Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam (2 vols.)

Volume 1: Foundations and Formation of a Tradition. Reflections on the Hereafter in the Quran and Islamic Religious Thought / Volume 2: Continuity and Change. The Plurality of Eschatological Representations in the Islamicate World


Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam offers a multi-disciplinary study of Muslim thinking about paradise, death, apocalypse, and the hereafter. It focuses on eschatological concepts in the Quran and its exegesis, Sunni and Shi‘i traditions, Islamic theology, philosophy, mysticism, and other scholarly disciplines reflecting Islamicate pluralism and cosmopolitanism. Gathering material from all parts of the Muslim world, ranging from Islamic Spain to Indonesia, and the entirety of Islamic history, this publication in two volumes also integrates research from comparative religion, art history, sociology, anthropology and literary studies. Unparalleled and unprecedented in its scope and comprehensiveness, Roads to Paradise promises to become the definitive reference work on Islamic eschatology for the years to come.

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Sebastian Günther, Ph.D. (1989) is Professor and Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Göttingen. Germany. He has published extensively on the intellectual history of Islam, including Representations and Visions of Homeland in Modern Arabic Literature (co-ed., Hildesheim 2016) and Ideas, Images, and Methods of Portrayal: Insights into Classical Arabic Literature and Islam (ed., Leiden 2005).

Todd Lawson, Ph.D. (1989) is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Thought at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on Quranic exegesis, mysticism, Shi‘ism, and Quranic literary problems. Recent publications include articles such as Friendship, Illumination and the Water of Life (2016), Joycean Modernism in a 19th century Qur’an commentary (2015), The Qur’an and Epic (2014) and the monograph Gnostic Apocalypse in Islam (London 2012).

Christian Mauder is a PhD student at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies of the University of Göttingen, Germany. He has published several studies on the intellectual, cultural and religious history of Mamluk and Ottoman Egypt, including the monograph Gelehrte Krieger: Die Mamluken als Träger arabischsprachiger Bildung (Hildesheim 2012).
"In view of the high scholarly quality, it is safe to say that the essential background of death and the afterlife in the Islamic point-of-view is promptly understood and the authors support their arguments convincingly and authoritatively. After a comprehensive introduction by the editors (Vol. I, pp. 1-28) the reader comes in contact with useful information that helps him to form and define Islamic ontological and eschatological ideas. The editors also claim that although the present book is based in scholarly work, it is nevertheless oriented towards a wider readership where academic expertise can contribute a great deal toward a more comprehendsive understanding of current political and religious developments in both the Muslim world and West. Each article contains informative references and detailed bibliography, cited at the end of every chapter. The bibliographical appendix at the end of Volume Two (pp. 1323-1391) facilitate future research on eschatology and concepts of the hereafter of Islam, while a comprehensive index of proper names as well detailed indices of geographical names and toponymes, book titles, scriptural references, topics and keywords provide access to the contents. On the whole, scholars and students will find this two volume work quite valuable. More than a mere work, this book inspires for further research and discussion on eschatology and concepts of the hereafter in Islam."
Angeliki Georgiou Kompocholi in: Journal of Oriental and African Studies, 27, 2018.

"...a massive new contribution to the field."
John Hoover in: Bulletin of the School of African and Oriental Studies, 8 November 2017.

"Ein umfangreicher bibliographischer Appendix zu Paradies und Hölle im Islam und ausführliche Indizes, über die das zweibändige Werk überhaupt benutzbar wird, schließen die Bände ab. Natürlich ließen sich weitere Titel finden, die nicht aufgenommen wurden. Insgesamt handelt es sich um ein Grundlagenwerk für die weitere Forschung zu eschatologischen Vorstellungen."
Rüdiger Lohlker in: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 108, 2018.

"... the most comprehensive overview of this topic in existence."
George Archer in: Reading Religion, August 22, 2017.

"Roads to Paradise maps out a beginning of modern academic research into Muslim eschatology."
Sajjad Rizvi, Al-Abhath 64, 2016.
Foundations and the Formation of a Tradition:
Reflections on the Hereafter in the Quran and Islamic Religious Thought

The Editors



Josef van Ess

Sebastian Günther and Todd Lawson

“The Paths to Reality are as Diverse as the Souls of Humanity”

Tilman Nagel: Paradise Lost

Mahmoud Zakzouk: The Path to Paradise from an Islamic Viewpoint

Paradise, Hell and Afterlife in the Quran and Quranic Exegesis

Muhammad Abdel Haleem: Quranic Paradise: How to Get to Paradise and What to Expect There

Angelika Neuwirth: Paradise as a Quranic Discourse: Late Antique Foundations and Early Quranic Developments

Todd Lawson: Paradise in the Quran and the Music of Apocalypse

Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila: Paradise and Nature in the Quran and Pre-Islamic Poetry

Asma Afsaruddin: Dying in the Path of God: Reading Martyrdom and Moral Excellence in the Quran

Sebastian Günther: The Poetics of Islamic Eschatology: Narrative, Personification, and Colors in Muslim Discourse
The Pleasures of Paradise

Andrew J. Lane: “Reclining upon Couches in the Shade” (Q 35:56): Quranic Imagery in Rationalist Exegesis

Ailin Qian: Delights in Paradise: A Comparative Survey of Heavenly Food and Drink in the Quran

Maher Jarrar: Strategies for Paradise: Paradise Virgins and Utopia

Nerina Rustomji: Beauty in the Garden: Aesthetics and the Wildān, Ghilmān, and Ḥūr

The Afterlife in Sunni Tradition and Theology

Aisha Geissinger: “Are Men the Majority in Paradise, or Women?” Constructing Gender and Communal Boundaries in Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj’s (d. 261/875) Kitāb al-Janna

Christian Lange: The ‘Eight Gates of Paradise’ Tradition in Islam: A Genealogical and Structural Study

Feras Hamza: Temporary Hellfire Punishment and the Making of Sunni Orthodoxy

Niall Christie: Paradise and Hell in the Kitāb al-Jihād of ʿAlī b. Ṭāhir al-Sulamī (d. 500/1106)

Wilferd Madelung: Al-Ghazālī on Resurrection and the Road to Paradise

Dorothee Pielow: Sleepless in Paradise: Lying in State between This World and the Next

A Wise Man’s Paradise – Eschatology and Philosophy

Michael E. Marmura: Paradise in Islamic Philosophy

Thomas Würtz: The Orthodox Conception of the Hereafter: Saʿd al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī’s (d. 793/1390) Examination of some Muʿtazilī and Philosophical Objections

Hermann Landolt: ‘Being-Towards-Resurrection:’ Mullā Ṣadrā’s Critique of Suhrawardī’s Eschatology

Mohammed Rustom: A Philosopher’s Itinerary for the Afterlife: Mullā Ṣadrā on Paths to Felicity

The Path beyond this World – Vision and Spiritual Experience of the Hereafter

Simon O’Meara: Muslim Visuality and the Visibility of Paradise and the World

Maryam Moazzen: A Garden beyond the Garden: ʿAyn al-Quḍāt Hamadānī’s Perspective on Paradise

Katja Föllmer: Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Path to God and the Concept of Martyrdom in ʿAṭṭār’s Conference of the Birds

Unity in Variety – Shi‘ism and Other Muslim Identities

Omid Ghaemmaghami: “And the Earth will Shine with the Light of its Lord” (Q 39:69): Qāʾim and qiyāma in Shi‘i Islam

Elizabeth Alexandrin: Paradise as the Abode of Pure Knowledge: Reconsidering al-Muʾayyad’s “Isma‘ili Neoplatonism”

S.J. Badakhchani: Notions of Paradise in the Isma‘ili Works of Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī

Jamel A. Velji: Apocalyptic Rhetoric and the Construction of Authority in Medieval Isma‘ilism

Alexey A. Khismatulin: Just a Step Away From Paradise: Barzakh in the Ahl-i Ḥaqq Teachings

Orkhan Mir-Kasimov: “Paradise is at the Feet of Mothers:” The Ḥurūfī Road

Mohammad Hassan Khalil: Which Road to Paradise? The Controversy of Reincarnation in Islamic Thought


Continuity and Change. The Plurality of Eschatological Representations in the Islamicate World Thought

Mahmoud Hegazi: “Roads to Paradise” in Risālat al-Ghufrān of the Arab Thinker al-Maʿarrī

Roberto Tottoli: Muslim Eschatology and the Ascension of the Prophet Muḥammad: Describing Paradise in Miʿrāj Traditions and Literature

Samar Attar: An Islamic Paradiso in a Medieval Christian Poem? Dante’s Divine Comedy Revisited

Claudia Ott: Paradise, Alexander the Great and the Arabian Nights: Some New Insights Based on an Unpublished Manuscript

Walid A. Saleh: Paradise in an Islamic ʿAjāʾib Work: The Delight of Onlookers and the Signs for Investigators of Marʿī b. Yūsuf al-Karmī (d. 1033/1624)

Suha Kudsieh: Expulsion from Paradise: Granada in Raḍwā ʿĀshūr’s The Granada Trilogy (1994–8) and Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995)

Bringing Paradise down to Earth – Aesthetic Representations of the Hereafter

Maribel Fierro: Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ, Paradise and the Fatimids

Tehnyat Majeed: The Chār Muḥammad Inscription, Shafāʿa, and the Mamluk Qubba al-Manṣūriyya

Karin Rührdanz: Visualizing Encounters on the Road to Paradise

Ulrich Marzolph: Images of Paradise in Popular Shi‘ite Iconography

Silvia Naef: Where is Paradise on Earth? Visual Arts in the Arab World and the Construction of a Mythic Past

Heavens and the Hereafter in Scholarship and Natural Sciences

Ingrid Hehmeyer: The Configuration of the Heavens in Islamic Astronomy

Anver M. Emon: The Quadrants of Sharīʿa: The Here and Hereafter as Constitutive of Islamic Law

Ludmila Hanisch: Perceptions of Paradise in the Writings of Julius Wellhausen, Mark Lidzbarski, and Hans Heinrich Schaeder

Paradise meets Modernity – The Dynamics of Paradise Discourse in the Nineteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

Ediwn P. Wieringa: Islam and Paradise are Sheltered under the Shade of Swords: Phallocentric Fantasies of Paradise in Nineteenth-Century Acehnese War Propaganda and their Lasting Legacy

Umar Ryad: Eschatology between Reason and Revelation: Death and Resurrection in Modern Islamic Theology

Martin Riexinger: Between Science Fiction and Sermon: Eschatological Writings Inspired by Said Nursi

Liza M. Franke: Notions of Paradise and Martyrdom in Contemporary Palestinian Thought

Ruth Mas: Crisis and the Secular Rhetoric of Islamic Paradise




Those interested in contemporary and historical Islam and the social imaginaries, beliefs and practices of Muslims worldwide — jihād, martyrdom, the afterlife, the deep and rich eschatological culture of the world’s fastest growing religion
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