Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam

Paperback | April 9, 2013

byAaron W. Hughes

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Rather than focus solely on theological concerns, this well-rounded introduction takes an expansive view of Islamic ideology, culture, and tradition, sourcing a range of historical, sociological, and literary perspectives. Neither overly critical nor apologetic, this book reflects the rich diversity of Muslim identities across the centuries and counters the unflattering, superficial portrayals of Islam that are shaping public discourse today.

Aaron W. Hughes uniquely traces the development of Islam in relation to historical, intellectual, and cultural influences, enriching his narrative with the findings, debates, and methodologies of related disciplines, such as archaeology, history, and Near Eastern studies. Hughes's work challenges the dominance of traditional terms and concepts in religious studies, recasting religion as a set of social and cultural facts imagined, manipulated, and contested by various actors and groups over time. Making extensive use of contemporary identity theory, Hughes rethinks the teaching of Islam and religions in general and helps facilitate a more critical approach to Muslim sources. For readers seeking a non-theological, unbiased, and richly human portrait of Islam, as well as a strong grasp of Islamic study's major issues and debates, this textbook is a productive, progressive alternative to more classic surveys.

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Rather than focus solely on theological concerns, this well-rounded introduction takes an expansive view of Islamic ideology, culture, and tradition, sourcing a range of historical, sociological, and literary perspectives. Neither overly critical nor apologetic, this book reflects the rich diversity of Muslim identities across the cen...

Aaron W. Hughes holds the Philip S. Bernstein Chair in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester. He is the author of Situating Islam: The Past and Future of an Academic Discipline and Theorizing Islam: Disciplinary Deconstruction and Reconstruction.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:April 9, 2013Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231161476

ISBN - 13:9780231161473

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Religious Studies and the Academic Study of IslamPart I. Origins1. Setting the Stage: Pre-Islamic Arabia2. The Making of the Last Prophet3. The Quran: The Base NarrativePart II. Identity Formations4. Islam Beyond the Arabian Peninsula: A Historical Overview5. Early Sectarianism and the Formation of Shi'ism6. Legal Developments and the Rise of Sunni Islam7. SufismPart III. Beliefs and Practices8. Constituting Identities: Beliefs and Schools9. The Performance of Muslim IdentitiesPart IV. Modern Variations10. Encounters with Modernity11. Constructing Muslim Women12. Islam Post-September 11GlossaryIndex

Editorial Reviews

An excellent corrective to many other introductions.... Hughes's text has much to recommend it for introductory classes on Islam at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. And it is certain to lead to much productive conversation and debate among scholars of Islamic Studies about the future of the field itself.