bookmark article email article print version


Discovering Islam

by Akbar Ahmed

(Routlegde 2002)
ISBN: 0415285259
List price: $19.95

Now reissued with a new introduction, "Discovering Islam" is an account of how the history of Islam and its relations with the west have shaped Islamic society in 2002. Islam is often caricatured as aggressive and fanatic. Written in the tradition of Ibn Khaldun, this book balances that image, uncovers the roots of Islamic discontent and celebrates the sources of its strength. From the four "ideal Caliphs" who succeeded the Prophet to the refugee camps of Peshawar, an objective picture emerges of the main features of Muslim history and the compulsions of Muslim society.

Table of Contents
Introduction:Discovering Islam Part One:The Pattern of Islamic History 2. Muslim Ideal:Holy Book and Prophet 3. A Theory of Islamic History 4. The Great Muslim Empires:Ottomans, Saffavids and Mughals 5. Sufis and Scholars 6. Islam of the Periphery 7. Under European Rule:The Colonial Impact on Muslim Society Part Two:Contemporary Muslim Society 8. Princes and Paupers:Muslim Societies in Saudi Arabia and South India 9. Muslim Society Turned Inside Out:Ethnicity, Women and Refugees 10. The Reconstruction of Muslim Thought 11. Only Connect Appendix:Muslim Chronology, Glossary of Islamic Terminology, Bibliography:Suggested Readings, Index

Reviews Quotes

Asian Affairs
"An intriguing mixture of the history of primitive Islam . . . very readable." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

History Today
"[Ahmed is] one of the more gifted and sensitive Muslim minds of today . . . With Discovering Islam, he moves beyond anthropology . . . to set before us the kindlier face of Islam and the dynamics of its history." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Religious Studies Review
"[Ahmed's] bold treatment of such issues as poverty, the status of women, and the plight of refugees contributes to the study's timeliness." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly
"Using anthropology and history, Ahmed presents a very readable and valuable study of Islam which provides Westerners with a clear and accurate understanding of this important religion and its influence on numerous cultures." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Copyright 2003 | SARID | 675 Mass Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA | Tel: 617.492.0764 | Fax: 617.492.6226