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Friends of God

Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment, and Servanthood

John Renard (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 368 pages
ISBN: 9780520251984
February 2008
$34.95, £28.00
Other Formats Available:
Prophets, saints, martyrs, sages, and seers—one of the richest repositories of lore about such exemplary religious figures belongs to the world's approximately 1.3 billion Muslims. Illuminating some of the most delightful tales in world religious literature, this engaging book is the first truly global overview of Islamic hagiography. John Renard tells of the characters beyond the Qur'an and Hadith, whose stories of piety and service to God and humanity have captured hearts and minds for nearly fourteen hundred years. Renard's thematic approach to the major characters, narratives, social and cultural contexts, and theoretical concepts of this remarkable treasury of tales, based on material ranging from the eighth to the twentieth centuries and from countries ranging from Morocco to Malaysia, provides insight into the ways in which these stories have functioned in the lives of Muslims from diverse cultural, social, economic, and political backgrounds. The book also serves as a useful and evocative tool for approaching the vast geographical and chronological sweep of Islamic civilization.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: An Overview of Islamic Hagiography

1. Beginnings Both Humble and Spectacular
2.Conversion and Asceticism on the Road to Sanctity
3. Dreams and Visions, Visitors and Voices: God in Touch with His Friends
4. Miracles and Marvels: God Working through His Friends
5. Mere Mortals: Friends and the Human Condition

6. Friends and Their People: Society and Service to Communities
7. Founding Friends: Authority, Institutions, and the Economics of Intentional Community
8. Where God's Friends Walked: Revered Sites and Ritual Settings
9. Friends in Our World

10. Literary Dimensions: Genre, Function, and Hermeneutics
11. Theological Dimensions: Hagiography, Faith, and Controversy

John Renard is Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University. He is author of Seven Doors to Islam: Spirituality and the Religious Life of Muslims, Windows on the House of Islam (both from UC Press) and All the King's Falcons: Rumi on Prophets and Revelation among many other books.
“These narratives will carry inquirers closer to the “friends of God” in spirit and so (I would contend with Renard) closer to the very heart of Islam.”—David Burrell Theological Studies
“This book should be a staple on library shelves and on graduate reading lists.”—Stacy E. Holden The Historian
“Reading this book is to step into a world removed from the modern West’s secular utilitarian culture and to enter a lively world where spiritual things matter and influence ordinary lives.”—Theology, Ethics And Philosophy
“The most comprehensive overview to date of Islamic hagiographical tradition and of sainthood in Islam as a whole. . . . Renard’s book has rendered a valuable service to the field of Islamic studies.”—Alexander Knysh, University of Michigan Jrnl Of The American Oriental Society
“Broad, yet rich in detail and original in its approach, the book may well become the foundational text for a important field of study.”—J. Hammer Choice
"I know of no other work in Western scholarship and pedagogy of Islamic studies with the scope and depth of Friends of God. Renard does not only provide well organized, richly detailed, absorbing, and delightful coverage of the best known literature on Muslim saints and sainthood, but he also brings the reader into modern and contemporary contexts where the subject continues to be of considerable personal and communal spiritual importance. This book is new and urgently needed in today's world, whether in the university or across the global landscape of adult reflection on Islam and Muslims. "—Frederick Mathewson Denny, author of An Introduction to Islam and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, at Boulder

Awards for Excellence, American Academy of Religion

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