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Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought Paperback – 11 Feb 2010


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Review of the hardback: 'The author's erudition is mind boggling; his precision never wavers; his analyses are consistently trenchant and frequently startling. For specialists this work is a feast; for non-specialists it offers fresh insights into an entire range of central concerns about the religion of Islam and Islamic societies.' Everett Rowson, University of Pennsylvania

Review of the hardback: '[Michael Cook's] account of how injustice and immorality have been confronted by Muslim thinkers provides an unusual and fascinating perspective on the social history of Islam. It also furnishes an essential basis for understanding the roots of modern Islamic rigorism. This is one of the most important scholarly works dealing with Islam to have been produced in the western world in the last one hundred years.' Robert Irwin

Review of the hardback: 'This is a fascinating study of a key issue, not just in Islamic law but in the whole development of Islamic society, and Michael Cook discusses it with a clarity and lightness of touch which make the whole volume not just informative but a delight to read … Michael Cook has produced an immensely rich and interest book. He displays his vast learning with a clarity and lightness that are truly engaging. But he also takes us beyond the confines of academic debate to illuminate how attitudes to this point of law affect our whole view of morality and society. It is, in a real sense, a masterpiece.' The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback: 'This important work is a good introduction for the reader who is interested in learning about the attitude of Muslim thinkers towards injustice and immortality in Islamic societies.' Discourse

Review of the hardback: 'Altogether the book is exemplar both in the comprehensive and perceptive treatment of its subject and the meticulous evaluation of the broad range of accessible sources … it will, no doubt, become a standard reference work in Islamic studies.' Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

Review of the hardback: 'Cook's thoroughness is awesome. Every Islamicist should buy a copy of this magnificent book.' Journal of Scientific Studies

Review of the hardback: '… this will leave his readers in awe of not only the scope and depth of his research and understanding but also the eloquence, precision, and detail with which the results are presented. … eminently readable … a true sense of intellectual synthesis pervades the book … We are presented with a treasure trove of Islamic thought throughout the centuries of its existence, with a veritable comprehensive intellectual history focused on legal and theological positions. … I cannot imagine any scholar of Islam, classical or modern, who would not find something of considerable interest and substantial intellectual value in this book.' Journal of the American Oriental Society

Book Description

Do we have a duty to stop others doing wrong? The question is intelligible in any civilisation, but only in the Islamic tradition is 'commanding right and forbidding wrong' a central moral tenet. Michael Cook's analysis is the first to chart the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation.

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Amazon.com: 1 review
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Monumental Work 25 Mar. 2002
By Tron Honto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Cook has achieved something special in this work. He demonstrates that he is a rare and gifted scholar with an awesome ability to intregrate vast seas of thought into one coherent whole. This work covers "Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong" from its origins in the Koran up until modern times, though he focuses upon the classical period throughout the vast majority of his book. All sects with a significant body of material are represented. Why this topic?-- Basically, this doctrine has historically proved to be the major foundation of any Islamic social ethic; therefore, how it is concieved usually predetermines how one thinks justice ought to be established in this word or by whom it should be established. Cook possesses a talent for giving seemingly distant and irrelevant doctrines a timely relation to today insofar as his studies illuminates how two different cultures approach moral actions in their respective societies. Parts of this book are vast and copiously detailed; however, it was exhaustively documented and extremely efficiently organized throughout. Thus, it is enormously accessible and immensely useful for reference as well. The high price is unfortunate, but it is without a doubt worth the money for anyone interested in Islamics.
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