Noted Indian writer and polymath Ram Swarup explores the meaning of Islam through the words of the Sahih Muslim, considered by Muslims to be one of the most authoritative of the collections of "traditions" (Arabic Hadith) about the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Like the Koran, these traditions are believed to be divinely revealed by Allah and they complement the verses of the Koran, in many cases expanding upon them and explaining the context of their revelation. As Swarup notes in his introduction, to Muslims the Hadith literature represents the Koran in action, stories of "revelation made concrete in the life of the Prophet." Among the orthodox they are considered as sacred as the Koran itself. Swarup is plainly skeptical of the claim that the Hadith literature is divinely inspired. In the introduction he says, "The Prophet is caught as it were in the ordinary acts of his life - sleeping, eating, mating, praying, hating, dispensing justice, planning expeditions and revenge against his enemies. The picture that emerges is hardly flattering. . . . One is . . . left to wonder how the believers, generation after generation, could have found this story so inspiring. The answer is that the believers are conditioned to look at the whole thing through the eyes of faith. To them morality derives from the Prophet's actions. . . .his actions determine and define morality." The Sahih Muslim, a massive work consisting of 7,190 traditions divided into 1,243 chapters, is hardly accessible to the average reader; so Swarup quotes representative selections that touch upon the main tenets of Islam: faith, purification, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, marriage and divorce, crime and punishment, religious wars (jihad), paradise, hell, repentance, and many other features of the religion. To non-Muslims this work provides many insights into the mindset of the average Muslim who is raised on these traditions about Muhammad. It also underscores the gulf that exists between the sanctum of orthodox Islam and an increasingly secularized Westernized world.
understanding the hadith
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Understanding Women in Islam: An Indonesian Perspective critically explores gender-biased discourse within Islamic jurisprudence. It also elucidates matters seldom discussed in the Qu'ran and proposes a way out from the current methodological deadlock regarding women's position in Islam. SYAFIQ HASYIM is an analyst for issues on women in Islam, political Islam and Islamic radicalism, and currently Deputy Director of ICIP (International Centre for Islam and Pluralism) in Jakarta.
For centuries Christians and Muslims have engaged with each other in manifold ways, peaceful and otherwise, be it in scholarly study, or in war and colonization. Today, Christians represent an influential body of opinion that largely perceives Islam, post 9/11, as a threat. Yet Muslims represent approximately one third of the world's population. Improved understanding between Christians and Muslims is therefore crucial and a prerequisite for universal peace and justice. This book aims to investigate Islam's place in the world, Muslim aspirations vis-a-vis non-Muslims and the realities of how Muslims are perceived and how they perceive others. Each chapter analyses accessible texts from central thinkers and commentators, broadly split into two camps: confrontational or conciliatory. Christian-Muslim relations are set in the wider context of civilizational, geo-political and economic interaction between the Muslim world and the historically Christian West.
This book is designed to take people on the first steps in understanding Islam and the way that Muslims think and see the world. It grows out of extensive experience of teaching the course on which it is based.
Ramadan brings together essays to explain the history of Islamic law and its role in the contemporary world.
Focusing on the "why" rather than the "what," this resource unravels the mystique of Muhammad, one of the most enigmatic and influential men in history.
"First published in 2005, Understanding Jihad unraveled the tangled historical, intellectual, and political meanings of jihad within the context of Islamic life. In this revised and expanded second edition, author David Cook has included new material in light of pivotal events over of the past ten years, such as the revolutionizing events of the Arab Spring, the death of Osama bin Laden, and the rise of new Islamic factions such as ISIL. Jihad is one of the most loaded and misunderstood terms in the news today. Contrary to popular understanding, the term does not mean "holy war." This judiciously balanced, accessibly written, and highly relevant book looks closely at a range of sources from sacred Islamic texts to modern interpretations of the term, opening a critically important perspective on the role of Islam in the contemporary world. As David Cook traces the practical and theoretical meanings of jihad, he cites from scriptural, legal, and newly translated texts to give readers a taste of the often ambiguous information that is used to construct Islamic doctrine. He looks closely at the life and teaching of the Prophet Muhammad and at the ramifications of the great Islamic conquests in 634 to 732 A.D. He sheds light on legal developments relevant to fighting and warfare, and places the internal, spiritual jihad within the larger context of Islamic religion. He describes some of the conflicts that occur in radical groups and shows how the more mainstream supporters of these groups have come to understand and justify violence. He has also included a special appendix of relevant documents including materials related to the September 11 attacks and published manifestos issued by Osama bin Laden and Palestinian suicide-martyrs"--Provided by publisher.
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