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The Sorrowful Muslim's Guide

Hussein Ahmad Amin
Translated by Yasmin Amin, Nesrin Amin

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Published in Association with the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

Explores the interaction between pre-Islamic tradition and modern supporters of continuity, reform and change in Muslim communities

Published as Dalīl al-Muslim al-ḥazīn ilā muqtada-l-sulūk fī’l-qarn al-ʿishrīn in 1983, this book remains a timely and important read today. Both the resurgence of Islamist politics and the political, social and intellectual upheaval which accompanied the Arab Spring challenge us to re-examine the interaction between the pre-modern Islamic tradition and modern supporters of continuity, reform and change in Muslim communities.

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A Tribute to Hussein Ahmad Amin by his Brother, Galal Amin

Introduction: Hussein Amin: A Courageous Voice Calling for Reform

Foreword to the Tenth Edition

Chapter 1: The Sorrowful Muslim’s Guide

Chapter 2: Reflections on the evolution of the Prophet's biographies in the East and West

Chapter 3: Reflections on the truth about Abū Lahab (the Judas of Banū Hāshim)

Chapter 4: The role of aḥādīth (traditions) ascribed to the Prophet in the history of Islamic societies

Chapter 5: Is Sufism Islamic?

Chapter 6: Reflections on the Status of the Awliya’

Chapter 7: Political and Social Roots of Islamic Sects

Chapter 8: The Decline in the Position of the Clergy in the Eyes of Muslims

Chapter 9: The Chances for Successfully Establishing a Society Based on Islamic Principles

Chapter 10: The Awaited Mahdi in Contemporary Times

Chapter 11: A Plea for Religious Reform

About the Author

Hussein Ahmad Amin was born in Cairo in 1932 and died in 2014. While Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Institute in Cairo he produced several major works on Islam, all of which were critical of Islamist movements.


No history of modern Islamic thought, especially rationalist thought, can disregard this work----that has to do with its purely scholarly importance to the historian of ideas. But its charm, its gentle persuasiveness, its succinct description of what the author identifies as the shortcomings of modern Muslim thought makes this work of major importance to any reader, specialist or general, interested in modern Islam.

- Shaikh Zayid Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies Emeritus, American University of Beirut, Tarif Khalidi

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