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Martyrdom in Islam

Martyrdom in Islam

Paperback Themes in Islamic History

By (author) David Cook, Series edited by Patricia Crone

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 20mm | 381g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521615518
  • ISBN 13: 9780521615518
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 679,443

Product description

In recent times Islamic martyrdom has become associated with suicide missions conducted by extremists. However, as David Cook demonstrates, this type of martyrdom is very different from the classical definition which condemned suicide and stipulated that anyone who died a believer could be considered a martyr. Ideas about martyrdom have evolved to suit prevailing circumstances, and it is the evolution of these interpretations that Cook charts in this fascinating history. The book covers the earliest sources on martyrdom including those from the Jewish and Christian traditions, discussions about what constituted martyrdom, and differences in attitudes between Sunnis and Shi'ites. A concluding section discusses martyrdom in today's radical environment. There is no other book which considers the topic so systematically, and which draws so widely on the literary sources. This will be essential reading for students of Islamic history, and for those looking for an informed account of this controversial topic.

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Author information

David Cook is Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at Rice University. His publications include Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic (2002), Understanding Jihad (2005), and Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature (2005).

Review quote

'This is a lucid, well-researched book which addresses an issue of pressing interest and relevance to everyone on this planet at the present time. The book is admirably comprehensive, and being a scholarly work, does not fall into the trap of regarding the subject as a monolith.' The Muslim World Book Review

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Martyrs in religion; 2. Martyrdom in the genesis of Islam; 3. Legal definitions, boundaries and rewards of the martyr; 4. Sectarian Islam: Sunni, Shi'ite and Sufi martyrdom; 5. Martyrs: warriors and missionaries in Medieval Islam; 6. Martyrs of love and epic heroes; 7. Patterns of prognostication, narrative and expiation; 8. Martyrdom in contemporary radical Islam; 9. Conclusions; Glossary; Chronology; Appendices; Bibliography.