Ideals and Realities of Islam – Seyyed Hossein Nasr


A revised and updated edition of the best-selling introduction to Islam written by one of the foremost scholars in the field. Ideals and Realities of Islam seeks to answer criticism brought against Islam by presenting the point of view of Islam. In six chapters dealing with the universal and the particular aspects of Islam, the Qur’an, the Prophet and the Prophetic tradition, the Shari’ah, Sufism, and Shi’ism, Seyyed Hossein Nasr outlines the essential aspects of the Islamic beliefs, making frequent references to other religions in general and Christianity in particular.

Drawing mainly on the Qur’an and the hadith, but also on the works of some contemporary Western scholars, the author presents the Islamic spiritual and intellectual tradition in the light of contemporary modern thought. This edition includes a new introduction by the author and an updated annotated bibliography.

This is the first of very few English books to treat Islam from its own point of view, from within the tradition. It is written for the Western reader interested in Islam, and also for the Western-educated Muslim. Here, the author seeks to answer from the Islamic standpoint, many of the criticisms brought against the Islamic tradition by the modern West.

This book explains, in contemporary language, the truths of Islam as revealed in the Quran, and as followed by generations of devout Muslims. The major aspects of the Islamic tradition are discussed in detail, whilst the traditional Islamic doctrines and beliefs are explained in response to criticisms of modern thought, with frequent comparisons to other world religions. This revised edition of Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s seminal work includes an updated, extensive, annotated bibliography for each chapter by both Muslim and Western scholars as welll as a Preface by Titus Burckhardt and a Foreword by Huston Smith. This classical book has been rendered into numerous languages including Indonesian, translated by the present President of Indonesia.

  • Paperback
  • 978 0 946621 87 3
  • 236

Product Description

Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born in Teheran to a family of traditional scholars and physicians. After receiving his early education in Iran, he went to America where he studied physics and the history of science and philosophy at M.I.T. and Harvard, where he received his doctorate.

Nasr was Professor at Teheran University and founder and first President of the Iranian Academy of Philosophy. He is currently Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and author of numerous books including: Islam and the Plight of Modern Man, A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Modern World and Science & Civilization in Islam.


Seyyed Hossein Nasr dominates his subject… he unites in his person an Islamic structure which encompassed two points of view: that of religious law and contemplation, and a supreme knowledge of modern scientific methods.
From the Preface by Titus Burckhardt.
Still the best introduction to, well, the ideals and realities of Islam. Written with clarity and heart by one of the finest scholars alive today. Highly recommend for anyone, especially for college level classes. Our class had it as textbook in Religious Studies and it was the highlight of our year of discussion. Fine intro into the inner meanings of this rich and inclusive religion.
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Outstanding...Wide and deep but always concise. Balanced and no-nonsense. This must be the best overview to Islam both for beginners and experts.
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