This is the International Mystery Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Lists | March 13, 2015

    Hanya Yanagihara: IMG Nine Tips for Finishing That Novel

    My second novel, A Little Life — about a group of men in New York and their friendship over the course of 30 years — will be published... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $25.99
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Islam- General

Understanding the Hadith: The Sacred Traditions of Islam


Understanding the Hadith: The Sacred Traditions of Islam Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Noted Indian writer and polymath Ram Swarup explores the meaning of Islam through the words of the Sahih Muslim, considered by Muslims to be one of the most authoritative of the collections of "traditions" (Arabic Hadith) about the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Like the Koran, these traditions are believed to be divinely revealed by Allah and they complement the verses of the Koran, in many cases expanding upon them and explaining the context of their revelation. As Swarup notes in his introduction, to Muslims the Hadith literature represents the Koran in action, stories of "revelation made concrete in the life of the Prophet." Among the orthodox they are considered as sacred as the Koran itself.

Swarup is plainly skeptical of the claim that the Hadith literature is divinely inspired. In the introduction he says, "The Prophet is caught as it were in the ordinary acts of his life - sleeping, eating, mating, praying, hating, dispensing justice, planning expeditions and revenge against his enemies. The picture that emerges is hardly flattering. . . . One is . . . left to wonder how the believers, generation after generation, could have found this story so inspiring. The answer is that the believers are conditioned to look at the whole thing through the eyes of faith. To them morality derives from the Prophet's actions. . . .his actions determine and define morality."

The Sahih Muslim, a massive work consisting of 7,190 traditions divided into 1,243 chapters, is hardly accessible to the average reader; so Swarup quotes representative selections that touch upon the main tenets of Islam: faith, purification, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, marriage and divorce, crime and punishment, religious wars (jihad), paradise, hell, repentance, and many other features of the religion.

To non-Muslims this work provides many insights into the mindset of the average Muslim who is raised on these traditions about Muhammad. It also underscores the gulf that exists between the sanctum of orthodox Islam and an increasingly secularized Westernized world.

Book News Annotation:

This annotated selection of the Sahih Muslim, which is one of Muslim Hadith, or collections of traditions, was first published in 1983 by the Voice of India (New Delhi) under the title Understanding Islam through Hadis. The selection and summary was done by Swarup, who's described here as "a distinguished representative of renascent Hinduism". Though Swarup does a competent job in summarizing and explaining the Hadith to the interested reader, this volume displays an overtly skeptical tone toward the person of Mohammad that may offend Muslim readers.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Explores the meaning of Islam through one of the most authoritative of the collections of "traditions" (Arabic Hadith) about the life of the Prophet Muhammad.


Includes bibliographical references and (p. 247-249) index.

About the Author

Ram Swarup was one of India's leading intellectuals and a distinguished representative of renascent Hinduism. He wrote on many topics, not only comparative religion but on Gandhian economics, Maoism, and communism.

Product Details

Swarup, Ram
Prometheus Books
Amherst, N.Y.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Islam - Law
Islam - General
Islam - Koran & Sacred Writings
Hadith -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
8.34x5.50x.80 in. .67 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam New Trade Paper $34.95
  2. The Holy War Idea in Western and... Used Trade Paper $10.95
  3. The Wisdom of the Prophet: The... Used Trade Paper $7.50
  4. Understanding the Koran: A Quick... Used Trade Paper $8.00
  5. Holy War in Ancient Israel New Trade Paper $19.50
  6. Covering Islam: How the Media and... Used Trade Paper $7.50

Related Subjects

Reference » Bibliography and Library Science
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Quran and Koran
Religion » Islam » General
Religion » Islam » Law
Religion » Islam » Quran

Understanding the Hadith: The Sacred Traditions of Islam Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 273 pages Prometheus Books - English 9781591020172 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Explores the meaning of Islam through one of the most authoritative of the collections of "traditions" (Arabic Hadith) about the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references and (p. 247-249) index.
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at