Lavishly illustrated with over 300 pictures, including more than 200 in full color, The Oxford History of Islam offers the most wide-ranging and authoritative account available of the second largest–and fastest growing–religion in the world. John L. Esposito, Editor-in-Chief of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, has gathered together sixteen leading scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to examine the origins and historical development of Islam–its faith, community, institutions, sciences, and arts.
Beginning in the pre-Islamic Arab world, the chapters range from the story of Muhammad and his Companions, to the development of Islamic religion and culture and the empires that grew from it, to the influence that Islam has on today’s world. The book covers a wide array of subjects, casting light on topics such as the historical encounter of Islam and Christianity, the role of Islam in the Mughal and Ottoman empires, the growth of Islam in Southeast Asia, China, and Africa, the political, economic, and religious challenges of European imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and Islamic communities in the modern Western world. In addition, the book offers excellent articles on Islamic religion, art and architecture, and sciences as well as bibliographies. Events in the contemporary world have led to an explosion of interest and scholarly work on Islam. Written for the general reader but also appealing to specialists, The Oxford History of Islam offers the best of that recent scholarship, presented in a readable style and complemented by a rich variety of illustrations.
Amazon.com Review about The Oxford History of Islam
The entire history of Islamic civilization is, of course, too much to cover in a single volume, but John Esposito comes close. In a book topping 700 pages and containing over 300 photographs, Esposito brings together experts in fields such as early Islamic history, art and architecture, science and medicine, Islam in Africa and Southeast Asia, and contemporary Islam. Beginners will be swimming in new discoveries, while old hands will find connections and facts they never suspected.
Majid Fakhry, for instance, shows not only the influence of philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on European intellectuals but also unveils the claims and counterclaims within Islamic philosophy over time. Dru Gladney takes us on an eye-opening journey through Islamic Central Asia and even China, where the Muslim Hui people are recognized as the country’s third-largest minority nationality. And have you ever seen an exquisite mosque with towering spires made entirely of mud-brick, like there are in West Africa? Unfortunately, Esposito apparently couldn’t find room here for separate sections on Sufism or Islamic literature, but there are more than enough mosques, paintings, historical maps, and tapestries throughout to keep you turning pages and learning with fascination. –Brian Bruya