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The Experience of Malaysia
Malaysia has long had an ambivalent relationship to globalization. A shining example of export-led growth and the positive role for foreign investment, the country's political leadership has also expressed skepticism about the prevailing international political and economic order. In this compelling collection, Nelson, Meerman and Rahman Embong bring together a group of Malaysian and foreign scholars to dissect the effects of globalization on Malaysian development over the long-run. They consider the full spectrum of issues from economic and social policy to new challenges from transnational Islam, and are unafraid of voicing skepticism where the effects of globalization are overblown. Malaysia is surprisingly understudied in comparative context; this volume remedies that, and provides an overview of a country undergoing important political change.--Stephan Haggard, Krause Professor, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego
Charisma and Religious Authority in Shi'ite Islam
After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, different religious factions within the Muslim community laid claim to the Prophet’s legacy. Drawing on research from Sunni and Shi>ite literature, Liyakat N. Takim explores how these various groups, including the caliphs, scholars, Sufi holy men, and the Shi>ite imams and their disciples, competed to be the Prophetic heirs. The book also illustrates how the tradition of the “heirs of the Prophet” was often a polemical tool used by its bearers to demand obedience and loyalty from the Muslim community by imposing an authoritative rendition of texts, beliefs, and religious practices. Those who did not obey were marginalized and demonized. While examining the competition for Muhammad’s charismatic authority, Takim investigates the Shi>ite self-understanding of authority and argues that this was an important factor in the formation of a distinct Shi>ite leadership. The Heirs of the Prophet also provides a new understanding of textual authority in Islam by examining authority construction and the struggle for legitimacy evidenced in Islamic biographical dictionaries.
Completed in 1999 by a distinguished group of Arabists and historians of Islam, the annotated translation of al-T|abariµ’s History is arguably the most celebrated chronicle produced in the Islamic lands on the history of the world and the early centuries of Islam. This fortieth volume, the Index, compiled by Alex V. Popovkin under the supervision of Everett K. Rowson, serves as an essential reference tool. It offers scholars and general readers convenient access to the wealth of information provided by this massive work. The Index comprises not only all names of persons and places mentioned by al-T|abariµ, with abundant cross-referencing, but also a very broad range of subject entries, on everything from “pomegranates” to forms of “punishment.” The volume includes a separate index of Qur
The Arab American and Muslim American Experience After 9/11
In the aftermath of 9/11, many Arab and Muslim Americans came under intense scrutiny by federal and local authorities, as well as their own neighbors, on the chance that they might know, support, or actually be terrorists. As Louise Cainkar observes, even U.S.-born Arabs and Muslims were portrayed as outsiders, an image that was amplified in the months after the attacks. She argues that 9/11 did not create anti-Arab and anti-Muslim suspicion; rather, their socially constructed images and social and political exclusion long before these attacks created an environment in which misunderstanding and hostility could thrive and the government could defend its use of profiling. Combining analysis and ethnography, Homeland Insecurity provides an intimate view of what it means to be an Arab or a Muslim in a country set on edge by the worst terrorist attack in its history. Focusing on the metropolitan Chicago area, Cainkar conducted more than a hundred research interviews and five in-depth oral histories. In this, the most comprehensive ethnographic study of the post-9/11 period for American Arabs and Muslims, native-born and immigrant Palestinians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Yemenis, Sudanese, Jordanians, and others speak candidly about their lives as well as their experiences with government, public mistrust, discrimination, and harassment after 9/11. The book reveals that Arab Muslims were more likely to be attacked in certain spatial contexts than others and that Muslim women wearing the hijab were more vulnerable to assault than men, as their head scarves were interpreted by some as a rejection of American culture. Even as the 9/11 Commission never found any evidence that members of Arab- or Muslim-American communities were involved in the attacks, respondents discuss their feelings of insecurity—a heightened sense of physical vulnerability and exclusion from the guarantees of citizenship afforded other Americans. Yet the vast majority of those interviewed for Homeland Insecurity report feeling optimistic about the future of Arab and Muslim life in the United States. Most of the respondents talked about their increased interest in the teachings of Islam, whether to counter anti-Muslim slurs or to better educate themselves. Governmental and popular hostility proved to be a springboard for heightened social and civic engagement. Immigrant organizations, religious leaders, civil rights advocates, community organizers, and others defended Arabs and Muslims and built networks with their organizations. Local roundtables between Arab and Muslim leaders, law enforcement, and homeland security agencies developed better understanding of Arab and Muslim communities. These post-9/11 changes have given way to stronger ties and greater inclusion in American social and political life. Will the United States extend its values of freedom and inclusion beyond the politics of “us” and “them” stirred up after 9/11? The answer is still not clear. Homeland Insecurity is keenly observed and adds Arab and Muslim American voices to this still-unfolding period in American history.
This book presents a genealogy of the social networks and power struggles of the major influential group of Indonesian-educated Muslims called "intelligentsia". In this effort, the longue durée approach is combined with an interactive, inter-disciplinary and inter-textual method to better understand the various underlying impulses and interactions contributing to continuity and change in the long-term development of the Muslim intelligentsia and its relation to power. In doing so, this book provides a major and important contribution to the study of the social history of contemporary Indonesia a plausible claim to being the first of its kind.
Muslim-Jewish relations in the United States, Israel, and Europe are tenuous. Jews and Muslims struggle to understand one another and know little about each other's traditions and beliefs. Firestone explains the remarkable similarities and profound differences between Judaism and Islam, the complex history of Jihad, the legal and religious positions of Jews in the world of Islam, how various expressions of Islam (Sunni, Shi`a, Sufi, Salafi, etc.) regard Jews, the range of Muslim views about Israel, and much more. He addresses these issues and others with candor and integrity, and he writes with language, symbols, and ideas that make sense to Jews. Exploring these subjects in today's vexed political climate is a delicate undertaking. Firestone draws on the research and writings of generations of Muslim, Jewish, and other scholars, as well as his own considerable expertise in this field. The book's tone is neither disparaging, apologetic, nor triumphal. Firestone provides many original sources in translation, as well as an appendix of additional key sources in context. Most importantly, this book is readable and reasoned, presenting to readers for the first time the complexity of Islam and its relationship toward Jews and Judaism.
Its History, Teaching, and Practices
This compact introduction to Islam describes the essential aspects of Islam as a living religion and social force. The book is organized around seven topics: the life of Muhammad; Islamic political development and territorial expansion; the important groupings of Islamic believers (Sunni, Shi'ite, and Sufi); the Qur'an (the Holy Book of Islam); Sunnah, Hadith (the record of the Prophet's actions and sayings), and Shari'ah (the compilation of Islamic law); the five Articles of Faith and the so-called Five Pillars of Islam that govern faith and action; and other binding religious observances and festivals. The presentation of these seven aspects of Islam strikes a balance between fact, tradition, current interpretation, and commentary.
S. A. Nigosian underscores two fundamental points: that to understand Islam properly, it is necessary to see it as a major faith tradition, with Muhammad as the last of a series of messengers sent by God; and that to grasp the spirit of Islam, one must recognize its emphasis on an uncompromising monotheism, with strict adherence to certain social, political, and religious practices, as taught by the Prophet and elaborated by tradition.
In the atmosphere of suspicion and anger that characterizes our time, it is a joy to hear the voice of Iqbal, both passionate and serene. It is the voice of a soul that is deeply anchored in the Quranic Revelation, and precisely for that reason, open to all the other voices, seeking in them the path of his own fidelity. It is the voice of a man who has left behind all identitarian rigidity, who has 'broken all the idols of tribe and caste' to address himself to all human beings. But an unhappy accident has meant that this voice was buried, both in the general forgetting of Islamic modernism and in the very country that he named before its existence, Pakistan, whose multiple rigidities ñ political, religious, military ñ constitute a continual refutation of the very essence of his thought. But we all need to hear him again, citizens of the West, Muslims, and those from his native India, where a form of Hindu chauvinism rages in our times, in a way that exceeds his worst fears. Souleymane Bachir Diagne has done all of us an immense favor in making this voice heard once again, clear and convincing. Charles Taylor, Professor, McGill University Quebec, Canada
At a time when more nuanced understandings of Muslim countries and their legal and social practices are urgently needed in the West, the appearance of this collection is especially welcome. In these illuminating and accessible essays, the contributors explain how Islam sees itself in terms of social policy, how it treats women, and how it encourages charity, education, and general social welfare. The essays encompass many regional cultures and draw on court records and legal debates, field work on government ministries, and an extensive reading of Islamic law. In his overview of waqf (similar to the Western idea of a foundation, in which an endowment is set aside in perpetuity for specified purposes), Ahmad Dallal explains how charity, a central organizing principle in Islam, is itself organized and how waqf, traditionally a source of revenue for charitable purposes, can also become a source of tension and conflict. Donna Lee Bowen, in her essay on the position of women in Islamic law, points out the crucial differences between the Islamic principles of family equity and the Western notion of individual equality. In a subsequent essay, Bowen addresses the problems surrounding family planning and the dilemmas that have arisen within the Muslim world over differing ideas about birth control. The two final essays look at specific instances of how the modern state has treated Islamic social policy. Gail Richardson examines zakat, an Islamic tax used to assist the poor, and its administration in Pakistan. Carol Underwood, meanwhile, explores public health policy in Iran, both before and after the Islamic revolution that deposed the Shah. Addressing some of the most profound misunderstandings between Islamic and Western societies, ISLAM AND SOCIAL POLICY will be of vital interest not only to scholars and policymakers but to anyone concerned with Islam’s critical place in the modern world.