Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment, and Servanthood / Edition 1

Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment, and Servanthood / Edition 1

by John Renard
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520251989

ISBN-13: 9780520251984

Pub. Date: 02/19/2008

Publisher: University of California Press

Prophets, saints, martyrs, sages, and seers—one of the richest repositories of lore about such exemplary religious figures belongs to the world's approximately 1.3 billion Muslims. Illuminating some of the most delightful tales in world religious literature, this engaging book is the first truly global overview of Islamic hagiography. John Renard tells of the

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Overview

Prophets, saints, martyrs, sages, and seers—one of the richest repositories of lore about such exemplary religious figures belongs to the world's approximately 1.3 billion Muslims. Illuminating some of the most delightful tales in world religious literature, this engaging book is the first truly global overview of Islamic hagiography. John Renard tells of the characters beyond the Qur'an and Hadith, whose stories of piety and service to God and humanity have captured hearts and minds for nearly fourteen hundred years. Renard's thematic approach to the major characters, narratives, social and cultural contexts, and theoretical concepts of this remarkable treasury of tales, based on material ranging from the eighth to the twentieth centuries and from countries ranging from Morocco to Malaysia, provides insight into the ways in which these stories have functioned in the lives of Muslims from diverse cultural, social, economic, and political backgrounds. The book also serves as a useful and evocative tool for approaching the vast geographical and chronological sweep of Islamic civilization.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520251984
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
02/19/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

Contents
List of Illustrations....................xi
Preface....................xiii
Introduction: An Overview of Islamic Hagiography....................1
Hagiography in the Prophetic Age....................2
Post-Prophetic Developments....................3
Tales of the Prophets and the Hagiographical Anthology....................5
Hagiography and Its Subjects....................7
PART I. STAGES IN THE LIVES OF GOD'S FRIENDS....................11
1. Beginnings Both Humble and Spectacular....................13
Nativity Narratives....................14
Infancy Narratives: Prodigies and Signs....................22
Youthful Prophets and Friends....................30
2. Conversion and Asceticism on the Road to Sanctity....................43
Conversion Stories....................44
Conversion and the Greater Struggle....................50
Asceticism in the Lives of Prophets and Friends....................53
Epilogue: River of Gold....................64
3. Dreams and Visions, Visitors and Voices: God in Touch with His Friends....................67
Friends of God, Heirs of the Prophets....................68
A Little Birdie Told Me: Informants from Another Realm....................83
4. Miracles and Marvels: God Working through His Friends....................91
Prophets and Saints, Power and Blessing....................92
Marvels of Divine Power and Protection....................98
Sustaining and Healing....................101
Marvels of Power over Nature....................106
Marvels of Knowledge....................112
Epilogue: More Marvelous ThanThou....................116
5. Mere Mortals: Friends and the Human Condition....................119
When God Chides Prophets and Friends....................119
Holiness and Ordinariness....................122
Beneath the Surface: Friends, Feelings, and Religious Experience....................128
Confrontations with Illness and Death....................130
PART II. FRIENDS OF GOD IN CONTEXT....................141
6. Friends and Their People: Society and Service to Communities....................143
Public Virtue, Moral Example, and Service to Others....................144
Friends Engaged....................145
Friends on the Fringes....................152
7. Founding Friends: Authority, Institutions, and the Economics of Intentional Community....................165
Knowledge, Authority, and the Religious Establishment....................165
Founding Intentional Communities of Seekers....................169
Authority, Shrines, and the "Cult" of God's Friends....................176
Cultic Centers and Hagiographical Sources....................180
8. Where God's Friends Walked: Revered Sites and Ritual Settings....................187
The Pivotal Holy Places....................188
Beyond the Central Holy Places....................200
Marking Sacred Times at the Sacred Places....................208
9. Friends in Our World....................213
Popular Friends from Morocco to Malaysia....................214
Contemporary Hagiographic Communication....................217
Functions of Friends and Sainthood in Contemporary Muslim Societies....................224
Creating New Friends....................226
Epilogue: Literary Friends Today....................232
PART III. FRIENDS IN THEORY: UNDERSTANDING THE STORIES....................235
10. Literary Dimensions: Genre, Function, and Hermeneutics....................237
Storytelling in Islamicate Societies....................237
Hagiography's Principal Literary Genres....................240
Hermeneutical Issues: Levels of Interpretation....................246
Discerning the Larger Functions of the Stories....................255
Epilogue: Historicity, Imagination, and Humor....................256
11. Theological Dimensions: Hagiography, Faith, and Controversy....................259
Theories of Sainthood....................260
Friendship with God in the Sufi Manuals....................263
Themes in Theory: Major Theological Issues....................267
Notes....................283
Index....................325

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