Many existing introductions to Islam focus predominantly on the Middle East and on historical background at the expense of Islam as a lived faith. Assessing Islam as a truly global phenomenon, Catharina Raudvere engages thoroughly with history, (explaining the significance of the revelation of the Prophet Muhammad and the origins of the different Sunni and Shi'a groups within Islam), while also giving full and comprehensive coverage to Muslim ritual life and Islamic ethics. She discusses moral debates and modern lifestyle issues such as halal consumption, interfaith dialogue and controversy over the wearing of the veil. Diaspora communities are considered with a view to showing how norms and doctrines are understood - and sometimes contradicted - in social and ritual practice. In addition, the author focuses on the meaning and continuing application to modern life of the Quran and hadith as sources for Islamic theology (kalam) and jurisprudence (fiqh).The book gives much attention to questions of universal values, Islam and democracy, gender issues, women's rights and pluralism, contrasting the thinking of Jihadists and radical Islamism with liberal reformist voices within Islam.
Islam: An Introduction offers undergraduate students of religion and general readers a balanced, sensitive and well informed overview of the world's most intensively discussed religious and cultural tradition.
Catharina Raudvere is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Her previous books include The Book and the Roses: Sufi Women, Visibility and Zikir in Contemporary Istanbul (I.B.Tauris, 2003) and Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community (I.B.Tauris, 2008, co-edited with Leif Stenberg).
List of Maps and Figures Chapter 1: The Muslim World: Past and Present Chapter 2: The Early History of Islam and Muhammad as a Historical Person Chapter 3: The Canonical Texts of Islam: Historical Documents and Personal Piety Chapter 4: Sharia: The Law of Allah and Human Free Will Chapter 5; The Festivals of the Muslim Year and Lifecycle Rituals: Community and Celebration Chapter 6: Between Canonical Obligations and Devotional Practices: Everyday Religiosity Chapter 7: Shi'i Islam: Religious Authority and Religious Martyrdom Chapter 8: Muslim Ethics: Ideals, Responsibilities and the Challenges of Modern Life Chapter 9: Political Islam: Visions and Nightmares Epilogue Notes Sources and References Index