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Islam: A Brief History Paperback – December 21, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1405180931 ISBN-10: 1405180935 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (December 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405180935
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405180931
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Sonn provides a significant new analysis of the range of contemporary Muslim thought as well as updating sections in light of recent scholarship. These changes mean that it continues to be an essential book for those who need an introduction to Islam that is both readable and well-informed."
John Voll, Georgetown University

"This is a masterful study accessible to students, scholars and the general reader. Few authors are more knowledgeable or better equipped to write such a comprehensive and engaging introduction to the history of Islam."
John L Esposito, Georgetown University

From the Back Cover

Few subjects have gripped the Western world in the twenty-first century to the same degree as Islam, yet it remains widely misunderstood. This second edition of Islam: A Brief History is the ideal introduction, offering readers a concise yet thoroughly absorbing account of a faith that is shared by more than a billion people today.

Beginning with an account of the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islamic ideals, the book spans Islam’s phenomenal geographical expansion and cultural development, right up to the creation of modern states and the current situation in Islamic societies. Reflecting recent global developments, the second edition expands its coverage of the Qur’an, Sufism, and Muslim views on human rights, including the rights of women. It also includes fascinating vignettes of Islamic life, increasing its representation of mainstream Muslim viewpoints on issues of global concern. The book’s accessible structure and Tamara Sonn’s lively writing style illuminate the complex interrelationships of cultural, political, and ideological developments woven throughout Islamic history. Timely and concise, Islam: A Brief History is an indispensable introduction to Islam and its role in today’s global society.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gistelle on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book got here really fast, before the projected date, and the quality is on par with what was advertised. Keep up the good work!
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9 of 26 people found the following review helpful By TypicalReader on September 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lately I started reading "Islam: A Brief History"

Akbar S. Ahmed - American University, Washington: in the foreword writes:
She is presently the Kenan Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at the College of William and Mary. Professor Sonn's Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago, where she sat at the feet of the late great Islamic scholar Fazlur Rahman. She has written well-received books on Islam but is no ivory tower scholar. Until recently she was the active president of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies.

looks pretty good huh?

Under this impression, I started reading this but it looks like even the most learned western scholors don't have grasp on the subject. I stopped reading after initial few pages: following is the reason why:

The Quran consists of 114 chapters, called suras (in Arabic,
surah; plural: suwar). The verses of the chapters are called ayat
(singular: ayah). The chapters range in length from 7 to 287 verses.
The first sura is very short, but the remaining suras are arranged
from longest to shortest (i.e., in descending order of length),
rather than in chronological order.
WRONG: Chapter 6 Al-Anaam has 165 - Chapter 7 Al-Araf has 206 verses - Chapter 8 Al-Anfal has 75 verses - Chapter 9 Al-Tawba has 129 verses and list goes on and on

but I kept reading hoping this may be a small mistake and she will do better: but

when people doubted Muhammad's role as
prophet, the Quran instructs him: "Say, `O People, indeed I am a
clear warner to you. Those who believe and do good works, for
them is forgiveness and generous blessing' " (55:49-50).
Read more ›
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