Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction

Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) Adam J. Silverstein

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 110mm x 172mm x 10mm | 140g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199545723
  • ISBN 13: 9780199545728
  • Illustrations note: 18 black and white halftones
  • Sales rank: 71,998

Product description

Does history matter? This book argues not that history matters, but that Islamic history does. This Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history; the controversies surrounding its study; and the significance that it holds - for Muslims and for non-Muslims alike. Opening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to twenty first century, the book charts the evolution of what was originally a small, localised community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherents. Chapters are also dedicated to the peoples - Arabs, Persians, and Turks - who shaped Islamic history, and to three representative institutions - the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate - that highlight Islam's diversity over time. Finally, the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts are analysed, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys amongst Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as little more than something that is not to be repeated. Some of the questions that will be answered are: * How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of twenty first century media? * How do we know what we claim to know about Islam's rise and development? * Why does any of this matter, either to Muslims or to non-Muslims? 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.

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Author information

Adam Silverstein has taught Islamic history at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. He is University Research Lecturer in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, and a Fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford. He is also Fellow in Jewish-Muslim Relations at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and a member of The Magic Circle.

Review quote

The book is extremely lucid, readable, sensibly organised, and wears its considerable learning, as they say, 'lightly'. BBC History Magazine I cannot imagine any reader not profiting from this tight-packed and intelligently presented text. BBC History Magazine Brilliant little book...This highly approachable text is evidently backed by a deep scholarship and is full of eye-catching perspectives. Steven Poole, The Guardian Silverstein, who teaches the subject at Oxford University, is up-to-date, shrewd and often witty... the book's lucidity, intelligence and indeed its brevity make it an ideal introduction to the field of study... The book is a gem, and it deserves a wide readership well beyond the academic community. David Morgan, TLS

Table of contents

1. The story of Islamic history ; 2. Peoples and cultures ; 3. Institutions ; 4. The sources ; 5. Competing approaches ; 6. Religious significance ; 7. Political significance ; Conclusions ; Further reading