A New Introduction to Islam / Edition 2

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The second edition of this student-friendly textbook explores the origins, major features and lasting influence of the Islamic tradition.

  • Traces the development of Muslim beliefs and practices against the background of social and cultural contexts extending from North Africa to South and Southeast Asia
  • Fully revised for the second edition, with completely new opening and closing chapters considering key issues facing Islam in the 21st century
  • Focuses greater attention on everyday practices, the role of women in Muslim societies, and offers additional material on Islam in America
  • Includes detailed chronologies, tables summarizing key information, useful maps and diagrams, and many more illustrations
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The ideal mixture of sympathetic description and critical analysis. Careful not only to present the full range of Muslim interpretations of important events, movements, texts, and doctrines, but also to provide penetrating historical assessments of the key issues, this is the only introductory book that integrates the latest scholarship on Islamic history, the canonization of the Qur’an, and the development of hadiths. Furthermore, this integrative approach also highlights the interconnectedness of religion, theology, law, and politics of Islam."
Herbert Berg, University of North Carolina Wilmington

"Designed as a student-friendly textbook, Brown explores Islam's origins, major features, and lasting influence. Brown, who has lived and taught in Egypt and Pakistan, offers both a sympathetic description and a critical analysis." (Islamic Horizons, November 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405158077
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/20/2009
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 337,514
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel W. Brown has lived in Egypt and in Pakistan, where he spent his first 18 years. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, at the Institute of Islamic Culture in Lahore and at Cairo University, and has taught Islamic studies at Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and Smith colleges. He is the author of Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.

Preface to the Second Edition.

Source Acknowledgments.

Part I The Formation of the Islamic Tradition.

1 Islam in Global Perspective.

The Problem of Defining Islam.

Mapping the Islamic World.

Arabs and Non-Arabs.

SunnCs and Shi'ites.

Islamic Ritual.

What to Expect from This Book.

Essential Resources for the Study of Islam.

2 Arabia.


Pre-Islamic Poetry.

Arab Religion.

Women in Pre-Islamic Arabia.

Mecca and the Quraysh.

The Gifts of the Arabs.

Resources for Further Study.

3 The Pre-Islamic Near East.

Christianity in the Near East.

Saints and Relics.





The Place of the Arabs in the Near East.

Resources for Further Study.

4 The Life of Muhammad.

Prologue and Setting.

Birth and Childhood.

Early Adulthood.

The Beginning of Revelation.


The Night Journey and Ascent to Heaven.

The Hijra.

The Battle of Badr.

Confrontation with the Jews of Medina.

The Battle of Uhud.

The Peace of al-Ludaybiyya and the Farewell Pilgrimage.


Resources for Further Study.

5 The Qur’an.

Approaches to the Qur’an.

The History of the Text.

Jesus in the Qur’an.

The Qur’an in Muslim Piety.

The Eternity of the Qur’an.

The Inimitability of the Qur’an.

Interpreting the Qur’an.

Central Themes.

Qur’anic Narratives.

Qur’anic Law and the Problem of Abrogation.

Women and Gender in the Qur’an.

The Problem of Context.

Resources for Further Study.

6 The Tradition Literature.

The Science of Hadith.

The Origins of Hadith.

In Quest of the Historical Muhammad.

The Sira and the Shaping of an Islamic Worldview.

Resources for Further Study.

Part II The Expansion of Islam.

7 The Conquests.

Psychological Impact.

Archeological Data: The “Invisible” Conquests.

Resources for Further Study.

8 Religion of Empire.

Arab Colonial Policy.

Conversion to Islam.


The First Civil War.

The Martyrdom of Lusayn.

The Deputy of God.

Personal Piety.

The Dome of the Rock.

The Constitution of Medina.

Resources for Further Study.

9 The Caliphate.

Ibn al-Muqaffa‘.

The Shi'ite Vision.

The ‘Abbasids.



Nizari “Assassins”.


The Sasanian Revival.

Al-Mawardi and the Sunni Compromise.

Resources for Further Study.

Part III Islamic Institutions.

10 Islamic Law.

The Coffee Debate.

Revelation and Reason.


The Schools of Law.

Islamic Law and the State.


The Uaul al-Fiqh.

The Substance of the Law.

Ritual Purity.

Acts of Worship.

Marriage and Divorce.

The Origins of Islamic Law.

Al-Shafi' i and Islamic Legal Theory.

Resources for Further Study.

11 Islamic Theology and Philosophy.

Freedom and Determinism.

God’s Attributes.


Faith and Works.


The Sunni Consensus.

Ahmad ibn Lanbal.



Jewish and Christian Influences.

The Challenge of Philosophy.

Prophecy and Revelation in Islamic Philosophy.

Philosophy and Mysticism.

Resources for Further Study.

12 Sufism.

The Parliament of Birds.

Stages on the Path.

The Spiritual Master.

Sufi Brotherhoods.

Sufi Ritual.

The Destination.

Sufi Cosmology.

Sufism in History: The Case of al-Hallaj.

Beginnings to the Tenth Century.

Classical Manuals and the Growth of Tariqas.

The Pervasiveness of Sufism.

Resources for Further Study.

Part IV Crisis and Renewal in Islamic History.

13 Turks, Crusaders, and Mongols.

The Saljuqs.

Al-Ghazali and the Sunni Revival.

Slave Soldiers.

The Crusades.

The Mongols.

The Impact of the Mongol Invasions.

Resources for Further Study.

14 Revival and Reform.

The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires.

The Rise of European Power.

The Religious Environment.

The ‘Ulama’.

Sufi Reformers.

The Wahhabi Movement.

Resources for Further Study.

15 Islam and the West.

Napoleon’s Invasion of Egypt.

The Birth of Orientalism.

Jihad Movements.


Sayyid Ahmad Khan and ‘Aligarh.

Resources for Further Study.

16 The Turbulent Twentieth Century.

Islam and Modernity.

The Abolition of the Caliphate.



The Salafi Movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood.

Jihad and Martyrdom.

From Shari‘a to Secular Law and Back.

Muslim Family Law.

Modern Qur’an Interpretation.

The Problem of Sunna.

Ijtihad and Ijma'

A New Kalam?

Muhammad ‘Abduh.

Muhammad Iqbal.

The Vitality of Sufism.

Resources for Further Study.

17 Islam in the Twenty-First Century.

The Challenge of Pluralism.

Twenty-First-Century Wahhabism.

Islamic Liberalism.

Islam in the West.

Islamic Feminism.

The Challenge of Islam.




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