The Pursuit of Learning in the Islamic World, 610–2003

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About the Book

Islam scares the West. Militant conservatism and the horrific acts of violent fundamentalists evoke outrage, but the reprehensible few reinforce a longstanding Western stereotype of all Muslims as “incorrigibly fanatical, violent and morally and culturally different.” Overlooked is the long history of Muslim intellectual and cultural achievement, and its potential to flower once again. With about 1.5 billion adherents, Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. An understanding of its past glories, present state and future potential has never been more critical.
This survey of Muslim intellectual and cultural achievements spans 1,400 years. Chapters fall into three sections: fundamentals of Islamic learning; its growth until the present; and its future direction in the face of anti-intellectual fundamentalism. Arranged chronologically within the sections, chapters begin with an historical overview of the time period they encompass, providing context for the subsequent discussion of key intellectual and cultural achievements within that period. Appendices describe decorative and other arts, the requirements for expertise in Islamic thought, Islamic ethical traditions, and list noteworthy personalities and achievements chronologically. Maps and photographs illustrate the text, which also includes a glossary, notes, a bibliography and an index.

About the Author(s)

Hunt Janin is an American writer living in southwestern France. He has written numerous nonfiction and scholarly books on a range of subjects, including medieval history and cross-cultural studies.

Bibliographic Details

Hunt Janin
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 235
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, maps, glossary, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2904-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction: Why This Book?      3

Part One: Fundamentals of Islamic Learning

I. The World of Islam: Doctrines and Structure      11

II. The Prophet Muhammad and His Times (c. 500–632)      25

III. The Quran      31

Part Two: The Growth of Islamic Learning

IV. Islam Becomes the Dominant Faith of an Empire (632–873)      39

V. The Flowering of Islam (873–1041)      61

VI. Population Movements and Islamic Cities (1041–1453)      77

VII. The Age of Great Empires (1453–1699)      111

VIII. The Impact of the West (1699–2003)      128

Part Three: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Future

IX The Challenge of Fundamentalism      157

X Conclusions: Future Prospects for Islamic Learning      176

Appendix 1 : The Decorative and Other Arts of Islam      181

Appendix 2 : Expertise in Islamic Thought      193

Appendix 3 : Ethical Traditions in Islam      195

Appendix 4 : Noteworthy Islamic Personalities and Cultural Achievements      199

Glossary of Selected Islamic Terms      201

Notes      205

Selected Bibliography      219

Index      227

Book Reviews & Awards

“useful”—C&RL News.