The Garden and the Fire

Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture

Nerina Rustomji

Columbia University Press

The Garden and the Fire

Pub Date: October 2013

ISBN: 9780231140850

240 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: November 2008

ISBN: 9780231140843

240 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: November 2008

ISBN: 9780231511834

240 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

The Garden and the Fire

Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture

Nerina Rustomji

Columbia University Press

Islamic conceptions of heaven and hell began in the seventh century as an early doctrinal innovation, but by the twelfth century, these notions had evolved into a highly formalized ideal of perfection. In tracking this transformation, Nerina Rustomji reveals the distinct material culture and aesthetic vocabulary Muslims developed to understand heaven and hell and identifies the communities and strategies of defense that took shape around the promise of a future world.

Ideas of the afterworld profoundly influenced daily behaviors in Islamic society and gave rise to a code of ethics that encouraged abstinence from sumptuous objects, such as silver vessels and silk, so they could be appreciated later in heaven. Rustomji conducts a meticulous study of texts and images and carefully connects the landscape and social dynamics of the afterworld with earthly models and expectations. Male servants and female companions become otherworldly objects in the afterlife, and stories of rewards and punishment helped preachers promote religious reform. By employing material culture as a method of historical inquiry, Rustomji points to the reflections, discussions, and constructions that actively influenced Muslims' picture of the afterworld, culminating in a distinct religious aesthetic.
A timely publication, highly recommended for specialists and non-specialists alike. Youssef Choueiri, Times Higher Education Supplement
This gem of a book offers a thorough, evocative study... Essential. Choice
A delightful book. David Reisman, Journal of Islamic Studies
A wide-ranging... welcome addition to a small and growing body of scholarship. Brannon Wheeler, American Historical Review
Rustomji has filled a real gap in the secondary literature.... [The Garden and the Fire] is one of the best introductions to the Islamic eschatological literature. Walid Saleh, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Highly useful not only to students and educated lay people but also to comparativists and specialists. Frederick S. Colby, Journal of Religion
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Garden the Fire
2. Visions of the Afterworld
3. Material Culture and an Islamic Ethic
4. Otherworldly Landscapes and Earthly Realities
5. Humanity, by Servants
6. Individualized Gardens and Expanding Fires
7. Legacy of Gardens
Epilogue
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

About the Author

Nerina Rustomji is associate professor of history at St. John's University in Queens, New York.