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Mirror for the Muslim Prince

Islam and the Theory of Statecraft

edited by Mehzrad Boroujerdi

Publication Year: 2013

In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 it seems as if “Islamic fundamentalists” has emerged as the bête noire of the post-Cold War world. A whole cottage industry has emerged that depicts Islam as nothing more than a sign system (clerics, veils, guns, flag burnings, fist-waving) and subject of traumatic news (terrorists, assassins, hostage takers, etc). The monolithic characterization of Muslims assumes that there is a unitary “Islamic” position on important issues of statecraft and governance. The aim of “Mirror for the Muslim Prince” is to move beyond the fashionable yet cursory understanding of Muslims’ beliefs regarding power and statecraft. By assembling a group of world class scholars, this book challenges a host of exalted assumptions and theories concerning political power in the Muslim world. Contributors to the volume include Charles Butterworth, Serif Mardin, Muzaffar Alam, and Roxanne L. Euben.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Cover, Front Flap

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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. 3-10


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

The idea for this book germinated during a conference I had organized at Syracuse University in 2006. All the distinguished contributors to this volume presented papers at this event and in the ensuing years revised their papers to make them suitable for publication. ...

A Note on the Text

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pp. xiii-xiv


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pp. xv-xviii

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-15

The string of popular uprisings, commonly referred to as “the Arab Spring,” that jolted the Arab and Muslim worlds in 2010 and 2011 came as a shock to most political observers. The toppling of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (r. 1987–2011), Hosni Mubarak (r. 1981–2011), Ali Abdullah Saleh (r. 1978–2011), ...

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2. Maslahah as a Political Concept

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pp. 16-44

The Arabic term Maslahah is usually translated as “welfare,” “public interest or utility,” and “common good” in various contexts. A single, concise definition is not possible in English, but all the above meanings may be encompassed by the Arabic term. At the basic semantic level, maslahah connotes being the source of what is sound, beneficial, and conducive to peace (sulh). ...

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3. On Sadi’s Treatise on Advice to the Kings

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pp. 45-81

The ninth to the thirteenth centuries AD represent the “golden age” of Iranian culture and Islamic philosophy. Emblematic of an awakening self-consciousness in the Islamic world, which some have referred to as “medieval Enlightenment,”1 rationalism emerged within this period as a powerful discourse ...

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4. Perso-Islamicate Political Ethic in Relation to the Sources of Islamic Law

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pp. 82-106

There is an alarming tendency in the conventional wisdom to identify what is “Islamic” in the Persianate, and more generally the Islamicate,1 culture and civilization by deriving it from Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). This practice is true for what is usually called Islamic political thought ...

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5. An Anomaly in the History of Persian Political Thought

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pp. 107-121

The history of Persian political thinking is generally considered to be an integral part of the study of Islamic political thought. By generalizing the specificities of so-called Islamic political thought, historians of Islamic studies tend to focus on the dominance of the Islamic paradigm in Persian political thinking. ...

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6. Teaching Wisdom: A Persian Work of Advice for Atabeg Ahmad of Luristan

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pp. 122-159

Nusrat al-Din Ahmad (r. 1296–1330 or 1333)1 of Greater Luristan (Lur-i buzurg) was known, like earlier members of the Hazaraspid or Fazlavi dynasty to which he belonged, by the title of Atabeg.2 In contrast to some of his predecessors, and in particular his brother Afrasiyab, whose reign immediately preceded his own, ...

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7. A Muslim State in a Non-Muslim Context: The Mughal Case

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pp. 160-189

In the sixteenth century with the ascendancy of the Mughals, an important step in the development of imperial political culture and ideology occurred in South Asia. Power in the Indian countryside was mostly in the hands of large and small Hindu family and kin groups. ...

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8. Al-Tahtawi’s Trip to Paris in Light of Recent Historical Analysis: Travel Literature or a Mirror for Princes?

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pp. 190-217

Rifa‘ah Rafi‘ al-Tahtawi’s Takhlis (al-Tahtawi 1834) is traditionally studied as travel literature not so much because of its contribution to that genre but because of its content.1 Its importance rests on the fact or, more precisely, on the scholarly assumption of its being an early if not the first example of the Arab discovery of modern Europe. ...

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9. Law and the Common Good: To Bring about a Virtuous City or Preserve the Old Order?

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pp. 218-239

There is no avoiding it. Once the name of Ali Abd al-Raziq is mentioned today, one immediately associates it with the idea of secularism or, at least, the secular interpretation of politics in Islam. For most people interested in contemporary politics in the world of Islam, something is fundamentally problematic ...

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10. What Do Egypt’s Islamists Want? Moderate Islam and the Rise of Islamic Constitutionalism in Mubarak’s Egypt

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pp. 240-278

In response to both external and internal pressures, many Arab regimes undertook reforms in the 1990s and 2000s that allowed greater political competition. The primary beneficiaries of these reforms were Islamist groups. In the 2000s, Islamists achieved unexpected success at the ballot box in countries as diverse as Morocco, ...

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11. The Body Corporate and the Social Body

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pp. 279-296

Today, the leader of the Turkish Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, often refers to his legislative initiatives as legitimized by the party’s control of a large majority in Parliament and the popular support he detects behind it. He thereafter goes on to state that his policies are based on the will of the people, ...

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12. Cosmopolitanism Past and Present, Muslim and Western

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pp. 297-325

It has become almost common scholarly wisdom that the progressively dizzying flows of people, knowledge, and information characteristic of the contemporary world have inaugurated an unprecedented deterritorialization of politics. We are now said to live in a world in which “borders have stopped marking the limits where politics ends ...

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13. God’s Caravan: Topoi and Schemata in the History of Muslim Political Thought

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pp. 326-400

It is little surprising that conceptions of power and political thought elaborated in the course of Muslim histories, in modern times no less than in the classical and medieval periods, are fields of study that have continued to attract attention in recent years in this field of scholarship, which had rarely entertained the idea of a world disenchanted.1 ...

Works Cited

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pp. 401-448


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pp. 449-466

Back Flap, Back Cover

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pp. 489-490

E-ISBN-13: 9780815650850
E-ISBN-10: 081565085X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632894
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632894

Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1