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Tolerance and Coercion in Islam
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511056307 | ISBN-10: 0511056303)

Since the beginning of its history, Islam has encountered other religious communities both in Arabia and in the territories conquered during its expansion. Muslims faced other religions from the position of a ruling power and were therefore able to determine the nature of that relationship in accordance with their world-view and beliefs. Yohanan Friedmann's original and erudite study examines questions of religious tolerance as they appear in the Qur'an and in the prophetic tradition, and analyses the principle that Islam is exalted above all religions, discussing the ways in which this principle was reflected in various legal pronouncements. The book also considers the various interpretations of the Qur'anic verse according to which 'No compulsion is there in religion …', noting that, despite the apparent meaning of this verse, Islamic law allowed the practice of religious coercion against Manichaeans and Arab idolaters, as well as against women and children in certain circumstances.

• Original and hugely erudite study of interfaith relations in medieval Islam • The scholarly antidote to some of the more generalized arguments of recent literature • Appeal to historians of Islam and religion, as well as to scholars of Islamic law

Contents

Preface; Introduction; 1. Religious diversity and hierarchy of religions; 2. Classification of unbelievers; 3. Is there no compulsion in religion?; 4. Apostasy; 5. Interfaith marriages; 6. Concluding observations; Selected bibliography; Indexes.

Reviews

'… Friedmann presents a remarkably wide spectrum of legal opinions by the four Sunni schools of law, and he does it with commendable clarity and beyond the sensationalism of Bat Ye'or and her likes … extremely valuable book … raises a point of pivotal importance for both Muslims and non-Muslims of today.' The Muslim World Book Review

'The book is an informative text that presents a nuanced view of Islamic legal pronouncements on issues of inter-faith relationships.' The New Delhi Book Review

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