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On the “Introduction to Islam”

A. Kevin Reinhart

WHAT GOES INTO AN “INTRODUCTORY” COURSE? To a large extent the truisms of the culture, the discipline, and the field are catalyzed by the biography of the instructor. And so the introductory course, at least at first, is constructed reactively as much as “proactively.” There is first the Oedipal stage in an instructor’s career (where every lecture is a critique of every book read, every mistaken idea inflicted on the instructor in the course of his/her education). Next comes the market-driven, student pulse-taking phase (in which he1 figures out what, besides the finest graduate school nuances of disciplinary history, might interest undergraduates). Thereafter, an instructor may have the good fortune to be able to rethink that introductory course. In the process, it is likely to be problems he has found in teaching Islam that shape his notion of how Islam ought to be taught. So the third phase of course-construction is marked by engagement with the field, with student interest, and the experienced problems of teaching an introductory course. It is important, in this third phase, to have not merely reactions but also goals that inform the course’s shape and content.

What follows (somewhat idealized)2 is my current attempt to teach the “Introduction to Islam.” The course is, more or less, chronologically organized (for reasons explained below) and is “back-loaded,” that is, modernity is given a chronologically proportionate amount of coverage. The result is something of a “heritage” course.3 After teaching the introductory course for a few years, I have shaped Religion 8, “An Introduction to Islam,” around two critiques and three desiderata. Before sketching out the course itself, I would like to lay out briefly these metaconcerns. The two critiques are, first, of the media and cultural truisms about Muslims and Islam, and second, of students’ natural tendencies to essentialize religion and exotic cultures. The desiderata are to provide an easily grasped narrative, to convey the moral seriousness of Islam (and of religion), and to leave students with an appreciation of the religious achievements of Muslims and their religious history.



The Media Heritage

Teaching Islam poses special problems, but these problems are not problems of ignorance, as with for example, African Religion, or problems of pop vulgarization, as is frequently the case with Hinduism, or with zealous identification, as with teaching the Bible or New Testament.4 What we are confronted with instead are problems with “pseudo-knowledge.”

All students who walk into an Islam class, though they profess ignorance, still “know” something about Islam—if only from the news. Every Islamicist is aware that, whether it is in The New York Daily News or on National Public Radio, it is the negative, the violent, the ignorant that characterize the images and voices presented in the media as Muslim. Garbled or dated history, plotted summaries of creed and practices—all these are framed by distaste, dislike, or outrage. Yet in the end, this is less a problem of fact than a problem of affect: students arrive with a constellation of terms, mostly negative, that cluster around the notion of Islam, so that words like “terrorist” come naturally and unreflectively when they answer an exam question about, say, the Kharijis. The classroom goal is not to ban such terms (there are Muslim terrorists) but to bring students to reflect on how they come to analyze with these particular categories.

Almost always, it emerges in discussion that these reflexive categories of analysis are media terms, alongside words like “moderate” versus “radical,” “violence,” “fanatic,” and the like. It usually suffices to point this fact out and demonstrate it with clippings, excerpts from popular novels, and video clips. Students want to be savvy media critics, as one of the panelists at the 1995 MESA workshop on “Teaching the Introduction to Islam,” where this paper was first given, pointed out, and it is our job to help them become so.


To my surprise, I have found the media-stereotype problem less profound and less difficult to change than some larger epistemological errors that may be peculiar to the study of religion and particularly afflict the study of Islam.

A cursory survey of other college and university religion department course offerings confirms my impression that a course called “Introduction to Christianity” is very rare, while “Introduction to Buddhism, Islam, Judaism” is much more common. We know so much about Christianity that “Introduction to Christianity” would seem impossibly wide in scope, if not downright offensive. Course titles in that field are more likely to be “Early Christianity” or “Medieval Christianity.” When teaching about Islam (and other non-Christian traditions), however, there is a tendency to smudge the particularities and varieties of the tradition, and, of course, when covering a 1,400-year tradition that stretches from the Philippines to Philadelphia, it is tempting to essentialize. This is equally a problem for the instructor who knows too much, as well as for the instructor who knows too little.

Students too, once they are convinced how little they know, also want to essentialize. “What is Islam’s position on abortion?” they ask. My stock mantra in reply is “which Muslims and when?” It is crucial to insist that it is Muslims who are agents and to avoid the hypostatization of something called “Islam” into an agent that acts, thinks, or believes. Islam does not think, require, or hold positions; Muslims do. Similarly, for the instructor, it is important also to choose representative examples, without representing them as exhaustive of the Islamic possibilities. There are, I find, two kinds of essentialism toward which students and instructors are drawn—phenomenal and historical/geographical.

PHENOMENAL ESSENTIALISM Phenomenal essentialism is the assumption that there is some intrinsic form of Islam that transcends time and place; an essence of Islam. This is a mistake characteristic of both Muslim and non-Muslim students—Muslims, because they are committed to the idea of a transcendent truth to which they adhere, and non-Muslims because they assume the stability of that which is labeled by the word “Islam,” just as Judaism, slavery, or democracy are also understood to be stable essences represented by the word.

To subvert this metaphysical approach I make Hodgson’s terminology from his prolegomena to The Venture of Islam5 standard for the course. The differences underlying his distinctions between Islam and Islamdom, Islamic and Islamicate are so commonsensical and so taken-for-granted in other fields of academic study that not to use them is a kind of intellectual sloth that requires justification by those who would choose not to take pains to speak precisely. No one would say, “with Clive’s victory in the Battle of Plassey, Christianity controlled all of India.” Yet it is commonplace to say that “after the battle of Yarmouk, Islam was victorious throughout the Middle East.” Bulliet and many others have shown, of course, that it was not “Islam” that was victorious but the Arab armies; and centuries were to pass before “Islam” was the dominant religion of the Middle East or anywhere else besides Arabia.6 Similarly, the difference in usage and implication is obvious between, on the one hand, “the decline of Christianity in Europe” or “the decline of Judaism in Cochin,” and, on the other, “the decline of Islam in the eighteenth century.” The former clearly suggest a loss of allegiance or a decline in population, while the latter implies a loss of military or political power.

A course on “Islam” must clarify its object of study—the Religion of Islam—to inoculate its students against the conceptual drowsiness of many who teach and write about Islam and Islamdom, and who conflate religion and state, religion and power, or religion and identity.

HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL ESSENTIALISM Historical essentialism is the belief that some period of Islam is quintessential, that the real Islam is to be seen in the middle ‘Abbasid period, for example, or in the Damascus circles of Ibn Taymiyyah, or in the community of Muhammad, and versions of Islam outside those are irrelevant, decadent, or merely marginal. Geographical essentialism is the assertion that Islam’s true home is the Arab world, or that Muslims in the Middle East are archetypal Muslims and Muslims in India are syncretists, inauthentic, or novice Muslims.

A clear instance of this essentialism is found when a course on Islam stops at 1258 and then segues into “the Western Impact” in the nineteenth century. Surely, the implication is that Muslims who lived after 1258 or outside the ‘Abbasid world are marginal to our concern. To the contrary, I would suggest that the Islam of the Middle Periods is more crucial to understanding most varieties of Islam than is the state-centered Islam of 750–1258.7 A similar mistake is teaching Shi‘ism as if what distinguishes Shi‘ism from Sunnism is a dispute over the caliphate between 632–661. Shi‘ism may have begun in this dispute, but the political struggle was never all that was at issue. To focus on these events is to make the Shi‘ah seem like losers when they might just as easily be presented as tenacious survivors. In any case, Shi‘ism, like Sunnism, has a history and to slight that history is to deform the history of Islam.8

An introduction to Islam must leave students with an appreciation for various forms of Islam, in various times and places, while giving them the means to see how all of these can usefully be identified by the term “Islam.” It takes work, particularly to get across the idea that Arabs are not norma- tive Muslims, and that works in Arabic are not the only important Islamic scholarship.



Shifting from the negative to the positive part of the course design, I can now discuss what I hope to convey and the means by which I hope to convey it. The course must be carried, I think, by some kind of narrative, and in the effort to de-essentialize the teaching of Islam, I have found a historical narrative to work best.

A story is something we try to create from the jumbled stimuli of our own lives, and it seems that we are hard-wired to look for narrative sequence. A good narrative keeps students coming to class and helps them keep track of change and variation. As importantly, narrative subverts essentialism, since it shows transformation and development, without valuing one period over another. A narrative can reflect the repeated reconceptualization of ideas, practices, and meanings, so that students grasp that the term “Islam” meant differently in different times, places, and contexts. A chronological narrative, properly done, also subverts the idea that the early period was dynamic, the middle period sclerotic, and the latest period merely reactive. This course then is a roughly chronological story of the elaboration, adaptation, and change of “Islam” by Muslims.

Moral Seriousness

The second task of the course, a particular concern of the historian of religion, is to convey the seriousness of the enterprise. This “Islam stuff” is about the practitioners’ eternal destiny, and I am convinced that important figures in the history of Islam took that very seriously. A course that merely presents changes in dogmas or practices without reference to the weightiness of Islam’s consequences for Muslims leaves students adrift in a Sargasso of facts with no sense of why Muslims undertook the voyage.

In general, moral seriousness is a hard thing for our students to grasp, particularly since most of them are only faintly religious, and ironic distance is the fashionable stance of our times. Moreover, the academy often encourages them to see religious life merely as a mask for some other “more fundamental” force—control, domination, or profit. They also see religious life as a species of consumer choice, like the choice of a career or even which sports team to support. Becoming a Sufi is not a “lifestyle decision,” like wearing plaid shirts and buying a four-wheel drive vehicle, and undertaking to live according to the Shariʿah is not just a matter of reading the user’s manual. These are life-altering commitments more serious even than deciding between investment banking and law school.

Sometimes, in these conservative times, analogies to the language of nationalism, ethnicity, and patriotism work to explain the communal commitment of Muslims. One must be clear that these are analogies, but such comparisons help students to understand emotion and identification.


Fnally, and perhaps more controversial, I think an introductory course on Islam should leave students with an appreciation, and ideally, a positive feeling about Islam. To convey what it is that has appealed to the believer is a goal taken for granted in the introduction to Judaism,9 Chinese religion, or Buddhism, but that same appreciation is seen by some as pandering, in an Islam course.

So, for the ever-troubling “woman-problem” (see below), it is important to locate structures of Islamic anthropology and point out that historically, these have depicted men and women as located in different and hierarchically arranged domains. One should also point out that many Muslim women and men find this anthropology, in fact, to be un-Islamic and an artifact of the gender of the medievals who developed Islam’s law. When essentialism is avoided, the ethical failures or evil acts of Muslims are seen no more to indict Islam than Jim Jones or the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre indict Christianity. Islam has been an immensely successful missionary religion. It seems to me that an introductory course fails if it does not convey what has drawn millions to the faith.

The Course Structure

All of the foregoing is an attempt to articulate, after the fact, sensations and perceptions that have resulted in the course described below. This course was not designed from the top down, but over time it evolved, in dialogue as it were, between students’ questions and the instructor’s agenda.

The course as it exists now is an argument that Islamic religious history is a repeated encounter by Muslims with the Quran, the Quran-bearer, the ritual practice of the community, and a tradition of socio-moral dissent. In a series of elaborations arising from these encounters, the range of practice and belief we call “Islam” has emerged. In addition, there is a prologue to the course, and there are various points at which certain technical problems in the study of Islam are addressed.



The first course topic is a discussion of what is called in shorthand, “Orientalism.” This lecture and discussion is conceived of less as conveying information than of inoculating against pseudo-information. Here I lay out a brief history of the study of Islam, and, drawing on Norman Daniel10 and Jean-Jacques Waardenburg,11 some of the misinformation characteristic of the field is shown to be reflected in various contemporary journalistic and popular accounts. For a few years we read and discussed the famous New York Review of Books debate between Bernard Lewis and Edward Said.12 We’ve also read Said’s later reflection on “Orientalism”13 and Grafflin’s shrewd article in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars14.

More effective than these rather detailed slanging matches have been accounts from Newsweek that embody the tropes I discuss, nineteenth-century Orientalist paintings and popular culture novels—especially Leon Uris’s vile Haj and Jonathan Kellerman’s startlingly racist Butcher’s Theater.15 It is through popular media that the clichés are perpetuated and ingested, and students are most attentive when the medium is something with which they are familiar. For that reason, I’m beginning a videotape anthology of “greatest anti-Arab/ anti-Muslim scenes from the cinema.” Fifteen minutes of Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger killing “towel-heads” while they run around yelling “Allahu Akbar,” and Omar Sharif (as an Arab) being told by blonde Peter O’Toole (as Lawrence), “The Arabs are a silly people,” may be more effective still.

The difficulty, of course, is that many of our students are primed either to see “Orientalism” as yet another in the catalog of Western sins or as whiney, liberal, West-bashing. So it is important to move from Orientalism to a discussion of the cultural construction of others. We usually end the discussion with a bit from Mawdudi’s Purdah,16 where he offers stereotypes of America—our sexual excesses and other peculiar customs. The final point, usually drawing from Usāmah,17 is to discuss the difference between the construction of others from positions of power and positions of less power.

Though the topic comes up again in the course from time to time, I have been quite surprised at the extent to which students “get it” and bring to the class clippings that demonstrate other weird journalistic takes on Islamdom.


After this brief theoretical flirtation, we come to what is the heart of the course—both methodologically and organizationally—the section entitled “the matrix of Islam.” The argument of the course is that Muslims have encountered the elements of the matrix—Quran, Prophet, Ritual, Dissent—over and again throughout Islamic history. While variables like social organization, class, and economy have shaped what Muslims have made of these crucial elements, these four remain the building blocks of any given Islam at any time in any place. These encounters and reencounters form the narrative of the course, which is, in short, that Muslims have “thickened” their understanding of Islam and of the contents and implications of Quran until the modern era, when they have deliberately “thinned” out the compound of things Islamic.18


The first element of the matrix is the Quran. As much as possible I try to focus on the “unmediated” Quran, as found in some of Michael Sells’s work19 and that of Angelika Neuwirth.20 The Quran is sound and rhythm, as well as a content that can be summed up as, among other things, a Muhammadian dialog with Arab mores, and with Christian and Jewish “mistakes.” We read from Arberry’s translation,21 which, despite his misguided use of the Flügel numbering system, remains the most successful attempt to capture the oral qualities and resonances of the Quran. Our approach is to make sense of the Quranic content and show it presenting a cosmology, an anthropology, a soteriology, and a Heilsgeschichte. It is also very important to make sense of the Quranic style, and to this end I use Norman O. Brown’s brilliant article22 (with Angelika Neuwirth’s on reserve) to take apart a “typical” surah.

Quran-Bearer: Muhammad

As with the Quran, our goal in these lectures is to capture something of the unmediated Muhammad. I try and reconstruct him and his role from Quranic citations, and point out that in contemporary seventh-century documents, such as the Aphrodito papyri, he is not mentioned—suggesting that his importance to Muslims as a source of knowledge grew over time. I point out the late date of Ibn Hishām and even Ibn al-Kalbī’s hagiography.23 And it is here where the (in my view largely untenable) views of Crone,24 Wansbrough,25 etc., are discussed. Peters’s article on the quest for the historical Muhammad26 is particularly to the point here, but it has to be counterbalanced with works like those of Watt, Serjeant, and Chabbi.27 I try also to call attention to Muhammad’s theoretical dispensability: There is, in Muslim understanding, Islam without Muhammad, and in early understandings it appears his role was as a vehicle for the miraculous, rather than as a miraculous being himself. This point will provide a contrast for the later discussions of Muhammad.


A few ritual prohibitions, but more important, the ritual obligations of Islam are discussed. The thrust of these lectures is that ritual shapes (Islamic) time and space and creates, in the quotidian, a pattern of sacramental moments. I also discuss ritual as a structuring of community and review the (rather slender) Quranic ritual stipulations, which nonetheless adumbrate all the rituals understood today by Muslims to be central to Islam.

A lecture also describes “popular” religion and the soft margins of religious identity. It argues that “lived” Islam is always a mix of the “universal” or “standard” Islam and “vernacular” Islam.28 Various films show nonofficial but nonetheless, efficacious religious behaviors that are, for their practitioners, part of Islam as well.29

Dissent: Socio-Moral Criticism: “Commending the good and forbidding the reprehensible”

The last of the matrix elements is the notion of socio-moral criticism.30 This has, of course, been part of Islam from its very beginning; the Quran is full of critiques of contemporary practice, as well as of general moral injunctions. It is argued that the ‘Alid revolts and resistance to them were, in part at least, driven by socio-moral concerns. Here the main reading is Shaykh al-Mufīd’s account of “the Commander of the Faithful” and of “the Passion of al-Ḥusayn.”31

I also discuss the Kharijis as critics of urbane Arab norms and moral laxity, as well as resisters of irreligious, dynastic claims to the caliphate. Here Watt’s distinction between charismatic community and charismatic leader provides a useful starting point for contrasting the ‘Alid with other Islamic orientations.32


This unit establishes the dynamism of Islam. Each lecture’s reading includes Quranic passages and hadith cited by those engaged in the enterprises I describe.

The introductory lecture for this unit attacks two problems: the first is, what does it mean to say “religions evolve”? This is particularly important not only for Muslims in the class but also for all the religiously identifying students, who may feel either threatened by the notion that religions change or feel that situating these changes in society and culture compromises the “truth” of Islam. The second problem is what we mean by “influence.” Here I discuss romantic roots of the idea of “originality,” as the correlate of “sincerity,” and try to situate Islam in its Near Eastern environment.33

The Commentarial Sciences: Defining ‘ilm

For this section, our “hook” is the development of the notion that Islam has five (or six) pillars. In the course of discussing the various versions of this cliché of Islamic studies (and of Muslim apologetics), I introduce them to the development of commentarial literature on the Quran and to hadith.

QURANIC COMMENTARY  This lecture points out problems in the redaction and transcription of Quran. The development of lexicography and grammar as Muslim sciences; different commentarial strategies; something of the history of Revelation-supplements (the qāṣ;ṣ; literature [religiously edifying stories] for example) are all described. The Wansbrough and Burton34 perspectives on the Quran’s redaction are examined.

BIOGRAPHY, SUNNAH, AND HADITH  Similarly, the development of Sunnah and hadith literature are sketched in this unit. The debate on “authenticity” among Goldziher, Abbot, Sezgin, and most recently Juynboll, Calder, and Motzki35 is examined. I also trace the development of biography as a Muslim science, in the service of history and of hadith. Finally, as a case study, I offer a dissection of an isnād/matn [headnote/text] complex, taken from Juynboll.36

PIETISM [WAR] AND RIGOR [ZUHD] This lecture is presented as an iteration of the tradition of socio-moral dissent. Our focus here is on al-Ḥasan al-Baṣ;rī as a crucial figure in the early development of what became theology, fiqh, and Sufism, all avant la lettre. The controversy over the building of Wāsit., the image of Abū Dharr, rebellions of the ‘Abbasids and others, and the disengagement of the new class of religious quasi professionals from the ‘Abbasids, are discussed.37


Shariʿah and Fiqh: The Institutionalization of ‘ilm

This unit presents the development of fiqh, then the later development of uṣ;ūl al-fiqh, and the concept of Shariʿah. I make general points about the three categories of “applied fiqh” [furū‘]: “acts of bondsmanship” [‘ibādāt] (i.e., ritual), “social relations” [mu‘aāmalāt], and “criminal law” [ḥudūd]. The focus of the lectures, however, is on the hermeneutics by which hadith and Quran are extracted so they can be brought to bear on novel problems. This lecture is oriented first to understanding how the fiqh process resolves certain important religious problems—the limitations of revelation, the need for an ongoing revelation, the desire to mythologize religious history, etc. Second, I show how fiqh solves practical problems, not just ideological ones. (This lecture is the background for the assignment described below.)38

THE ATOMS OF SCRIPTURE  To understand the hermeneutic dominant in Islam requires further discussion of the commentarial tradition, particularly the approach that decontextualizes the Quran and Sunnah in order to extend its scope. Once the Quran is seen as a collection of particularities—devoid of historical or textual context—rather than general notions, the way is open to extend Quranic command to the minutia of the increasingly novel life of Muslims. This hermeneutic move allows a normative Islamic practice to expand with Islamdom through time and across a wide variety of cultures—in the period covered in this part of the course—to Iran, North Africa, and Central Asia.

THE MADRASAH  The institution that perpetuated ‘ilm and its particular hermeneutic was the madrasah. The madrasah is best explained by its contrasts to the educational theory students all take for granted—of exams, fixed class durations, and written assignments. I emphasize the importance of the madrasah as a transmitter and shaper of culture and present it as a (theoretically) disinterested institution, whose graduates could broker between the government and the laity, could confer legitimacy, and who tried scrupulously—again, in theory—to maintain a distance from that powers-that-were. Here is where the importance of the religious endowment [waqf] is discussed.

Shi‘ism: Drama and Certainty

These lectures cover Shi‘ism roughly from Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq to al-Shahīd al-Awwal (Shamsaddīn Muhammad al-‘Āmilī d. 786/1384). The hagiography of the twelve Imams is presented with an emphasis on the occultation [ghaybah] of the twelfth Imam, and the adjustments to that fact that, in effect, created Islam’s denominations.

Then, by contrast, I present the gnostic world of Isma‘ilism: the thrust of the lecture is Isma‘ilism’s richness of vision, the aesthetic beauty of its metaphysics, and the exaltation of humans who are “in the know.” Following al-Ghazālī,39 I present Shi‘ism and especially Isma‘ilism as a response to the epistemological uncertainty that Sunnis were willing to live with, but that other Muslims seemingly found unbearable. I allude also to the subset of Isma‘ili ideas that are shared with Sufism.

Taṣ;awwuf: The Institutionalization of Experiential Knowledge [ma‘rifah]

Our discussion of Sufism [taṣ;awwuf] follows Massignon40 in arguing the Islamic and particularly Quranic origins of Sufism. He shows that the distinction between the Shariʿah sciences and Sufism corresponds to different kinds of Quranic prose. This leads then to a discussion of the complementary and competing claims to knowledge [‘ilm al-ma‘rifah] of the jurist [faqīh] and the ascetic [faqīr]. After an overview, I discuss the history of formative Sufism. The thematic emphasis is on Sufism as a movement to recover and maintain immanence.

PERFECTED MAN: THE PROPHET AND SAINTS  As a further link to Quran and Prophetic Islam, our focus when talking about saints is the Perfected Man as a reflex of the (later) understandings of the Prophet. Saints, then, are seen as reflections of the Prophet, and consequently, Sufi understanding of the Prophet changed more general attitudes toward Muhammad. Hadith as “I was, when Adam was between water and clay,” a favorite of Sufis, led to an elevated role for the Prophet, as a Logos figure or demiurge.41

THE KHANAQAH  This lecture, in addition to discussing the institution of the Sufi lodge [khānaqaāh] and the Sufi order [ṭarīqah] with emphasis on the chain of transmission [silsilah], also presents Sufism as “the transparent membrane of Islam,” the means by which Islam was affected by other traditions, and through which most post-Conquest Muslims were converted before the twentieth century.

THE RITUALS OF SUFISM  The discussion of how Sufi ritual supplemented normative Islamic rituals begins by emphasizing the structural link between normative Islamic rituals such as prayer [ṣalāt] and Sufi devotional rituals and then to more extravagant practices.

Medieval Reformism

Reformism is defined as a move to respond to Mu‘tazili and other technicalist thought, to resist particularly Sufi theosophy and Shi‘ism, and to create a new mythology for Islam. It is important to emphasize that this reformism and indeed all kinds of scripturalisms are an outgrowth of the socio-moral dissent present in the Islamic matrix (they are in some sense heirs of the Kharijis). Yet despite their rhetorical claims, they are also temporally late and represent something new in Islamic history. Nonetheless, although the doctrines they presented were innovations, they managed to capture a certain rhetorical high ground that makes the reformists of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries the most likely premodern source to be read by contemporary Muslims.

THE HANBALIS  The most articulate and long-lasting of these reformists were the followers of the Hanbali school. I discuss the history and legends of Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, the inquisitorial Ibn al-Jawī, and the brilliant polymath and scholar Ibn Taymiyyah. The reading is Ibn al-Jawī’s critique of Sufism (his text entitled Talbīs Iblīs)42 and Ibn Taymiyyah’s critique of syncretistic Islamic practice.43 Students can see in these texts the theological emphasis on the transcendence of God that contrasts sharply with the immanentist emphasis of Sufism. Other scripturalist/primitivist movements in North Africa, Spain, and Arabia are noted here.


The third reimagining of Islam took place from the seventeenth century onward and still continues. While it is true that these efforts to reimagine Islam have arisen in a milieu of change, particularly under European pressure, the emphasis in this course is on the initiative taken in response to internal Islamic developments, and continuity with the first and second elaborations of Islam.

Critiquing Muslims: Reformism

Here the discussion is of Muslims critiquing Muslims, as in the critique of various accommodationist practices by Meḥmed Birgevī, of Saint-veneration and Shi‘ism by Muḥammad b. ‘Abdalwahhāb, various attempts at Shi‘i reform of the Akhbarīs, Shaykhīs, and Bābīṣ; And finally I discuss the critiques of Sufism by Sīrhindī and Shāhwālīallāh and various tendencies still usefully labeled neo-Sufism. This reformist impulse is carried on by ‘Alī Suavī in the Ottoman world, by Jamāladdīn al-Afghānī and Muḥammad ‘Abduh, al-Bannā, Mawdūdī, al-Quṭb, and various twentieth-century figures. Here the “reformers” come first, because it is our argument that beginning in the eighteenth century, it is the “reformers” of various sorts, who seized the initiative both socially and intellectually. It is they who define Islam for thoughtful Muslims.

Nationalism as Counter-Islam

This lecture is a discussion of anticolonial movements and Ottoman and other attempts to rebuild the (mostly military) power of Islamdom. Atatürk, Nasser, Bourguiba, and others are seen as successful nation-builders, but failures as culture-builders. Their campaign against, or to reform and subordinate, Islamic thought and practice is presented against the attempts of nationalists to decolonize or to fend off imperialist control.

Critiquing Islam: Modernism

The nineteenth century brought something new: the critique of Muslim practice on grounds not internal, but external, that is, the explicit comparison of Islam and Muslims to another culture, with that other culture serving as a model and standard. This tendency begins with Gasprinski, and Sayyid Aḥmad Khān, but of course continues through Wagdī, Fazlur Rahman, and now Arkoun and Saroosh. It is important for students to realize the range of Islamic opinion and that “fundamentalism” does not exhaust Islamic options in the fifteenth (Hijri) century. Fortunately, Kurzman’s anthology provides a wide variety of interesting reading for students who think Islam means fundamentalism.44

Reappropriating the World: The Islamization of Finance/ Social Sciences/Natural Sciences

This area students find to be among the most engaging units in the course. The idea of reimagining, in Islamic terms, finance, insurance, management, the sciences, seems both quixotic and stimulating. It does raise for them questions about what, among the things they take for granted, are irresistible natural forces (the invisible hand, the market) and what are cultural constructs subject to change or improvement (ditto).

Making the World Islamic: Islamism

This is the obvious discussion of Islamism/fundamentalism in the late twentieth Christian century: Mawdūdī, Quṭb, and Khomeini. Here is where I discuss Islamism, Islamic politics, and militant action. The point is to focus on specificity, the difference between Iranian Islamism and other varieties, and to touch briefly on other places where such movements are important as a way of discussing the wider world of Islamdom—Indonesia, Malaysia, China, the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Rushdie affair can be a good way to widen the geographic focus, while pointing out the particularities of the politics involved in Britain, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Egypt.

Technical Problems

Finally, a word about the problems of teaching a subject far outside the students’ ken and outside the majority of pedagogical resources available in most institutions.


After more than ten years of undergraduate and graduate training in Islamic Studies, I was puzzled at the inability of students to master even the most important names and terms. Then I realized that every name starts with Abu or Ibn or ends in a “ī.” Then there are all those dots, dashes, and raised “c’s” (backward and forward). So now, in the first week, I have a day where I go over transliteration and names. I have found that by treating this as a language problem—as students are being taught Arabic “Ṣ,” they become relatively comfortable with the transliteration and find it easier to recognize and remember names. A brief discussion of the root system of Arabic encourages them to look for meaningful patterns like ḥ-m-d and k-t-b. The presentation of the relation of Persian to Arabic means that they aren’t troubled when in ‘Aṭṭār’s Tadhkirat al-Awliyā’ they read of Ebrāhīm ebn Adham or Mohammad so-and-so. And best of all, in exam questions on Ibn Taymiyyah, they no longer refer to him familiarly as “Taymiyyah.” The Islamic calendar is also discussed.


There are maps of the expansion of Islamdom on the course web site. Students are also given a map of Islamdom, and nearly every lecture is accompanied by a transparency map of Islamdom. Again, this is more orientation than anything else, but it seems to make a difference in their ability to follow references to Baghdad, Samarra, Delhi, and, say, Qūs.


Via a web site, I offer links that allow students to follow up on questions that interest them, and to augment lectures with “trots” on, for example, Islamicate history. I also have a digitized video of a Dartmouth student performing ritual prayer [ṣ;alāt], with subtitles in English. (The television cliché of hundreds of Muslim rumps has become a threatening trope, but seeing “one of us” filmed from the front, they easily perceive the dignity of the ritual and its corporeal vocabulary.)

The students are also required to follow one or more discussion groups in USNET and to keep a journal of what they find. This is important to bring home the diversity of opinion among Muslims, the reality of Islam in the twenty-first (Christian) century, and the fact that there are lots of Muslims in the United States and Britain. They are encouraged to note the context of the discussant, for example, what university faculty, what country, the sex of the respondent, and other relevant tell-tales.

For popular Islam, various videos are effective, if framed by a discussion that locates it within Islamic practice. I have lately been using Wicket’s “For Those Who Sail to Heaven,” about the veneration (with roots in Pharaonic practice) of Sīdī Abu l-Haggāg. Elizabeth Fernea’s Saints and Spirits also worked well. I have used various films about the pilgrimage to Mecca [ḥajj], including “Guest of God.” None are very good. I need a good, straightforward ethnographic account of the Hajj (see below media list).


The biggest theoretical challenge is to keep in mind during the lectures that our point is the interconnectedness of all Islamic thought. Sufism is a kind of Quran-study, a kind of hadith, a kind of dissent, a kind of ritual. For each unit, in addition to the primary sources, there is a Quran reading that represents a Quranic text much-discussed by Sufis, legists, or reformers. Whenever possible, every lecture needs to refer to previous lectures, movements and ideas previously discussed, and anticipations of this point in earliest Islamic thought. Every unit has relevant hadith or Quran citations.


In addition to the journals, which are graded check or check plus/minus, there are two or three quizzes and two assignments. The quizzes are 30 minutes of identification of terms and names. If the term refers to an event, or in the case of a person, a date accurate within 25 years must be provided. I really don’t like giving such an exam (or grading it), but I find it essential to keep students wrestling with the difficult terminology and constructing for themselves a time-line and narrative. All terms are provided (undefined) on a handout at the beginning of the course.


The first assignment is a careful reading of a text and an essay answering some question solely from the text. It is an assignment designed to counteract the solipsism of their English courses and to get them to recognize and avoid (where appropriate) isogesis. Rewrites are permitted and are often necessary, since most students have never done a close reading and explication of a text.


Building on the skills they have developed in close reading, the second assignment is to write two legal rulings (fatwas) on problems presented to them. These are actual problems I have encountered in discussions with American Muslims and in reading the proceedings of the Egyptian Lajnat al-Iftā’ and other sources. Using the Quran, the commentarial material available in Cooper, Ayoub, Wherry, and the Bayḍāawī45 translation, together with the translated hadith collections, and the three fiqh works reliably available in English, students are to write a fatwa approving or disapproving some course of action, and justifying it in takhrīj fashion, by citation of appropriate sources. This turns out to be a very effective assignment. Model fatwas are available in Masud, Messick, and Powers.46


As I argued at the beginning of this chapter, every course is part critique. The critique of this class would be that it is overly ambitious, that it focuses too much on the “high tradition,” and that it spends too much time on “marginal” groups like the Isma‘ilis or Sufis-who-stick-skewers-through-their-cheeks. Fair enough. Ideally, an introductory course is a feeder into other courses in Islam, and so, perhaps, some of the more various aspects of Islam’s practices and beliefs will seize their imaginations, and they will want to follow up on Sufism, or Reformism, or Islam in the United States. Some will read more widely as a result of the course, and some may want to visit Islamdom. My hope is that in that reading, or in those visits, students will not be astounded that such-and-such a thing is done by Muslims. They may have forgotten, but the “Intro to Islam” has been a success if, in those long-stored notebooks, they can find some anticipation of what they later find in reading or visiting Islamdom.

Media List


The Five Pillars of Islam: Films for the Humanities & Sciences


The Guests of God: Meridian/BBC [available in the U.S. from Islamic Information Service, 434 South Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020; (213) 383–9258 or (818) 764–6612]

Mecca the Forbidden City: IranFilm

The Hajj [videorecording]: A Journey of Faith / CNN; Cable News Network, ©1998

The Secret Mecca: Films for the Humanties


For Those Who Sail to Heaven: First Run/Icarus Films

Saints and Spirits: Icarus Films

Al-Moulid: Arab Film Distribution


Nasser Hiballah, on “Religion 8” Web site


Dervishes Lovers of God: Insight Media

I Am Sufi I Am Muslim: Films for the Humanities


Islam in America [available from Lindsay Miller (617) 547-1733]


Iran: A Righteous Republic?: Landmark Films

The Singing Shaykh [Shaykh al-Imām]: First Run/ Icarus

The Islamic State [Hasan Turabi]: Films for the Humanities and Sciences

An Idealized Syllabus: Introduction to Islam

1 Introduction to the Course
2 “Orientalism”; the “West” and the rest Req: Current journalism (e.g., The Economist,Are Islam and Democracy Compatible?”;
Rec: Excerpts from Leon Uris, The Haj;47
Mawdudi: Purdah (excerpts)48
Video: “Muslims in Film” (personal)
3 The Matrix: The Quran Req: Readings from Arberry, The Koran Interpreted49
Rec: Angelika Neuwirth: “Images and Metaphors”50
Norman Brown, “The Apocalypse of Islam”51
4 The Matrix: The Quran-bearer: Muhammad Amīn Req: Readings from The Sirah of Ibn Hisham52
Rec: F. E. Peters: “The Quest of the Historical   Muḥammad”53
5 The Matrix: Ritual Ibn al-Naqib, Reliance of the Traveler,54 Sections I & J; Sections E & F
6 The Matrix: “Vernacular Islam” Video: “For Those Who Sail to Heaven”55
7 The Matrix: Dissent: Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Reprehensible Req: The Hadith of Ghadīr Kumm (Designation of ‘Ali as Imam)56
Shaykh al-Mufīd: “The Commander of the Faithful,” and “The Passion of al-Ḥusayn (Excerpts)”
Sermon of Abū Hamza al-Khariji57
8 First Elaboration: Scholarship; Quran-commentary Readings from Ayoub, The Qu’ran and Its Interpreterṣ;58
9 First Elaboration: Sirah, Sunnah, and hadith The 40 Traditions of al-Nawawī
10 First Elaboration: Pietism and Rigor Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣ;rī (so-called) “Epistle on Sufism”
11 Second Elaboration: Shariʿah and fiqh Reinhart, “Islamic Law as Islamic Ethics”59
Ibn al-Naqib, Reliance of the Traveler,Sections A–C
Quran 4:1–44/45; 4:82/83 (legal sections); “al-Jarsīfī on the Ḥisbah”60
12 Second Elaboration: Shi‘ism: Drama and Certainty Imā mī Creeds
“The Twelfth Imam”
What Delivers From Error: Sections 1–1061
13 Second Elaboration: Taṣ;awwuf: Origins and History What Delivers From Error: Sections 11–13
Quran 2:28/ 231; 7:171; 89:27 (little bits important for Sufis)
Some Sufi biographies, including Rabī‘ah (the woman who loved God), Ibrā hīm b. Adham (a sort of Islamic Buddha), Abū Yazīd al-Bisṭā mī (the ecstatic), and al-Ḥallāj62
14 Taṣ;awwuf: Perfect Man and Saints Suhrawardī “Stories”63
Chittick/Ibn ‘Arabī, “Summary of the Fuṣ;ū ṣ;”64
15 Taṣ;awwuf: the khanaqah Ernst, “The Sufi Orders: Mastery, Discipleship, and Initiation”
“The Names of God, Meditation, and Mystical Experience”65
16 Taṣ;awwuf: Rituals
17 Second Elaboration: Medieval Reformism; the Ḥanbalīs Req: Readings from Talbīs Iblīs of Ibn al-Jawzī;66 G. Makdisi, “Hanbalite Islam”67
“On the Virtues of Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal”68
18 Third Elaboration: Muslim Reformism Excerpts from “The Surest Path”69
19 Third Elaboration: Nationalism as Counter-Islam Shakib Arslan “Our Decline and Its Causes”
Said Nursi “[Quran Commentary on Nationalism and Islam]”70
20 Third Elaboration: Islamic Modernism Readings from Sayyid Aḥmad Khan71
21 Third Elaboration: Reappropriating the world; Islamicizing finance, management, and the sciences Readings from the anthology Islamic Law and Finance72
22 Third Elaboration: Islamism Readings from Sayyid Quṭb73


1. Since the essay is about my course, this pronoun has been used throughout. For the same reason, the first person singular pronoun is all too present.

2. Dartmouth terms can vary in length, so that there are eight and a half weeks or 10 weeks. It is also possible to arrange a course from one meeting per week, to five.

3. A separate course, “Modern Islam,” focuses more heavily on the period between the eighteenth century and the present.

4. Though the increasing number of Muslim students in our classrooms means that one can encounter Muslims whose zeal, and lack of self-consciousness and historical awareness, are a match for any Christian fundamentalist.

5. Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, 3 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 1:3–69 Find it in your Library; especially pp. 56–60.

6. It is perhaps uncharitable to wonder if the blurring of categories is not encouraged by beleaguered scholars of things Islamic, Islamicate, and Middle Eastern so as to enhance a perceived range of their expertise. People with training in history and Near Eastern languages are regularly hired to teach in Religion departments, and program offerings by religionists regularly must make do for offerings in History, Anthropology, and even Art History.

7. Both Hodgson, Venture, vol. 2 Find it in your Library, and Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) Find it in your Library cover this period in the depth it deserves. Both show how vibrant and creative Islamic religion was in this period.

8. Again, Hodgson’s discussion of Shi‘ism (passim) is very valuable here. See also sources cited below at note 31.

9. Imagine an Introduction to Judaism taught by a non-Jew that was designed as a critique of Judaism! Yet such courses are common in the teaching of Islam.

10. Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (Edinburgh: University Press, 1960) Find it in your Library; Norman Daniel, Islam, Europe and Empire (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1966). Find it in your Library

11. Jean Jacques Waardenburg, L’Islam dans le miroir de l’Occident; comment quelques orientalistes occidentaux se sont penchés sur l’Islam et se sont formé une image de cette religion: I. Goldziher, C. Snouck Hurgronje, C. H. Becker, D. B. Macdonald, Louis Massignon, [2.] ed. (Paris: Mouton, 1963). Find it in your Library

12. Bernard Lewis, New York Review of Books, June 24, 1982 Find it in your Library; New York Review of Books, August 12, 1982. Find it in your Library

13. Edward Said, “Orientalism Reconsidered,” Cultural Critique, Fall 1985, pp. 89–107. Find it in your Library

14. Dennis Grafflin, “Orientalism’s Attack on Orientalism,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 15/3 (July/Aug 1983): 68–71. Find it in your Library

15. Jonathan Kellerman, The Butcher’s Theater (New York: Bantam Books, 1988). Find it in your Library Leon Uris, The Haj (Garden City N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984). Find it in your Library

16. S. Abul A‘la Maududi, Purdah and the Status of Woman in Islam, trans. al-Ash‘ari (sic) (Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1972 [1939]). Find it in your Library

17. Usamah b. Munqidh (tr. Philip Khuri Hitti), Usamah’s memoirs entitled Kitab al-itibar (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1930). Find it in your Library

18. This thinning out was adumbrated throughout Islamic history by populist figures like Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Ibn al-Jawzī, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn ‘Abdalwahha#x0101;b, and consequently these are the figures in Islamic history seen as most relevant by contemporary Islamists.

19. Michael Sells, “Sound, Spirit, and Gender in Surat al-Qadr,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 111 (Apr./June 1991): 239–59. Find it in your Library

20. Angelika Neuwirth, “Images and Metaphors in the Introductory Sections of the Makkan suras,” in Approaches to the Qur’ān, ed. G. R. Hawting and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef (London: Routledge, 1993), 3–36. Find it in your Library

21. A. J. Arberry, trans., The Koran Interpreted (New York: Macmillan, 1955). Find it in your Library

22. Norman O. Brown, “The Apocalypse of Islam,” in Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 69–94. Find it in your Library

23. Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham, Muhammad Ibn Ishaq (tr. Alfred Guillaume), The Life of Muhammad: A Translation [from Ibn Hisham’s adaptation] of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1967). Find it in your Library

24. Patricia Crone and M. A. Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). Find it in your Library

25. John E. Wansbrough, Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation, London Oriental Series, vol. 31 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977) Find it in your Library and John E. Wansbrough, The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History, London Oriental Series, vol. 34 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978). Find it in your Library

26. F. E. Peters, “The Quest of the Historical Muhammad,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 23 (Aug. 1991): 291–315. Find it in your Library

27. R. B. Serjeant, “The Sunnah Jami‘ah pacts with the Yathrib Jews and the Tahrim of Yathrib: Analysis and Translation of the Documents Comprised in the so-called ‘Constitution of Medina’,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 41 (1978): 1–42. Find it in your Library; W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Mecca (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), 192 Find it in your Library; W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), 418 Find it in your Library; Jacqueline Chabbi, Le seigneur des tribus: l’islam de Mahomet (Paris: Noesis, 1997). Find it in your Library

28. I am finishing a book, Vernacular Islam: Diversity and Unity in a Cosmopolitan Tradition, describing the interaction of the “vernacular” and the “standard” Islam. This lecture is a version of the theoretical argument in the book.

29. See below for media resources for teaching the practice of ritual prayer.

30. Readers should now note the very important work of Michael Cook, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Find it in your Library

31. Shaykh al-Mufīd [Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Nu‘maān al-Baghdādī al-Karkhī (d. 413/1022)], Kitāb al-Irshād; The Book of Guidance, trans. I. K. A. Howard (Elmhurst, N.Y.: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, 1981) Find it in your Library, part I; and part II, chapter 2. See also Mahmoud Ayoub, Redemptive Suffering in Islam: A Study of the Devotional Aspects of ‘Ashura in Twelver Shi‘ism (The Hague: Mouton, 1978). Find it in your Library

32. W. Montgomery Watt, Islam and the Integration of Society (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1961). Find it in your Library

33. Norman Calder, Studies in Early Muslim Jurisprudence (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993) Find it in your Library, chapter 8, “The Origin of Norms,” is good on this, especially pp. 198–201.

34. Wansbrough, Quranic Studies Find it in your Library; John Burton, The Collection of the Quran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). Find it in your Library

35. Herbert Berg’s book The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam: The Authenticity of Muslim Literature from the Formative Period (Richmond: Curzon, 2000) Find it in your Library has as its introduction a first-rate summary of these disputes. This section is the standard reserve-reading. The controversy can be traced through the following: Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies (Chicago: Aldine, 1967) Find it in your Library; Nabia Abbott, Studies in Arabic Literary Papyri (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), especially vol. 2 Find it in your Library; Fuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1967), vol. 1 Find it in your Library, introduction to the section on hadith; G. H. A. Juynboll, Muslim Tradition: Studies in Chronology, Provenance, and Authorship of Early Hadith, Cambridge studies in Islamic civilization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983) Find it in your Library; G. H. A. Juynboll, Studies on the Origins and Uses of Islamic Hadith (Brookfield, Vt.: Variorum, 1996), vol. 1 Find it in your Library (various pagings); Harald Motzki, “Quo vadis, ḥadīṯ-Forschung? Eine kritische Untersuchung von G. H. A. Juynboll: ‘Nāfi‘ the mawlaā of Ibn ‘Umar, and his position in Muslim ḥadīth Literature’ [Der Islam (1993): 207–244],” Der Islam 73 (1996): 40–80; 193–231 Find it in your Library; Calder, Studies. Find it in your Library

36. G. H. A. Juynboll, “Some Isnād-Analytical Methods Illustrated on the Basis of Several Woman-Demeaning Sayings from ḥadīth Literature,” al-Qantara; revista de estudios Árabes 10/2 (1989): 343–384. Find it in your Library

37. The survey section in Calder, Studies Find it in your Library, is a useful read here. See especially chapter 7, “Literary Form and Social Context.”

38. See “Do-It-Yourself Fiqh,” p. 37, this volume.

39. Abu Hamid Muhammad Ghazali, Freedom and Fulfillment: An Annotated Translation of al-Ghazali’s al-Munqidh min al-dalal and Other Relevant Works of al-Ghazali, tr. Richard Joseph McCarthy. (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980). Find it in your Library See section on ta‘līmism,” pp. 81ff.

40. Louis Massignon (1883–1962), Essay on the Origins of the Technical Language of Islamic Mysticism (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997). Find it in your Library

41. Annemarie Schimmel, And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985). Find it in your Library

42. Ibn al-Jawzī, Talbīs Iblīs (not complete) (trans. as “The Devil’s Delusion” by D.-Margoliouth, M. Asad, et al.), Islamic Culture (each issue between 1935–1948).

43. Taqīaddīn Aḥmad Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Taimīya’s Struggle Against Popular Religion; with an annnotated translation of his Kitāb iqtiḍā aṣ;-ṣ;irāṭ al-mustaqīm mukhālafat aṣ;ḥāb al-jaḥīm (tr. Muhammad Umar Memon) (The Hague: Mouton, 1976). Find it in your Library

44. Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook, ed. Charles Kurzman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). Find it in your Library

45. E. M. Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran: Comprising Sale’s Translation and Preliminary Discourse (New York: AMS Press, 1975 [1896]) Find it in your Library; ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar al-Baydawi, Baidawi’s Commentary on Surah 12 of the Qur’an (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963) Find it in your Library; Tabari, The Commentary on the Qur’an, trans. J. Cooper (London: Oxford University Press, 1987) Find it in your Library; Mahmoud Ayoub, The Qur’an and its Interpreters (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984). Find it in your Library

46. Islamic Legal Interpretation: Muftis and their Fatwas, ed. Muhammad Khalid Masud, Brinkley Messick and David S. Powers (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996). Find it in your Library

47. Uris, The Haj. Find it in your Library

48. S. Abul A‘la Maududi, Purdah and the Status of Woman in Islam (Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Publications, 1972). Find it in your Library

49. The Koran Interpreted, trans. Arberry.

50. Neuwirth, “Images and Metaphors in the Introductory Sections of the Makkan sūrahs.”

51. Brown, “The Apocalypse of Islam.”

52. Ibn Hisham, The Life of Muhammad (London: Oxford University Press, 1955). Find it in your Library

53. F. E. Peters, “The Quest of the Historical Muhammad,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 23 (1991): 291–315. Find it in your Library

54. Ibn al-Naqib, The Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, trans. N. Keller (Evanston, Ill.: Sunna Books, 1991). Find it in your Library

55. First Run/Icarus Films.

56. From Muhammad b. Muhammad Mufid, The Book of Guidance into the Lives of the Twelve Imams: Kitab al-Irshad. Find it in your Library

57. From John Alden Williams, The Word of Islam (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994). Find it in your Library An excellent anthology; if I hadn’t already assembled my own, this is the anthology I would use.

58. M. Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984). Find it in your Library

59. A. Kevin Reinhart, “Islamic Law as Islamic Ethics,” Journal of Religious Ethics 11/2 (Fall 1983): 186–203. Find it in your Library

60. G. M. Wickens, “al-Jarsifi on the Hisba,” Islamic Quarterly 3 (1956–7): 176–187. Find it in your Library

61. Ghazali, Freedom and Fulfillment: An Annotated Translation of Al-Ghazali’s al-Munqidh min al dalal and Other Relevant Works of al-Ghazali, trans. Richard Joseph McCarthy (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980). Find it in your Library

62. Farid al-Din Attar, Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-auliya’ (“Memorial of the saints”), trans. A. J. Arberry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press [1966]). Find it in your Library

63. Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi, The Mystical and Visionary Treatises of Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi, trans. Wheeler Thackston (London: Octagon Press, 1981). Find it in your Library

64. Ibn ‘Arabī, “Ibn ‘Arabī’s Own Summary of the Fuṣ;ūṣ;: The Imprints of the Bezels of Wisdom,” Sophia Perennis 1 ii (1975): 88–128; 2 ii (1976): 67–106. Find it in your Library

65. From Carl W. Ernst, The Shambhala Guide to Sufism (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1997). Find it in your Library

66. Ibn al-Jawzā, “The Devil’s Delusion,” trans. D. Margoliouth [and Muḥammad Asad]. Islamic Culture (1935–48). Find it in your Library

67. G. Makdisi, “Hanbalite Islam,” in Studies on Islam, ed. M. Swartz (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), 216–74. Find it in your Library

68. Trans. by Michael Cooperson.

69. Khayr al-Din Tunisi, The Surest Path; the Political Treatise of a Nineteenth-Century Muslim Statesman (Cambridge: Distributed for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies of Harvard University by Harvard University Press, 1967). Find it in your Library

70. Both from Kemal Karpat, ed., Political and Social Thought in the Contemporary Middle East (New York: Praeger, 1982). Find it in your Library

71. Christian W. Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan: A Reinterpretation of Muslim Theology (New Delhi: Vikas Publ. House, 1978). Find it in your Library

72. Frank E. Vogel, ed., Islamic Law and Finance: Religion, Risk, and Return (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1998). Find it in your Library

73. Sayyid Qutb, Social Justice in Islam (London: Amana Books, 1993). Find it in your Library It is regretable that William Shepard’s translation is not available in an affordable edition from Brill.

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