Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in by Michael Cook

By Michael Cook

Why does Islam play a bigger function in modern politics than different religions? Is there whatever in regards to the Islamic background that makes Muslims much more likely than adherents of alternative faiths to invoke it of their political lifestyles? if that is so, what's it? historical Religions, sleek Politics seeks to reply to those questions by way of studying the jobs of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity in smooth political existence, putting unique emphasis at the relevance—or irrelevance—of their heritages to today’s social and political concerns.

Michael cook dinner takes an in-depth, comparative examine political id, social values, attitudes to struggle, perspectives in regards to the function of faith in a number of cultural domain names, and conceptions of the polity. In these types of fields he reveals that the Islamic historical past deals richer assets for these engaged in present politics than both the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He makes use of this discovering to provide an explanation for the truth that, regardless of the life of Hindu and Christian opposite numbers to a couple points of Islamism, the phenomenon as a complete is exclusive on the planet this day. The ebook additionally exhibits that fundamentalism—in the experience of a selection to come to the unique assets of the religion—is politically extra adaptive for Muslims than it truly is for Hindus or Christians.

A sweeping comparative research through one of many world’s best students of premodern Islam, historic Religions, smooth Politics sheds very important mild at the courting among the foundational texts of those 3 nice non secular traditions and the politics in their fans this present day.

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There was a strain in Islamic thought that rejected the very idea that there could be an Islamic language other than Arabic—­and by implication, a non-­Arab but authentically Muslim ethnic identity. ”57 A distinguished representative of such views in a later period was Ibn Taymiyya (d. ”59 He accordingly held that it was undesirable for people to get into the habit of speaking a language other than Arabic in everyday life, as this amounted to imitating non-­Arabs. At the time of the conquests, he claimed, the Muslims had made a point of accustoming the natives to speak Arabic—­though regretably they eventually failed in Khurāsān, where Persian continued to be spoken.

28 (wa-­maʿlūm anna ʾl-­ʿArab afḍal min ghayrihim). 53 Bakrī, Faraq (for this manuscript, see Arberry, Chester Beatty Library, 6: 82–­83). I owe my knowledge of this work to Khaled El-­Rouayheb. 2 (I use the pagination found at the top of each page). 20). 20). 55 See Baljon, Religion and thought, 1–­2, for this claim, and for more on his pride in his Arab descent. Islam and Identity • 15 in the land of Hindūstān. ”56 What then of non-­Arab ethnic identities within the Islamic community? There was a strain in Islamic thought that rejected the very idea that there could be an Islamic language other than Arabic—­and by implication, a non-­Arab but authentically Muslim ethnic identity.

12 • Chapter 1 The Arabization of many of the peoples originally conquered by the Arabs was nevertheless a process of great historical importance,41 despite a certain blurring of ethnic identity that accompanied it. 42 This is why we do not have Muslim populations speaking Syriac or Coptic comparable to those that retain Persian or Berber. The blurring consisted in the fact that in common parlance this Arabization did not necessarily confer on the assimilated populations a straightforwardly Arab ethnic identity—­at least not until modern times.

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