Category Archives: Books

Islam in the age of apps and social media

We know that the information age, with the advent of the internet and the iPhone, has made a big difference in the lives of people all over the world. But how has it affected the way Muslims practice Islam and network with each other?

Pioneering work on this topic has been done by Gary Bunt at the University of Wales. He argues, with much evidence, that the internet has profoundly impacted the way some Muslims perceive Islam, even that there now exist specific forms of “digital Islam” distinct from traditional methods of networking..

And not just the internet, but also Facebook, Twitter, and smart phone apps are changing views of Islam very rapidly and continuously, for better or worse. This ongoing process is being documented and discussed at Dr. Bunt’s website Virtually Islamic.

Do you have something you can add to the conversation?

Here is a short bibliography to get you started:

Bunt, Gary R. Virtually Islamic: Computer-mediated Communication and Cyber Islamic Environments. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000.

Bunt, Gary R. Islam in the Digital Age: E-jihad, Online Fatwas and Cyber Islamic Environments. London: Pluto Press, 2003.

Bunt, Gary R. iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Bunt, Gary R. “Surfing the App Souq: Islamic Applications for Mobile Devices.” CyberOrient 14.1 (2010).

El-Nawawy, Mohammed, and Sahar Khamis. Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Come to the library if you need help!

New book on female entrepreneurs in MENA


We have a new book that will be of interest to a lot of people at NYUAD:  Women, Work and Welfare in the Middle East and North Africa:  The Role of Socio-demographics, Entrepreneurship and Public Policies by Nadereh Chamlou (World Bank) and Massoud Karshenas (University of London).

From the publisher:

“In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and in light of socio-economic and geopolitical challenges facing governments old and new, women’s rights and empowerment have gained new urgency and relevance. Groups in power, or groups contesting for power, are more conservative than expected, and there are serious threats to roll back some of the gains women had achieved over the past 20–30 years on economic and social fronts.

The global gender debate has neglected the economic dimension of women’s empowerment and a great deal of debate and interest among researchers is needed to push the topics further. This timely book brings together leading regional researchers to offer original research linking gender equality with economic policy, reinforcing the agenda from a broad-based perspective.”

The book is located in the new books section, and in a month it will move to HQ1381.W657.

New Book: Arab liberal thought after 1967

The Middle East is often caricatured as a region fraught with totalitarian ideologies, authoritarianism, and violent conflict. Challenging this assertion, the authors of this newly-arrived collection of essays examine the core issues of post-1967 Arab liberalism. Students will find the citations and bibliographies in this dense volume a good point of departure for further research.

Arab liberal ideas have found an affinity within a number of ideological camps: nationalists, leftists, Marxists, mystics, secularists, and Islamists. Debates surround the meanings and boundaries of key concepts like citizenship, democracy, human rights, and pluralism. Sometimes these various camps agree or disagree on their vision of a just society, but regardless they’re all part of the ongoing conversation.

Do you have anything to add to the discussion?

Hatina, Meir, and Christoph Schumann. Arab Liberal Thought After 1967: Old Dilemmas, New Perceptions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

New books in March!

The Library has a bunch of new books this month, ranging from history to gender studies to economics and more!  Check them out at the display near the library entrance.


Study Quran : a new translation and commentary

We recently had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Joseph Lumbard from American University of Sharjah (AUS) to discuss his work on the recently published Study Quran : a new translation and commentary.

This is one of the most extensive works on the Quran in the English language and will likely be a key reference for years to come. Edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an accomplished scholar and authority in Islamic studies, this volume offers the following to students and scholars:

  • A new English translation of the Quran that is accurate, accessible, and reliable in how it renders this sacred text.
  • A wide-ranging verse-by-verse commentary that brings together the most respected and distinguished traditions of metaphysical, spiritual, theological, and legal interpretation of the Quran within Islam.
  • A helpful introduction to each surah that provides an overview and background of its teachings
  • Essays by fifteen internationally renowned scholars on how to read and understand the Quran and its role in shaping Islamic civilization.
  • A beautiful two-color, two-column design that presents the sacred text and commentary in the spirit of traditional Quran manuscripts.
  • Maps, a time line of historical events, comprehensive indexes, and other features to aid reading.

Our copy is coming in next month, so let us know if you want to check it out.

A look at knowledge in Islam during #UAEReads

Lots of booksThis year was declared the year of reading in the UAE, with a national campaign to promote literacy, books, and intellectual curiosity among the populace. You can follow the campaign on social media visa the hashtag #UAEReads.

Islamic civilization and cultures have many precedents and a rich history from which to draw support for such educational initiatives. It is widely believed that the first verse of the Quran to be pronounced was: Read! (Surat al-‘Alaq 96:1)

According to the late professor of Arabic literature at Yale University, Franz Rosenthal, knowledge was one of the key ideas motivating the development of Muslim traditions. In his classic work, Rosenthal writes:

For ‘ilm [knowledge] is one of those concepts that have dominated Islam and given Muslim civilization its distinctive shape and complexion. In fact, there is no other concept that has been operative as a determinant of Muslim civilization in all its aspects to the same extent as ‘ilm. This holds good even for the most powerful among the terms of Muslim religious life such as, for instance tawhid “recognition of the oneness of God,” ad-din “the true religion,” and many others that are used constantly and emphatically. None of them equals ‘ilm in depth of meaning and wide incidence of use. There is no branch of Muslim intellectual life, of Muslim religious and political life, and of the daily life of the average Muslim that remained untouched by the all-pervasive attitude toward knowledge as something of supreme value for Muslim being. ‘Ilm is Islam, even if the theologians have been hesitant to accept the technical correctness of this equation. The very fact of their passionate discussion of the concept attests to its fundamental importance for Islam.

Rosenthal, Franz. Knowledge Triumphant. Boston: Brill, 2007. p. 2.

We have access to many scholarly resources in the library that explore this topic from a variety of angles. Here is just a quick sample list:

As always, we’re happy to help you find more!

Teaching Arabic in the Gulf : opportunities, merits, and challenges

NYUAD at MESAI recently had the pleasure of attending an NYUAD-supported talk at the 2015 MESA (Middle East Scholars Association) conference in Denver, Colorado. The title was Teaching Arabic in the Globalized Arab Societies of the Gulf. Our professors Muhamed Al Khalil, Nasser Isleem, Laila Familiar, and Khulood Kittaneh gave presentations to the group about their activities at NYUAD.

Laila Familiar delivered a presentation entitled Contemporary Gulf Narrative as a Pedagogical Tool to Promote Language and Culture Proficiency. In other words, the talk was about incorporating fiction and other cultural texts in the Arabic language curriculum as she had done with the publication of Hoda Barakat’s Sayyidi wa Habibi: The Authorized Abridged Edition for Students of Arabic.

Nasser Isleem and Khulood Kittaneh reported on the success of their immersion-style j-term course in a presentation entitled Promoting Language Proficiency and Intercultural Competence in Arabic Language Through Short Intensive Immersion Program in the City of Al Ain. This comes on the heels of Nasser’s recently published and popular book Ramsah : an introduction to learning Emirati dialect and culture. Their activities even merited a report in the local Arabic news here (beginning at 11:30 minutes).

Program director Muhamed Al Khalil gave us a big picture view of Arabic language in his case study of U.A.E. policy entitled Linguistic and Extra-Linguistic Influences on Language Policy in Globalized Economies. This comes amid nervous discussion across the Arab-speaking world and elsewhere that Arabic is losing its influence.

There were other great presentations about the Middle East at the MESA conference, including a book and vendor exhibit highlighting the latest scholarly publications in this field.

NYUAD Library has a number of great resources for learning Arabic and researching in Arabic. Check out the Arabic Learning Research Guide for a survey of the types of resources available. And always, you are more than welcome to come into the library for a consultation!

Islamophobia : a challenge for us all

Islamophobia Challenge Pluralism EspositoIslamophobia, or anti-Muslim prejudice, is a major issue in academia, politics, and international relations. In 1997, the Runnymede Trust issued a report entitled Islamophobia : a challenge of us all describing hostility towards Muslims as a set of closed views that can potentially lead to exclusion, discrimination, and even violence.

Ever since Muslims have become more visible in Western counties, academics and journalists have discussed, analyzed, and put forward their views of this social phenomena. Some of them reject the use of the term outright, while others consider it only the latest manifestation of a long tradition of intolerance.

We have a lot of resources in the library if you want to join the discussion, including the latest work by NYU professor Arun Kundnani. Here is a brief bibliography of some resources available in the library:

  • Ansari, Humayun, and Farid Hafez. From the Far Right to the Mainstream: Islamophobia in Party Politics and the Media. Campus, 2012.
  • Carr, James. Experiences of Islamophobia: Living with Racism in the Neoliberal Era. Routledge, 2016.
  • Ernst, Carl W. Islamophobia in America: The Anatomy of Intolerance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Esposito, John L. Islamophobia: The Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century. Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Green, Todd H. The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West. Fortress Press, 2015.
  • Kumar, Deepa. Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. Haymarket Books, 2012.
  • Kundnani, Arun. The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror. Verso Press, 2014.
  • Lean, Nathan C, and John L. Esposito. The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims. Pluto Press, 2012.
  • Morgan, George, and Scott Poynting. Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West. Ashgate Publishing, 2011.
  • Sheehi, Stephen. Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign against Muslims. Clarity Press, 2011.
  • Taras, Ray. Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe. Edinburgh University Press, 2012.
  • Tyrer, David. The Politics of Islamophobia: Race, Power and Fantasy. Pluto Press, 2013.

These works and their citations can lead to other resources and views. When you research, it’s always a good idea to see where these writers are coming from and look into their sources yourself for more information.

As always, come to the library and get help from a librarian if you need more!

Maʻlamat Zāyid encyclopedia of Islamic jurisprudence and law

Sheikh Zayed Grand MosqueNYUAD Library was happy to recently acquire Maʻlamat Zāyid : lil-qawāʻid al-fiqhīyah wa al-uṣūlīyah donated to us by the the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

This is a 40 volume comprehensive Arabic-language encyclopedia of Islamic jurisprudence and law according to the major and minor schools of thought. It contains detailed discussion of several important topics in Islamic law including maqāṣid al-sharī’a (objectives of the law), uṣūl al-fiqh (foundations of the law), qawāʻid al-fiqhīyah (principles of jurisprudence), and aḥkām (rulings) in ʻibādah (worship) and muʻāmalāt (civil transactions), as well as important legal concepts such as qiyās (legal analogy), istiḥsan (juristic preference), maṣlaḥah (public interest), and sadd al-dharāʾīʿ (blocking the means).

Overall, the work is a great reference resource and we are one of the few American libraries to have it in print.

An excellent overview of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence in English was written by Professor Mohammed Hashim Kamali. Here is the citation:

Kamali, Mohammad H. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Cambridge, UK: Islamic Texts Society, 2003.

As always, come into the library and get a librarian if you need more help!