New Introduction to Islam 2e
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The second edition of this student-friendly textbook explores the origins, major features and lasting influence of the Islamic tradition. Traces the development of Muslim beliefs and practices against the background of social and cultural contexts extending from North Africa to South and Southeast Asia
Fully revised for the second edition, with completely new opening and closing chapters considering key issues facing Islam in the 21st century
Focuses greater attention on everyday practices, the role of women in Muslim societies, and offers additional material on Islam in America
Includes detailed chronologies, tables summarizing key information, useful maps and diagrams, and many more illustrations


Daniel W. Brown has lived in Egypt and in Pakistan, where he spent his first 18 years. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, at the Institute of Islamic Culture in Lahore and at Cairo University, and has taught Islamic studies at Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and Smith colleges. He is the author of Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought.


List of Illustrations xi

Preface to the Second Edition xiii

Source Acknowledgments xv

Part I The Formation of the Islamic Tradition 1

1 Islam in Global Perspective 3

The Problem of Defining Islam 3

Mapping the Islamic World 5

Arabs and Non-Arabs 8

SunnCs and ShC‘ Ctes 9

Islamic Ritual 10

What to Expect from This Book 15

Essential Resources for the Study of Islam 16

2 Arabia 19

Geography 19

Pre-Islamic Poetry 21

Arab Religion 25

Women in Pre-Islamic Arabia 26

Mecca and the Quraysh 27

The Gifts of the Arabs 29

Resources for Further Study 31

3 The Pre-Islamic Near East 33

Christianity in the Near East 34

Saints and Relics 38

Zoroastrianism 38

Judaism 40

Manichaeism 42

Mazdak 43

The Place of the Arabs in the Near East 44

Resources for Further Study 47

4 The Life of Muhammad 49

Prologue and Setting 50

Birth and Childhood 51

Early Adulthood 53

The Beginning of Revelation 55

Opposition 56

The Night Journey and Ascent to Heaven 58

The Hijra 61

The Battle of Badr 62

Confrontation with the Jews of Medina 63

The Battle of UQud 64

The Peace of al-Ludaybiyya and the Farewell Pilgrimage 66

Evaluation 67

Resources for Further Study 68

5 The Qur’an 69

Approaches to the Qur’An 69

The History of the Text 72

Jesus in the Qur’An 76

The Qur’An in Muslim Piety 78

The Eternity of the Qur’An 79

The Inimitability of the Qur’An 80

Interpreting the Qur’An 81

Central Themes 82

Qur’Anic Narratives 83

Qur’Anic Law and the Problem of Abrogation 84

Women and Gender in the Qur’An 85

The Problem of Context 86

Resources for Further Study 86

6 The Tradition Literature 88

The Science of LadCth 89

The Origins of LadCth 91

In Quest of the Historical Muhammad 94

The SCra and the Shaping of an Islamic Worldview 96

Resources for Further Study 100

Part II The Expansion of Islam 103

7 The Conquests 105

Psychological Impact 108

Archeological Data: The “Invisible” Conquests 109

Resources for Further Study 112

8 Religion of Empire 113

Arab Colonial Policy 113

Conversion to Islam 115

Leadership 116

The First Civil War 117

The Martyrdom of Lusayn 118

The Deputy of God 119

Personal Piety 120

The Dome of the Rock 122

The Constitution of Medina 126

Resources for Further Study 128

9 The Caliphate 129

Ibn al-Muqaffa‘ 129

The ShC ‘Cte Vision 131

The ‘AbbAsids 133

Twelvers 134

IsmA‘ ClCs 135

NizArC “Assassins” 136

KhArijites 139

The SAsAnian Revival 140

Al-MAwardC and the SunnC Compromise 142

Resources for Further Study 145

Part III Islamic Institutions 147

10 Islamic Law 149

The Coffee Debate 149

Revelation and Reason 151

QiyAs 153

The Schools of Law 154

Islamic Law and the State 156

IjmA‘ 157

The UREl al-Fiqh 158

The Substance of the Law 159

Ritual Purity 160

Acts of Worship 162

Marriage and Divorce 164

The Origins of Islamic Law 166

Al-ShAfi‘ C and Islamic Legal Theory 166

Resources for Further Study 170

11 Islamic Theology and Philosophy 172

Freedom and Determinism 174

God’s Attributes 176

Anthropomorphism 178

Faith and Works 178

Leadership 181

The SunnC Consensus 181

AQmad ibn Lanbal 182

Al-Ash‘arC 183

KalAm 184

Jewish and Christian Influences 186

The Challenge of Philosophy 188

Prophecy and Revelation in Islamic Philosophy 189

Philosophy and Mysticism 191

Resources for Further Study 192

12 mefcsm 193

The Parliament of Birds 193

Stages on the Path 194

The Spiritual Master 197

MEfC Brotherhoods 198

MEfC Ritual 199

The Destination 202

MEfC Cosmology 203

MEfCsm in History: The Case of al-LallAj 207

Beginnings to the Tenth Century 210

Classical Manuals and the Growth of NarCqas 212

The Pervasiveness of MEfCsm 215

Resources for Further Study 215

Part IV Crisis and Renewal in Islamic History 217

13 Turks, Crusaders, and Mongols 219

The SaljEqs 219

Al-GhazAlC and the SunnC Revival 220

Slave Soldiers 221

The Crusades 223

The Mongols 226

The Impact of the Mongol Invasions 230

Resources for Further Study 232

14 Revival and Reform 234

The Ottoman, SafAvid, and Mughal Empires 234

The Rise of European Power 238

The Religious Environment 239

The ‘UlamA’ 240

MEfC Reformers 242

The WahhAbC Movement 245

Resources for Further Study 247

15 Islam and the West 249

Napoleon’s Invasion of Egypt 249

The Birth of Orientalism 252

JihAd Movements 253

Al-AfghAnC 254

Sayyid AQmad KhAn and ‘AlCgarh 256

Resources for Further Study 258

16 The Turbulent Twentieth Century 259

Islam and Modernity 259

The Abolition of the Caliphate 260

Nationalism 262

Secularism 264

The Salaf C Movement 267

The Muslim Brotherhood 268

JihAd and Martyrdom 269

From SharC‘a to Secular Law and Back 270

Muslim Family Law 271

Modern Qur’An Interpretation 272

The Problem of Sunna 273

IjtihAd and IjmA‘ 274

A New KalAm? 275

Muhammad ‘AbdEh 275

Muhammad IqbAl 276

The Vitality of MEfCsm 280

Resources for Further Study 281

17 Islam in the Twenty-First Century 282

The Challenge of Pluralism 283

Twenty-First-Century WahhAbCsm 284

Islamic Liberalism 288

Islam in the West 290

Islamic Feminism 294

The Challenge of Islam 298

Glossary 299

Bibliography 309

Index 324


"The ideal mixture of sympathetic description and critical analysis. Careful not only to present the full range of Muslim interpretations of important events, movements, texts, and doctrines, but also to provide penetrating historical assessments of the key issues, this is the only introductory book that integrates the latest scholarship on Islamic history, the canonization of the Qur’an, and the development of hadiths. Furthermore, this integrative approach also highlights the interconnectedness of religion, theology, law, and politics of Islam."
Herbert Berg, University of North Carolina Wilmington

"Designed as a student-friendly textbook, Brown explores Islam's origins, major features, and lasting influence. Brown, who has lived and taught in Egypt and Pakistan, offers both a sympathetic description and a critical analysis." (Islamic Horizons, November 2009)