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Selected Texts on Islam Compiled and Edited by S.M.Prozorov [Хрестоматия по исламу. Составитель и ответственный редактор С.М.Прозоров]. Moscow Nauka 1994.


Selected Texts on Islam Compiled and Edited by S.M.Prozorov is the first work of its kind in the Russian Oriental studies It consists of six chapters corresponding to the six principle fields of the classical Islamology, i.e. Muhammad and the origin of Islam, the Qur'an and its exegesis, the Sunna, dogmatics, Sufism, and Islamic law The chapters comprise brief introductory notes and annotated translations of original Islamic texts treating different aspects of Muslim religious tradition.

In the Introduction the Editor (S.M.Prozorov) elucidates the aims of the book and gives a concise outline of the approach to Islam maintained by the contributors — the Islamists of the Institute of Oriental Studies in St Petersburg. The purpose of the book is to help the Russian speaking audience to gain an impartial and concrete view of Islamic religion as an elabo rate and flexible ideological system. For the first time the Editor introduces his theory of the three stages of Islamic history and discusses the problem of correlation between the fundamental principles of doctrinal Islam and then regional interpretations in multifarious social, cultural ethnic contexts An adequate solution of this complex problem gives a new insight into the workings of Muslim ideology.

Chapter 1 Muhammad and the Origin of Islam includes the translation of two versions of the Prophet's biography. The first, the widely known Sirat sayyidina Muhammad rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq (d 150/767) accessible in the recension of Ibn Hisham (d 213/828, or 218/833), is the earliest biographical account of Muhammad upon which all his subsequent biographies are based. The chapter includes only a partial translation of Ibn Ishaq's bulky text, in which several episodes from Muhammad's life dating back to the period from his birth to the start of his mission are described. The second version, Awjaz as-siyar by Ahmad b Fans ar-Razi (d 395/1005) is available in a complete translation This writing is a vivid example of the medieval mass literature, which contains elementary data concerning the Prophet's personality and activities—a sine qua non of every average Muslim. The translations are by VI V.Polosin, the introductory notes and comments — by M.В.Piotrovsky.

Chapter 2 The Qur'an and its exegesis (by E.A.Rezvan) The introductory note contains some remarks on the Muslim attitude towards the Revelation and its exegesis In order to illustrate it by a concrete example the translator provides a wide range of exegetic approaches and methods employed for the interpretation of sura 98 by twelve Muslim exegets of various theological and dogmatic allegiances, who lived from the II/VIII century until recently and came from different parts of the Muslim world The diversity of their understanding of the same Qur'anic text reflects the variety of their aims, world outlooks and methods of interpretation, and in the last analysis, of ideological trends within what we call “classical Islam”. Considering the exegetic texts in a histo rical perspective we can evaluate the degree of continuity and novelty in the work of an exeget and watch the Muslim exegetic tradition in progress.

Chapter 3 Sunna of the Prophet (by D.V.Ermakoff) deals with Sunni traditionalism represented by a partial translation (parts 2 and 3 of the Arabic text) of Kitab ash sharh wa l ibana 'ala usul as sunna wa d diyana by Ibn Batta al 'Ukban (d 387/997). The text adequately conveys the concept of Islamic faith upheld by Muslim traditionalists and their view of Muslim dogma In his elucidation oi details of the Muslim ritual and commendable behaviour Ibn Batta constantly cites the corpus of Muslim tradition, in which the norm set by the Prophet and his companions is described. He is especially concerned with “innovations” which he regards as a divergence from the “right” Islam. The translation is supplied with notes and comments that clarify the methods and religious attitude of Muslim traditionalists.

Chapter 4 Dogmatics and ideological divergences in Islam The chapter is opened by an annotated partial translation (by S M Prozorov) of Kitab usul ad-din by al-Bagh-dadi (d 429/1037) — an Ashari theologian and polemicist of renown. The text presents an explanation of Muslim notions of faith, which has been a major problem of the Muslim religion on practical, as well as on theoretical level The discussion of its solution reflects one of the most important characteristics of Islam, i.e. the diversity of opinions with respect to the con cept of the religious creed The comments provide helpful information about famous Muslim theologians, principal law schools, doctrines and technical terms The 2nd part of the chapter comprises the translation (by D V Ermakoff) of the profession of faith (aqida) of Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 241/855) — an outstanding representative of Sunni traditionalism.

Chapter 5 Sufism. It consists oi a partial annotated translation (by A.D.Knysh) of Kitab al-luma fi-t-tasawwuf— the earliest extant Sufi manual by the Muslim scholar Abu Nasr as Sarraj at-Tusi (d. 378/988). The translator has chosen the part of the text that deals with so called stations (maqamat) and states (ahwal) of the Sufi path leading to God and the higher mysteries of human self. The doctrine of stations and states, which still has not lost its importance for the Muslim mystics, is considered to be the corner stone of Sufism and may serve as an apt introduction to its fundamentals. The notes and comments contain essential information on early Sufism and its representatives.

Chapter 6 Islamic law. The chapter contains some data pertaining to the history of Islamic jurisprudence (al-fiqh), which is represented by a partial translation of Kitab al-kharaj by Abu Yusuf Ya'qub (d. 182/798)—an eminent jurist and the first chief qadi (qadi-l-qudat) of the Islamic state. In his book Abu Yusuf discusses such important issues of Islamic law as taxation, legal foundations of the functioning of the state, land tenure, etc. The translation of the text by the late A.E.Schmidt (archive materials of the Institute of Oriental Studies in St Petersburg) treats some fundamental principles of Islamic criminal law, legal prosecution, and procedure. It also includes a vivid and detailed description of several episodes from everyday life of the people in the new born Cahphal state, which may be of interest to a wider audience. The introduction and notes to the translation are supplied by A.S.Bogolyubov.

The book is illustrated by a number of photographic representations of pages from the Arabic manuscripts which have their origins in different countries of the Muslim world and date back to different periods in the Islamic history. They will give the reader an idea of the varieties of the Arabic script, and may also serve as an aid for training students to read Arabic handwritten texts.

The book is supplied with the glossary and a number of indices proper names, names of theological schools and teachings, book titles, geographical names.

The book's intended audience is undergraduate students (Orientalists), Islamists, specialists on the humanities (students of religion, philosophers, historians, culturologists etc.), as well as all those interested in the history of Islam and its ideology.

Translated by Dr A.Knysh


Аннотация, Введение, Оглавление

Раздел 4. ал-Багдади, ‘Абд ал-Кахир б. Тахир. Усул ад-дин фи-л-калам

Summary, Contents


Islamic law

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