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Looks at the history of Islam, arguing that its origins began with the "Believers" movement that emphasized strict monotheism and righteous behavior that included both Christians and Jews in its early years.
Traces the history of Islam back from the twentieth century to its origins, discussing the faith-based "Believers' movement" started by the prophet Muhammad, and explaining how this led to the separation of Muslims from Christians and Jews as monotheists.
Deep in the heart of seventh-century Arabia, a new prophet named Muhammad has arisen. As his message of enlightenment sweeps through Arabia and unifies the warring tribes, his young wife Aisha recounts Muhammad's astonishing transformation from prophet to warrior to statesman. But just after the moment of her husband's greatest triumph -- the conquest of the holy city of Mecca -- Muhammad falls ill and dies in Aisha's arms. A young widow, Aisha finds herself at the center of the new Muslim empire and becomes by turns a teacher, political leader, and warrior. Written in beautiful prose and meticulously researched, Mother of the Believer is the story of an extraordinary woman who was destined to help usher Islam into the world.
This study of the Qur'an arises from an interest in a pressing contemporary issue, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims ('the Ummah and the Other'). This text explores how the Qur'an comments on this relationship as it changed in the course of Muhammad's ministry. Particular attention is paid to the portrayal in the Meccan 'punishment-narratives' of a fascinating and complex triangular relationship between God, the powerless and persecuted believing community with Muhammad at its centre, and the unbelieving Meccans who rejected Muhammad's preaching. The text raising questions about the possible contemporary relevance of this analysis, focusing firstly on discussions about the appropriate models for Islamic society today, and secondly on dialogue between Christians and Muslims. This book presents a detailed and illuminating analysis of many important Qur'anic themes and passages, and offers a coherent and original account of significant developments within the thought of the Qur'an as a whole.
Naipaul's controversial account of his travels through the Islamic world was hailed by The New Republic as "the most notable work on contemporary Islam to have appeared in a very long time." From the Trade Paperback edition.
Combining vast erudition with a refusal to bow before the political pressures of the day, Muhammad’s Mission: Religion, Politics, and Power at the Birth of Islam by Professor Tilman Nagel, one of the world’s leading authorities on Islam, is an introduction to three inseparable topics: the life of Muhammad (570-632 CE), the composition of the Koran, and the birth of Islam. While accessible to a general audience, it will also be of great interest to specialists, since it is the first English translation of Professor Nagel’s attempt to summarize a lifetime of research on these topics. The Introduction, Chapters 1-2, and Appendix 1 provide essential historical background on the Arab tribal system and Muhammad’s position within that system; the political situation in pre-Islamic Arabia; the history of Mecca; and pre-Islamic Arabian religions. Chapters 3-5 cover the beginnings of the revelations that Muhammad claimed to be receiving from Allah, paying special attention to the influence on Muhammad of the hanifs, a group of pre-Islamic pagan monotheists attested in the earliest Islamic sources. The hanifs claimed to trace their religion back to the putative original monotheism of Abraham, from which they claimed Jews and Christians had deviated by, among other things, abandoning animal sacrifice. Chapter 6 explains how Muhammad’s religious message included a thinly-veiled claim to have the right to political power over Mecca, a claim that exacerbated tensions with his own clan and led eventually to his expulsion from Mecca, as recounted in Chapter 7. Chapters 8-10 describe the impact of the hijra on the evolution of Islam. Seeing himself as the true heir to Abraham and the prophets who followed him, Muhammad would demand allegiance from Jews and Christians, as recounted in Sura 2 and other Medinan suras. He would initiate a war against Mecca, not in self-defense, but in order to gain control over the Kaaba, the central hanif shrine and the new qibla or direction of prayer for the Muslims. The Muslim victory at the Battle of Badr in 624 would help to shape a new ideal of a militarized religiosity in which those who waged war under Muhammad’s command would attain the rank of “true believers,” while those converts who refused to make hijra and to fight for Muhammad were relegated to the lower rank of “mere Muslims,” as Suras 8 and 49 make clear. Muhammad’s war against Mecca alienated many of his Medinan followers, the ansar. The refusal of the Jews to convert to Islam, combined with the close connection of the Jews to the ansar, led Muhammad to make war on the Jews as well as the Meccans. The surrender of Mecca in 630 (Chapter 11) did not lead to the end of war, for the aggressiveness and military success of Muhammad’s movement had made it attractive to a slew of new converts whose desire for booty had to be placated. Sura 9, promulgated near the end of Muhammad’s life, served as a broad declaration of war against polytheists, Jews, and Christians. Chapter 12 describes the evolution of Islam late in Muhammad’s life into a “religious warriors’ movement” that sought to extend the rule of Islam over the entire inhabited world. Chapter 13 covers the final pilgrimage and death of Muhammad, while Chapters 14-20 describe the development of Islamic dogma surrounding the figure of Muhammad and its implications for politics in the Islamic world and interfaith relations with non-Muslims up till the present day. The book concludes with appendices in which Nagel summarizes the state of scholarship regarding the life of Muhammad (Appendix 2) and the tensions between competing varieties of Muslim recollection of Muhammad (Appendix 3). Muhammad’s Mission: Religion, Politics, and Power at the Birth of Islam is an erudite and authoritative guide to events of world-historical importance by a scholar who has spent a lifetime mastering the primary sources documenting the birth of Islam.
"This Is Islam" presents a lively introduction to a religion that has a dramatic history and plays a crucial role in the world today. Designed for people unfamiliar with Islamic beliefs, rituals, and customs, it explains the history of Islam, the importance of Islamic law, and major sects including Sunnism, Shi'ism, and Sufism. "It is vital for our schools to teach what the religion of Islam is like and how it agrees and differs from Judaism, Christianity and other world religions. 'This Is Islam' serves that purpose with calm, cool, brief and authoritative explanations of the Islamic religion and of Muslim societies with all their variations." -William McNeill, professor emeritus of history, University of Chicago; author of 'The Rise of the West' (National Book Award) and 'The Human Web.'
The Community of Believers offers the proceedings of the 2013 Building Bridges seminar, a dialogue between leading Christian and Muslim scholars under the stewardship of Georgetown University. These essays consider such themes as the Church as mystical body of Christ versus the Church as proclamation; the roots and uses of the term ummah and its development over time; Christian desires for communion, experiences of division, and approaches to unity; the history of Muslim disunity; twentieth-century Christian ecclesiology and its responses to a post-Christendom and post-Christian world; and the Arab Spring as a case study for contemplating accommodationism, conservatism, reformism, and fundamentalism as Muslim strategies to address the pressures of modernism. The volume also includes texts and commentaries used in the seminar’s discussions of each topic and a concluding essay summarizing the tone, content, and style of participant exchanges throughout the seminar.
"This work offers a fresh assessment of the sources for the prophet Muhammad's life, integrating the earliest non-Muslim and documentary sources with the earliest prophetic biographies written in Arabic during the eighth-ninth centuries C.E. By placing these sources within the intellectual and cultural world of Late Antiquity, the author carves out a methodological approach to studying the historical Muhammad that, though reliant on the methods of critical historical scholarship, strikes a balance between revisionist historical skepticism and naïve historical realism"--
To enable the reader to shape, or perhaps reshape, an understanding of the Islamic tradition, F. E. Peters skillfully combines extensive passages from Islamic texts with a fascinating commentary of his own. In so doing, he presents a substantial body of literary evidence that will enable the reader to grasp the bases of Muslim faith and, more, to get some sense of the breadth and depth of Islamic religious culture as a whole. The voices recorded here are those of Muslims engaged in discourse with their God and with each other--historians, lawyers, mystics, and theologians, from the earliest Companions of the Prophet Muhammad down to Ibn Rushd or "Averroes" (d. 1198), al-Nawawi (d. 1278), and Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406). These religious seekers lived in what has been called the "classical" period in the development of Islam, the era when the exemplary works of law and spirituality were written, texts of such universally acknowledged importance that subsequent generations of Muslims gratefully understood themselves as heirs to an enormously broad and rich legacy of meditation on God's Word. "Islam" is a word that seems simple to understand. It means "submission," and, more specifically in the context where it first and most familiarly appears, "submission to the will of God." That context is the Quran, the Sacred Book of the Muslims, from which flow the patterns of belief and practice that today claim the spiritual allegiance of hundreds of millions around the globe. By drawing on the works of the great masters--Islam in its own words--Peters enriches our understanding of the community of "those who have submitted" and their imposing religious and political culture, which is becoming ever more important to the West.