Sociology and Anthropology

Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures

In his peculiarly self-abasing preface to Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures, Richard Foltz speculates that the audience for his book will probably consist of “non-Muslims who are sympathetic to Muslim culture and interested in learning more about what it has to offer in terms of animal rights” (p. xii). This appears to be less of a prediction than a presupposition guiding the book. Appropriately, Animals in Islamic Tradition is a very broad outline of representations of non-human animals from the pre-Islamic era to the present in as many fields as a 192-page book can encompass. As a result, his study tends to be kaleidoscopic, treating each subject in a very general manner, hastily running through the basics and garnishing them with selected curiosities. For perhaps the same reason, the book is written in a very simple style, neither extremely engaging nor boringly obscure, and tends to provide summary rather than analysis. 

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