By George Makdisi
Makdisi's very important paintings lines the improvement and organisational constitution of studying associations in Islam, and reassesses scholarship at the origins and development of the Madrasa.
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Likewise, the spread of a particular Sufi order, especially if it also possesses an extensive popular dimension and has played a role in the spread of Islam, can be considered another major factor of cultural differentiation, one which touches directly the 'spiritual style' of a particular 'world', and indirectly many other facets of its life. For example, the spread of the Mawlawi* and BAktashi* orders in Ottoman Turkey and the Qadiriyyah* and Tijaniyyah* orders in several regions of West Africa has played a central role in giving a distinct spiritual and hence cultural flavour to the life of the traditional Islamic communities in these regions.
The Arab armies also advanced through Caucasia and made contact with the Turkish Khazars in the Volga valley, some of whom embraced Islam peacefully. Even farther north, by the third/ninth century, the Bulgars had also embraced Islam through contact with Khwarazm. This region itself became a source of slaves for the Islamic world, and the presence of Turkish slaves led finally to the establishment of even slave dynasties in various Islamic lands, such as the Ghaznawids and the Mamluks. The latter continued to draw from the Turkmen and Qipchaq Turks for slaves and only later turned to Circassia.
Only a person who himself knows through first hand knowledge the intellectual life of < previous page page_32 If you like this book, buy it! next page > page_33 < previous page page_33 next page > Page 33 Islam and has mastered the contemporary medium of expression can hope to present in a fresh form and language the perennial wisdom which exists within the Islamic tradition. Only such a person can provide the necessary knowledge of Islam for a new generation that has been severed from this wisdom by having been trained in another mode of thought and expression and which at the same time is in desperate need of the saving truth contained in the Islamic message.