This concise book offers a nuanced introduction to Islam in the Middle East. It presentsIslam as both a unified tradition of theological dogma and practices that transcends cultural differences and a dynamic tradition that is historically informed, locally shaped, and continually reinterpreted. Using numerous ethnographic examples from the Middle East and North Africa, Islam in the Middle East: A Living Tradition offers a succinct overview of the Islamic tradition as practiced.
This approach to Islam is based on a general anthropological principle that Islam must be studied as it is understood by Muslims. That is, that its dogmatic principles and its numerous practices should be approached as the product of history. Designed for students and nonspecialists, Islam in the Middle East: A Living Tradition charts the doctrinal foundations of Islam; the role of religious scholars; the five pillars; the mystical world of saintly brotherhoods and spirit-possession cults; and the efforts of Muslim modernists and Islamist activists in shaping Islamic “orthodoxy” and engaging with Western modernity.