Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith by Vartan Gregorian

By Vartan Gregorian

After global struggle II, prime western powers centred their awareness on scuffling with the "Red Menace," Communism. this present day, as terrorist task is more and more associated with militant Islamism, a few politicians and students worry a "Green Menace," a Pan-Islamic totalitarian flow fueled by way of monolithic spiritual ideology. Such fears haven't any beginning in background, in accordance with Vartan Gregorian. during this succinct, robust survey of Islam, Gregorian makes a speciality of Muslim range and department, portraying the religion and its humans as a mosaic, now not a monolith. The e-book starts off with an available evaluate of Islam's tenets, associations, evolution, and old position. Gregorian lines its origins and primary ideas, from Muhammad's name to religion approximately 1,400 years in the past to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in international battle I, and the next abolition of the Caliphate. He focuses specific realization on the serious fight among modernists and traditionalists, interplay among faith and nationalism, and key advancements that experience brought on sour divisions between Muslim international locations and states: the walls of Palestine, the get a divorce and Islamization of Pakistan, the 1978 revolution in Iran, and the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. this present day Islamist perspectives variety around the whole spectra of non secular and political idea, and Islamism is something yet a unified stream. whereas non secular extremists have tried to shape a confederacy of like-minded radicals in lots of international locations, a lot of the Muslim inhabitants lives in rather sleek, secular states. Gregorian urges Westerners to distinguish among activist Islamist events, which promote--sometimes violently--Islam as an ideology in a theocratic kingdom, and Islamic events, whose conventional contributors wish their secular political platforms to co-exist with the ethical ideas in their faith. Gregorian emphasizes the significance of faith in ultra-modern international and urges states, societies, and intellectuals to interfere so as to hinder Islam--as good as different religions--from turning into the political device of a variety of events and states. He recommends carrying on with dialogues among modernist and traditionalist Muslims, in addition to one of the knowledgeable, secular elite and their clerical opposite numbers. He additionally urges U.S.-led efforts to interact and higher comprehend the range of Muslim groups within the usa and the realm. Lamenting frequent U.S. lack of information of the world's fastest-growing faith, Gregorian calls on "enlightened voters" to advertise overseas knowing, tolerance, and peace.

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In addition, other ulama advocated various levels of independent reason as acceptable in applying the hadith and Qur’an to issues of the day. On one side, the Usulis felt free to use analogies and rationality in interpreting the sacred texts; at the other end of the spectrum, the Akhbaris insisted on a strict, literal reading. The Twelver denomination has about 140 million members in more than a dozen nations today. Twelver Shiism became the official religion of Iranians during the Safavid empire in the early sixteenth century.

45 During those five “golden” centuries, Muslim realms became the world’s unrivaled intellectual centers of science, medicine, philosophy, and education. The Abbasids championed the role of knowledge and are renowned for such enlightened achievements as creating a “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad, the city they built on the banks of the Tigris river. 46 Classic works by Aristotle, Archimedes, Euclid, Hypocrites, Plutarch, Ptolemy, and others were translated. Christian monks created Arabic versions of the Bible, and many Jewish philosophers wrote in Arabic.

Nationalism was an equal opportunity ideology. It was welcomed not only by non-Muslim ethnic groups, but also by minority ethnic groups of Muslims who attempted to find autonomy or independence. Following the Greeks’ success in winning independence in 1830, all the others headed toward autonomy. Far more controversial, however, was the rise of nationalism among Arabs, Turks, and other majority ethnic groups, who were Muslims. Such a development posed a great challenge to the concept of a single Muslim umma with a single ruler.

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