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For a deft survey of the Near Eastern background against which Islam emerged, consult Peter Brown's The World of Late Antiquity (London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971). A sensible treatment of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, which manages to avoid the extremes of either undue skepticism or credulous apologetic that mar many works, is F. E. Peters' Muhammad and the Origins of Islam (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1994). The best recent survey of early Islamic history in the mashriq is found in Hugh Kennedy's The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Centuries (London: Routledge, 1986). For the Islamic West, see Jamil M. Abun-Nasr's A History of the Maghrib in the Islamic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987) on North Africa. On Spain, see tzhe many valuable essays in Salma Khadra Jayyusi, ed., The Legacy of Muslim Spain (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1992). A concise review of developments in Iran from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries is found in the relevant chapters of David Morgan's Medieval Persia, 1040–1797 (London: Routledge, 1988); a much fuller treatment is provided by two rich volumes of the Cambridge History of Iran: volume 4, From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs, and volume 5, The Saljuq and Mongol Periods (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975 and 1968, respectively).

A readable overview of the early spread of Islam in Anatolia, associated with the arrival of the Turks, is Claude Cahen's Pre-Ottoman Turkey (New York: Taplinger, 1968). The more ambitious reader may look to Marshall G. S. Hodgson's magisterial The Venture of Islam, 3 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973); although it is not always easy to read, this work remains the most intellectually stimulating synthesis of the entirety of Muslim history and civilization, and it is especially strong on the periods covered in this chapter. An interesting recent interpretation of the development of Islamic culture is found in Richard Bulliet's Islam: The View from the Edge (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994). For readers who have difficulty grasping the realities of remote periods of history, because they have little sense of what life in premodern times was actually like, Patricia Crone's Pre-Industrial Societies (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989) is highly recommended.


Books have a habit of going out of print with alarming frequency in the field of Islamic studies. What follows is a short list of works that might help the reader who is interested in the issue of Islamic faith and practice and its relevance to the fields of law and ethics. Works quoted in this chapter are also listed below.

Muhammad Abul Quasem's The Ethics of al-Ghazali: A Composite Ethics in Islam (Delmar, New York: Caravan Books, 1978) is the best source of information on al-Ghazali's ethical theories. Although this book is out of print, it can be found in major university and public libraries. Chapter three of Vincent J. Cornell's Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1998) is the sole source of information on Abu-l-Abbas al-Sabti and his teachings in the English language. Charles Le Gai Eaton's Islam and the Destiny of Man (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1994) is one of the best introductions to Islam for the general reader, especially with regard to the relationship between faith and practice. Although Majid Fakhry's Ethical Theories in Islam (Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1991) focuses mostly on philosophical ethics, its chapter on scriptural morality contains useful information on ethical principles in the Quran and the hadith. Richard M. Frank's “Knowledge and Taqlid: The Foundations of Religious Belief in Classical Asharism,” Journal of the American Oriental Society109:1 (January–March 1989), 37–62, provides the classical Islamic justification for many of the theological assertions mentioned above. Although Toshihiko Izutsu's Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Quran (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1966) is now out of print, it should be sought in major university and public libraries as the best source of information on Quranic ethics. God and Man in the Koran: Semantics of the Koranic Weltanschauung (New York: Arno Press, 1980) is another classic work by Izutsu. It is especially valuable for its chapter on the ethical relationship between God and man in Islam and its discussion of the term islam and the concept of religion. Sayyid Qutb's In the Shade of the Quran, trans. M. Adil Salahi and Ashur A. Shamis (London: MWH Publishers, 1979), is the English translation of the thirtieth part of Qutb's Fi Zilal al-Quran, which was published after the author's death in 1966. Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din's Book of Certainty (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1992) is one of the best discussions in any language of the Quranic concepts of the “knowledge of certainty,” the “eye of certainty,” and the “truth of certainty.” Finally, Frithjof Schuon's Understanding Islam (Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom Books, 1994), the English translation of Comprendre L'Islam (Paris, 1976), provides one of the best overall comparisons of the Quranic worldview with that of Catholic Christianity. This highly intellectual introduction to Islam is not suitable for every reader, however.

Copyrights in Arabic publishing are often loosely enforced. In addition, classic works of Islamic scholarship may be reprinted (often from the same original) in more than one country as a service to the Muslim community. For reasons such as these, editions of the Quran and prophetic hadith are usually cited generically in bibliographies, leaving out the mention of publisher and date. For example, the version of Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi's Sahih Muslim used for this chapter (the source of the Hadith of Gabriel discussed in this chapter) was copied from an unspecified original and published at an unspecified date in Beirut by Dar al-Kutub al-Arabiyya. Appended to the text is a commentary on Sahih Muslim by the famous Shafiite jurist Abu Zakariya al-Nawawi (1233–77). Such commentaries are often useful for determining the majority interpretation of a normative text. The other Arabic works cited in this chapter were published with full attention to copyright regulations. Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani's Matn al-Risalah [text of the treatise] (Rabat, Morocco: Ministry of Endowed Properties and Islamic Affairs, 1984) was written by al-Qayrawani when he was only seventeen years old. Composed as a response to an earlier Shiite creed, it is the mostly widely known Sunni creed in North and West Africa. Quotations from Abu-l-Abbas al-Sabti came from Yusuf ibn al-Zayyat al-Tadili's al-Tashawwuf ila rijal al-tasawwuf wa akhbar Abi-l-Abbas al-Sabti [Insight into the men of Sufism and information on Abu-l-Abbas al-Sabti], ed. Ahmed Toufiq (Rabat, Morocco: College of Letters, Mohammed V University, 1984). This work, first published in the early thirteenth century, is one of the oldest sources on the founders of the Moroccan Sufi tradition.


A useful bibliography of English and Arabic works on Islamic law can be found in Mohammad Hashim Kamali's Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1991). This book also provides an extensive treatment of the sources of Islamic law and legal theory. The third revised and enhanced edition of this work is forthcoming from the Islamic Texts Society. Subhi Mahmassani's Falsafat al-Tashri: The Philosophy of Jurisprudence in Islam, trans. Farhat Ziadeh (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1961), provides concise and reliable information on the sources, schools, and legal maxims of Islamic law and draws interesting comparisons with Roman law. This book also provides a useful bibliography of Arabic works on the subject. Noel J. Coulson's Islamic Surveys: A History of Islamic Law (Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 1964) and Joseph Schacht's An Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964) provide useful information on the history of Islamic law and leading schools and jurists. Schacht's book also contains brief chapters on family law, inheritance, penal law, and contracts. Noel J. Coulson's Succession in the Muslim Family (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971) provides a detailed treatment of both the Sunni and Shiite laws of inheritance. Reliable information on the sources and various branches of Islamic law can be found in Abdur Rahim's Principles of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (London: Luzac & Co., 1911).

Ahmad Von Denffer's Ulum al-Qur'an: Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an (Leicester, England: Islamic Foundation, 1983) offers general but concise information on the Quran. Said Ramadan's Islamic Law: Its Scope and Equity, 2nd ed. (n.p., 1970) is lucid on the sources of law and ijtihad and has useful information on such subjects as nationality and citizenship. Another reliable work on these and such other themes as war, peace, and international law is Muhammad Hamidullah's Muslim Conduct of State, 2nd ed. (Lahore, Pakistan: Shah Muhammad Ashraf, 1953). Muhammad Iqbal's Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (reprint, Lahore, Pakistan: Ashraf Printing Press, 1983) is a classic and provides concise information and thoughtful analysis on the salient aspects of Islam and the Shariah. Jamal J. Nasir's The Islamic Law of Personal Status (London: Graham & Trotman, 1986) is detailed and reliable on family law. There are several other good works on Islamic personal law, including Asaf A. Fyzee's Outlines of Muhammadan Law, 4th ed. (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1974) and D. F. Mulla's Principles of Mohomedan Law, 16th ed. (Bombay, India: Tripathi Private Ltd., 1968). John L. Esposito's Women in Muslim Family Law (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1982) provides a lucid overview of modern reforms of Muslim family law in Egypt and Pakistan. A useful collection and extracts of the statutory laws of various Muslim countries, with special reference to modern reforms, can be found in Tahir Mahmood's Family Law Reform in the Muslim World (New Delhi: Indian Law Institute, 1972). Herbert J. Liebesny's Law of the Near and Middle East (Albany: New York University Press, 1975) is also informative on the applied aspects of the Shariah. Norman J. Anderson's Law Reform in the Muslim World (London: Athlone Pess, 1976) provides background information on the modern reforms of the Shariah in various Muslim countries.

Mohammad Hahsim Kamali's Freedom of Expression in Islam (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Berita, 1994; revised ed., Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1997) is the only detailed presentation available in the English language of the freedom of expression from both the legal and moral perspectives of Islam. Kamali's article, “Siyasah Shariyyah or the Policies of Islamic Government,” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 6 (1989):39–81, is the only publication in English on the subject, although brief references to the subject can also be found in Anderson's Law Reform. Morteza Mulahhari's Jurisprudence and Its Principles, English trans., Mohammad Salman Tawheedi (Elmhurst, New York: Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc., 1982), provides concise information on Shii jurisprudence. Useful information on Shii legal thought and institutions can also be found in Hossein Moderressi Tabatabai's An Introduction to Shii Law: A Bibliographical Study (London: Ithaca Press, 1984).

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's al-Turuq al-Hukmiyya fil-Siyasa al-Shariyya (Methods of Judgment in a Shariah-Oriented Policy) (Cairo: al-Muassasa al-Arabiyya lil-Tabaa, 1961) is a work of authority on sentencing policy and methods of judgment, especially within the general framework of Siyasa shariah. Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al-Shatibi's al-Muwafaqat fi usul al-Ahkam (Concordances in the Essentials of Shariah Rulings), ed. Shaykh Abd Allah Diraz (Cairo: al-Maktaba al-Tijariyya al-Kubra, n.d.), is widely known for its pioneering contribution to the philosophy of Islamic law and marks a departure from the hallowed textualist reading of the sources of shariah that had hitherto dominated Islamic juristic thought. Muhammad Amin ibn Abidin, Majmuah Rasail Ibn Abidin [collection of treatises by Ibn Abidin] (Lahore, Pakistan: Suhayl Academy, 1979) is a reliable book (2 vols. in one) of Hanafi law on selected issues that stands out more for its lucidity rather than its original contribution. The contemporary Egyptian scholar Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi's Madkhal li-Darasat al-Shariah al-Islamiyya (an entry to the study of shariah) (Cairo: Maktaba Wahba, 1990) provides a concise introduction to the shariah and contains many of the author's own responses to contemporary juristic issues. And lastly, the Ottoman Mejelle of 1876, which is a codified version, in about 1,850 articles, of the Hanafi law of civil transactions is a general work of reference that is widely accepted in the courts of shariah throughout the Muslim world. An English translation of this work is provided by C. R. Tyser, The Mejelle: Being the English Translation of Majallah el-Ahkam el-Adliya (Lahore, Pakistan: Law Publishing Co., 1967).


The latest and most successful attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of Arabic science is Rashed Roshdi, ed., in collaboration with Régis Morelon, Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, 3 vols. (London and New York: Routledge, 1996): Astronomy: Theoretical and Applied, vol. 1; Mathematics and the Physical Sciences, vol. 2; Technology, Alchemy, and the Life Sciences, vol. 3. Many of the topics discussed in this essay are treated at length in different chapters of this encyclopedia, especially in the contributions by Régis Morelon, George Saliba, and Roshdi Rashed. C.C. Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 16 vols. (New York: Scribner, 1970–80), contains useful entries on several Arab scientists. For useful illustrations, see Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Science: An Illustrated Study (Westerham, England: World of Islam Festival Publishing Company Ltd., 1976); photographs by Roland Michaud.

On theoretical astronomy the closest work to a systematic overview of the reform tradition in Arabic astronomy is George Saliba, A History of Arabic Astronomy: Planetary Theories during the Golden Age of Islam (New York: New York University Press, 1994). Other collections of specialized studies with useful general overviews include E. S. Kennedy, “Colleagues and Former Students,” in eds. David A. King and Mary Hellen Kennedy, Studies in the Islamic Exact Sciences (Beirut, Lebanon: American University of Beirut, 1983); and Julio Samso, Islamic Astronomy and Medieval Spain (Aldershot, England: Variorum Reprints, 1994). In addition, titles of editions, translations, and studies of important classics of Arabic astronomy can be found in the bibliography of Rashed, ed., Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science in entries under E. S. Kennedy, George Saliba, David King, Régis Morelon, and Jamil Ragep.

On practical astronomy Aydin Sayili, The Observatory in Islam (Ankara, Turkey: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1960), remains a classic. Several studies on instruments, timekeeping, and astronomical computations are conveniently collected in David King's Astronomy in the Service of Islam (Aldershot, England: Variorum Reprints, 1993); in King, Islamic Mathematical Astronomy (London: Variorum Reprints, 1986); and in King, Islamic Mathematical Instruments (London: Variorum Reprints, 1987).

In the past two decades the wide-ranging research of Roshdi Rashed has been instrumental in advancing scholars' understanding of the various disciplines of Arabic mathematics. Rashed has produced several critical editions, translations of, and commentaries on Arabic mathematical texts in the disciplines of algebra, geometry, arithmetic, numerical analysis, infinitesimal mathematics, and mathematical optics. An overview of some of his findings is available in Roshdi Rashed, The Development of Arabic Mathematics: Between Arithmetic and Algebra, trans. A.F.W. Armstrong. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Series no. 156. (Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994).

On optics, see Ibn al-Haytham, The Optics of Ibn al-Haytham: Books I–III on Direct Vision 2 vols., trans. and comm. A. I. Sabra Studies of the Warburg Institute, 40/1–2 (London: Warburg Institute, University of London, 1989). See also the useful collection of articles in A. I. Sabra, Optics, Astronomy, and Logic: Studies in Arabic Science and Philosophy (Aldershot, England: Variorum Reprints, 1994). On technology, see Ahmad Y. al-Hasan and Donald Hill, Islamic Technology: An Illustrated History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

On medicine and the life sciences, see M. Ullman, Islamic Medicine, Islamic Surveys no. 11. (Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 1978). Another useful overview is the introduction by Michael Dols to Adil S. Gamal, ed., and Michael Dols, trans., Medieval Islamic Medicine: Ibn Ridwan's Treatise “On the Prevention of Bodily Ills in Egypt” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). A collection of several influential essays is Max Meyerhof, Studies in Medieval Arabic Medicine: Theory and Practice (London: Variorum Reprints, 1984). On Arabic pharmacology, see the works by Ibrahim ibn Murad, especially his Buhuth fi Tarikh al-Tibb wal-Saydala ind al-Arab [Studies on the history of Arabic medicine and pharmacology] (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 1991). On hospitals in the Muslim world, the most comprehensive work to date remains Ahmad Isa, Tarikh al-Bimaristanat fi al-Islam (The history of hospitals in Islam), (Damascus, Syria: al-Matbaa al-Hashimiyya, 1939). For the quote from Ibn Khaldun, and also for an elaborate discussion of the classification of sciences see Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (Introduction [to the Science of History]), trans. F. Rosenthal, abridged N. J. Dawood, p. 371 and passim.

Other titles include Ágoston, Gábor, Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) Barak, On, On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (Berkeley: California University Press, 2013) Scraping the Surface: The Techno-Politics of Modern Streets in Turn-of-Twentieth-Century AlexandriaMediterranean Historical Review 24 (2009), 187-205 The Sultan's Messenger: Cultural Constructions of Ottoman TelegraphyTechnology and Culture 41 (2000), 669-96 Bloom, Jonathan M., Paper Before Print: The History of and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World (Yale: Yale University Press, 2001) The Interests of the Republic of Letters in the Middle East, 1550-1700Science in Contex 12 (1999), 435-68 "On the Relation between the Ottoman Empire and the West European Republic of Letters (17th-18th Centuries)" in A. Çaksu. Ed. Proceedings of the International Congress of Learning and Education in the Ottoman World, Istanbul, 12-15 April 1999 Istanbul: Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, 2001. 121-48. "On the Location of the Ancient or 'Rational' Sciences in Muslim Educational Landscapes (AH 500-1100),"Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, 4:1 (2002), 47-71. "Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Mediterranean"Journal for the History of Astronomy, Journal for the History of Astronomy, 42 (2011), 411-15 "On Two Manuscripts by Abū Bakr b. Bahrām al-Dimashqī (d. 1102/1691) to W. and J. Blaeu's Atlas Minor" Osmanlı Araştırmaları / The Journal of Ottoman Studies, Osmanlı Araştırmaları / The Journal of Ottoman Studies, 40 (2012), 171-92. "Medieval Portolan Charts as Documents of Shared Cultural Spaces" in R. Abdellatif, Yassir Benhima, Daniel König, and Elisabeth Ruchaud. Eds. Acteurs des transferts culturels en Méditerranée médiévale München: Oldenbourg Velag, 2012. Chipman, Leigh, The World of Pharmacy and Pharmacists in Mamluk Cairo (Leiden: Brill, 2010) Conrad, Lawrence I. "Scholarship and Social Context in the Near East" in Don Bates. Ed. Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 81-101. Dallal, Ahmad, Islam, Science, and the Challenge of History (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010) Fazlıoğlu, İhsan. "The Samarqand Mathematical-Astronomical School: A Basis for Ottoman Philosophy and Science" Journal for the History of Arabic Science 14 (2008), 3-68. Heck, Paul J., The Construction of Knowledge in Islamic Civilization (Leiden: Brill, 2002) İhsanoğlu, Ekmeleddin, Science, Technology and Learning in the Ottoman Empire (Aldershot: Ashgate, Variorum, 2004) Kupferschmidt, Uri M. "The Social History of the Sewing Machine in the Middle East". Die Welt des Islams, 44 (2004), 195-213. Mitchell, Timothy, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) Pormann, Peter E. and Emilie Savage-Smith, Medieval Islamic Medicine (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2007) Saliba, George, Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2007) Shefer-Mossensohn, Miri. "A Tale of Two Discourses: The Historiography of Ottoman-Muslim Medicine". Social History of Medicine, 21 (2008), 1-12. Shefer-Mossensohn, Miri Ottoman Medicine: Healing and Medical Institutions 1500-1700 (Albany: SUNY Press, 2009) "The Legal Status of Science in the Muslim World in the Early Modern Period: An Initial Consideration of Fatwās from Three Maghribī Sources" in Asad Q. Ahmed, Behnam Sadeghi and Michel Bonner. Eds. The Islamic Scholarly Tradition: Studies in History, Law and Thought in Honor of Professor Michael Allan Cook. Leiden: Brill, 2011. 265-90. "Writing the History of the Natural Sciences in the Pre-modern Muslim World: Historiography, Religion, and the Importance of the Early Modern Period" History Compass, 9:12 (2011), 923-951. All Beneficial Knowledge is Revealed: The Rational Sciences in the Maghrib in the Age of al-Yūsī (d. 1102/1691)Islamic Law and Society, 21 (2014), 49-80.


Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair's Islamic Arts (London: Phaidon, 1997) is a readable one-volume introduction to the arts of the Islamic lands from their beginnings to the present. A more scholarly approach can be found in the two-volume set from the Yale University Press Pelican History of Art: Richard Ettinghausen and Oleg Grabar's The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650–1250 and Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250–1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994). The 34-volume Dictionary of Art, edited by Jane Turner (London: Macmillan, 1996) contains a long multipart article, “Islamic Art,” in volume 16, as well as many entries on individual artists, dynasties, sites, techniques, styles, and so forth, all written by experts in the field and accompanied by complete bibliographies. A shorter overview, with particular emphasis on British collections, is Barbara Brend's Islamic Art (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991). Islamic architecture is treated exhaustively in Robert Hillenbrand's Islamic Architecture: Form, Function and Meaning (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994). Companion volumes, published as introductory works by Edinburgh University Press, are Sheila S. Blair's Islamic Inscriptions and Eva Baer's Islamic Ornament (both 1998). The classic formulation of the development of early Islamic art is Oleg Grabar's The Formation of Islamic Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973). An ahistorical and idiosyncratic approach to Islamic art can be found in Seyyed Hossein Nasr's Islamic Art and Spirituality (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987).


Charles Adams' Islam and Modernism in Egypt (London: Oxford University Press, 1933) is an authoritative account of modernism in Egypt. Henry Corbin's History of Islamic Philosophy, trans. Liadain Sherrard (London: Kegan Paul International, 1993) highlights the Shiite contribution to philosophy and contains a detailed bibliography. Majid Fakhry's A History of Islamic Philosophy, 2nd ed. (London and New York, Longmans and Columbia University Press, 1983) is the standard work on the subject in English. It has been translated into numerous languages. Also see Fakhry, trans., The Quran (Reading, Pa.: Garnet Publishing, 1997).

L. Gardet and M. M. Anawati's Introduction a la theologie musulmane (Paris: Vrin, 1948) is the major introduction to the rise and development of systematic theology in Islam. H.A.R. Gibb's Modern Trends in Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947) is a perceptive and authoritative account of Islamic theological and political developments in modern times. Ignaz Goldziher's Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, trans. Andras and Ruth Hamori (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), originally written in German, continues to be one of the most perspicuous writings on Islamic theology. Malcolm H. Kerr's Islamic Reform (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966) is a clear and thoughtful presentation of Islamic modernism and Muhammad Abduh's role in its development.

Arthur Jeffery's Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (New York: Library of Liberal Arts, 1958) is a useful introduction by an eminent scholar. Jeffery's A Reader on Islam (The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton, 1962) is a representative collection of selections from important Islamic religious and theological texts. Wilfrid Cantwell Smith's Islam in Modern History (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1959) was reprinted many times and is particularly informative on Islam in India and Pakistan. A reliable English translation with introduction and notes is Simon Van den Bergh, trans., The Incoherence of the Incoherence (Tahafut al-Tahafut) (London: Oxford University Press, 1954). A. J. Wensinck's The Muslim Creed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932) is still a valuable discussion of theological developments in Islam. A comprehensive and authoritative discussion of the development of Islamic philosophy is given in Harry Austyn Wolfson's The Philosophy of Kalam (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976).

Nasr, Seyyid Hossein, Ideas and Realities of Islam (Boston: B Beacon Press, 1964).

Rahman, Fazlur, Islam and Modernity (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982).

Watt, W. Montgomery, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).

Wolfson, Harry Austyn, The Philosphy of the Kalam (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976).

Hourani, Albert, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (London: Oxford University Press, 1962.)


Kenneth Cragg's The Arab Christian: A History in the Middle East (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991) provides a study of Christianity in the Arab world from before the rise of Islam to the present. Norman Daniel's Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 1960) is a detailed examination and analysis of medieval Christian understanding of and polemic against the religion of Islam, its Prophet, and practices. Francesco Gabrielli's Arab Historians of the Crusades (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1969) contains extracts from the writings of Muslim historians, chroniclers, and biographers that deal with battles between Christians and Muslims in the Crusades. Yvonne Y. Haddad and Wadi Z. Haddad, eds., Christian-Muslim Encounters (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995) provides proceedings of a conference on relations between Muslims and Christians in historical and contemporary perspectives, including scripture, contacts, regional studies, and theological reflections. Marshall G. S. Hodgson's The Venture of Islam, 2 vols., The Classical Age of Islam, vol. 1, and The Expansion of Islam in the Middle Periods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958–59) is a history of the rise, spread, and development of Islam, including its interaction with Christians and Christendom. Bernard Lewis' Islam and the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) is a collection of essays by Lewis on the common heritage of Islam and the West and the perceptions of each party of the other. Amin Maalouf, trans., The Crusade through Arab Eyes (New York: Schocken Books, 1984) provides excerpts from the works of Arab chroniclers of the Crusades, including eyewitness accounts.

Jane Dammen McAuliffe's Qur'anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) presents an examination of Quranic commentary concerning verses dealing with Christians and Christianity. Eugene A. Myers' Arabic Thought and the Western World (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1964) provides an introduction to the culture of Islam through which Greek science and philosophy reached the West. Jaroslav Pelikan's The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600–1700), vol. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974) presents an examination of the divisions between Eastern and Western Christendom, including the development of Greek, Syriac, and early Slavic doctrine. R. W. Southern's Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962) is a survey of medieval Christian responses to eight centuries of confrontation between Christian and Muslim cultures. J. Windrow Sweetman's Islam and Christian Theology: A Study of the Interpretation of Theological Ideas in the Two Religions, vol. 1. (London: Butterworth Press, 1955) is a study of the two religions. David J. Wasserstein's The Caliphate in the West: An Islamic Political Institution in the Iberian Peninsula (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993) is a study of the caliphate in Islamic Spain from its beginning in 929 to its demise in 1031.


Esin Atil, Turkish Art (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1980) is a collective work with beautifully illustrated articles on the main forms of Ottoman art and architecture. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250–1800 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994) is the best single volume survey of Islamic arts for our period. Fernand Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World, 2 vols., tr. Sian Reynolds (New York: Harper and Row, 1972) is a classic study of the geography and culture, the societies and economies, and of the great Habsburg–Ottoman struggle for the control of the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century. Soraya Faroqhi, Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) exmines the Ottoman provinces and the changing balances of social and economic power between capital and small cities.

Neil Goffman, Izmir and the Levantine World, 1550–1650 (Seattle, Wash.: University of Washington Press, 1990) studies the growing foreign trade of Izmir in the seventeenth century and the polyglot communities that assembled there. Godfrey Goodwin, A History of Ottoman Architecture (London: Thames and Hudson, 1971) is a comprehensive survey of the premier royal art. Andrew Hess, The Forgotten Frontier: A History of the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-African Frontier (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1978) explores the culmination of the century-long struggle for the control of the Mediterranean with deep insights into the role of sea and land power in these wars.

Halil Inalcik's The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age, 1300–1600, tr. N. Itzkowitz and C. Imber (London, 1973) is the classic work on Ottoman institutions. Halil Inalcik and Donald Quataert's An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) is a collective and authoritative appraisal of Ottoman economy and society. Houri Islamoglu-Inan's State and Peasant in the Ottoman Empire (Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1994) probes the Anatolian countryside to bring new insights into the structure and development of Ottoman rural economy and society. Cemal Kafadar's Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1995) explores the changing historiographical perspectives on the origins of the Ottoman system. Bernard Lewis's Istanbul and the Civilization of the Ottoman Empire (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963) affords a convenient introduction to the largest city of the Mediterranean in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Sayyid Husayn Nasr, “The School of Isfahan,” A History of Muslim Philosophy, II, ed. M. M. Sharif (Wiesbaden, 1966, pp. 904–31) is a brief and insightful introduction to Iranian Illuminationist philosophy.

Leslie Peirce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sex in the Ottoman Empire (New York, Oxford University Press, 1993), breaks new ground in her study of the role of women in the Ottoman family and political systems. Richard Repp, Mufti of Istanbul: A Study in the Development of the Ottoman Learned Hierarchy (London, Uthica Press, 1986), chronicles the emergence and development of the office of the Shaykh al-Islam or chief Mufti of the Ottoman Empire. Roger M. Savory, Iran under the Safavids (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), is the best one-volume history of Safavid Iran. Stanford J. Shaw, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic (New York: New York University Press, 1991), is a helpful single-volume history of the Jewish minority under Ottoman rule. Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule, 1354–1804 (Seattle, Wash.: University of Washington Press, 1977), is critical to understanding the economic and social basis for the eventual emergence of nationalism and movements for independence in the Balkans.

Speros Vryonis, Jr., The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1971) is the best case study of the processes by which Christian populations were converted to Islam. Immanuel Wallerstein's The Modern World System, 3 vols. (San Diego, Cal.: Academic Press, 1974–89), is a grandly conceived comparative study of the development of the global economy and an important theory about historical process. Stuart Cary Welch, A King's Book of Kings: The Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp (London, 1972), is an elegant work on this most exquisite of Persian illustrated manuscripts.


For general texts, see Robert L. Canfield, ed., Turko-Persia in Historical Perspective (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1991), Ronit Ricci, Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), especially for translation and conversion networks. Two incomparable atlases are: Joseph E. Schwartzenberg, A Historical Atlas of South Asia, 2nd impression, with additional references, (New York: Oxford University Press,1993), and Jan M. Pluvier,Historical Atlas of South-East Asia (Leiden: Brill, 1995). The best comparative study of kingship across the Mediterranean, Caspian and Gangetic capitals of Dar al-Islam is Stephen F. Dale, The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

For texts on South Asia, see Richard Eaton, “Remembering/Imagining Persia: Medieval Deccani Migrants and the Iranian Homeland”, paper delivered at the Rockefeller Workshop 3 on “South Asian Islam and the Greater Muslim World” at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC from 22-25 May 1997. The history of the Delhi Sultanate has now been charted in extensive detail by Peter Jackson, The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999) Simon Digby, “The Sufi Shaykh and the Sultan: A Conflict of Claims to Authority in Medieval India”, Iran 28(1990): 71-81, provides a major study of contested sources of authority in sultanate India. Digby’s astute analysis can now be supplemented by A. Azfar Moin, The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). The centrality of Persian poets, essayists, symbols, and institutions has been thoroughly documented and brilliantly analyzed in Muzaffar Alam, The Languages of Political Islam in India, c. 1200-1800 (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004). The best overviews of Mughal art and architecture come from Milo Beach and Catherine Asher. Milo C. Beach, The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court (Washington, DC: Freer Gallery, 1981) examines the range of royal patronage for portrait art exalting the emperor during Mughal India, though new interpretations are offered in Moin, op. cit. Milo C. Beach, Mughal and Rajput Painting, vol. 3 of The New Cambridge History of India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) compares the material evidence for assessing the achievements of Rajput artists and their sometime rival Mughal counterparts, while Catherine B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India, vol. 4 of The New Cambridge History of India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) offers the first systematic overview of both the political and cultural ideologies that inform Mughal patronage of monumental structures. No single volume exceeds John F. Richards, The Mughal Empire, vol. 5 of The New Cambridge History of India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) as a valuable synthesis of the varied, often conflicting scholarship on the major institutions of Mughal India.

For texts on Southeast Asia, there are three pivotal chapters from The New Cambridge History of Islam. See Geoff Wade, “Early Muslim expansion in South East Asia, eighth to fifteenth centuries”, Chapter 10 in The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 3 The Eastern Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010): 366-408; Anthony Reid, “Islam in South-East Asia and the Indian Ocean litteral, 1500-1800:expansion, polarization, synthesis”, Chapter 12 in The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 3 The Eastern Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010):427-469; and finally, R. Michael Feener, “South-East Asian Localisations of Islam and participation within a global umma, ca. 1500-1800, Chapter 13 in The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 3 The Eastern Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010):470-503. Also extraordinary for demonstrating the depth and breadth of devotional practices is David Parkin and Stephen Headley, eds., Islamic Prayer across the Indian Ocean: Inside and Outside the Mosque (London and New York: Routledge, 2000). On the central ritual of the hajj pilgrimage, the range of practices from earliest times to the present is deftly arrayed in Eric Tagliacozzo, The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). Other resources include the following: Leonard Y. Andaya, The World of Maluku: Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993) offers a comprehensive documentation of Islamic patterns of kingship in the far eastern Pacific frontier of Indonesia. >Barbara Watson Andaya and Leonard Y. Andaya, A History of Malaysia (London: Macmillian, 1982) gives the best summary overview of Indonesia’s smaller but pivotal northern neighbor, while James T. Siegel, Shadow and Sound: The Historical Thought of a Sumatran People (Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 1979) traces both transoceanic developments and local patterns that have shaped modern day Sumatra.


Primary sources

Tarikh-i Rashidi. A History of Khans of Moghulistan. Translated by Wheeler M. Thackston. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996." date="1996">Haydar Dughlat, Mirza. Tarikh-i Rashidi. A History of Khans of Moghulistan. Translated by Wheeler M. Thackston. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. An important primary source, originally in Persian, for the early modern history of Central Asia, describing not only military and political events but also the religious culture.

Levi, Scott C. and Ron Sela, eds. Islamic Central Asia. An Anthology of Historical Sources. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. A well-chosen selection of extracts of primary sources in English translation, which gives the flavor of Central Asian Islamic intellectual traditions (for instance, Mahmūd Kāshgharī and Yūsuf Khāss Hājib).

Papas, Alexandre. “Joining the Dots between the Ḫwāğas of East Turkestan: A Šağara Scroll Preserved at the Louvre Museum.” Der Islam 88 (2012): 352-365. It introduces an exceptional document, which served both to highlight the Sharifian (descendant of the Prophet) origin of the Khwāja Sufi dynasty and to manifest the numinous force of its authority.

Sugawara, Jun. “Islamic Legal Order in the Northwestern Frontier: Property and Waqf Litigation of a Sufi Family in Kāshghar.” In Frontiers and Boundaries: Encounters on China’s Margins, edited by Zsombor Rajkai and Ildikó Bellér-Hann, pp. 177-201. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 2012. A useful document to understand the law system of Eastern Turkestan from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1930s.

Sugawara, Jun and Yayoi Kawahara. Mazar Documents from Xinjiang and Ferghana (facsimile). Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Studia Culturae Islamicae No. 83, 2006. A collection of remarkable Turkic manuscripts (pilgrimage guidebook, legal acts, genealogies, etc.) recently discovered in Uzbekistan and northern Xinjiang.

Sayrāmī, Mullā Musā. Tārīkh-i amniyya (History of Peace). Edited by Nikolaĭ N. Pantusov. Kazan: Tabʻkhāne-i Medrese-i ʻUlūm, 1322/1904-5. A sophisticated chronicle of nineteenth-century Eastern Turkestan by one of its best native witnesses and historians.

Secondary works

Allsen, Thomas T., “Ever Closer Encounters: The Appropriation of Culture and the Apportionment of Peoples in the Mongol Empire.” Journal of Early Modern History 1 (1997): 2-23. This article sheds light on the transfer of populations organized by the Mongols and helps to understand the consequences on human geography.

Bellér-Hann, Ildikó. Community Matters in Xinjiang, 1880-1949. Towards a Historical Anthropology of the Uyghur, Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2008. Among other interesting topics such as gender relations and life cycles, the chapter six devoted to Islam analyzes the rituals and the relationship with the supernatural.

Benson, Linda and Ingvar Svanberg. China’s Last Nomads. The History and Culture of China’s Kazaks. Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1998. A good introduction to a poorly known topic.

Bregel, Yuri. An Historical Atlas of Central Asia. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003. A necessary tool for historians of Central Asia although the emphasis is on “Russian” Central Asia rather than the Chinese side of the region.

page"149-163" publisher="Aldershot" title="Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia" date="2007">Dawut, Rahilä. “Shrine Pilgrimage and Sustainable Tourism among the Uyghurs: Central Asian Ritual Traditions in the Context of China’s Development Policies.” In Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia, edited by Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Christina Cesàro, Rachel A. Harris and Joanne Smith Finley, pp. 149-163. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. The article discusses the recent – and contradictory – promotion of Xinjiang Muslim holy places and pilgrimages as touristic attractions.

De la Vaissière, Étienne, ed. Islamisation de l’Asie centrale. Processus locaux d’acculturation du XVIIe au XIe siècle. Paris: Association pour l’avancement des études iraniennes, 2008. The articles in English and French provide recent data and results on the question of Islamization based on archeological findings.

Forbes, Andrew D. W. Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia. A Political History of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. An authoritative book featuring an almost month-by-month history.

Golden, Peter. “The Karakhanids and early Islam.” In The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, edited by Denis Sinor, pp. 343-370. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. A clear historical account of a complicated period with useful data on the Islamization process.

Hamada, Masami. “Le mausolée et le culte de Satuq Bughrâ Khân.” Journal of the History of Sufism 3 (2001): 63-87. Excellent study covering the early modern and modern periods, with reliable suggestions concerning the Uwaysī Sufis.

Kim, Hodong. “Muslim Saints in the 14th to the 16th Centuries of Eastern Turkestan.” International Journal of Central Asian Studies 1 (1996): 285-322. One of the very few works devoted to the early history of saints and Sufism in Eastern Turkestan, with a focus on the Katakīs.

Kim, Hodong. Holy War in China: the Muslim rebellion and state in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877, Stanford: California University Press, 2004. Thanks to a wide range of primary sources, the monograph relates, from the inside, the rise, the functioning and the fall of the emirate of Ya’qūb Beg.

Lipman, Jonathan N. Familiar Strangers. A History of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1997. A must reading to study Sufism in eighteenth-nineteenth-centuries Qinghai and Gansu, in addition to a lucid discussion on the problem of violence in politico-religious history.

Ma Tong 马通,. Zhongguo yisilanjiaopai yu menhuan zhidu shilue 中国伊斯兰教派与门宦制度史略 (General History of the Muslim schools and the system of Sufi lineages in China). Yinchuan: Ningxia Renmin Chubanshe, 2000. A classic book that draws a comprehensive picture of Sufi orders in the history of China.

Millward, James A. Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. London: Hurst, 2007. This is the only available synthesis in English, stimulating, clearly presented and with an up-to-date bibliography.

Newby, Laura J. The Empire and the Khanate. A Political History of Qing Relations with Khoqand c. 1760-1860. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005. The close reading of Qing archives allows the author to reveal the Chinese side of the military and political history of Eastern Turkestan.

Nur Haji, Haji and Chen Guoguang, Shinjang Islam Tarikhi (The History of Islam in Xinjiang). Beijing: Millätlär Näshriyati, 1995. Written in Uighur by a Uighur and a Chinese, this is the only available historical synthesis on the history of Islam in the Tarim basin, in a Marxist perspective.

Papas, Alexandre. Soufisme et politique entre Chine, Tibet et Turkestan. Etude sur les Khwajas Naqshbandis du Turkestan oriental. Paris: Jean Maisonneuve, 2005. The most recent study on the Khwājas with an emphasis on the intellectual, religious, and mystical aspects.

Papas, Alexandre. Mystiques et vagabonds en islam. Portraits de trois soufis qalandar. Paris: Cerf, 2010. The book details biographies of three dervishes of the early modern Eastern Turkestan, including a large number of translations of Turkic and Persian poetry.

Papas, Alexandre. “Les tombeaux de saints musulmans au Xinjiang. Culte, réforme, histoire.” Archives de sciences sociales des religions 142 (2008): 47-62. This paper discusses the question of saint veneration on the long run and explains the recent museification of holy sites.

Papas, Alexandre. “Fonctionnaires des frontières dans l’empire mandchou : les beg musulmans du Turkestan oriental (1759-1864).” Journal Asiatique 296/1 (2008): 23-57. The essay analyzes the deeds and sayings of Eastern Turkestani officials under the Qing rule, and insist on their complexity.

Papas, Alexandre. “Muslim Reformism in Xinjiang: Reading the Newspaper Yengī Ḥayāt (1934-1937).” Kashgar Revisited, edited by Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Birgit Schlyter and Jun Sugawara. Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, forthcoming. Through a close reading of key newspaper articles, the paper traces the everyday history of Jadīd reforms and their results on saint veneration and Qalandarism (qalandarchīlīk).

Papas, Alexandre and Ma Wei. “Sufism among the Salars. An Overview.” In Amdo and Islam. Past and Present, edited by Marie-Paule Hille, Bianca Horlemann and Paul K. Nietupski. Lanham: Lexington Books, forthcoming. Based on private Sufi archives and interviews with religious authorities, the article offers, for the first time, an overview on Naqshbandī and Qādirī lineages in the Salar area.

Special issue “Historical Studies on Central Asia in Japan” of Acta Asiatica 34 (1978). The articles authored by Masami Hamada, Akira Hanera, Eiji Mano, Juten Oda, and Saguchi Toru are all pioneering works (all in English) on the history of Chinese Central Asia from the Middle Age to the Qing period.

Special issue “Etudes Karakhanides” of Cahiers d’Asie centrale 9 (2001). Readers will find interesting historiographical perspectives in the contributions in English and French, especially on the Islamization (by Juergen Paul) and on the Qara Khitay (by Michal Biran).

Waite, Edmund. “The Emergence of Muslim Reformism in Contemporary Xinjiang: Implications for the Uyghurs.” In Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia, edited by Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Christina Cesàro, Rachel A. Harris and Joanne Smith Finley, pp. 165-181. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. It retraces the rise of Muslim neo-Reformism through the activities of a Hanbali cleric, and focuses on a main target of neo-Reformists, that is the commemoration of the dead (näzir).

Wang, Jianxin. Uyghur Education and Social Order: the Role of Islamic Leadership in the Turpan Basin, Tokyo, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2004. Wang, Jianxin. Uyghur Education and Social Order: the Role of Islamic Leadership in the Turpan Basin, Tokyo, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2004. A very fine sociological study of Islamic Uighur clerics in modern Xinjiang using many interviews and observations made in the 1990s.

Zarcone, Thierry. “Le culte des saints de 1949 à nos jours.” Journal of the History of Sufism 3 (2001): 133-172. A detailed and very-well informed article on saint veneration in Xinjiang, especially the rituals of devotion, based on various written as well as oral sources.

Zarcone, Thierry. “Sufi Lineages and Saint Veneration in 20th Century Eastern Turkestan and Contemporary Xinjiang.” In The Turks, Ankara: Yeni Türkiye, 2002, pp. 534-541. Quite the only serious overview of Sufi groups (Naqshbandiyya, Chishiyya, Qalandariyya in particular) in modern Xinjiang, to be read with others articles on related topics by the same author.

Zarcone, Thierry. “Le chamanisme islamisé au Xinjiang. État de la recherche, témoignages écrits et visuels.” In D’une anthropologie du chamanisme vers une anthropologie du croire. Hommage à l’œuvre de Roberte Hamayon, edited by Katia Buffetrille, Jean-Luc Lambert, Nathalie Luca and Anne de Sales, pp. 147-164. Paris: Centre d’Études Mongoles & Sibériennes and École Pratique des Hautes Études, 2013. A useful overview of the bibliography devoted to Shamanism in Xinjiang Islam.


A collection of documents dating from the first to the nineteenth centuries is gathered in G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville's East African Coast: Selected Documents (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1962). A discussion of the Oromo or Galla contribution to Islam in Ethiopia can be found in Mohammed Hassen's The Oromo of Ethiopia: A History, 1570–1850 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Mervyn Hiskett's A History of Hausa Islamic Verse (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1975) traces written Hausa literature from its beginnings to the eighteenth century.

A detailed site report of the excavation of Shanga, including new evidence about the early development of Swahili civilization, can be found in Mark Horton's The Archeology of a Muslim Trading Community on the Coast of East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya: The British Institute in East Africa, 1996). John O. Hunwick's Sharia in Songhai (London: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1985) is the text, translation, and historical introduction to “The Replies” by al-Maghili. Nehemia Levtzion's Ancient Ghana and Mali (London: Metheun, 1973) is the only full book-length study of the early empires of west Sudan; the same author's Islam in West Africa: Religion, Society, and Politics to 1800 (London: c, 1994) is a collection of essays on those topics.

R. S. O'Fahey and Jay Spaulding's Kingdoms of the Sudan (London: Metheun, 1974) is a history of the three kingdoms of the Sudan, the Sinnar, the Wadai, and the Darfur. Randall L. Pouwells' Horn and Crescent: Cultural Changes and Traditional Islam on the East African Coast, 800–1900 is a comprehensive analysis of the history of Islam on the east African coast. Elias N. Saad's Social History of Timbuktu (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983) is a comprehensive history of Timbuktu up to the nineteenth century.


Rifaat Ali Abou-El-Haj's Formation of the Modern State: The Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991) is an important reinterpretation of the evolution of the Ottoman political context. Aziz Ahmad's Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964) contains helpful essays on the major movements of Islamic renewal in South Asia. Christine Dobbin's Islamic Revivalism in a Changing Peasant Economy: Central Sumatra, 1784–1847 (London: Curzon Press, 1983) is an essential work for understanding the Padri movement and the broader context of revivalism in Southeast Asia. Richard M. Eaton's Islamic History as Global History (Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, 1990) is an excellent interpretive essay that helps to place eighteenth- and nineteenth-century movements in a global perspective.

John L. Esposito, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) is the essential general reference work for all of the specific people and groups mentioned in this chapter. Joseph F. Fletcher's Studies on Chinese and Islamic Inner Asia, Variorum Collected Studies series (Brookfield, Vt.: Variorum, 1995) is a very important contribution to the study of the Naqshbandiyyah order and the general development of Muslim societies in Central Asia. Marshall G. S. Hodgson's The Gunpowder Empires and Modern Times, vol. 3 of The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), the third volume of an extremely important interpretation of Islamic history, provides important broader perspectives for understanding the dynamics of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Islamic history.

Ira M. Lapidus' A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) is a useful survey of events in all parts of the Muslim world, which added breadth to the coverage in this chapter. Nehemia Levtzion and John O. Voll, eds., Eighteenth-Century Renewal and Reform in Islam (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1987) is a collection of essays on specific movements of renewal in the eighteenth century. B. G. Martin's Muslim Brotherhoods in Nineteenth-Century Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976) is a thorough study of the major movements of Islamic renewal in Africa in the nineteenth century. R. S. O'Fahey's Enigmatic Saint: Ahmad ibn Idris and the Idrisi Tradition (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1990) is a path-breaking study of one of the major renewalist figures and his tradition. Fazlur Rahman's “Revival and Reform in Islam,” in vol. 2 of The Cambridge History of Islam, ed. P. M. Holt and others (Cambridge University Press, 1970) pp. 632–56, is an influential definition of the broader tradition of renewal in Islamic history. John Obert Voll's “Renewal and Reform in Islamic History: Tajdid and Islah,” in Voices of Resurgent Islam, ed. John L. Esposito (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 32–47, is a description of the renewalist tradition by the author of this chapter.


Said A. Arjomand's “Constitutions and Struggles for Political Order: A Study in the Modernization of Religious Traditions,” Archives Européenes de Sociologie, 33:1 (1992, pp. 39–82), provides an excellent comparative analysis of constitutional debates and political developments across the Muslim world. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 2nd ed., (New York: Verso, 1991), presents a provocative examination of the manner in which nationalism is constructed in response to political and economic interests. Rupert Emerson's From Empire to Nation: The Rise of Self-Assertion of Asian and African Peoples (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1960) is an in-depth analysis of the evolution of anticolonial nationalism and the manner in which it unfolded at the end of the colonial era. Nikki Keddie, “The Revolt of Islam, 1700 to 1993: Comparative Considerations and Relation to Imperialism,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 36:3 (July 1994, pp. 463–87), provides a useful overview of the role of colonialism and imperialism in the genesis of Islamic activism. Joel S. Migdal, Strong Societies and Weak States: State-Society Relations and State Capabilities in the Third World (Princeton: Princeton University Press) presents an overarching conceptual treatment of the relation between the relative powers of political leaders and institutions and those of social forces in the process of state formation. On Africa, Catherine Boone, “States and Ruling Classes in Postcolonial Africa: The Enduring Contradictions of Power,” in Joel S. Migdal, Atul Kohli, and Vivienne Shue, eds., State Power and Social Forces (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 108–40), discusses the importance of the colonial legacy to post-colonial state development. Frank Furedi, Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism (London: I. B. Tauris, 1994) relates resource mobilization for colonial conflicts to the development of Third World nationalist movements. Crawford Young's The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994) explains state formation in Africa in the context of the colonial legacy of that continent. On the Arab world, Philip S. Khoury's Syria and the French Mandate: The Politics of Arab Nationalism, 1920–1945 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987) is a comprehensive examination of French colonial policies and administration in the Levant. William Roger Louis' The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945–1951 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984) provides a similar account of British colonial policies in the Middle East. Lisa Anderson's The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya: 1830–1980 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986) is an excellent comparative analysis of the differing impact of colonialism on future state formation in Libya and Tunisia. Giacomo Luciani, ed., The Arab State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990) contains a number of useful studies of the nature and functioning of the Arab state. Manfred Halpern's in The Politics of Social Change in Middle East and North Africa (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), provides an overview of early state formation in the Arab world. Clement Henry Moore's Politics in North Africa: Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970) discusses the relation between nationalism and state formation in North Africa. On South Asia, Hamza Alavi's “The State in Postcolonial Societies: Pakistan and Bangladesh,” in Kathleen Gough and Hari P. Sharma, eds., Imperialism and Revolution in South Asia (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973, pp. 145–73) provides a compelling analysis of the importance of the colonial legacy for state formation in South Asia. Jamal Malik's Colonizing Islam: Dissolution of Traditional Institutions in Pakistan (New Delhi: Manohar, 1996) details the manner in which Pakistan has dealt with the role of Islam in society. C. A. Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770–1870 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983) is a thorough analysis of the nature of the impact of British colonialism on India. Thomas Metcalf's Land, Landlords and the British Raj: Northern India in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979) discusses the impact of British colonialism on social structure in South Asia. His Ideologies of the Raj (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994) examines the worldviews that underpinned the colonial administration of India and their implications for later state development in South Asia. Ayesha Jalal's The State of Martial Rule: The Origins of Pakistan's Political Economy of Defence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) is a detailed examination of the continuities between the British colonial state and Pakistan, and the implications of this linkage for Pakistan's politics. Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr's “Pakistan: State, Agrarian Reform, and Islamization.” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society,10:2 (Winter 1996, pp. 249–72) examines the relation between state formation, feudalism, and Islamization in Pakistan. On Southeast Asia, Willard A. Hanna's Sequel to Colonialism: The 1957–1960 Foundations for Malaysia (New York: American Universities Field Staff, 1965) examines the continuities between the colonial and postcolonial states in Malaysia. Anthony Milner's The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994) examines the emergence of Malay nationalism and its role in formation of the Malaysian state in the context of the politics and cultural impact of colonialism. George T. Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952) is a classic study of the independence movement and early state formation in Indonesia.


Barbara C. Aswad and Barbara Bilge's Family and Gender Among American Muslims: Issues Facing Middle Eastern Immigrants and Their Descendants (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996) covers practical issues facing families and intergenerational conflict as well as questions of identity, community involvement, gender, and the needs of youth and the elderly. Mattias Gardell's In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996) provides a unique and unprecedented view of the enigma of Louis Farrakhan, weaving together information from an impressive collection of documents that have not been treated by other scholars. In The Muslims of America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad brings together studies in the religion of Islam as it is experienced in a variety of contexts in North America. The work addresses the history, organization, and challenges to Islam in North America, the writings of Muslim intellectuals, and the prospects of the Muslim community in the United States and Canada.

David Horrocks and Eva Kolinsky's Turkish Culture in German Society Today (Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1996) addresses the condition of Turkish guestworkers in Germany, as well as the current situation of minorities in German society. It provides a unique focus on issues of identity. In Muslim Minorities in the World Today (London: Mansell, 1986), M. Ali Kettani examines the position of minority communities in their struggle to maintain a Muslim way of life. The author promotes a normative path in maintaining Islamic identity in a non-Muslim environment.

In Islamic Britain: Religion, Politics, and Identity Among British Muslims (London: Tauris, 1994), Philip Lewis provides an overview of the status of Muslim communities in Britain, based on well-researched fieldwork from the industrial cities in the country's center, including Bradford. Kathleen M. Moore's al-Mughtaribun: American Law and the Transformation of Muslim Life in the United States (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995) explores the influence of American law on Muslim life against the backdrop of liberal commitments to the ideals of pluralism and religious tolerance in America.

Jorgen Nielsen's Muslims in Western Europe, second edition (Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 1995) is an introduction to Muslim life in contemporary Western Europe. It provides an overview of the history, development, and current conditions of Muslim communities in France, West Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia, and Southern Europe. In Muslim Communities in the New Europe (Berkshire, Ithaca Press, 1996), the editors, Gerd Nonneman, Tim Niblock, and Bogdan Szajkowski, have gathered a collection of essays that address the effects of government policies, citizenship rules, economics, and international linkages on immigrant and indigenous Muslims in Eastern and Western Europe. Richard Brent Turner's Islam in the African-American Experience (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997) is a significant contribution to the understanding of the roles of individuals, religious groups, and the religion of Islam in shaping the African American Muslim identity.


Mohammed Arkoun's Rethinking Islam: Common Questions, Uncommon Answers (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1994) provides a bold and provocative critique of both Western and traditional Islamic scholarship that presents a vision of Islam that challenges that which is prevalent throughout much of the Muslim world. Muhammad Asad's The Principles of State and Government in Islam (1961; reprint, Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1980) provides an early and influential analysis of the basis for a modern Islamic state. John J. Donohue and John L. Esposito, eds., Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) is a collection of Muslim writings that reflects the diversity of Muslim voices in the twentieth century. Farid Esack's Quran, Liberation, and Pluralism (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1997) is a creative and challenging analysis of the role of Islam and the Muslim community in fighting apartheid. This event becomes the take-off point for the author to explore the traditional Muslim attitude toward pluralism and to advocate a rereading of Quranic texts to support a more inclusive, pluralistic vision.

John L. Esposito, ed., Voices of Resurgent Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983) provides a collection of studies of major twentieth-century Islamic reformers and activists, with a collection of Muslim activist writings on the nature of the Islamic revival, the Islamic state, law, and social reform. John L. Esposito's The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) is a study of the history of Islam and the West that focuses on contemporary Muslim politics and the future of Muslim-Christian relations. Is this relationship one of cooperation or conflict? John L. Esposito and John O. Voll's Islam and Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) gives an analysis of the nature of democracy and Muslim reactions and responses to issues of political participation and democratization, with case studies that span the Muslim world, from Algeria and Egypt to Pakistan and Malaysia.

Dale Eickelman and James P. Piscatori's Muslim Politics (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996) presents an analysis of the diverse politics of Islam in Muslim life. The work is especially effective in its examples, which are drawn from across the Muslim world. Yvonne Y. Haddad's Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History (New York: SUNY Press, 1982) provides a study of the ways in which Arab Muslims have defined and redefined the meaning of faith and history in responding to the challenges of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Deliar Noer's The Modernist Muslim Movement in Indonesia (London: Oxford University Press, 1973) provides an analysis of the origins, causes, leaders, and ideas of modernist movements in Indonesia from 1900 to 1942. Seyyed Hossein Nasr's Traditional Islam in the Modern World (London: KPI, 1987) is a study of the historical role and enduring significance of traditional Islam by a leading Muslim scholar. Nasr seeks to distinguish traditional Islam from modernism and fundamentalism.

Fazlur Rahman's Islam and Modernity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982) is a descriptive and prescriptive study of the history of Islamic intellectualism and education, which seeks to set out a methodology for reinterpretation and reform in Islam. Andrew Rippin's Muslims: Their Beliefs and Practices, vol. 2 of The Contemporary Period (London: Routledge, 1993) is a study of Muslim perceptions of and responses to the modern world, with special emphasis on the relevance of the Quran and Muhammad. John O. Voll's Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1994) provides an excellent study of the role of Islam in modern Muslim history, distinctive for its comprehensive geographic coverage.

There is no single study of all Islamic historiography. Most monographs have focused on the early and medieval periods (c. 600–1500), often referred to as the “formative” and “classical” periods. The best introduction to early and medieval Arabic Islamic historiography is now Robinson 2003, which has a good bibliography. Other important studies include Khalidi 1994 and Rosenthal 1968; the latter is a survey that includes historical writing in Persian. Meisami 1999 is the best modern introduction devoted exclusively to medieval Persian historiography. A useful “state of the field” bibliographic guide to primary and secondary literature on Islamic history and historiography in the early and medieval periods is Humphreys 1991.

  • Humphreys, R. Stephen. Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry. Rev. ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

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    A bibliographic survey of the state of the field of historical studies in early and medieval Islam; devotes considerable space to questions of historiography. Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 6 are particularly relevant.

  • Khalidi, Tarif. Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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    A wide-ranging and erudite analysis of the history of Muslims' ideas about the past down to around 1500, arranged under the rubrics of four main “epistemic canopies or modes” (p. xii). Khalidi argues that these modes describe the predominant currents in Islamic culture at different stages of history.

  • Meisami, Julie S. Persian Historiography to the End of the Twelfth Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999.

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    The only monograph in English on the history of history writing in Persian in medieval times, and the first survey since Storey 1927. Meisami examines the subject under the three dynastic rubrics: the Samanid period, the Ghaznavid period, and the Seljuk period.

  • Radtke, Bernd. Weltgeschichte und Weltbeschreibung im mittelalterlichen Islam. Beirut: F. Steiner, 1992.

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    The only monograph on the “universal history” and “world chronicle” in medieval Islamic historiography.

  • Robinson, Chase F. Islamic Historiography. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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    The best introduction to Islamic historiography in Arabic in the formative and medieval periods (to c. 1500), focusing on the social contexts in which history writing was produced. Includes suggested further reading and an extensive and up-to-date bibliography.

  • Rosenthal, Franz. A History of Muslim Historiography. 2d rev. ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1968.

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    Rosenthal's magisterial work, originally published in 1952, was the first survey in English of Islamic historiography. It is still a useful overview, covering the period down to c. 1500.

  • Sauvaget, Jean, and Claude Cahen. Introduction to the History of the Muslim East: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965.

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    A classic bibliographic survey of primary and secondary literature for the history of the central Islamic lands to c. 1900. Reprinted by Greenwood Press in 1982. This is an English translation of the 1961 revised French edition of the first (1943) French edition.

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