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Sociology & Literature

Seven Doors to Islam
Seven Doors to Islam
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Details:  Seven Doors to Islam - Spirituality and the Religious Life of Muslims.
Paperback - 317+ pages,
by John Renard.


Seven Doors to Islam reveals the religious worldview and spiritual tradition of the world's one billion Muslims. Spanning the breadth of Islamic civilisation from Morocco to Indonesia, this book demonstrates how Muslims have used the literary and visual arts in all their richness and diversity to communicate religious values.


Each of the seven chapters opens a "door" that leads progressively closer to the very heart of Islam, from the foundational revelation in the Qur'an to the transcendent experience of the Sufi mystics. However, unlike most studies of Islam, which see spirituality as the concern of a minority of mystical seekers, Seven Doors demonstrates its central role in every aspect of the Islamic tradition.

Reviews :

"This book will open more than seven doors for most readers who come to it. . . . Above all, the present survey displays the virtue of a single controlling hand that guides the reader through multiple cultural traditions and complex linguistic developments. One goal is paramount: to make evident not only the importance and difficulty of Islamic idioms but also their beauty and vitality. . . . The pictures, almost 40 black-and-white half plates, are chosen with the same deft attention to detail and nuance as the texts that they accompany. The book as a whole sets a new, very high standard. . . . Enthusiastically recommended." — Choice

"Drawing on the wealth of religious experience as articulated by Muslims from a variety of periods and places in their literature, ritual, art, and architecture, John Renard has fashioned a wonderfully textured and profound examination of Islamic spirituality. Seven Doors to Islam, a title that takes its cue from the legend of Joseph and Zulaykha, is a tour de force examination of seven aspects of Islamic spirituality: revelation, ritual, ethics, aesthetics, community, knowledge, and experience." —Turkish Studies Association Bulletin

"An erudite but accessible introduction to the varied manifestations of spirituality in the Islamic religious and cultural tradition." —Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"Renard moves away from the exaggerated importance often placed upon Islamic law and emphasizes the centrality of Sufi modes of thought and practice to lived religious experience in most parts of the Islamic world. . . . While concentrating on core themes, Renard does not gloss over the essential diversity of a worldwide religious community." —MESA Bulletin. 

"[Renard] draws his insights into Muslim spirituality and religious life from a broad array of writings and religious practices throughout the Islamic world." —Theology Digest.

"A comprehensive tour of the exuberant landscape of Muslim religious life, past and present. With an impressive array of textual and visual works, Renard's kaleidoscopic survey sounds the death toll to the longstanding misconception that Islam is a dry and mechanistic religion devoid of spirituality. This is the best introductory book on Islam currently available." —Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Washington University

"Comprehensive and accessible, this book is a richly textured and wide-ranging introduction to Islamic spirituality and a refreshing change from the obsession with current politics that characterizes most approaches of Islam." —Carl W. Ernst, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 06 December, 2012.