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1. Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction

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Islamic History A Very Short Introduction

Description

Opening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to the twenty-first century, this Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history, charting the evolution of what was originally a small, localized community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherents. The book examines how Islam rose from the obscurity of seventh-century Arabia to the forefront of modern global concerns, and it highlights how we know what we claim to know about Islam's rise and development. Historian Adam J. Silverstein also discusses the peoples--Arabs, Persians, and Turks--who shaped Islamic history, and sheds light on three representative institutions--the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate--that highlight Islam's diversity over time. Finally, the book analyzes the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys among Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as little more than something that is not to be repeated.

2. Philosophy in the Islamic World: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Description

In the history of philosophy, few topics are so relevant to today's cultural and political landscape as philosophy in the Islamic world. Yet, this remains one of the lesser-known philosophical traditions. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Adamson explores the history of philosophy among Muslims, Jews, and Christians living in Islamic lands, from its historical background to thinkers in the twentieth century.

Introducing the main philosophical themes of the Islamic world, Adamson integrates ideas from the Islamic and Abrahamic faiths to consider the broad philosophical questions that continue to invite debate: What is the relationship between reason and religious belief? What is the possibility of proving God's existence? What is the nature of knowledge? Drawing on the most recent research in the field, this book challenges the assumption of the cultural decline of philosophy and science in the Islamic world by demonstrating its rich heritage and overlap with other faiths and philosophies.

ABOUT THE SERIES:
The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

3. Islam: A Very Short Introduction

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Oxford University Press USA

Description

Islam dominates the news, often in stories filled with images of violence. Yet these disturbing images are at odds with a faith that most adherents--who now number over a billion worldwide--would regard as no less pacific than Buddhism or Christianity. Indeed, the word Islam in Arabic means "self-surrender" and is closely related to salaam, the word for peace.

In this thoroughly revised new edition, Malise Ruthven offers a balance, compact, and reliable overview of Islam. An internationally recognized authority on Islam, Ruthven offers essential insights into this major world religion, examining such issues as why Islam has such major divisions between movements such as the Shi'ites, the Sunnis, and the Wahhabis, and the central importance of the Shar'ia (Islamic law) in Islamic life. He also provides fresh perspectives on contemporary questions: Why is the greatest Jihad (holy war) now against the enemies of Islam, rather than the struggle against evil? Can women find fulfillment in Islamic societies? How must Islam adapt as it confronts the modern world?

For the new edition, Ruthven brings the text up-to-date, shedding light on some of the most significant changes in the Muslim world in recent years; from the emergence of al-Qaeda and the attacks on New York and Washington on 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Ruthven includes a new chapter on "Globalized Islam," which examines the effects of economic globalization, the impact of international events in Middle Eastern countries, the questions surrounding Islam and democracy, and the reception and perception of Islam in the West.

4. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction

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Oxford University Press, USA

Description

The Koran has constituted a remarkably resilient core of identity and continuity for a religious tradition that is now in its fifteenth century. In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Cook provides a lucid and direct account of the significance of the Koran both in the modern world and in that of traditional Islam. He gives vivid accounts of its role in Muslim civilization, illustrates the diversity of interpretations championed by traditional and modern commentators, discusses the processes by which the book took shape, and compares it to other scriptures and classics of the historic cultures of Eurasia.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

5. Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction

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Oxford University Press USA

Description

As the founder of Islam, a religion with over one billion followers, Muhammad is beyond all doubt one of the most influential figures in world history. But learning about his life and understanding his importance has always proven difficult, as our only source of knowledge comes from the biography of him written by his followers, the reliability of which has been questioned by Western scholars. This Very Short Introduction provides a superb introduction to the major aspects of Muhammad's life and its importance, providing both Muslim and Western historical perspectives. It explains the prominent roles that Muhammad's persona has played in the Islamic world throughout history, from the medieval to the modern period. The book also sheds light on modern controversies such as the Satanic Verses, for which author Salman Rushdie was condemned for blasphemy, and the uproar over Danish cartoons of Muhammad, which triggered violent protests around the world. As these recent events show, whatever the truth about Muhammad's life, his persona still plays a crucial role in Muslim life and civilization.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

6. Iran: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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Oxford University Press, USA

Description

Iran has rarely been out of the headlines. Yet media interest and extensive coverage has tended to hinder rather than help our understanding of Iran as an idea, an identity, and a people, leading to a superficial understanding of what is a complex and nuanced political culture and civilization.

This Very Short Introduction presents a radical reinterpretation of Iranian history and politics, placing the Islamic Revolution in the context of a century of political change and social transformation. By considering the various factors that have contributed towards the construction of the idea of Iran and the complex identity of Iranians themselves, Ali Ansari steers a clear path towards a more realistic understanding for us all.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

7. The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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Oxford University Press, USA

Description

The conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the most highly publicized and bitter struggles of modern times, a dangerous tinderbox always poised to set the Middle East aflame--and to draw the United States into the fire. In this accessible and stimulating Very Short Introduction, Martin Bunton illuminates the history of the problem, reducing it to its very essence. Adopting a fresh and original approach, Bunton explores the Palestinian-Israeli dispute in twenty-year segments, to highlight the historical complexity of the conflict throughout successive decades. Each chapter starts with an examination of the relationships among people and events that marked particular years as historical stepping stones in the evolution of the conflict, including the 1897 Basle Congress, the 1917 Balfour Declaration and British occupation of Palestine, and the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the war for Palestine.

Providing a clear and fair exploration of the main issues, Bunton explores not only the historical basis of the conflict, but also looks at how and why partition has been so difficult and how efforts to restore peace continue today.

About the Series:

Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

8. Philosophy in the Islamic World: A history of philosophy without any gaps, Volume 3

Description

The latest in the series based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, this volume presents the first full history of philosophy in the Islamic world for a broad readership. It takes an approach unprecedented among introductions to this subject, by providing full coverage of Jewish and Christian thinkers as well as Muslims, and by taking the story of philosophy from its beginnings in the world of early Islam all the way through to the twentieth century. Major figures like Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimonides are covered in great detail, but the book also looks at less familiar thinkers, including women philosophers. Attention is also given to the philosophical relevance of Islamic theology (kalam) and mysticism--the Sufi tradition within Islam, and Kabbalah among Jews--and to science, with chapters on disciplines like optics and astronomy. The book is divided into three sections, with the first looking at the first blossoming of Islamic theology and responses to the Greek philosophical tradition in the world of Arabic learning. This 'formative period' culminates with the work of Avicenna, the pivotal figure to whom most later thinkers feel they must respond. The second part of the book discusses philosophy in Muslim Spain (Andalusia), where Jewish philosophers come to the fore, though this is also the setting for such thinkers as Averroes and Ibn Arabi. Finally, a third section looks in unusual detail at later developments, touching on philosophy in the Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid empires and showing how thinkers in the nineteenth to the twentieth century were still concerned to respond to the ideas that had animated philosophy in the Islamic world for centuries, while also responding to political and intellectual challenges from the European colonial powers.

9. Islam: A Very Short Introduction

Description

Islam features widely in the news, often in its most militant versions. But few people in the non-Muslim world really understand the nature of Islam, both as Ideology and religion. Islam: A Very Short Introduction offers essential insight into the structure and beliefs of this major world religion.
Malise Ruthven answers fundamental questions about the nature and scope of Islam such as why the greatest Jihad (holy war) is now against the enemies of Islam, rather than the struggle against evil, why Islam has such major divisions between movements such as the Shiis, the Sunnis, and the Wahhabis, and how the Sharia (Islamic law) has become such an important aspect of Islamic life. In addition, he prompts further questioning into the ideas of Islamic resurgence as both an old and new concept, whether or not women can find fulfillment and equality within an Islamic framework, and the sort of problems facing Islam and its confrontations with the modern world.
Offering fresh insights and new information, Islam: A Very Short Introduction provides a much needed discussion of Islam's past, present, and future, and its place in modern world religions.

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