Islam: The Straight Path / Edition 4

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Now in a new edition, this exceptionally successful survey text introduces the faith, belief, and practice of Islam from its earliest origins up to its contemporary resurgence. John L. Esposito, an internationally renowned expert on Islam, traces the development of this dynamic faith and its impact on world history and politics. Lucidly written and expansive in scope, Islam: The Straight Path, Fourth Edition, provides keen insight into one of the world's least understood religions. It is ideally suited for use in courses on Islam, comparative religions, and Middle Eastern history and culture.


* A revised Chapter 5, "Religion and Politics," provides more focused and up-to-date coverage of Osama bin Laden's influence and the continued growth of extremism; the relationship of Islam to violence; the meaning of jihad and the origins of a global jihad ideology; the role of suicide bombing; and the influence of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi Islam.

* An updated Chapter 6, "The Struggle for Islam in the 21st Century," covers Muslim responses to new social and political contexts and presents the diverse and competing positions--from traditionalist to modernist--of contemporary Muslim leaders on issues of religious authority, women's rights, Shariah, violence, and terrorism.

* More extensive treatment of early Islam in Chapters 1 and 2

* An enhanced art program featuring twenty-one photos and three maps

* A new appendix that includes an extensive timeline of key events in the history of Islam

* A FREE 6-month subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online (, edited by John L. Esposito. Please look inside for details.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an excellent, comprehensive, and highly accessible introduction to Islam and its civilization; Muslims and their societies in the pre-modern to the modern period; and contemporary intellectual and political trends. In my opinion, it really is the single best introduction to Islam and Muslims today. The book keeps getting better and better with each new edition!"--Asma Afsaruddin, University of Notre Dame

"I have to commend OUP for its commitment to revising and updating this important book. Esposito writes in a lucid, accessible, and direct style that allows the book to be an excellent introduction for novice students. Esposito illustrates the rare ability of being comprehensive without being reductive."--Febe Armanios, Middlebury College

Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
One of the most widely known introductions to Islam, this edition includes a section specifically focusing on the 21st century. (LJ 5/1/98)
Library Journal
Esposito, a well-respected scholar and prolific writer on things Islamic, is the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and, most recently, general editor of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World LJ 3/15/95. Here we have the third edition of a book first published in 1988 LJ 9/15/88 outlining Muslim origins, history, doctrine, and culturegenerally in a Middle Eastern context. This edition, which contains a useful bibliography and thorough index, incorporates recent developments in the Middle East and adds material on Pakistan and on the growth of Islam in America. Free of any evident anti-Muslim or anti-Christian bias, Esposito's scholarly prose is both straightforward and highly readable, with technical terms always clearly defined. Nevertheless, this is a work for serious students. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with substantial collections in religion.James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195396003
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 176,173
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John L. Esposito is Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for International Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. He has been appointed William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the College of William and Mary and is president of the Middle East Studies Association. His many publications include Islam in Asia (Oxford, 1987), Islam and Politics, Second Edition (1987), Voices of Resurgent Islam (Oxford, 1983), Islam in Transition (Oxford, 1982), and Women in Muslim Family Law (1982).

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fourth Edition
1. Muhammad and the Quran: Messenger and Message
Muhammad and the Muslim Community
Muhammad and the West
The Quran: The Word of God
2. The Muslim Community in History
Muhammad and the Medinan State
The Caliphate (632-1258)
Islam and the West: The Crusades and Muslim Response to Militant Christianity
The Sultanate Period: Medieval Muslim Empires
Islam in the West
3. Religious Life: Belief and Practice
Islamic Law
Popular Religion
4. Modern Islamic Reform Movements
From Imperial Islam to Islamic Revivalism
Revivalism in Islam
Modern Islamic Movements
5. Religion & Politics
The Islamic Resurgence
Ideological Worldview of Revivalism
A Quiet Revolution
Osama Bin Laden and Global Terrorism
The Globalization and Hijacking of Jihad
Sayyid Qutb: Martyr of Islamic Radicalism
The Making of a Terrorist and his Global Jihad
Terrorists and Suicide Bombing
6. The Struggle for Islam in the 21st Century
The Struggle in Islam: The Debate
The Bifurcation of Society
The Ulama and Reform
Tradition: Anchor or Albatross?
A Spectrum of Reformers and Approaches
Cyberspace and High-Tech Islam
Critical Areas of Islamic Reform
The Challenge of Religious Pluralism
Global Multifaith and Intercivilizational Initiatives
The Challenge of Pluralism for Western Secular Democracies
Select Bibliography

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