguishing characteristics of Islam in relation to politics, Brown compares this religion with its two Semitic sisters, Judaism and Christianity, drawing striking comparisons between Islam today and Christianity during the Reformation. With a wealth of evidence, he recreates a tradition of Islamic diversity every bit as rich as that of Judaism and Christianity.
Lavishly illustrated with over 300 pictures, including more than 200 in full color, The Oxford History of Islam offers the most wide-ranging and authoritative account available of the second largest--and fastest growing--religion in the world. John L. Esposito, Editor-in-Chief of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, has gathered together sixteen leading scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to examine the origins and historical development of Islam--its faith, community, institutions, sciences, and arts. Beginning in the pre-Islamic Arab world, the chapters range from the story of Muhammad and his Companions, to the development of Islamic religion and culture and the empires that grew from it, to the influence that Islam has on today's world. The book covers a wide array of subjects, casting light on topics such as the historical encounter of Islam and Christianity, the role of Islam in the Mughal and Ottoman empires, the growth of Islam in Southeast Asia, China, and Africa, the political, economic, and religious challenges of European imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and Islamic communities in the modern Western world. In addition, the book offers excellent articles on Islamic religion, art and architecture, and sciences as well as bibliographies. Events in the contemporary world have led to an explosion of interest and scholarly work on Islam. Written for the general reader but also appealing to specialists, The Oxford History of Islam offers the best of that recent scholarship, presented in a readable style and complemented by a rich variety of illustrations.
Islam features widely in the news, often in its most militant versions, but few people in the non-Muslim world really understand the nature of Islam. Malise Ruthven's Very Short Introduction offers an essential insight into issues such as why Islam has such major divisions between movements such as the Shi'ites, the Sunnis, and the Wahhabis, why the Shar'ia (Islamic law) is such an important aspect of Islamic life, and why the greatest `Jihad' (holy war) is now against the enemies of Islam, rather than the struggle against evil. In addition he prompts further questioning into the ideas of `Islamic resurgence' as both an old and new concept, whether or not women can find fulfilment and equality within an Islamic framework, and the sort of problems facing Islam and its confrontation with the modern world. - ;Islam features widely in the news, often in its most militant versions, but few people in the non-Muslim world really understand the nature of Islam, both as ideology and religion. Malise Ruthven's Very Short Introduction therefore offers an essential insight into issues such as the why the greatest `Jihad' (holy war) is now against the enemies of Islam, rather than the struggle against evil, why Islam has such major divisions between movements such as the Shi'ites, the Sunnis, and the Wahhabis, and how the Shar'ia (Islamic law) has become such an important aspect of Islamic life. In addition he prompts further questioning into the ideas of `Islamic resurgence' as both an old and new concept, whether or not women can find fulfilment and equality within an Islamic framework, and the sort of problems facing Islam and its confrontations with the modern world. -