By Farid Esack

Humorous, demanding, arguable, passionate and unforgiving, this can be an exceptional own account of a Muslim's lifestyles within the glossy international. As an Islamic student, outspoken social activist and famous commentator, Farid Esack is in a different place to take on the quandaries and demanding situations dealing with Muslims at the present time. no matter if or not it's cultivating a significant dating with Allah or striving for gender equality and spiritual freedom, Esack combines own perception with incisive research. delivering a religious but useful consultant for these looking to re-engage with their religion within the sleek international, this groundbreaking paintings may help believers and non-believers alike to understand the everlasting relevance of the Qur’an and its teachings.

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6 (1999): 130–45; and Peter Schäfer, Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to the Early Kabbalah (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 212–16. Of related interest, but which must be used with caution, is the essay by Paul Speck, “The Apocalypse of Zerubbabel and Christian Icons,” JSQ 4 (1997): 183–90. 22 Introduction If a more balanced recognition is accorded the textual and specifically scriptural dynamics at work in the narrative construction of late Near Eastern apocalypses, a different and potentially more fruitful hermeneutic emerges.

One explanation for their relative univocality is undoubtedly the largely shared Abrahamic, that is, “biblical” substrate that undergirds the apocalyptic ideology of this region and epoch. Another influential factor shaping a common scriptural culture involves the phenomenon of textual commerce, whereby the literary products of one culture are appropriated, tweaked, adapted, adjusted, and rebutted by others who are themselves the producers and/or consumers of competing apocalypses. Individual conversions to the dominant religious affiliation provided a vehicle for the parallel movement of writings and teachings from one community to another, thereby augmenting (often via linguistic translation from Hebrew and Syriac into Arabic) the scriptural and parascriptural resources available for apocalyptic reasoning and speculation.

Al-fitan (ed. Zakkaμr), 328; note also 317: “The Prophet of God said: the Introduction 23 ally a human or demonic creature (šayt\aμn). ”58 This arresting theme of a sequestered Dajjaμl is strikingly reminiscent of the legendary episode about the “gates” constructed by Alexander in the far north which effectively confine the barbarous hordes of Gog and Magog (Arabic Yaμjuμj wa-Maμjuμj) “until my Lord’s promise comes to pass” (Q 18:98). Moreover, this distinctive story about an enchained eschatological actor is surely a dark parody of the odd Jewish tradition about an “imprisoned Messiah” who currently bides his time in a secluded chamber within Gan Eden: The fifth chamber .

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