Rather than focus solely on theological concerns, this
well-rounded introduction takes an expansive view of Islamic
ideology, culture, and tradition, sourcing a range of historical,
sociological, and literary perspectives. Neither overly critical
nor apologetic, this book reflects the rich diversity of Muslim
identities across the centuries and counters the unflattering,
superficial portrayals of Islam that are shaping public discourse
Aaron W. Hughes uniquely traces the development of Islam in
relation to historical, intellectual, and cultural influences,
enriching his narrative with the findings, debates, and
methodologies of related disciplines, such as archaeology, history,
and Near Eastern studies. Hughes's work challenges the dominance of
traditional terms and concepts in religious studies, recasting
religion as a set of social and cultural facts imagined,
manipulated, and contested by various actors and groups over time.
Making extensive use of contemporary identity theory, Hughes
rethinks the teaching of Islam and religions in general and helps
facilitate a more critical approach to Muslim sources. For readers
seeking a non-theological, unbiased, and richly human portrait of
Islam, as well as a strong grasp of Islamic study's major issues
and debates, this textbook is a productive, progressive alternative
to more classic surveys.
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