Misquoting Muhammad

Misquoting Muhammad : The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy

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AN INDEPENDENT BEST BOOKS ON RELIGION 2014 PICK



Few things provoke controversy in the modern world like the religion brought by Prophet Muhammad. Modern media are replete with alarm over jihad, underage marriage and the threat of amputation or stoning under Shariah law. Sometimes rumor, sometimes based on fact and often misunderstood, the tenets of Islamic law and dogma were not set in the religion's founding moments. They were developed, like in other world religions, over centuries by the clerical class of Muslim scholars.



Misquoting Muhammad takes the reader back in time through Islamic civilization and traces how and why such controversies developed, offering an inside view into how key and controversial aspects of Islam took shape. From the protests of the Arab Spring to Istanbul at the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and from the ochre red walls of Delhi's great mosques to the trade routes of the Indian Ocean world, Misquoting Muhammad lays out how Muslim intellectuals have sought to balance reason and revelation, weigh science and religion, and negotiate the eternal truths of scripture amid shifting values.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 28mm | 385.55g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 8 Plates, color
  • 1780747829
  • 9781780747828
  • 36,470

Table of contents

List of Illustrations



Foreword



Preface



Acknowledgments



Notes on dates, transliteration, abbreviations and citations







1 The Problem(s) with Islam



A world full of God



Taking Islamic scripture and its interpreters seriously







2 A Map of the Islamic Interpretive Tradition



The word of God, the teachings of His Prophet and the mind of man



Obey God and obey His Messenger



The beginnings of the Islamic interpretive tradition



Abu Hanifa and the Partisans of Reason



Malik and the authority of custom



The power of reason: the Greek legacy and Islamic theology



Shafi'i and the beginnings of Sunni Islam



The collection and criticism of Hadiths



Putting reason in its place in Sunni theology and law



The great convergence of Sunni Islam



Legal theory and its discontents



Sufism and inspiration from God



The iconoclasts and Islamic revival



Twilight of an era







3 The Fragile Truth of Scripture



A crisis of confidence



Canons and reading scripture with charity



The turning over of an era



Reading scripture so it's true



The Islamic science of epistemology and interpretation (Usul al-Fiqh)



The language of God and the rhetoric of His Prophet



The Qur'an: valid for all times and places



Hadiths and interpreting the life of the Prophet



Changing times and the reasons behind scriptural law



The interaction of the Qur'an and Hadiths in time



Into the weeds: the case of raising one's hands in prayer



The summer of the liberal age







4 Clinging to the Canon in a Ruptured World



Upstarts at the end of time



The treason of interpretation



Heresy acceptable: ruptures in canonical communities



Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them: jihad and (re)interpreting scripture



Women cannot lead: historicizing scripture versus God's inscrutable law



Sex with little girls: interpreting scripture amid changing norms



The ulama, the state and Shariah authenticity without scripture



The court must not be political - morality and truth in a ruptured world







5 Muslim Martin Luthers and the Paradox of Tradition



The paradox of interpretive control



The rule of interpretation in the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Islam



Tradition as governor, scripture as subject



Killing one's children: tradition betraying scripture



Reconsidering the penalty for apostasy: tradition redeeming scripture



Women leading prayer: should scripture trump tradition?



The 'Qur'an Only' movement



No escaping tradition



The price of reformation



The guide of tradition: a necessary but thankless job







6 Lying about the Prophet of God



The truth, what's that?



Noble Lies and profound truths



The ulama as guardians



Appealing to the flesh: using unreliable Hadiths in Sunni Islam



A familiar habit: assisting truth in Western scripture and historiography



Seventy-two virgins: pragmatic truth and the heavenly reward of martyrs



The cost of Noble Lying



Muslim objections to the Noble Lie



Genre versus book: reviving an old approach to authenticating Hadiths



The dangers of Noble Lying for Muslims today



Pragmatic truth and the beauty of Noble Lying







7 When Scripture Can't Be True



The Qur'an and domestic violence



Who decides what God means?



Courts have the final word



Saying 'no' to the text and the hermeneutics of suspicion







Appendix I: Marracci and Ockley on Aisha's Marriage to the Prophet



Appendix II: Hadiths on a Parent Killing His Child



Ratings of the Hadith by Muslim critics



Examination of individual narrations



My evaluation of the Hadith



Citations for Hadith of a Father Killing His Child



Appendix III: The Hadith of riba and Incest



Ratings by Hadith critics



My evaluation of the Hadith of Riba and Incest



Citations for the Hadith



Appendix IV: The Hadith of the Seventy-Two Virgins



Overall rating



Citations for the Hadith of the Seventy-Two Virgins







Notes



Select Bibliography



Index
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Review Text

"Misquoting Muhammad is a book I wish I had the money to buy for all my friends and...
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Review quote

'Identifies and contextualizes the larger interpretive issues at stake in the global competition between diverse traditional and Salafi Sunni voices, and is written in such an engaging manner that the reader may find it difficult to put it down.' * Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies * 'Lucid, learned and engaging' * Karen Armstrong, Sunday Times * 'Superb... an essential read for anyone seeking to understand Islam and the Muslim world... fascinating' * Tribune * 'Brown ably navigates the cutting edge of Hadith studies while offering his able insight, encyclopedic knowledge of Muslim textual traditions, and awareness of the political contentiousness of scholarship in Islamic studies... highly recommended' * ALA CHOICE Magazine * 'Misquoting Muhammad is a book I wish I had the money to buy for all my friends and colleagues, because he presents readers with a guide to Islamic thought that portrays it not as a fixed entity but as a complex product of utterly human machinations... Ultimately, Brown teaches a simple, if vital, lesson: Authenticity is elusive in religion, and those who claim it tend not to be searching for the truth but grasping for power.' * Pacific Standard magazine * 'Exhilarating ... Brown is among the most talented and productive scholars in the field of Islamic Studies today ... He is also a practicing Muslim who has the rare ability to sit at the feet of traditional scholars from Egypt to Malaysia for hours on end and translate that knowledge into something beneficial for his American audiences.' * Los Angeles Review of Books * 'Misquoting Muhammad makes the important point that what many Muslims believe to be essential tenets of their faith are often nothing of the sort' * Independent, best books of the year * 'Brown possesses formidable knowledge of premodern Muslim scholars who sought to preserve accounts of Muhammad's teachings and practices ... MISQUOTING MUHAMMAD sheds light on the considerable dynamism and sophistication within the Sunni tradition.' -- Washington Post 'an inside view into how key controversial aspects of how Islam took shape' * Asian Art Newspaper * 'There aren't many books on Islam where the Prophet Muhammad and Martin Scorsese appear together... helpful for the lay reader' * Independent * 'Erudite and provocative... compelling' * Literary Review * 'Eminently qualified... Brown eloquently parses Islam's rich interpretive tradition.' -- Kirkus Reviews
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About Jonathan A.C. Brown

Jonathan A.C. Brown is Professor and Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is the author of Slavery & Islam, Misquoting Muhammad and Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World, all of which are published by Oneworld. He lives in Virginia.
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Rating details

859 ratings
4.35 out of 5 stars
5 54% (468)
4 30% (260)
3 12% (104)
2 2% (14)
1 2% (13)
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