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Islamic History and Thought

The Islamic History & Thought series  provides a platform for scholarly research on any geographic area within the expansive Islamic/Muslim world, stretching from the Mediterranean to China, and dated to any period from the eve of Islam until the early modern era. Scholars are invited to submit proposals for original monographs, translations (Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Greek, and Latin) and edited volumes related to these broad areas of research. Submissions are accepted in English, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, and Italian). All accepted submissions will be peer-reviewed by two specialists and the series is overseen by an editorial board made up of leading scholars in the field.

Various books published under this series have been recognised for their important contribution to field of Islamic Studies through journal reviews, academic awards and digital platforms. For example, the first book in the series joined a pretigious list of previous winners of the The 26th World Award for the Book of the Year. Two further titles from this series and another title from the Gorgias Islamic Studies series are ranked among the '94 Best Islamic History Books of All Time' by Book Authority.    

Prof. Dr Peter Adamson

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München  

Prof. Dr Beatrice Gründler 

Freie Universität Berlin 

Prof. Dr Ahmad Khan

Universität Hamburg 

Prof. Dr Isabel Toral-Niehoff (Chair)

Freie Universität Berlin 

Prof. Dr Jack Tannous

Princeton University 

Mr Manolis Ulbricht

Freie Universität Berlin 

Prof. Emeritus Dr Binyamin Abrahamov

Bar-Ilan University

Prof. Dr Asad Q. Ahmed

University of California, Berkeley

Dr Mehmetcan Akpinar

University of Tübingen

Prof. Dr Abdulhadi Alajmi

University of Kuwait

Prof. Dr Mohammad-Ali Amir-Moezzi

École Pratique des Hautes Études

Dr Arezou Azad

University of Oxford

Dr Farhad Daftary

The Institute of Ismaili Studies

Prof. Dr Godefroid de Callataÿ

Université catholique de Louvain

Prof. Dr Wael Hallaq

Columbia University

Prof. Dr Konrad Hirschler

Freie Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr Maher Jarrar

American University of Beirut

Prof. Dr James Howard-Johnston

University of Oxford

Dr Harry Munt

University of York

Prof. Dr Marcus Milwright

University of Victoria

Prof. Dr Gabriel Said Reynolds

University of Notre Dame

Prof. Dr Walid A. Saleh

University of Toronto

Prof. Dr Jens Scheiner

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Dr Delfina Serrano

Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Madrid

Prof. Dr Georges Tamer

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

 

For more information about the series or to submit a proposal, please contact the series' Submissions Editor, Adam Walker: adam@gorgiaspress.com.

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The Exceptional Qur'an

Flexible and Exceptive Rhetoric in Islam's Holy Book
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0729-8
This monograph examines the principle of dispensation in the Qur’an, which seems to be, if not unique, articulated in a new manner compared to previous religions (cf. Deut 12,32). The Qur’anic dispensations have never been systematically studied and this monograph aims to fill this vacuum in the fields of Qur’anic studies and the Study of Religion.

Angels Hastening (paperback)

The Karbalāʾ Dreams
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4408-8
When, on an autumn Medina night in 61/680, the night that saw al-Ḥusayn killed, Umm Salama was torn from her sleep by an apparition of a long-dead Muḥammad, she slipped effortlessly into a progression of her co-religionists who, irrespective of status, gender or standing with God, were the recipients of dark and arresting visions. At the core of those Delphian dreams, peopled by angels or ğinn or esteemed forbears and textured with Iraqi dust and martyrs’ blood, was the Karbalāʾ event. Her dream would be recounted by an array of Muslim scholars, from al-Tirmiḏī, stellar pupil of al-Buḫārī, and Ibn ʿAsākir, untiring chronicler of Syrian history, to bibliophile theologian Ibn Ṭāʾūs and Egyptian polymath al-Suyūṭī. But this was not Umm Salama’s only otherworldly encounter and she was not the only one to have al-Ḥusayn’s fate disturb her nights. This is their story.

La Şaḥīfa de Médine (VIIe siècle)

Une relecture critique
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4268-8
The Ṣaḥīfa of Medina is preserved thanks to two 9th century historiographers: Ibn Hishām and Abū ‘Ubayd. It clearly illustrates, through variants present in both the text and its chain of transmission, the challenges posed by sources that reach us by way of oral tradition. The present study sheds fresh light on the text of one of Islam’s most important documents by investigating its nuances, as adding greater clarity to the social and political context of this challenging and important text.

Angels Hastening

The Karbalāʾ Dreams
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4209-1
When, on an autumn Medina night in 61/680, the night that saw al-Ḥusayn killed, Umm Salama was torn from her sleep by an apparition of a long-dead Muḥammad, she slipped effortlessly into a progression of her co-religionists who, irrespective of status, gender or standing with God, were the recipients of dark and arresting visions. At the core of those Delphian dreams, peopled by angels or ğinn or esteemed forbears and textured with Iraqi dust and martyrs’ blood, was the Karbalāʾ event. Her dream would be recounted by an array of Muslim scholars, from al-Tirmiḏī, stellar pupil of al-Buḫārī, and Ibn ʿAsākir, untiring chronicler of Syrian history, to bibliophile theologian Ibn Ṭāʾūs and Egyptian polymath al-Suyūṭī. But this was not Umm Salama’s only otherworldly encounter and she was not the only one to have al-Ḥusayn’s fate disturb her nights. This is their story.

The Banisher of Madness

An Interpretation of Language as the Vessel of All Truths Sacred and Profane in the Teachings of Ibn al-Sarrāj of Baghdad
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4162-9
Born in the late 9th century Baghdad, the ʿAbbāsid grammarian ‘Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Saḥl Ibn al-Sarrāj came to be remembered as the Banisher of Madness and the virtuous scholar whose life has exemplified the culture of Arabs in its fullness. Lauded as the arch-enemy of Hellenistic sciences and, at the same time, as the main source of transmission of Aristotelian logic from the 10th century philosophers to the grammarians of Baghdad; Ibn al-Sarrāj nonetheless remains a shadowy figure in the history of Arabic grammar studies up until today. This book addresses this issue by examining the problematic relationship between language, logic and grammar in Ibn al-Sarrāj’s teachings.

The Shi'i Past in the Great Book of the Songs

A New Perspective on the Kitāb al-Aghānī by Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī and Shīʿī Islam in the Tenth Century
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0714-4
The Kitāb al-Aghānī (the Book of the Songs) stands as one of the most important extant sources for Arabic literature and Islamic history. Compiled during the first half of the tenth century, the Kitāb al-Aghānī emerges from a pivotal period in the formation of Islamic sectarian identities, a subject of keen and ongoing scholarly debate that is fundamental to our understanding of the later development of Shīʿī Islam. The present study addresses the question of whether or not its compiler, Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī’s, sectarian leanings can be discerned from the Kitāb al-Aghānī through an analysis based primarily on redaction criticism. By examining the compiler’s editorial interventions, this book argues that al-Iṣfahānī, to some extent at least, presents past people and events central to the Shīʿī worldview in accordance with his sectarian affiliation.

Half of my Heart (paperback)

The Narratives of Zaynab, Daughter of ʿAlî
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4236-7
As Abû ʿAbd Allâh al-Ḥusayn, son of ʿAlî and Fâṭima and grandson of Muḥammad, moved inexorably towards death on the field of Karbalâʾ, his sister Zaynab was drawn ever closer to the centre of the family of Muḥammad, the ‘people of the house’ (ahl al-bayt). There she would remain for a few historic days, challenging the wickedness of the Islamic leadership, defending the actions of her brother, initiating the commemorative rituals, protecting and nurturing the new Imâm, al-Ḥusayn’s son ʿAlî b. al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlî b. Abî Ṭâlib, until he could take his rightful place. This is her story.

Middle Eastern Encounters

Collected Essays on Visual, Material, and Textual Interactions between the Eighth and the Twenty-first Centuries
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4193-3
This book focuses on interactions between the Islamic world and other regions from the late eighth to the twenty-first centuries. Some chapters consider the complex relationship between Islam and the cultures of Late Antiquity in the Middle East and Mediterranean basin. The reprinted chapters in this volume have been revised and updated. Topics include relief-moulded pottery production in Raqqa, the construction of palaces in Samarra, portraiture in Arabic manuscript painting, written descriptions of patterned marble in medieval Islam, images of Muslim rulers in early Modern printed books, and the broadcast of the medical examination of Saddam Hussein. Also included are a critical introduction that considers the challenges involved in the study of cultural interactions between Islamic and non-Islamic regions, a cumulative bibliography, and a previously unpublished study of recently discovered photographs, drawings, and writings relating to the Middle East made by soldiers during and after World War I.

Ash‘arism Encounters Avicennism

Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī on Creation
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0719-9
This study of Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī’s (d. 631/1233) teachings on creation offers close analysis of all of his extant works of falsafa and kalām. Some of these were not known to previous scholars, yet they bear witness to key facets of the interaction between the historically inimical traditions of Hellenic philosophy and rational theology at this important intellectual moment. Al-Āmidī is seen to grapple with the encounter of two paradigms for the discussion of creation. On the one hand, Ibn Sīnā’s metaphysical concept of necessity of existence is the basis of his doctrine of the world’s pre-eternal emanation. On the other, for the mutakallimūn, the physical theory of atomism bolsters the view that God created the world from nothing. This study is of interest to scholars of Ibn Sīnā and Ash‘arism alike, as it advances our understanding of the ongoing tradition of rational theology in the Islamic world, long past Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī’s (d. 505/1111) famous attack on the philosophers.

A Place Between Two Places (paperback)

The Quranic Barzakh
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3987-9
For believers in a resurrection of the body, there arises the question of what happens after death but before the Last Day: the intermediate state. For most Muslims, the intermediate state is the barzakh. It is a fantastical and frightening time in the grave. The present study will examine where the belief in the barzakh comes from through a study of the Qur'an.

The Aqaba Khans and the Origin of Khans in Jordan

An Archaeological Approach
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0651-2
A diachronic study of the development of Aqaba castle, an important Islamic khan at the junction of two major pilgrim routes, both based on Arabic and Crusader sources and the results of the excavations undertaken by Ghent University in Aqaba.

The Making of the Mosque

A Survey of Religious Imperatives
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0727-4
“In the absence of reliable archaeological evidence, the question of how the mosque was made represents a real challenge. Its origin remains moot despite many attempts to settle the question. This study sets out to explore whether early Islam, within the framework of the Prophet’s teachings and practices, as well as the Qurʾān, might have provided the necessary prompts for the making of the mosque and the shaping of its essential functional and architectural features. It also investigates how such religious prompts may have interacted with the political, cultural and socio-economic contexts in which the mosque type materialized. As such, this book scrutinizes two dominant tendencies regarding the mosque type, the modern Western views on its non-Islamic origins and the Islamic legalist views on what it should look like.”

Fâṭima, Daughter of Muhammad (second edition - paperback)

Second Edition
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3939-8
The only child of Muhammad to survive him, Fâṭima was from early times taken up by Shî’a Islam, for whose adherents she is the virgin mother, the heavenly intercessor with untold power before God’s throne, and the grieving mother of al-Husayn, the Shi’a's most important martyr. During her life she was impoverished and weak, neglected, marginalized, and divested of justice: but her reward in heaven comprises incalculable riches, all those in heaven will bow their heads to her, and her company will be the angels and the friends of God. Here, for the first time, her story is told.

Women in Shiʿism

Ancient Stories, Modern Ideologies
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0726-7
What is the nature and social role of women? In today’s Shi‘ism, these questions are often answered through the “separate-but- equal” ideology which emphasizes the role of women as wives and mothers, and places men in authority. But is this the only ideology which can be derived from Shi‘i scriptural sources? This book takes a more nuanced approach to that question by exploring how women are portrayed in hadith on ancient sacred narrative – the stories of the prophets. It shows far more diverse views on what it means to be a woman (and, by extension, a man) – and that early Shi‘is held competing views about ideals for women.

Zwischen Māturīdīya und Ašʿarīya

Abū Šakūr as-Sālimi und sein Tamhīd fī bayān at-tauḥīd
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3941-1
The present work provides a new edition and substantial German commentary of the important theological Arabic work Al-Tamhīd fī bayān al-tauḥīd (“Introduction to the explanation of monotheism”) by the 5th/11th century scholar Abū Shakūr al-Sālimī. The work and its author belong to the theological school that succeeded Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (died 333/944) and still serve as important markers of Sunnī theology into the nineteenth century.

The Naval Commanders of Early Islam

A Prosopographical Approach
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0645-1
Translated from Hebrew, this groundbreaking study sets out to answer one simple question: who were the commanders of the early Islamic navy? Using the prosopographical method, Elmakias unearths fresh information about early Islam's inexperienced and pioneering naval commanders. Through their fascinating biographies, we learn about the people who led the Islamic navy during the first conquests of the Islamic empire and helped to realise the spread and expansion of Islamic influence.

Half of my Heart

The Narratives of Zaynab, Daughter of ʿAlî
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3937-4
As Abû ʿAbd Allâh al-Ḥusayn, son of ʿAlî and Fâṭima and grandson of Muḥammad, moved inexorably towards death on the field of Karbalâʾ, his sister Zaynab was drawn ever closer to the centre of the family of Muḥammad, the ‘people of the house’ (ahl al-bayt). There she would remain for a few historic days, challenging the wickedness of the Islamic leadership, defending the actions of her brother, initiating the commemorative rituals, protecting and nurturing the new Imâm, al-Ḥusayn’s son ʿAlî b. al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlî b. Abî Ṭâlib, until he could take his rightful place. This is her story.

Umayyad Christianity

John of Damascus as a contextual example of identity formation in Early Islam
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0757-1
A study of the identity-formation process that the Christians of Syria-Palestine experienced during the Umayyad Caliphate. It approaches this subject by using John of Damascus and his writings on Islam as a case-study. This provides an exhaustive study of the available historical data in order to stimulate some further thought on John of Damascus’s theology and legacy from a contextual and intercultural methodology. Such an examination has not yet been pursued in the scholarship of Byzantine Christianity during that era. Proceeding from a centralizing ‘context’, the monograph revisits John of Damascus’s legacy (and the Umayyad Christians’ identity-formation of that era) from the perspective of his historical, Islamic-Arabic context, and not from any assumed, metanarrative, common to contemporary pro-Byzantine theology scholars.

Early Philosophical Ṣūfism

This study challenges the conventional image of the tenth-century Sufi mystic Al-Husayn Ibn Manṣūr al-Ḥallāğ (d. 929) as an anti-philosophical mystic. Unlike the predominantly theological or text-historical studies which constitute much of the scholarly literature on Ḥallāğ, this study is completely philosophical in nature, placing Ḥallāğ within the tradition of Graeco-Arabic philosophy and emphasizing, in a positive light, his continuity with the pagan Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus.

The Arts and Crafts of Syria and Egypt from the Ayyubids to World War I

Collected Essays
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3900-8
This book focuses on the production, sale, and consumption of portable arts in regions covered today by the modern polities of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestine Authority. The reprinted chapters in this volume have been revised and updated. They offer interdisciplinary approaches to the material culture of the region from the twelfth to the early twentieth centuries, combining evidence from primary written sources, archaeology, and objects in museums and private collections. Topics include the production and distribution of pottery, importation of glazed wares into the Middle East, shadow puppetry, economic activity associated with the Syrian hajj, the manufacturing practices of the crafts operating in Damascus during the last decades of Ottoman rule, and the decoration of artillery shell cases during and after World War I. Also included are an introduction containing a critical evaluation of the main sources of information, a cumulative bibliography, and a previously unpublished study of leatherworking in the late Ottoman period.

Fâṭima, Daughter of Muhammad (second edition - hardback)

Second Edition
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3933-6
The only child of Muhammad to survive him, Fâṭima was from early times taken up by Shî’a Islam, for whose adherents she is the virgin mother, the heavenly intercessor with untold power before God’s throne, and the grieving mother of al-Husayn, the Shî’a's most important martyr. During her life she was impoverished and weak, neglected, marginalized, and divested of justice: but her reward in heaven comprises incalculable riches, all those in heaven will bow their heads to her, and her company will be the angels and the friends of God. Here, for the first time, her story is told.

The Jurist and the Theologian

Speculative Theology in Shāfiʿī Legal Theory
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0618-5
This in-depth study examines the relation between legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) and speculative theology (ʿīlm al-kalām). It compares the legal theory of four classical jurists who belonged to the same school of law, the Shāfiʿī school, yet followed three different theological traditions. The aim of this comparison is to understand to what extent, and in what way, the theology of each jurist shaped his choices in legal theory.

Religious Culture in Late Antique Arabia

Selected Studies on the Late Antique Religious Mind
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0630-7
This volume explores aspects of religious culture in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula across Late Antiquity – the period of dynamic and historically crucial developments, culminating in the emergence of Islam. While it would be impossible to provide an exhaustive examination of the topic in a single volume, it is the main aim of this book to further stimulate scholarly research on the Late Antique context of the origins of Islam and the history of early Arab-Muslim culture.

Constantinus Arabicus

Die arabische Geschichtsschreibung und das christliche Rom
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0652-9
Die folgende Studie beschäftigt sich mit der Rezeption Konstantins in der arabischen Historiographie, sowoh christlicher- als auch muslimischerseits. Eine genauere Analyse der Texte wird zeigen, wie die Geschichte des ersten christlichen Kaisers eine Projektionsfläche für Identitätskonstrutkionen werden konnte, auch über Religionsgrenzen hinaus.

Princely Authority in the Early Marwānid State

The Life of ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Marwān
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0632-1
‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Marwān (d. 86/705) reigned as the amīr of Egypt and walī al-‘ahd (heir apparent) to the Islamic caliphate for over 20 years. This book intends to revive this largely forgotten amīr and demonstrate the critical role he played in the formation of the Marwānid dynasty. The founding thesis of this study is that ‘Abd al-‘Azīz was appointed the amīr of Egypt and second heir apparent due to the legitimacy his maternal lineage brought the nascent dynasty.