The following books have been selected because they are considered to contribute towards the values of Equal Access International, which is promoting a Quranist1 approach, whilst understanding the original Islamic message as one that is in unity and confirming, rather than opposing, the previous Holy Books. Despite this, as in any recommended Book List, not all of the views represented below are supported by this website.

Please note that any profit from the purchase of these books below will be used to support Equal Access International Projects

Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law by Hallaq, W.

Written by the worlds leading authority on the History of Islamic Law, this study presents an important account of how Islamic Law evolved from its earliest days of ethical instruction for tempoary Arab towns outside of conquered cities, to what it is today.

 

 

Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought byBrown, D.B. 1999.

This book discusses Muslim issues concerning the 'hadith' - the sayings alleged to have been said by Muhammad, but written down hundreds of years after his death. Many Muslims are adament that 'hadith rejection' is a modern phenomenon, however Daniel Brown displays that this has been going on long before such people, showing that from early Islam, the presence of Hadith, or sayings attributed to Muhammad, was contested.

 

 

The Qur’an in its Historical Context by Reynolds, G.S. (ed) 2008.

This is book is divided into three main sections: a) The historical context of the Qur'an based on the linguistic / historical evidence b)The religious context of the Near East and c) Exploring Qur'an scholarship.

 

 

Narratives of Islamic Origins byDonner, Fred.

How and why did Muslims first come to write their own history? Fred Donner argues it was a response to a variety of challenges facing the Islamic community during its first several centuries, to legitimize particular aspects of the Islamic community and faith. Narratives of Islamic Origins is a groundbreaking work that represents a comprehensive tradition-critical account of the origins and rise of Arab-Islamic historiography.

 

 

"Jihad:Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam by Reuven Firestone

In this Book, the author recognises the origin of Islamic holy war from Ancient Arabian clan warfare, affecting the new community where where  there was a change of allegience from the clan to the community of faith.

 

 

 

Muhammad and the BelieversMuhammad and the Believers by Fred Donner

The origins of Islam have been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. The traditional view, which presents Islam as a distinct religion tied to the life and revelations of the prophet Muhammad in western Arabia, has since the 1970s been challenged by historians engaged in critical study of the Muslim sources.

In Muhammad and the Believers, the historian Fred Donner offers a vision of how Islam first evolved. He argues that the origins of Islam lie in what we may call the "Believers' movement" begun by the prophet Muhammad.  The Believers' movement thus included righteous Christians and Jews in its early years. The conviction that Muslims constituted a separate religious community, distinct from Christians and Jews, emerged a century later, when the leaders of the Believers' movement decided that only those who saw the Qur'an as the final revelation of the One God and Muhammad as the final prophet, qualified as Believers. This separated them decisively from monotheists who adhered to the Gospels or Torah.

 

Arabs in the Shadow of IsraelArabs in the Shadow of Israel: The Unfolding of God's Prophetic Plan for Ishmael's Line  by Tony Maalouf

A thoughtful call to rethink the role of Arabs in the plan of God. Western Christianity's long-standing support of Israel has, perhaps unintentionally, nurtured a prejudice against Arab people--the descendants of Abraham's first son, Ishmael. Author Tony Maalouf contends that this bias differs dramatically from the biblical portrayal of Ishmael and the nations that have sprung from him.

  

 

The Bible in ArabicThe Bible in Arabic by Sidney Griffiths

Even a brief perusal of the Arabic Qur’ān convinces the first-time reader that the text presumes a high degree of scriptural awareness on the part of its audience. In it there are frequent references to biblical patriarchs, prophets, one reads of Jesus, John the Baptist, and Jesus’ disciples from the New Testament. It was not long after the death of the Arab prophet Muḥammad in 632 CE that the Muslim Community of Believers began the task of collecting the Qur’ān, as most scholars agree, it was destined also to be the first book to appear in the Arabic language. However its followers subtly and perhaps somewhat subconsciously wove traditional scriptural language, with its characteristically Jewish and Christian idiom, into an Arabic expression of a distinctively Islamic narrative. 

  

Scriptural PolemicsScriptural Polemics Mun'im Sirry

Mun'imSirry offers an exploration of polemical passages in the Qur’an, which have long been regarded as obstacles to peaceable interreligious relations, through the lens of twentieth-century tafsir (exegesis). 

 

 

 

The Qur'anThe Qur'an: An Introduction by Abdullah Saeed 

There is much more to the Qur'an than the selective quotations favoured by Islamic fundamentalists. This book provides a student-friendly guide to the many ways in which the Qur'an can be read.

Designed for both Muslims and Western non-Muslim students, it examines the Qur'an in Western scholarship as well as giving an overview of the rich interpretive traditions from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day.

 

 

Reading the Qur'an in the 21st CenturyReading the Qur'an in the 21st Century by Abdullah Saeed 

Reading the Qur’an in the Twenty-First Century considers the development of Qur’anic interpretation and highlights modern debates around new approaches to interpretation.

Abdullah Saeed provides a practical guide for interpretation and presents the principal ideas of a contextualist approach, which situates the original message of the Qur’an in its wider social, political, cultural, economic and intellectual context. He advocates a more flexible method of interpretation that gives due recognition to earlier interpretations of the Qur’an while also being aware of changing conditions and the need to approach the Qur’an afresh today.

   

The Lost History of Middle East ChristianityThe Lost History of Middle East Christianity by Philip Jenkins

The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins offers a revolutionary view of the history of the Christian church. Subtitled “The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died,” it explores the extinction of the earliest, most influential Christian churches of China, India, and the Middle East, which held the closes historical links to Jesus and were the dominant expression of Christianity throughout its first millennium. 

 

 

The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam by G. R. Hawting

According to Muslim tradition, Arabia was filled with idolatry, and Muhammad introduced montheism for the first time. Hawting explains that this is quite misleading. Arabia embraced forms of montheism long before Muhammad, however with diverse forms of Eastern Christianity often compromising a pure montheism through the deifying of saints. 

 

 

 

The First Dynasty of IslamThe First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate by G. R. Hawting

The First Arab Political Dynasty, which ISIS today seeks to restore, was much different from Islam today. Sharia Law was still centuries before it was finalised. The Sunna (The example of Muhammad) was being debated. Hawting presents an understanding of life in the Umayyad Dynasty prior to the later evolving of Islamic traditions.

 


1Footnote: A Quranist approach is one that emphasises the values of the Qur’an, generally reads the contextually rather than that of a literalist, and de-emphasizes later Islamic writings that form the basis of much of the Sharia Law.    

 

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