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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.
Abdelwahab Meddeb makes an urgent case for an Islamic reformation, located squarely in Western Europe, now home to millions of Muslims, where Christianity and Judaism have come to coexist with secular humanism and positivist law. He is not advocating "moderate" Islam, which he characterizes as thinly disguised Wahabism, but rather an Islam inspired by the great Sufi thinkers, whose practice of religion was not bound by doctrine. To accomplish this, Meddeb returns to the doctrinal question of the text as transcription of the uncreated word of God and calls upon Muslims to distinguish between Islam's spiritual message and the temporal, material, and historically grounded origins of its founding scriptures. He contrasts periods of Islamic history--when philosophers and theologians engaged in lively dialogue with other faiths and civilizations, and contributed to transmitting the Hellenistic tradition to early modern Europe--with modern Islam's collective amnesia of this past. Meddeb wages a war of interpretations in this book, in his attempt to demonstrate that Muslims cannot join the concert of nations unless they set aside outmoded notions such as jihad and realize that feuding among the monotheisms must give way to the more important issue of what it means to be a citizen in today's post-religious global setting.
This is an excellent book which will have a major impact on the current debate about the relationship between Islam and politics in Indonesia. Its greatest strength is its innovative characterization of three Indonesian Muslim models of polity, as opposed to the normal two, Islamic state and secular state. Assyaukanie brilliantly delineates a third model, which he calls the Religious Democratic State, in the process greatly clarifying our understanding of the previous models, which he now proposes to label the Islamic Democratic State and the Liberal Democratic State. Another strength of the book is methodological. Each of its arguments is solidly grounded in the thoughts and actions of particular players, Indonesian Muslim thinkers and activists.-- Professor R. William Liddle, Ohio State University, United States of America
According to the Qur’an, God created two parallel species, man and the jinn, the former from clay and the latter from fire. Beliefs regarding the jinn are deeply integrated into Muslim culture and religion, and have a constant presence in legends, myths, poetry, and literature. In Islam, Arabs, and the Intelligent World of the Jinn, Amira El-Zein explores the integral role these mythological figures play, revealing that the concept of jinn is fundamental to understanding Muslim culture and tradition.
Tradition and Transformation
This is a remarkable piece of scholarship that illuminates general and specific tendencies in Islamic education in South Thailand. Armed with an enormous amount of rich empirical detail and an elegant writing style, the author debunks the simplistic Orientalist conceptions of Wahhabi and Salafi influences on Islamic education in South Thailand. This work will be a state-of-the-art source for understanding the role of Islam and the ongoing conflict in this troubled region of Southeast Asia. The book is significant for those scholars who are attempting to understand Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, and also for those who want deep insights into Islamic education and its influence in any area of the Islamic world.- - Raymond Scupin, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies Lindenwood University, USA
Politics and Religious Renewal in Muslim Southeast Asia
The renewal of the Muslim faith, which has occurred not only in Asia but in other parts of the world, has prompted warnings of an imminent "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West. Islam in an Era of Nation-States examines the history, politics, and meanings of this resurgence in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines and explores its implications for Southeast Asia, the larger Muslim world, and the West. This volume will be of interest to students of Islam, Southeast Asian history, and the anthropology of religion. In examining the politics and meanings of Islamic resurgence, it will also speak to political scientists, religious scholars, and others concerned with culture and politics in the late modern era.
Identity, Liberation, and Difference in African-American Islamic Thought
Many of the most prominent figures in African-American Islam have been dismissed as Muslim heretics and cultists. Focusing on the works of five of these notable figures—Edward W. Blyden, Noble Drew Ali, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Wallace D. Muhammad—author Edward E. Curtis IV examines the origin and development of modern African-American Islamic thought. Curtis notes that intellectual tensions in African-American Islam parallel those of Islam throughout its history—most notably, whether Islam is a religion for a particular group of people or whether it is a religion for all people. In the African-American context, such tensions reflect the struggle for black liberation and the continuing reconstruction of black identity. Ultimately, Curtis argues, the interplay of particular and universal interpretations of the faith can allow African-American Islam a vision that embraces both a specific group of people and all people.
Muslims and Everyday Life in China World City
More than a quarter of a million Muslims live and work in Hong Kong. Among them are descendants of families who have been in the city for generations, recent immigrants from around the world, and growing numbers of migrant workers. Islam in Hong Kong explores the lives of Muslims as ethnic and religious minorities in this unique postcolonial Chinese city. Drawing on interviews with Muslims of different origins, O’Connor builds a detailed picture of daily life through topical chapters on language, space, religious education, daily prayers, maintaining a halal diet in a Chinese environment, racism, and other subjects. Although the picture that emerges is complex and ambiguous, one striking conclusion is that Muslims in Hong Kong generally find acceptance as a community and do not consider themselves to be victimised because of their religion.
An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
Islam in Modern Turkey presents one of the most comprehensive studies in English of the seminal Turkish thinker and theologian, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1876–1960). A devout Muslim who strongly believed in peacefully coexisting with the West, Nursi inspired a faith movement that has played a vital role in the revival of Islam in Turkey and now numbers several million followers worldwide. While Nursi’s ideas have been afforded considerable analysis, this book is the first to situate these ideas and his related activities in their historical contexts. Based on the available sources and Nursi’s own works, here is a complete and balanced view of this important theologian’s life and thought.
A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society
Considered the most authoritative single-volume reference work on Islam in the contemporary world, the German-language Der Islam in der Gegenwart, currently in its fifth edition, offers a wealth of authoritative information on the religious, political, social, and cultural life of Islamic nations and of Islamic immigrant communities elsewhere. Now, Cornell University Press is making this invaluable resource accessible to English-language readers.
More current than the latest German edition on which it is based, Islam in the World Today covers a comprehensive array of topics in concise essays by some of the world's leading experts on Islam, including:
• the history of Islam from the earliest years through the twentieth century, with particular attention to Sunni and Shi'i Islam and Islamic revival movements during the last three centuries;
• data on the advance of Islam along with current population statistics;
• Muslim ideas on modern economics, on social order, and on attempts to modernize Islamic law (shari'a) and apply it in contemporary Muslim societies;
• Islam in diaspora, especially the situation in Europe and America;
• secularism, democracy, and human rights; and
• women in Islam Twenty-four essays are each devoted to a specific Muslim country or a country with significant Muslim minorities, spanning Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union.
Additional essays illuminate Islamic culture, exploring local traditions; the languages and dialects of Muslim peoples; and art, architecture, and literature. Detailed bibliographies and indexes ensure the book's usefulness as a reference work.