A Reader on Classical Islam / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 08/02/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 38%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $2.23
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 95%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $2.23   
  • New (3) from $31.98   
  • Used (15) from $2.23   


To enable the reader to shape, or perhaps reshape, an understanding of the Islamic tradition, F. E. Peters skillfully combines extensive passages from Islamic texts with a fascinating commentary of his own. In so doing, he presents a substantial body of literary evidence that will enable the reader to grasp the bases of Muslim faith and, more, to get some sense of the breadth and depth of Islamic religious culture as a whole. The voices recorded here are those of Muslims engaged in discourse with their God and with each other--historians, lawyers, mystics, and theologians, from the earliest Companions of the Prophet Muhammad down to Ibn Rushd or "Averroes" (d. 1198), al-Nawawi (d. 1278), and Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406). These religious seekers lived in what has been called the "classical" period in the development of Islam, the era when the exemplary works of law and spirituality were written, texts of such universally acknowledged importance that subsequent generations of Muslims gratefully understood themselves as heirs to an enormously broad and rich legacy of meditation on God's Word.

"Islam" is a word that seems simple to understand. It means "submission," and, more specifically in the context where it first and most familiarly appears, "submission to the will of God." That context is the Quran, the Sacred Book of the Muslims, from which flow the patterns of belief and practice that today claim the spiritual allegiance of hundreds of millions around the globe. By drawing on the works of the great masters--Islam in its own words--Peters enriches our understanding of the community of "those who have submitted" and their imposing religious and political culture, which is becoming ever more important to the West.

To enable the reader to shape, or reshape, an understanding of the Islamic tradition, Peters skillfully combines extensive passages from Islamic texts with a fascinating commentary of his own, providing a grasp of the basics of the Muslim faith, as well as some sense of the breadth and depth of Islamic religious culture as a whole.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

MESA Bulletin
For a text to use in an introductory course on Islam, this volume would make an excellent choice. Islam is presented here as understood by Muslims themselves, and where Muslims themselves are in disagreement.
From the Publisher

"For a text to use in an introductory course on Islam, this volume would make an excellent choice. Islam is presented here as understood by Muslims themselves, and where Muslims themselves are in disagreement."--MESA Bulletin

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691000404
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/27/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 1,277,956
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xv

Introduction: A Primer on Islam 3

CHAPTER I The Past, Sacred and Profane

1. The Quran on Creation 8

2. Adam and the Angels 10

3. The Primordial Ka'ba I I

4. The Covenant with Abraham 13

5. Abraham and Ishmael in the Holy Land 16

6. Abraham the Builder 17

7. The Beginning of the Pilgimage Ritual 20

8. The Prophet Moses 22

9. The Wisdom of Solomon 24

10. The Muslims' Jesus 27

11. A Muslim Account of Pentecost 34

12. Mecca in the Era of Ignorance 35

13. The Religion of Mecca 37

14. Pre-Islamic Monotheism 39

15. The Hanifs 40

CHAPTER 2 The Life and Work of the Prophet

1. Muhammad's Descent from Adam 44

2. The Birth of the Prophet 44

3. The Scriptural Prediction of the Coming of the Prophet of Islam 46

4. Marriage with Khadija 49

5. Muhammad's Call and First Revelation so

6. Sadness, Doubt, Consolation 53

7. The Conversion of Ali 54

8. The Earliest Public Preaching of Islam SS

9. The Opposition of the Quraysh 59

10. Persecution and Migration to Abyssinia 6 1

11. The Boycott 63

12. Muhammad's Night Journey 64

13. Losses, Personal and Political 67

14. An Invitation from Yathrib 68

15. A Turn to Armed Resistance 70

16. The Hijra or Migration to Medina (622 C.E.) 71

17. The Constitution of Medina 74

18. Jewish Opposition 75

19. Fighting in the Sacred Month 76

20. The Battle at the Badr Wells 77

21. The Fate of the Banu Qaynuqa' 78

22. From Badr to the Battle of the Trench 79

23. The Banu Qurayza 83

24. The Arrangement at Hudaybiyya 85

25 The Pilgrimage Fulfilled 88

26. "The Truth Has Come and Falsehood Has Passed Away" 89

27. Consolidation of Gains 90

28. The Submission of the Idolators 91

29. A Primer on Islam 92

30. The Farewell Pilgrimage 94

31. Muhammad's Illness and Death (June 632 C.E.) 95

32. The Beginning of the Muslim Era 97

CHAPTER 3 The Community of Muslims

1. The Peoples of the Book 99

2. The Errors of the Jews 100

3. The Jews Warned by Their Own Prophets 102

4. The Error of the Christians 103

S. The Muslim Community 104

6. An Arabic Quran 106

7. "Catholic" Islam: Staying Close to the Tradition 109

8. A shi'ite View of the Community 112

9. Wrong Belief and Unbelief 113

10. The Caliphate 117

11. Caliph and Imam 12o

12. The Ruler, Chosen by the People or Designated by God? 122

13. Ali, the First Imam 124

14. The Pool of Khum 127

15. The Martyrdom of Husayn 128

16. The "People of the House" 131

17. The shi'ite Succession 133

18. Awaiting the Hidden Imam 135

19. "Twelvers" and "Seveners" among the Shi'ites 140

20. A juridical Portrait of the Sunni Caliph 142

21. The Powers of the Caliph-Imam 144

22. The Delegation of the Royal Power: The Sultanate 14-7

23. The Religious Powers of the Caliph 148

24. The Five Pillars of Islam ISO

25. Moral Islam 152

26. Alms and Charity 153

27. The Sixth Pillar: War in the Path of God 154

28. "There Is No Compulsion in Religion" 156

CHAPTER 4 The Word of God and Its Understanding

1. A Muslim History of Prophecy 158

2. Did the Jews and Christians Tamper with Scripture? 161

3. The Divine Origin of the Quran 165

4. Muhammad's Ascension into Heaven 168

5. The Night of Destiny 16q

6. The Heavenly Book 170

7. The Quran: Created or Uncreated? 172

8. "Bring a Sura Like It" 173

9. The Earliest Sura 175

10. The Heart of the Quran: The "Throne Verse" 176

11. The "Satanic Verses" 177

12. The Revelation and Its Copy 178

13. Uthman's Recension of the Quran 179

14. Who Put Together the Suras? 181

15. The Seven "Readings" of the Quran 181

16. Textual Corruptions? The Shi'ite View 183

17. The Proofs of Prophecy 18S

18. Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets 18S

19. Muhammad among the Prophets 187

20. Avicenna on the Prophethood of Muhammad 189

21. The Clear and the Ambiguous in the Quran 191

22. How the Muslim Should Read the Quran 194

23. Quranic Exegesis 19S

24. Where Did the Muslim Commentators Get Their Information? 197

25. The Outer and Inner Meanings of the Quran 198

26. Ghazali on the Sciences of Revelation 201

27. Allegorical Interpretation as a Resolution of Apparent Contradictions 203

28. Dull Masses and Minds Tied Down to Sensibles 205

29. The Pleasures of Paradise 207

CHAPTER 5 The Quran, the Prophet, and the Law

1. On the Usefulness of Tradition 213

2. Scripture, Tradition, and the Law in Islam 214.

3. The Word of God Is One: The Inspiration of the Prophetic Traditions 220

4. Their Transmission 220

5.Tendentious and Sectarian Traditions 221

6. The Criticism of Traditions 222

7. The Categories of Traditions 224

8. The Companions of the Prophet 224

9. Contradictory Traditions 22S

10. The Canonical Collections 226

11. The Derivation of God's Commands 227

12. On Consensus 229

13, Personal Initiative in the Law 231

14. Legal Knowledge and Legal Obligations 236

15. The Collective Obligation 237

16. The Evolution of Islamic jurisprudence 239

17. The Classical Schools 240

18. The End of the Age of the Fathers 242

19. Abrogation in Islamic Law 243

20. The Case of the Woman Taken in Adultery 246

21. Crimes and Their Penalties in the Quran 248

22. Divorce in Islamic Law 249

23. Controversial Questions 251

24. "0 Believers, Fasting Is Enjoined on You" 252

CHAPTER 6 The Worship of God

1. How Paganism and Idol Worship Came to Mecca 258

2. Islam and the Graven Image 260

3. The Muslims' Prayer 263

4. Prophetic Traditions on Prayer 26S

5. The Direction of Prayer 268

6. The Prophet Builds His Mosque 270

7. The Institution of the Call to Prayer 271

8. On the Manner and Intent of Prayer 272

9. The Friday Service 274

10. The Two Liturgical Festival Days 276

11. A Muslim Holy Day: The Tenth of Muharram 277

12. The Pilgrimage of Islam 279

13. Muhammad's Farewell Pilgrimage 280

14. Islamicizing the Hajj 28S

15. The Twelfth-Century Haram 289

16. Ghazali on the Proper Performance of the Hajj 294

17. The Prophet's Mosque and Tomb at Medina 298

18. A Visit to Medina 302

CHAPTER 7 Saints and Mystics

1. This World and the Next: The Islamic Preaching 307

2. The Historical Origins of the Sufi Movement 310

3. Conversions and Affirmations 3 1 2

4. Two Sufi Autobiographies: Ibn Abi al-Khayr and al-Ghazali 315

5. "No Monasticism in Islam" 321

6. Monks and Sufis 322

7. Sufi. Communities 32S

8. Convent Life in Islam 328

9. The Lamp in the Niche 330

10. What Is the Mystic Way? 332

11. Junayd on Oneness of and with God 33S

12. Self-Obliteration 337

13. Oneness with God Is Not Identity with God 338

14. The Life and Death of a Mystic: Al-Hallaj 339

15. "I Am the Truth" 341

16. Ecstatic Utterances 342

17. The Face in the Mirror 343

18. Al-Jili and the Perfect Man 349

19. Ibn Khaldun: An Evaluation of the Sufi. Tradition 351

20. Sufis and shi'ites 353

CHAPTER 8 Islamic Theology

1. The Origins of Theology in Islam 358

2. The Intrusion of Philosophy into Dialectical Theology 361

3. The Limited Role of Dialectical Theology 363

4. The Fundamentalist Position: "Without Howing" versus Dialectical Theology 365

5. Ash'ari on the Charge of Heretical Innovation 367

6. Rationalist Theology 368

7. Farabi on God's Providence 369

8. Ghazali on Theology and Muslim Belief 370

9. The Truth of Philosophy 371

10. Rationalist Ethics and Revealed Morality 372

11. Ibn Rushd: The Law Commands the Study of Philosophy 374

12. The Mystic's Gnosis and the Theologian's Science 377

13. The Illumination of the Intellect 382

14. The Life after Death 388

15. The Second Coming: The Muslim Tradition 389

16. "A Man from My Family" 391

17. The Preaching of God's Final Judgment 392

18. The End Defined 401

19. The Torments of the Grave 403

20. The Incoherence of the Philosophers on the Afterlife 405

21. An End to Hell? 409

22. The Vision of God 411

Sources Cited 413

Index 417

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)