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The Straight Path

Updated Fifth Edition

John L. Esposito

Publication Date - 15 April 2016

ISBN: 9780190632151

368 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A uniquely accessible, balanced, and current introduction to Islam, by world-renowned scholar John L. Esposito


This exceptionally successful survey text introduces the teachings and practice of Islam from its earliest origins up to its contemporary practice. John L. Esposito, an internationally renowned expert on Islam, traces the development of Islam and its impact on world history and politics.

Lucidly written and expansive in scope, Islam: The Straight Path, Updated Fifth Edition, provides keen insight into one of the world's least understood religions. It is ideally suited for use in courses on Islam, world religions, comparative religions, and Middle East history and culture.

A FREE 6-month subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online (www.oxfordislamicstudies.com), edited by John L. Esposito, is included with the purchase of every new copy of this text.

New to this Edition

  • New discussion questions appear at the end of each chapter
  • Chapter 2, "The Muslim Community in History," now includes extensive coverage of Islam in the West
  • Chapter 5, "The Resurgence of Religion in Politics," incorporates coverage of the unexpected and stunning Arab Spring
  • Chapter 6, "The Struggle for Islam in the Twenty-First Century," now discusses a selection of major religious scholars, intellectuals, and popular preachers who address critical questions and issues of Islamic reform
  • Revisions and updates to the map of the Muslim world, the chronological timeline, and the bibliography

About the Author(s)

John L. Esposito is University Professor, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is the author or editor of more than 45 books, including What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam and The Future of Islam and is Editor in Chief of Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

Previous Publication Date(s)

July 2010
December 2004
November 1990


"This is the answer to every teacher's prayer for an informed and balanced introductory book. It is elegantly written, beautifully synthesized, and helpful."--Leila Fawaz, Tufts University

"Islam: The Straight Path is a remarkable testament to the author's breadth of scholarship and descriptive and explanatory economy."--Peter Matthews Wright, The Colorado College

"Esposito's work in modern Islam gives him a rich perspective for introducing readers to the main modern strands of reform and revivalism, moderation, and extremism that shape the Islamic worldview in the twenty-first century."--Seth Ward, University of Wyoming

Table of Contents

    1. Muhammad and the Quran: Messenger and Message
    Muhammad and the Muslim Community
    Muhammad and the West
    The Quran: The Word of God
    2. The Muslim Community in History
    Muhammad and the Medinan State
    The Caliphate (632-1258)
    Islam and the West: The Crusades and Muslim Response to Militant Christianity
    The Sultanate Period: Medieval Muslim Empires
    Islam in the West
    3. Religious Life: Belief and Practice
    Islamic Law
    4. Modern Islamic Reform Movements
    From Imperial Islam to Islamic Revivalism
    Revivalism in Islam
    Modern Islamic Movements
    5. Religion & Politics
    The Islamic Resurgence
    A Quiet Revolution
    Global Terrorism
    The Globalization and Hijacking of Jihad
    Sayyid Qutb: Martyr of Islamic Radicalism
    The Making of a Terrorist and his Global Jihad
    Terrorists and Suicide Bombing
    Democratic Transition in Tunisia
    6. The Struggle for Islam in the Twenty-First Century
    The Bifurcation of Society
    The Ulama and Reform
    Tradition: Anchor or Albatross?
    A Spectrum of Reformers and Approaches
    Cyberspace and High-Tech Islam
    Critical Areas of Islamic Reform
    The Challenge of Religious Pluralism
    Global Muslim Multifaith and Intercivilizational Initiatives
    The Challenge of Pluralism for Western Secular Democracies
    Select Bibliography