Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in by Michael Cook

By Michael Cook

Why does Islam play a bigger position in modern politics than different religions? Is there whatever concerning the Islamic history that makes Muslims much more likely than adherents of different faiths to invoke it of their political existence? if this is the case, what's it? historic Religions, sleek Politics seeks to respond to those questions through reading the jobs of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity in glossy political lifestyles, putting detailed emphasis at the relevance—or irrelevance—of their heritages to today’s social and political concerns.

Michael cook dinner takes an in-depth, comparative examine political id, social values, attitudes to struggle, perspectives concerning the position of faith in a number of cultural domain names, and conceptions of the polity. In these kind of fields he reveals that the Islamic historical past deals richer assets for these engaged in present politics than both the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He makes use of this discovering to provide an explanation for the truth that, regardless of the life of Hindu and Christian opposite numbers to a couple points of Islamism, the phenomenon as an entire is exclusive on the planet this day. The booklet additionally exhibits that fundamentalism—in the experience of a decision to come to the unique assets of the religion—is politically extra adaptive for Muslims than it's for Hindus or Christians.

A sweeping comparative research by means of one of many world’s best students of premodern Islam, old Religions, glossy Politics sheds vital gentle at the courting among the foundational texts of those 3 nice non secular traditions and the politics in their fans this day.

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92 Here in each case it is implicit that when the two orders conflict, the new religious bond is to trump the old tribal ones. This early bond within a small, concentrated community is only our starting point. What would become of it as Islam expanded, first in Arabia in the last years of Muḥammad’s life and then far outside it under his successors? In the short run the phenomenal political and military success of the new religion must have worked to strengthen the bond as participation in the Muslim enterprise became more and more rewarding.

Islam and Identity • 17 A full-­blooded assertion of a non-­Arab ethnic identity outside the framework of deference to Islam and its partiality for the Arabs is harder to mount and sustain. It can be done, the most impressive case being Iran. Here a conspicuous feature of the story is the articulation of the royal heritage of pre-­Islamic Iran in the Shāhnāma (“Book of kings”) of the poet Firdawsī; this was completed in 1010 and became enmeshed in the life of Muslim Iranians. And yet this book was a celebration of what from a strictly Islamic point of view could only be reckoned an evil empire.

One is the stripping away of the indigenous aristocracy, whether through dispossession or assimilation98—­processes already familiar to Christian populations under Muslim rule. Another feature, far less typical of Muslim rule over Christians, is forced conversion99 and more generally a pattern of unsteady but sometimes heavy persecution,100 issuing in the telltale phenomenon of nominal Chris96 Harvey, Muslims in Spain. For a survey of the earlier record of conversion from Islam to Christianity under Christian rule in the Mediterranean world, see Kedar, Crusade and mission, chap.

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