Since the 1970s, Islam has been undergoing a tremendous resurgence throughout the world. This resurgence has often been labeled "Islamic fundamentalism" by the media, but it includes believers of every persuasion, from the most conservative to the most liberal.
Given this fact, it is vital for the West to understand the terms in which Islam thinks and to communicate effectively with Muslims. This anthology includes writings central to Islamic thought, some translated earlier but here redone, and others which have never before appeared in any Western language.
The selections include an interpretation of the Qur'an, as well as portions of the Hadith, or sayings and actions of the Prophet; Islamic law; mysticism (Sufism); theology; and sectarian writings. A final essay on Islam today places these writings in their contemporary context and shows the breadth and variety of Islamic belief and practice.
Compiled with the intention of letting Islam describe itself in its own words, the book is an important source for all students of Muslim culture and world religions. This book is similar in scope to Williams' well-known 1961 George Braziller publication, but freshly written and much improved.
John Alden Williams is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Humanities in Religion at the College of William and Mary.
This work is destined to be treated as a pioneer and a classic in its field.... It offers a highly readable, lively, and proportionate examination of the Islamic canon and its various internal currents.
~American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
Guide to Pronunciation of Arabic Terms
1. The Word of God: The Qur'an
God Speaks to Humankind
He Speaks through the Prophets
God Reveals Himself
He Rewards and Punishes
2. The News of God's Messenger: The Hadith
The Beginnings of the Revelation
The Founding of the Community
Muhammad as Legislator and Founder
Muhammad as Model and Guide
The Science of Hadith
3. The Law of God: Shari'a and Fiqh
The Acts of Servanthood
Government of the Community
Ritual Slaughter and Animal Sacrifice
Things Disliked and Things Forbidden
Enjoining Good and Preventing Wrong (Hisba)
The Interpretations of the Jurisconsults
4. Interior Religion: Sufism
5. The Statements of Theologians: Kalam
6. Sectarian Movements
Kharijis and Ibadis
Twelver Shi'is: Ithna'asharis
Sevener Shi'is: Isma'ilism and Developments
Afterword: Islam Today
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