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Explores the interaction between pre-Islamic tradition and modern supporters of continuity, reform and change in Muslim communities

Published as Dalīl al-Muslim al-ḥazīn ilā muqtada-l-sulūk fī’l-qarn al-ʿishrīn in 1983, this book remains a timely and important read today. Both the resurgence of Islamist politics and the political, social and intellectual upheaval which accompanied the Arab Spring challenge us to re-examine the interaction between the pre-modern Islamic tradition and modern supporters of continuity, reform and change in Muslim communities.

This book does exactly that, raising questions regarding issues about which other Muslim intellectuals and thinkers have been silent. These include – among others – current religious practice vs the Islamic ideal; the many additions to the original revelation; the veracity of the Prophet’s biography and his sayings; the development of Sufism; and historical and ideological influences on Islamic thought.

Key Features

  • Makes available in English an important contribution to modern Muslim thought from a prominent Egyptian thinker
  • Looks at how current religious practice conforms (or not) to the Islamic ideal when Islam was first revealed
  • Explores the relationship between core, inner religious values and ritualistic practices
  • Engages critically with the sources by using historical, literal and logical criticism

Table of Contents

A Tribute to Hussein Ahmad Amin by his Brother, Galal Amin

Introduction – Hussein Amin: A Courageous Voice Calling for Reform

Foreword to the Tenth Edition

1 The Sorrowful Muslim’s Guide

2 Refl ections on the Evolution of the Prophet’s Biographies in the East and West

3 Reflections on the Truth about Abū Lahab (the Judas of Banū Hāshim)

4 The Role of Hādīth (Traditions) Ascribed to the Prophet in the History of Islamic Societies

5 Is Sufism Islamic?

6 Reflections on the Status of the Awliyāʾ

7 Political and Social Roots of Islamic Sects

8 Th e Decline in the Position of the Clergy in the Eyes

of Muslims

9 Th e Chances of Successfully Establishing a Society Based

on Islamic Principles

10 The Awaited Mahdi in Contemporary Times

11 A Plea for Religious Reform


Publication Information

Aga Khan University – ISMC; Edinburgh University Press


In Translation: Contemporary Thought in Muslim Contexts




978 1 4744 3709 7


contemporary Muslim thought, Islam, Islamic philosophy, modernism, religious reform, Salafism, Secularism

The Sorrowful Muslim's Guide