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What Is Islam?
The Importance of Being Islamic
Shahab Ahmed

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"If the task sounds monumental, Ahmed’s staggering erudition and range has more than equipped him for the challenge. . . . To call the book ambitious is an understatement."--Alireza Doostdar, Shii Studies Review


"Not merely field changing, but the boldest and best thing I have read in any field in years."--Noah Feldman, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"This book seeks to offer nothing short of a new way of looking at Islam, and it succeeds admirably at so doing…. I know of no book on the question of how to approach Islam that comes close to this study in its learning, breadth, and sophistication. It should be read not only by students and scholars of Islam, but by all those interested in the broad questions about conceptualizing religion, culture, and history that it raises."--Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University

"Strikingly original, wide-ranging in its engagement, subtle in its interpretations, and hard-hitting in its conclusions, this book will certainly provoke debate for a number of years. Ahmed's assertions are provocative, his analysis is sharp, and his own solution is both strong and creative. The book lays out a new and capacious basis for thinking about an Islamic humanism. It reconstructs basic scholarly paradigms, ranges across all fields of the Islamic humanities--literature, history, philosophy, art, music, et cetera--and will create potentials for new streams of scholarship in all these fields."--Engseng Ho, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Professor of History, Duke University

"Lucid and compelling, beautifully constructed and powerful, important and brave. What Shahab Ahmed has accomplished in this book is to create a postcolonial ontology of Islam, one that provincializes the Euro-American categories of analysis that up to now have been applied to Islam, both by Western scholars as well as by scholars from the Muslim world who have appropriated these categories."--Robert Wisnovsky, James McGill Professor of Islamic Philosophy, McGill University

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File created: 9/19/2017

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