Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East by Sami Zubaida

By Sami Zubaida

During this magisterial paintings, Sami Zubaida attracts on a wonderful career’s worthy of experience trying to appreciate the area to handle the elemental query in center East stories: what's the center East? He argues, controversially, that to work out it during the prism of Islam, because it is conventionally seen, is to fully misunderstand it. lots of what we expect of because the "Islamic" features of the area are items of tradition and society, now not faith. to think about Islam itself as a vital, anti-modern strength within the sector instead of whatever formed by means of particular historical-economic approaches is, Zubaida argues, a mistake. as an alternative, he deals us another view of the sector, its ancient cosmopolitanism, its spiritual and cultural variety, its speedy adoption of recent media cultures,  which finds a multi-faceted and intricate quarter teeming with a number of identities. Wide-ranging, erudite, and powerfully argued, Zubaida’s paintings may be crucial examining for destiny generations of scholars of this attention-grabbing quarter.

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Additional info for Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)

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He lived in a non-Gellnerian world of differentiated society and religious schism involved in political struggle, in alliance or opposition to one mamluke amir or another. As a Hanbali teacher and judge, Ibn Taymiyya entered into polemics against the qadis and scholars of other schools – the Ash‘aris in theology and the Shafi‘is in law. He also polemicized against the Sufis, especially against the followers of the mystical ideas of Ibn ‘Arabi. One of his prominent antagonists was ‘Ala‘ al-Din al-Qunawi – Shafi‘i Qadi-ul-Qudat (chief judge) of Damascus, and at the same time a Sufi follower of Ibn ‘Arabi (a coincidence of legalism and mysticism that, though anomalous for Gellner, is common, as we shall see).

A Hanbali,32 he was a textual literalist and strict legalist, militantly intolerant of what he considered heterodoxy or heresy, a scourge of the Sufis and bitter enemy of the Shi‘a. He issued a famous fatwa against Islamized Mongols who were at the time the rulers of Mardin. He declared that they were not Muslims because they ruled in accordance with the yasa of Mongols alongside the Shari‘a. That fatwa is now widely quoted by modern Islamists denouncing their governments as non-Muslim for not ruling by the Shari‘a alone.

Indd 23 26/11/10 5:06 PM 24 BEYOND ISLAM their otherness from the ‘Christian’ West. Yet this ‘West’ is hardly ever given the adjective ‘Christian’ with regard to its history, art, science and so on. So, the history of Europe and its offshoots is not ‘Christian history’, even though Christianity and its churches play prominent parts in it. The monarchs and princes always emphasized their Christian credentials as defenders of the faith and prosecutors of heresy. The church and the papacy are prominent actors in this history, and faith is a central plank in their discourses of legitimacy.

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