Discovering Islam Making Sense of Muslim History and Society by Akbar S. Ahmed

By Akbar S. Ahmed

Now reissued with a brand new advent, learning Islam is a vintage account of ways the background of Islam and its kin with the West have formed Islamic society this present day. Islam is usually caricatured as competitive and enthusiast. Written within the culture of Ibn Khaldun, this readable and wide-ranging ebook balances that snapshot, uncovers the roots of Islamic discontent and celebrates the assets of its power. From the 4 "ideal Caliphs" who succeeded the Prophet to the refugee camps of Peshawar, an aim photo emerges of the most gains of Muslim historical past and the compulsions of Muslim society.

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Orientalists, such as Montgomery Watt, by imputing authorship of the Quran to the Prophet who was unlettered, complained of the lack of logic and method in its arguments. For Carlyle it was ‘a wearisome, confused jumble, crude, incondite’. However, for Muslims the power and sublimity of the Quran remains unaffected over the centuries. It is the ‘inimitable symphony, the very sound of which moves men to tears and ecstasy’ (Marmaduke Pickthall; chapter 8, section 2). Little wonder that when his detractors demanded proof of his divine message in the form of miracles, the Prophet pointed to the holy Quran.

When al-Zubair died, he left behind him debts amounting to more than 200,000 dinars, all contracted through liberality and extravagant generosity. Talha ibn Ubaid Allah gave away all his possessions, even his family jewels, to beggars. Makkah and Madinah With the ideal caliphs the political importance of Makkah and Madinah came to an end. For over a thousand years—until the emergence of Saudi 36 A THEORY OF ISLAMIC HISTORY Arabia in the middle of this century (chapter 8)—these towns would lie in what became the Muslim backwaters.

He placated the Shias, 38 A THEORY OF ISLAMIC HISTORY stopping the condemnation of Ali which Muawiyah had instituted in the pulpits, and treated all Muslims, whether Arab or not, alike. The rule of Yazid, son of Muawiyah, a short three years, is memorable for the massacre at Karbala (which is discussed in section 5), the plundering of Makkah and Madinah, and the introduction of the principle of hereditary rule. Sulayman (715–717) was a debauch. His cruelty established methods that would be imitated later, particularly the hacking of captives with dull swords.

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