Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry (Wooden Books) (Hardcover)


Throughout their long history the craft traditions of the Islamic world evolved a multitude of styles applied to a great variety of media but always with unifying factors that make them instantly recognizable. Harmony is central. There are two key aspects to the visual structure of Islamic design—calligraphy using Arabic script (one of the world’s great calligraphic traditions) and abstract ornamentation using a varied but remarkably integrated visual language. Focusing on Islamic geometric patterns, simple and complex, man-made and in nature, this book offers unique insight into Islamic culture.

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Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry (Wooden Books)

About the Author
Daud Sutton is director of the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation’s design studio Editio Electrum, specializing in the fine reproduction of carpet pages from ancient manuscripts. He lives in England.

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The Crisis of Islamic Civilization (Hardcover)


Islam as a religion is central to the lives of over a billion people, but its outer expression as a distinctive civilization has been undergoing a monumental crisis. Buffeted by powerful adverse currents, Islamic civilization today is a shadow of its former self. The most disturbing and possibly fatal of these currents—the imperial expansion of the West into Muslim lands and the blast of modernity that accompanied it—are now compounded by a third giant wave, globalization.

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The Crisis of Islamic Civilization

These forces have increasingly tested Islam and Islamic civilization for validity, adaptability, and the ability to hold on to the loyalty of Muslims, says Ali A. Allawi in his provocative new book. While the faith has proved resilient in the face of these challenges, other aspects of Islamic civilization have atrophied or died, Allawi contends, and Islamic civilization is now undergoing its last crisis.

The book explores how Islamic civilization began to unravel under colonial rule, as its institutions, laws, and economies were often replaced by inadequate modern equivalents. Allawi also examines the backlash expressed through the increasing religiosity of Muslim societies and the spectacular rise of political Islam and its terrorist offshoots. Assessing the status of each of the building blocks of Islamic civilization, the author concludes that Islamic civilization cannot survive without the vital spirituality that underpinned it in the past. He identifies a key set of principles for moving forward, principles that will surprise some and anger others, yet clearly must be considered.

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In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad (Paperback) by Tariq Ramadan (Author)


Starred Review. London-based Ramadan, the Oxford research fellow who authored Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, is probably best known for being denied entry into the United States, based on alleged violations of the Patriot Act. This excellent, engaging book ought to turn public attention back toward Ramadan as a writer and a skilled interpreter of Islamic history. In deliberately brief chapters, Ramadan brings Muhammad to life. He highlights Muhammad's resolute faith in spite of setbacks like orphanhood and poverty, and upholds the prophet as a spiritual hero—bravely compassionate and unusually tolerant of others, including non-Muslims. Ramadan notes his extraordinary kindness, even to those he battled. For example, a slave who had been given to Muhammad turned down emancipation, saying he preferred service to Muhammad over freedom with anyone else. (Muhammad immediately freed the slave and adopted him as his own son.)

Similar tales of mercy lace through Muhammad's life: in the midst of a battle march, Muhammad advised his troops to be careful not to hurt a litter of puppies on the roadside; on another occasion, Muhammad released prisoners of war because they had taught community children how to read and write. Ramadan ably demonstrates why Muhammad is a spiritual paragon to the followers of Islam. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad


"Ramadan quietly and patiently weaves an irenic tapestry that shows the Prophet of Islam as infused with a deep consciousness of God, which is in turn reflected by his love for his community and its members."--Choice
"This excellent, engaging book ought to turn public attention back toward Ramadan as a writer and a skilled interpreter of Islamic history."--Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
"Ramadan's book provides Muslims with a new understanding of the Prophets life. For non-Muslims, it is not just a story of the Prophet, but rather an introduction to Islam's spiritual and ethical riches."--Islamic Horizons
"For those interested in the life and times of Muhammad, Ramadan's readable In the Footsteps of the Prophet is a good beginning."--Vali Nasr, Washington Post
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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The Path of Muhammad: A Book on Islamic Morals & Ethics by Imam Birgivi (Spiritual Classics) (Paperback)


This is a centuries-old text by a 16th-century Turkish Sufi and scholar, Imam Birgivi. It has been translated for the first time into English by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak, who has also "interpreted" the text. Through numerous references to the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, the book portrays the beauty and depth of the Prophet’s character and the excellence of his example for followers of God in all times and places. The Path of Muhammad is accompanied by another, shorter text, The Last Will and Testament by Imam Birgivi. Together, these two texts range through traditional Islamic views on the nature of God, revelation, angels, prophethood, religious duties, virtue, faith, mysticism, the nature of knowledge, and many more topics.

From lofty considerations on, for example, the nature of evil, to earth-bound considerations on, as another example, how to spend money, Imam Birgivi's texts always show readers how they can purify their minds, hearts, and bodies. This incredible compendium of moral and spiritual topics, all seen through the eyes of a traditional Sufi and scholar, always hearkens back to the earliest sources of the Islamic faith (i.e., the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet) in order to "remind you of your own departure from this world, and help in your salvation."

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The Path of Muhammad: A Book on Islamic Morals & Ethics by Imam Birgivi

From the Publisher

This long-awaited classic of Islamic spirituality fulfills important needs in scholarship on the history of Sufism and in the contemporary search for spiritual direction in today’s troubled world. Imam Birgivi’s manual of ethical conduct and spiritual practice details the "Path of Muhammad" (al-Tariqah al-Muhammadiyyah), a Sufi method created in late fifteenth century Morocco and disseminated as far as India and beyond through the mediation of Ottoman Sufi masters. This path seeks to instill the sunnah of Muhammad not only through imitation of the Prophet’s outward behavior, but more importantly, by teaching one to assimilate the Prophet’s inner spiritual states. In this way, the seeker becomes empowered to find a personal solution to the challenges of the times without merely repeating the answers of the past. Shaykh Tosun Bayrak’s lucid and at times lyrical translation of Imam Birgivi’s text gives new life to this work and makes the reader believe it was written yesterday, not five centuries ago. In an era of rampant fundamentalism and simplistic and politicized responses to the world’s problems, this work reminds us that the greater struggle is within ourselves, and that the life of the body cannot be improved without the transformation of the soul. The term, al-Tariqah al-Muhammadiyyah, appears to have been used for the first time by the Moroccan Sufi ‘Abdallah al-Ghazwani (d. 1528-9). A Bedouin by origin, Ghazwani is one of the famous "Seven Saints" of Marrakech and is known locally as Mul al-Qusur (Master of Palaces). In his works, Ghazwani also refers to the Path of Muhammad as the "Method of the Muhammadan Sunnah" (Madhhab al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyyah) and the "Technique of Archetypal Perception" (Suluk al-Nazrah al-Azaliyyah). The link between this Moroccan Sufi and Imam Birgivi’s teachers may have been the Egyptian jurist, Sufi, and Qur’an commentator Muhammad al-Laqani (d. 1528-9), who corresponded extensively with Ghazwani about the details of al-Tariqah al-Muhammadiyyah. Sufis of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order ultimately passed on these doctrines throughout the Ottoman Empire and South Asia. In Ghazwani’s version of the Path of Muhammad, the key figure is the "Bell Saint" (al-Jaras), the axial Sufi teacher of his time, who can hear the "pealing" or reverberation of the divine archetypes on the verge of their actualization into forms. The ability of the Bell Saint to teach his followers to perceive these reverberations is based on his assumption of the Prophetic Inheritance (al-wirathah al-nabawiyyah), which comes about through the assimilation of the Prophet’s inner sunnah or spiritual consciousness. Ghazwani’s concept of the Bell Saint comes from a famous tradition, found in the hadith collections of Bukhari, Tirmidhi, and Nasa’i, where the Prophet describes the sound of divine revelation as like the clanging of a bell. In the words of Ahmad al-Buni (d. 1225), an earlier Sufi who used this metaphor, "The bell tolls for each man. He who listens to it is elevated and is taken from the world for union with Allah, which is the goal of prayer."

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