The Islamic Enlightenment

The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason
Author: Christopher de Bellaigue
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448139678
Category: Religion
Page: 432
View: 7495

Continue Reading →

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE ‘Brilliant' Orhan Pamuk 'The best sort of book for our disordered days: timely, urgent and illuminating' Pankaj Mishra 'It strikes a blow ... for common humanity.' Sunday Times The Islamic Enlightenment: a contradiction in terms? The Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise, reform and adapt. But, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day, Islamic society in its Middle Eastern heartlands has in fact been transformed by modern ideals and practices, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from purdah and the development of democracy. Who were the scholars and scientists, writers and politicians that brought about these remarkable changes? And why is their legacy now under threat? Beginning with the dramatic collision of East and West following Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, and taking us through 200 tumultuous years of Middle Eastern history, Christopher de Bellaigue introduces us to key figures and reformers; from Egypt’s visionary ruler Muhammad Ali to brave radicals like Iran’s first feminist Qurrat al-Ayn and the writer Ibrahim Sinasi, who transformed Ottoman Turkey’s language and literature. This book tells the forgotten story of the Islamic Enlightenment. It shows us how to look beyond sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, and is essential reading for anyone engaged with the state of the world today.

The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times


Author: Christopher de Bellaigue
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
ISBN: 1631493337
Category: History
Page: 560
View: 2714

Continue Reading →

“The finest Orientalist of his generation” (Wall Street Journal) rewrites everything we thought we knew about the modern history of the Islamic world. In this “stylishly written, surprisingly moving chronicle” (Harper’s), Christopher de Bellaigue presents an absorbing account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. “The best sort of book for our disordered days” (Pankaj Mishra), The Islamic Enlightenment “is at once new, fascinating and extraordinarily important” (Wall Street Journal) as it challenges ossified perceptions in Western culture that self- righteously condemn the Muslim world as hopelessly benighted. This false perception belies the fact that Islamic civilization has long been undergoing its own anguished transformation, and that the violence of an infinitesimally small minority is the blowback from this process. In reclaiming the stories of the “fascinating . . . individuals who would grapple with reform and modernization” (New York Times Book Review), de Bellaigue’s “eye-opening, well-written, and very timely” (Yuval Harrari) history shows the folly of Westerners demanding modernity from people whose lives are already drenched in it.

Toward an Islamic Enlightenment

The Gülen Movement
Author: M. Hakan Yavuz
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199927995
Category: Philosophy
Page: 300
View: 7897

Continue Reading →

M. Hakan Yavuz offers an insightful and wide-ranging study of the Gulen Movement, one of the most controversial developments in contemporary Islam. Founded in Turkey by the Muslim thinker Fethullah Gulen, the Gulen Movement aims to disseminate a ''moderate'' interpretation of Islam through faith-based education. Its activities have fundamentally altered religious and political discourse in Turkey in recent decades, and its schools and other institutions have been established throughout Central Asia and the Balkans, as well as western Europe and North America. Consequently, its goals and modus operandi have come under increasing scrutiny around the world. Yavuz introduces readers to the movement, its leader, its philosophies, and its practical applications. After recounting Gulen's personal history, he analyzes Gulen's theological outlook, the structure of the movement, its educational premise and promise, its financial structure, and its contributions (particularly to debates in the Turkish public sphere), its scientific outlook, and its role in interfaith dialogue. Towards an Islamic Enlightenment shows the many facets of the movement, arguing that it is marked by an identity paradox: despite its tremendous contribution to the introduction of a moderate, peaceful, and modern Islamic outlook-so different from the Iranian or Saudi forms of radical and political Islam-the Gulen Movement is at once liberal and communitarian, provoking both hope and fear in its works and influence.

Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty


Author: Mustafa Akyol
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393081974
Category: Religion
Page: 368
View: 7640

Continue Reading →

“A delightfully original take on…the prospects for liberal democracy in the broader Islamic Middle East.”—Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal As the Arab Spring threatens to give way to authoritarianism in Egypt and reports from Afghanistan detail widespread violence against U.S. troops and women, news from the Muslim world raises the question: Is Islam incompatible with freedom? In Islam without Extremes, Turkish columnist Mustafa Akyol answers this question by revealing the little-understood roots of political Islam, which originally included both rationalist, flexible strains and more dogmatic, rigid ones. Though the rigid traditionalists won out, Akyol points to a flourishing of liberalism in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the unique “Islamo-liberal synthesis” in present-day Turkey. As he powerfully asserts, only by accepting a secular state can Islamic societies thrive. Islam without Extremes offers a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconcilability of Islam and liberty.

The Idea of the Muslim World

A Global Intellectual History
Author: Cemil Aydin
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674050371
Category: History
Page: 304
View: 8265

Continue Reading →

As Cemil Aydin explains in this provocative history, it is a misconception to think that the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims constitute a single religio-political entity. How did this mistaken belief arise, why is it so widespread, and how can its grip be loosened so that a more fruitful discussion about politics in Muslim societies can begin?

Rebel Land

Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples
Author: Christopher de Bellaigue
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 1408810891
Category: History
Page: 288
View: 5980

Continue Reading →

What is the meaning of love and death in a remote, forgotten, impossibly conflicted part of the world? In Rebel Land the acclaimed author and journalist Christopher de Bellaigue journeys to Turkey's inhospitable eastern provinces to find out. Immersing himself in the achingly beautiful district of Varto, a place left behind in Turkey's march to modernity, medieval in its attachment to race and religious sect, he explores the violent history of conflict between Turks, Kurds and Armenians, and the maelstrom, of emotion and memories, that defines its inhabitants even today. The result is a compellingly personal account of one man's search into the past, as de Bellaigue, mistrusted by all he meets, and particularly by the secret agents of the State, applies his investigative flair and fluent Turkish to unlock jealously-guarded taboos and hold humanity's excesses up to the light of a very modern sensibility.

The Story of Reason in Islam


Author: Sari Nusseibeh
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 1503600580
Category: History
Page: 288
View: 8682

Continue Reading →

In The Story of Reason in Islam, leading public intellectual and political activist Sari Nusseibeh narrates a sweeping intellectual history—a quest for knowledge inspired by the Qu'ran and its language, a quest that employed Reason in the service of Faith. Eschewing the conventional separation of Faith and Reason, he takes a fresh look at why and how Islamic reasoning evolved over time. He surveys the different Islamic schools of thought and how they dealt with major philosophical issues, showing that Reason pervaded all disciplines, from philosophy and science to language, poetry, and law. Along the way, the best known Muslim philosophers are introduced in a new light. Countering received chronologies, in this story Reason reaches its zenith in the early seventeenth century; it then trails off, its demise as sudden as its appearance. Thereafter, Reason loses out to passive belief, lifeless logic, and a self-contained legalism—in other words, to a less flexible Islam. Nusseibeh's speculations as to why this occurred focus on the fortunes and misfortunes of classical Arabic in the Islamic world. Change, he suggests, may only come from the revivification of language itself.

The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment

Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought
Author: Samar Attar
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9780739162330
Category: History
Page: 194
View: 2617

Continue Reading →

The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment is a collection of essays which deal with the influence of Ibn Tufayl, a 12th-century Arab philosopher from Spain, on major European thinkers. His philosophical novel, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, could be considered one of the most important books that heralded the Scientific Revolution. Its thoughts are found in different variations and to different degrees in the books of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Kant. But if Ibn Tufayl's fundamental values, such as equality, freedom and toleration, which the thinkers of the European Enlightenment had adopted as theirs, paved the way to the French Revolution, they certainly marked the end of the age of reason in southern Spain and the rest of the Islamic world. Ibn Tufayl's philosophy was appropriated, subverted, or reinvented for many centuries. But the memory of the man who wrote such an influential book was buried in the dust of history. The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment reexamines Ibn Tufayl's momentous book and its continued influence over contemporary philosophy. This intriguing book will appeal to those interested in comparative literature and religion.

The Republic of Arabic Letters

Islam and the European Enlightenment
Author: Alexander Bevilacqua
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674985672
Category: History
Page: 360
View: 4731

Continue Reading →

Alexander Bevilacqua shows that the Enlightenment effort to learn about Islam and its religious and intellectual traditions issued not from a secular agenda but from the scholarly commitments of a pioneering group of Catholic and Protestant Christians who cast aside inherited views and bequeathed a new understanding of Islam to the modern West.

The Sociology of Islam

Knowledge, Power and Civility
Author: Armando Salvatore
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118662636
Category: Religion
Page: 344
View: 7812

Continue Reading →

The Sociology of Islam provides an accessible introduction to this emerging field of inquiry, teaching and debate. The study is located at the crucial intersection between a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. It discusses the long-term dynamics of Islam as both a religion and as a social, political and cultural force. The volume focuses on ideas of knowledge, power and civility to provide students and readers with analytic and critical thinking frameworks for understanding the complex social facets of Islamic traditions and institutions. The study of the sociology of Islam improves the understanding of Islam as a diverse force that drives a variety of social and political arrangements. Delving into both conceptual questions and historical interpretations, The Sociology of Islam is a transdisciplinary, comparative resource for students, scholars, and policy makers seeking to understand Islam’s complex changes throughout history and its impact on the modern world.

The Atheist Muslim

A Journey from Religion to Reason
Author: Ali A. Rizvi
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1250094453
Category: Religion
Page: 256
View: 1862

Continue Reading →

In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisoned, or even sentenced to death by their governments. Struggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media—the Atheist Muslim. In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam—as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas—without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.

Freedom in the Arab World

Concepts and Ideologies in Arabic Thought in the Nineteenth Century
Author: Wael Abu-'Uksa
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1316727904
Category: History
Page: N.A
View: 3138

Continue Reading →

A preoccupation with the subject of freedom became a core issue in the construction of all modern political ideologies. Here, Wael Abu-'Uksa examines the development of the concept of freedom (hurriyya) in nineteenth-century Arab political thought, its ideological offshoots, their modes, and their substance as they developed the dynamics of the Arabic language. Abu-'Uksa traces the transition of the idea of freedom from a term used in a predominantly non-political way, through to its popularity and near ubiquity at the dawn of the twentieth century. Through this, he also analyses the importance of associated concepts such as liberalism, socialism, progress, rationalism, secularism, and citizenship. He employs a close analysis of the development of the language, whilst at the same time examining the wider historical context within which these semantic shifts occurred: the rise of nationalism, the power of the Ottoman court, and the state of relations with Europe.

Islamic Messianism

The Idea of Mahdi in Twelver Shi'ism
Author: Abdulaziz Abdulhussein Sachedina
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9780873954426
Category: Religion
Page: 230
View: 930

Continue Reading →

The first comprehensive study of the idea of the Mahdi, or divinely guided messianic leader.

The House of Islam

A Global History
Author: Ed Husain
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1632866412
Category: Political Science
Page: 336
View: 8597

Continue Reading →

A fascinating and revelatory exploration of the intricacies of Islam and the inner psyche of the Muslim world from the bestselling author of The Islamist 'Islam began as a stranger,' said the Prophet Mohammed, 'and one day, it will again return to being a stranger.' The gulf between Islam and the West is widening. A faith rich with strong values and traditions, observed by nearly two billion people across the world, is seen by the West as something to be feared rather than understood. Sensational headlines and hard-line policies spark enmity, while ignoring the feelings, narratives and perceptions that preoccupy Muslims today. Wise and authoritative, The House of Islam seeks to provide entry to the minds and hearts of Muslims the world over. It introduces us to the fairness, kindness and mercy of Mohammed; the aims of sharia law, through commentary on scripture, to provide an ethical basis to life; the beauty of Islamic art and the permeation of the divine in public spaces; and the tension between mysticism and literalism that still threatens the House of Islam. The decline of the Muslim world and the current crises of leadership mean that a glorious past, full of intellectual nobility and purpose, is now exploited by extremists and channelled into acts of terror. How can Muslims confront the issues that are destroying Islam from within, and what can the West do to help work towards that end? Ed Husain expertly and compassionately guides us through the nuances of Islam and its people, contending that the Muslim world need not be a stranger to the West, nor its enemy, but a peaceable ally.

Islam Instrumentalized


Author: Jean-Philippe Platteau
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107155444
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 512
View: 9433

Continue Reading →

In this book, economist Jean-Philippe Platteau addresses the question: does Islam, the religion of Muslims, bear some responsibility for a lack of economic development in the countries in which it dominates? In his nuanced approach, Platteau challenges the widespread view that the doctrine of Islam is reactionary in the sense that it defends tradition against modernity and individual freedom. He also questions the view that fusion between religion and politics is characteristic of Islam and predisposes it to theocracy. He disagrees with the substantivist view that Islam is a major obstacle to modern development because of a merging of religion and the state, or a fusion between the spiritual and political domains. But he also identifies how Islam's decentralized organization, in the context of autocratic regimes, may cause political instability and make reforms costly.

Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi

Islam and the Enlightenment
Author: Samer Akkach
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1780742037
Category: Religion
Page: 176
View: 7197

Continue Reading →

In this unique look at a key figure in the Islamic enlightenment, Samer Akkach examines the life and works of ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (1641-1731) of Damascus: a contemporary of many major thinkers, scientists, poets, and philosophers of the European Enlightenment. Often characterized solely as a Sufi saint, his thought and teachings were of a much wider remit. Through a fresh reading of his unpublished biographical sources and large body of mostly unpublished works, Akkach examines early expressions of rationalism among Arab and Turkish scholars, and argues that ‘Abd al-Ghani helped herald the beginning of modernity in the Arab world.

The Islamic Jesus

How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims
Author: Mustafa Akyol
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1250088704
Category: Religion
Page: 288
View: 4053

Continue Reading →

“A welcome expansion of the fragile territory known as common ground.” —The New York Times When Reza Aslan’s bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn’t addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that “if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new.” Mustafa Akyol’s The Islamic Jesus is that book. The Islamic Jesus reveals startling new truths about Islam in the context of the first Muslims and the early origins of Christianity. Muslims and the first Christians—the Jewish followers of Jesus—saw Jesus as not divine but rather as a prophet and human Messiah and that salvation comes from faith and good works, not merely as faith, as Christians would later emphasize. What Akyol seeks to reveal are how these core beliefs of Jewish Christianity, which got lost in history as a heresy, emerged in a new religion born in 7th Arabia: Islam. Akyol exposes this extraordinary historical connection between Judaism, Jewish Christianity and Islam—a major mystery unexplored by academia. From Jesus’ Jewish followers to the Nazarenes and Ebionites to the Qu’ran’s stories of Mary and Jesus, The Islamic Jesus will reveal links between religions that seem so contrary today. It will also call on Muslims to discover their own Jesus, at a time when they are troubled by their own Pharisees and Zealots.

The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque

Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam
Author: Sidney H. Griffith
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400834023
Category: Religion
Page: 240
View: 3748

Continue Reading →

Amid so much twenty-first-century talk of a "Christian-Muslim divide"--and the attendant controversy in some Western countries over policies toward minority Muslim communities--a historical fact has gone unnoticed: for more than four hundred years beginning in the mid-seventh century, some 50 percent of the world's Christians lived and worshipped under Muslim rule. Just who were the Christians in the Arabic-speaking milieu of Mohammed and the Qur'an? The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque is the first book-length discussion in English of the cultural and intellectual life of such Christians indigenous to the Islamic world. Sidney Griffith offers an engaging overview of their initial reactions to the religious challenges they faced, the development of a new mode of presenting Christian doctrine as liturgical texts in their own languages gave way to Arabic, the Christian role in the philosophical life of early Baghdad, and the maturing of distinctive Oriental Christian denominations in this context. Offering a fuller understanding of the rise of Islam in its early years from the perspective of contemporary non-Muslims, this book reminds us that there is much to learn from the works of people who seriously engaged Muslims in their own world so long ago. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

A Religion, Not a State

Ali 'Abd Al-Raziq's Islamic Justification of Political Secularism
Author: Souad T. Ali
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: History
Page: 163
View: 5335

Continue Reading →

Examines the work of Ali 'Abd al-Raziq, considered the intellectual father of Islamic secularism, and his controversial idea that Islam is “a religion, not a state; a message, not a government.”

The Crucible of Islam


Author: G. W. Bowersock
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674978218
Category: History
Page: 240
View: 4477

Continue Reading →

Little is known about sixth-century Arabia. Yet from this distant time and place emerged a faith and an empire that stretched from Iberia to India. G. W. Bowersock illuminates this obscure yet most dynamic period in Islam, exploring why arid Arabia proved to be fertile ground for Muhammad’s message and why it spread so quickly to the wider world.