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RELIGION: REL 150: Introduction to the World's Major Religions
Understanding Islam by Christopher HewerThis 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. The arrangement of material builds a framework to understand Islam on its own terms rather than through an externally applied structure. Islam is linked to the essential guidance of God to all humankind from the beginning of creation. This is then traced through a series of steps such as a world-view, prophecy, revelation, history, belief and practice. The structure of a whole life based on Islam is explored together with Islam's approach to other faiths and Muslims in contemporary Britain and Europe.
What Is Islam? : The Importance of Being Islamic by Shahab AhmedA bold new conceptualization of Islam that reflects its contradictions and rich diversity What is Islam? How do we grasp a human and historical phenomenon characterized by such variety and contradiction? What is "Islamic" about Islamic philosophy or Islamic art? Should we speak of Islam or of islams? Should we distinguish the Islamic (the religious) from the Islamicate (the cultural)? Or should we abandon "Islamic" altogether as an analytical term? In What Is Islam?, Shahab Ahmed presents a bold new conceptualization of Islam that challenges dominant understandings grounded in the categories of "religion" and "culture" or those that privilege law and scripture. He argues that these modes of thinking obstruct us from understanding Islam, distorting it, diminishing it, and rendering it incoherent. What Is Islam? formulates a new conceptual language for analyzing Islam. It presents a new paradigm of how Muslims have historically understood divine revelation--one that enables us to understand how and why Muslims through history have embraced values such as exploration, ambiguity, aestheticization, polyvalence, and relativism, as well as practices such as figural art, music, and even wine drinking as Islamic. It also puts forward a new understanding of the historical constitution of Islamic law and its relationship to philosophical ethics and political theory. A book that is certain to provoke debate and significantly alter our understanding of Islam, What Is Islam? reveals how Muslims have historically conceived of and lived with Islam as norms and truths that are at once contradictory yet coherent.