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The Qur'an, Morality and Critical Reason

The Essential Muhammad Shahrur

Series:

Muhammad Shahrur

Edited by Andreas Christmann

This book presents the work and ideas of the Syrian writer Muhammad Shahrur to the English-speaking world. Shahrur is at the moment the most innovative intellectual thinker in the Arab Middle East. Often described as the ‘Martin Luther of Islam,’ he offers a liberal, progressive reading of Islam that aims to counter the influences of religious fundamentalism and radical politics. Shahrur’s innovative interpretation of the Qur’an offers groundbreaking new ideas, based on his conviction that centuries of historical Islam, including scholarship in the traditional Islamic religious sciences, have obscured or even obliterated the Qur’an’s progressive and revolutionary message. That message is one that has endured through each period of human history in which Islam has existed, encouraging Muslims to apply the most contemporary perspective available to interpret the Qur’an’s meaning.

Arab Painting

Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts

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Anna Contadini

Arab painting, preserved mainly in manuscript illustrations of the 12th to 14th centuries, is here treated as an artistic corpus fully deserving of appreciation in its own terms, and not as a mere precursor to Persian painting. The book assembles papers by a distinguished list of scholars that illuminate the variety of material that survives in scientific as well as literary manuscripts. Because of the contexts in which the paintings appear, a major theoretical concern is, precisely, the relationship of painting to text. It rejects earlier scholarly habits of analysing paintings in isolation, and proposes the integration of text and image as a more satisfactory framework within which to elucidate the characteristics and functions of this impressive body of work.

Series:

Jon Hoover

The Muslim jurist Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) is famous for polemic against Islamic philosophy, theology and rationalizing mysticism, but his positive theological contribution has not been well understood. This comprehensive study of Ibn Taymiyya’s theodicy helps to rectify this lack. Exposition and analysis of Ibn Taymiyya’s writings on God’s justice and wise purpose, divine determination and human agency, the problem of evil, and juristic method in theological doctrine show that he articulates a theodicy of optimism in which God in His essence perpetually wills the best possible world from eternity. This sets Ibn Taymiyya’s theodicy apart from Ashʿarī divine voluntarism, the free-will theodicy of the Muʿtazilīs, and the essentially timeless God of other optimists like Ibn Sīnā and Ibn ʿArabī.

Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century

Daily Life, Customs and Learning. The Moslims of the East-Indian Archipelago.

Series:

C. Snouck Hurgronje

Edited by J.H. Monahan

From 1884-1885, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje stayed in Mecca. He became intimately acquainted with the daily life of the Meccans and the thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. This volume deals with social and family life, funeral customs and marriage. It is a unique insight in one the most important places in islamic culture.
With a new foreword by Jan Just Witkam
Muslims in Russia

Muslims in Russian History
Muslim peoples played an important role in the creation of the multinational Russian state. The process took several centuries and was completed only when Central Asia was annexed in the 1860s. Russian power had confronted a huge Muslim world, and the Muslim question became one of the major factors in both the internal and the external policy of Russia's tsars. According to the first general census (1897), by the end of the nineteenth century the Muslim population amounted to approximately 14 million, representing almost 11 percent of the total population of Imperial Russia.

The Muslim Question
The attitude of the Russian state to the Muslims changed more than once. Down to the time of Peter the Great, Russian policy combined the merging of the Muslim elite with the top of Russian society, with the forced, gradual Russification and Christianization of the general population. Starting with Ekaterina II, all-Russia imperial policy changed from that of suppressing the Muslims to that of legitimizing them. When Alexander III became tsar in 1881, he started to pursue a policy of the increased administrative prosecution of religious nonconformity, and discrimination against non-Christians (including Muslims), thus increasingly separating Muslims from Russian society.

The Wind of Change
New forces entered public life at the beginning of the twentieth century. In Russia, there was a powerful outburst of Muslim nationalism, based on religious reformism, traditionalism, and liberal ideas. During the First Russian Revolution of 1905-1907, there were great changes in the state and in society linked to the creation of the State Duma (parliament), the proclamation of civil freedom, and the possibility to form political parties and alliances, and to relatively independently express political opinion. It was then that the traditional worldview was shaken and the foundation for the secularization of the social conscience was laid.
The Union of Muslims of Russia ( Ittifak-Al-Muslimin) - which was created at the 1905-1906 congresses of Muslim representatives from throughout Russia - became the Muslims' most powerful political organization. The Union survived until 1917 and had branches in the lands along the Volga and in the Crimea, the Urals, the Caucasus, Siberia and Turkestan.
This period saw an increase in the number of Muslim intellectuals searching for their national identity. The Muslims of Russia showed a great interest in the legacy of the past, in their national roots, and in their spiritual, religious, and ethnic traditions. Periodicals widely discussed the understanding of the Muslims’ cultural heritage and of the East-West problem.
During and shortly after the February and October Revolutions of 1917, nationalist movements grew rapidly. Finding themselves with a degree of freedom they had formerly thought impossible, many in Russia - including Muslims - were for the first time able to clearly express their problems and the ways to solve them. After they took power on October 25, 1917, the Bolsheviks started to pursue a national policy that in reality never considered the true interests of the Muslims. Thus, the Muslims' attitude toward the new authority worsened dramatically. From the summer of 1918 onward, most Muslims felt negative toward the Soviet authorities and the communists who restricted their religious freedom.

The Muslim Press
Until the first Russian revolution (1905-1907), the problems of Russian Muslims were extremely poorly reported in the Russian press. This is why Muslim public figures time and again tried to obtain permission to publish their own newspapers and magazines. The Buku paper Kaspij was the first Muslim paper to be printed in Russian (1881). Its publisher was an Azerbaijanian politician, Ali-Mardan Topchibashev. He was the first deputy of the State Duma and one of the Muslim leaders in the Russian Empire. Kaspij was published by Muslim journalists for Russian readers. The revolution led to the appearance of many periodicals, including Muslim ones, of numerous ideological persuasions: from monarchist to socialist, and from patriotic to "pan-Turkist" and "pan-Islamist."
These publications were intended to acquaint the Russian and European public with the problems of the Muslims of the Russian Empire, and represented the interests of various groups within the Muslim community. They published official orders related to the Muslim population, documents, resolutions, appeals made by Muslim congresses, the protocols of sessions of Muslim organizations, materials on the most urgent problems of the Muslim population, reviews, letters from Muslims, etc. The notion was spread in society that the Muslim press, especially in 1909-1912, was thoroughly infected by the "viruses" of pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism. For example, the Parisian magazine Musul'manin ( Muslim), which was printed in Russian in 1908-1911, was considered a locus for the distribution of these ideas, as were the St Petersburg publications V mire musul'manstva ( In the Muslim World) and Mususul'manskaia gazeta ( Muslim Newspaper).
After the collapse of the monarchy in March 1917, many Muslim papers and magazines appeared, including some in Russian. The most precious and the rarest is News of the All-Russian Muslim Council. It was published in Petrograd in the second half of 1917 by the All-Russian Muslim Council, the highest executive body of the country's Muslim population. The Council comprised such well-known and established representatives as Zakhid Shamil, the grandson of Imam Shamil. Zakhid Shamil was a journalist, a member of the editorial board of the Petersburg magazine Book Chronicle, and an officer in the Chief Administration of Press in Petersburg.

A Unique Source
Practically all these publications have yet to be thoroughly studied and are practically unknown to foreign researchers. Nevertheless, they are a unique source. They provide familiarity with a very heterogeneous and unknown world that lasted for more than 50 years, namely from 1861 to 1918. Materials published both at the center and on the periphery reflect the picturesque palette of life of Muslims in the Russian Empire, as well as the positions of the public and political figures of different layers of Muslim society.
This collection presents works written by and about Muslims. It includes publications that present the point of view of outsiders regarding the Muslim press. Inorodcheskoe Obozrenie (Foreigners' Overview, a supplement to Pravoslavnyj Sobesednik [Orthodox Collocutor]) is a publication about Muslims in Russia. In addition to articles of a missionary character about Muslims, it contains translations and annotations of numerous Muslim books, magazines, and newspapers. The publications made an essential contribution to the process of overcoming the old religious and national estrangement of the Muslim population.
In the pages of these editions, for the first time on such a scale, intelligent arguments were presented in support of rejecting national self-isolation, the need to familiarize other peoples with Muslim achievements in the fields of science, culture, industry, and agriculture, and the idea of the mutual understanding between and the cultural rapprochement with all peoples.
The discussion was directed at both Western and Russian culture, and showed a significant understanding of the need to become familiar with the achievements of a world civilization. The publications strengthened progressive tendencies by responding forcefully to current political events. The value of this heritage is especially clear now that the historical and spiritual past of Muslims in Russia is being actively reconsidered.

Clive Holes

Dialect, Culture and Society in Eastern Arabia is a three-volume study of the Arabic dialects spoken in Bahrain by its older generation in the mid 1970s, and the socio-cultural factors that produced them.
Volume I: Glossary, published in 2001, lists all the dialectal vocabulary, with extensive contextual exemplification, and cross-referenced to other lexica, which occurred in the complete set of texts recorded during fieldwork.
Volume II: Ethnographic Texts presents a selection of these texts, transcribed, annotated and translated, and with detailed background essays, covering major aspects of the pre-oil culture of the Gulf and the initial stages of the transition to the modern era: pearl diving, agriculture, communal relations, marriage, childhood, domestic life, work. Excerpts from local dialect poems concerned with these subjects are also included.
Volume III will comprise a detailed study of the linguistic structure of the dialects in their regional context.

The Capitulations and the Ottoman Legal System

Qadis, Consuls and Beratlıs in the 18th Century

Maurits van den Boogert

Pre-modern Western sources generally claim that European mercantile communities in the Ottoman Empire enjoyed legal autonomy, and were thus effectively immune to Ottoman justice. At the same time, they report numerous disputes with Ottoman officials over jurisdiction (“avanias”), which seems to contradict this claim, the discrepancy being considered proof of the capriciousness of the Ottoman legal system. Modern studies of Ottoman-European relations in this period have tended uncritically to accept this interpretation, which is challenged in this book.

Encyclopaedia of the Qur'ān

Volume Four (P-Sh)

Edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe

The Virgin and her Lover

Fragments of an Ancient Greek Novel and a Persian Epic Poem

Bo Utas and Tomas Hägg

Starting from the authors’ discovery that the Persian epic poem Vāmiq and ʿAdhrā by ʿUnṣurī (11th century AD) derives from the ancient Greek novel of Mētiokhos and Parthenopē, the book contains critical editions of the Greek and Persian fragments and testimonia, with English translation and comments. The exciting story of the modern recovery of the two texts is told, and the transformations of the productive theme of The ardent lover and the virgin are traced from Greek novel to Persian poem, and through later Persian and Turkish literature. Of particular importance is the authors’ attempt to reconstruct the common plot and individual variations, adding a new work to the limited corpus of ancient novels and shedding new light on the genre of Persian epic poetry.

The Oral Background of Persian Epics

Storytelling and Poetry

Kumiko Yamamoto

This volume discusses the indirect influence of oral transmission on the genesis and evolution of the Persian written epic tradition. On the basis of formal characteristics of naqqâli (Persian storytelling) performance, a set of formal and thematic criteria is proposed to determine the extent to which written Persian epics show structures ultimately deriving from oral performance. It is applied to the Shâh-nâme of Ferdowsi (c. 1000) and to the Garshâsp-nâme of Asadi (c. 1064-66).
The first part of the book examines the Oral-Formulaic Theory and proposes an alternative approach focusing on naqqâli. The book may be relevant to both oralists and Iranists; it demonstrates the complex process where orality interacts with written tradition in the genesis of the Shâh-nâme.