The Story of Reason in Islam
Sari Nusseibeh

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Contents and Abstracts
1 The Arabian Desert
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

2 The Daunting Idea of God
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

3 Free Will and Determinism
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

4 The Qur'an: Created or Eternal?
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

5 From Wasil to Ibn Hanbal
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

6 Early Islam: Literacy, Conflict and Expansion
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

7 Speculative Discourse: A Style
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

8 Discourse: In Pursuit of the Ultimate Answers
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

9 Law and Morality
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

10 Al-Ma'moun and the Devil's Banquets.
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

11 The Language-Logic debate
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

12 Back to the Human Will and Language
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

13 Expanding the View
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

14 An Interlude: Caliph, Imam, and Philosopher-King
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

15 Philosophy and Politics
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

16 The Philosophers' "Frenzy"
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

17 Back to Wine and Logic
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

18 Motion and Light
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

19 The Nature of Truth
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

20 Fardajan and Beyond
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

21 The Cosmos
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

22 Cosmic Lights
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

23 Fast Forward
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.

24 Language and Reason: The Dilemma
chapter abstract

This chapter outlines the cultural and historical framework in which the Qur'an first appeared in Mecca, and the inspirational and intellectual hold the document had on the people who came to adopt it as God's word delivered by Muhammad. The two contextual themes highlighted in the chapter are the desert's geo-historical centrality to the major regional religious and cultural traditions and the immanence of poetry as the revered artistic form of linguistic expression among desert Arabs. The Qur'an is shown to have combined these attributes–religious narrative and poetic finesse–and merged them into a single and unique discourse that exerted a mesmerizing influence on peoples' hearts and minds. The power of this synthesis shook people out of pre-existing modes of thought and inspired them to speculate about the world in radically new ways.