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Other titles in the Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion series:
Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion #22: Islam: A Brief Historyby Tamara Sonn
Synopses & Reviews
Few subjects have gripped the Western world in the twenty-first century to the same degree as Islam, yet it remains widely misunderstood. This second edition of Islam: A Brief History is the ideal introduction, offering readers a concise yet thoroughly absorbing account of a faith that is shared by more than a billion people today.
Beginning with an account of the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islamic ideals, the book spans Islam’s phenomenal geographical expansion and cultural development, right up to the creation of modern states and the current situation in Islamic societies. Reflecting recent global developments, the second edition expands its coverage of the Qur’an, Sufism, and Muslim views on human rights, including the rights of women. It also includes fascinating vignettes of Islamic life, increasing its representation of mainstream Muslim viewpoints on issues of global concern. The book’s accessible structure and Tamara Sonn’s lively writing style illuminate the complex interrelationships of cultural, political, and ideological developments woven throughout Islamic history. Timely and concise, Islam: A Brief History is an indispensable introduction to Islam and its role in today’s global society.
Reflecting recent global developments, the second edition of this illuminating introduction to Islamic history expands its coverage of the Qur’an, Sufism, and Muslim views on human rights, including the rights of women.
About the Author
Tamara Sonn is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies at the
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations.
Preface to the First Edition.
1 Many Paths to One God: Establishing the Ideals.
The Quran and Other Scriptures.
Themes of the Quran.
The Exemplary Life of Muhammad, Prophet of Islam: The Sunna.
The Early Muslim Community and the Pillars of Islam.
The Successors ("Caliphs").
Early Communal Disputes.
2 The Pursuit of Knowledge in the Service of God and Humanity: The Golden Age.
Spirituality and the Mystical Tradition: Sufism.
3 Division and Reorganization.
The Crusades and Other Disasters.
The Decline of the Abbasids and Rise of the Ottomans.
Persia: The Safavid Empire.
India and the Rise of the Mughals.
Understanding Developments in Islamic History.
4 Colonialism and Reform.
The Outcome of World War I.
The Effects of Colonialism: The Challenge of Islamic Reform.
Themes of Islamic Reform: Personal Initiative and Social Solidarity.
Themes of Islamic Reform: Ijtihad.
Themes of Islamic Reform: Commitment to Learning.
5 Obstacles and Prospects for Islamic Reform.
Obstacles: The Impact of Colonialism.
Prospects for the Future.
Islam, Human Rights, and Democracy.
Islam among World Religions.
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