An Introduction

By Annemarie Schimmel

Subjects: Islam
Paperback : 9780791413289, 176 pages, May 1992
Hardcover : 9780791413272, 176 pages, May 1992

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Table of contents


Arabia Before Islam


The Expansion of Islam

The Koran and Its Teachings

The Tradition

The Law

Theology and Philosophy

The Shia and Related Sects

Mystical Islam and Sufi Brotherhoods

Popular Piety and the Veneration of Saints

Modern Developments Inside Islam



A comprehensive introduction to Islam.


It is a splendid introduction—carefully researched and comprehensive, yet readable. It corrects many popular and erroneous notions about Islam that prevail in non-Muslim societies. For the general reader there are many profound insights of great consequence, for example, the passages on women, marriage, and inheritance, or the section on jihad, nearly always completely misunderstood in the press.

Annemarie Schimmel is a Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages at Harvard University.


"The topic is becoming more significant because Islam is the most rapidly growing religion in the world. This book provides a thorough and sophisticated, but at the same time clear-headed and reliable, overview." — Kevin Lacey, State University of New York, Binghamton

"This survey represents and distills a lifetime of scholarship devoted to the Islamic tradition. In the Introduction, Schimmel remarks that the book follows 'the traditional view of Islamic history without venturing into the vast field of sociological or political approaches.' In practice, this translates into a traditional view of Islam as experienced by Muslims. It is difficult to imagine a book that would better represent how most Muslims conceive their own religion. It is likely that Muslims will be most eager to read and quote from this book since it faithfully presents a perspective with which they can identify." — Carl W. Ernst, Pomona College