Seven Doors to Islam: Spirituality and the Religious Life of Muslims

Univ of California Press
Free sample

Seven Doors to Islam reveals the religious worldview and spiritual tradition of the world's one billion Muslims. Spanning the breadth of Islamic civilization from Morocco to Indonesia, this book demonstrates how Muslims have used the literary and visual arts in all their richness and diversity to communicate religious values. Each of the seven chapters opens a "door" that leads progressively closer to the very heart of Islam, from the foundational revelation in the Qur'an to the transcendent experience of the Sufi mystics. However, unlike most studies of Islam, which see spirituality as the concern of a minority of mystical seekers, Seven Doors demonstrates its central role in every aspect of the Islamic tradition.
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About the author

John Renard is the author of In the Footsteps of Muhammed: Understanding Islamic Experience (1992), Islam and the Heroic Image: Themes in Literature and the Visual Arts (1993), and All the King's Falcons: Rumi on Prophets and Revelation (1994). He is Professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Jul 17, 1996
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Pages
317
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ISBN
9780520917477
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Islam / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The eruption of violent sectarianism in Iraq following the US invasion in 2003 brought the question of Sunni-Shi'i relations in the country to the forefront of the international public agenda. It also strengthened the popular belief that contemporary Shi'ism is inherently sectarian. Yet several decades earlier, Ayatollah Khomeini had declared an Islamic revolution and downplayed its Shi'i origins and links. So what is the true orientation of Shi'i Islam in the contemporary era and how did modernisation alter its sectarian affiliation? This book contends that early Shi'i reformist thought set the foundations for a more universal-oriented Shi'ism. Prominent reformists in the first half of the twentieth century from the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq and from the Shi'i centres in Southern Lebanon played a significant role in the renewal of Shi'ism and laid the groundwork for its reinvention in the modern era. Exploring this shift towards a more ecumenical perception of Islam, Elisheva Machlis here provides a fresh perspective on inter-sectarian relations in contemporary Iraq and illuminates the intellectual roots of the Islamic revolution, by examining networks of Shi'i scholars such as Mu?ammad ?usayn K?shif al-Ghi??' and Mu?sin al-Am?n al-'?mil?, operating within a more globalised Muslim world. Drawing on the experiences of early Shi'i reformists, such as 'Abd al-?usayn Sharaf al-D?n al-M?saw? in Lebanon and Mu?ammad Jaw?d Mughniyya in Damascus, this book gives new insight on the future of inter-Muslim relations at a time of growing inter-sectarian contention, from the Iran-Iraq war to the post-2003 Sunni-Shi'i conflict in Iraq and al-Qa'ida's anti-Shi'i message, taking into account questions of theology, historiography, jurisprudence and politics which all played a vital role in the transition to the contemporary era. The author here analyses the broad scholarly connections between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon in the twentieth century, while debating paramount questions of leadership, identity and group membership in the development of modern Shi'ism. Examining the relationship between intellectual thought and socio-political development in the region, this book provides a new perspective concerning the future of an increasingly globalised Muslim world and will prove essential reading for students and specialists.
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. Malise Ruthven's Very Short Introduction contains essential insights into issues such 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. It also offers 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 fulfilment in Islamic societies? How must Islam adapt as it confronts the modern world? In this new edition, Ruthven brings the text up-to-date by reflecting upon 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 new material surrounding the concept of a globalized Islam, bringing into question the effects of economic globalization, the effect of international events in Middle Eastern countries, the issues surrounding Islam and democracy, and the reception and perception of Islam in the West. 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.
"Islam's revival is reshaping Egypt and other Arab countries in ways beyond violent politics. The yearning for personal solace, a just political system, indigenous lifestyles, and relevant theology all await satisfaction....Just as the Nile runs through Egypt for almost eight hundred miles, giving it life, so also the Straight Way, the way of Allah, runs through it, beckoning its people. The search by Egypt's Muslims for a modern understanding of the Straight Way is the essence of today's passion for Islam." -- from Chapter 1, "First Verses"

Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, this authoritative and enthralling primer on the modern face of Islam provides one of the most comprehensive accountings for the roots of religious terrorism and Middle Eastern strife.
Over decades, a myriad of social, political, and religious factors has made today's Middle East a combustible region and has contributed to Islam's new power and turmoil. Passion for Islam uses one particular country, Egypt, as a lens through which to show how these forces play out across the area, allowing terrorism to gain a foothold.
Through the personal experiences and observations of individual Egyptians encountered during her five years as the Washington Post's Cairo bureau chief, veteran journalist Caryle Murphy explores how Islam's contemporary revival is unfolding on four different levels: "Pious Islam" highlights the groundswell of grassroots piety that has created more Islamic societies; "Political Islam" examines how Islamists, using both violent and peaceful means, are reshaping the region's authoritarian secular political order and redefining Islam's role in the public arena; "Cultural Islam" looks at Egyptian efforts to resist a ubiquitous Western culture by asserting an Islamic identity; "Thinking Islam" reveals how intellectuals are reexamining their theological heritage with the aim of modernizing Islam.
Representing years of exhaustive research, Passion for Islam also looks at how the tortured Israeli-Palestinian conflict has contributed to the region's religious ferment and political tumult. By revealing the day-to-day ramifications of all these issues through the eyes of Egyptian intellectuals, holy men, revolutionaries, and ordinary citizens, Passion for Islam brings an unparalleled vitality and depth to Western perceptions of Middle Eastern conflict.
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.

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