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Reviews of Jihad: A History in Documents (2016 Expanded Edition)

“Six Islamic texts are presented, which Peters has translated. These texts include a number of hadiths which present the ‘raw material’ for Islamic law. The texts that follow include portions from Malik’s al-Muwatta, the chapter on jihad from Averrroes’ legal handbook, al-Bidaya, [the] teachings of Ibn Taymiyya on jihad, the Ottoman Jihad Fatwa of 1914, and Mahmud Shaltut’s treatise Koran and Fighting (which is a modernist interpretation of jihad). These are followed by two well-written articles by Peters. A very valuable work for all who wish to understand the meaning, importance, and practice of jihad for Muslims today as well as in the past. Highly recommended.” — Choice

“To Americans and Europeans, the word jihad conjures up fanatical Arab warriors overwhelming a Crusader citadel. Jihad (‘struggle’) denotes holy war for Islam, and in this sense is comparable to crusade, holy war for Christianity. But there is much more to jihad than this. One may struggle not only against an enemy outside Islam, but against heretics within, social evils like poverty and crime, and unbelief in oneself. Peters, a professor at the University of Amsterdam and the director of the Netherlands Institute in Cairo, has collected previously published information (six translations of Arabic texts, and two of his own articles) to help us understand the wider social and moral senses of jihad. While Peters terms this material ‘basic,’ it is both highly technical and complex, and presupposes some familiarity with Islam and its history.” — Library Journal

“Peters’s intent is to provide some basic texts on jihad and to highlight the historical development of the concept. … The book is plainly not meant for specialists, however, but for a general audience. Indeed, although it is not an all-encompassing work (Shi’i thoughts on jihad get no billing), by having these translations together, this book would make a handy reader or textbook. In this regard, Peters has succeeded in his intentions.” — Paul M. Cobb, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

“Translations of six primary sources on the Muslim doctrine of jihad along with two essays (by the author) on jihad in modern Islam. … All but the Ibn Taymiyya piece have appeared in other publications, but their republication here makes this the most accessible collection of primary sources on jihad yet to appear. The anthology does not represent a full range of Muslim treatments of jihad: Shi’ite viewpoints are omitted; so too are [Sufi] approaches to jihad, which emphasize spiritual rather than physical struggle. The book is heavily weighted toward the modern period and will be useful primarily as a text for courses in modern Islam.” — Daniel Brown, Religious Studies Review