Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur'an

Professor Izutsu provides a masterful and lucid exposition of the Qur'anic teachings. First published in 1966, this work was one of the first studies of the Qur'anic worldview to have appeared in a Western language and its importance has not changed with the passing of time.
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  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 346
  • Publisher: Islamic Book Trust (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9839154559
  • ISBN-13: 978-9839154559

This book is a revised edition of my earlier work published in 1959 by Keio University in Tokyo, under the title, The Structure of the Ethical Terms in the Koran. Judged by the yardstick of my current thinking, the book stood much in need of improvement as a whole and of drastic revision in not a few places. In undertaking the revision, I have tried to make it a more satisfactory expression of my present views. Thus important additions have been made, many points which I now consider unnecessary have been dropped, and a number of passages have been completely rewritten. So much has it been altered that the book may very well be regarded as a new one, although the material used remains largely the same.

The title itself has been changed, lest the reader be misled into thinking that the book deals with all the ethical terms that appear in the Qur'an. Such is not the case. The Qur'anic terms of ethical and moral implication may be roughly divided into two major groups. One consists of those terms that concern the ethical life of the Muslims in the Islamic community (ummah), the other of those that are of an ethico-religious nature. The concepts in the second category go deep into the essential nature of man as homo religiosus. They reflect the spiritual characteristics which, according to the Qur'anic understanding of human nature, man as a religious being should disclose. And, in an essentially 'ethical' religion like Islam, these human characteristics must necessarily be religious and ethical at the same time, there being no real distinction between the two in this particular context.

The book deals systematically only with this second group of ethical terms. Those of the first class stand outside its interest, apart from a few exceptional cases.