By Amyn B. Sajoo
What precisely is the Qur'an? How does this striking record -- actually ""recitation"" -- relate to the lifestyles and instances of the Prophet Muhammad? And why did the faith of the Prophet, which got here to be referred to as ""Islam"" (or submission to God's will), on the middle of which lies the Qur'an, supply beginning to a legacy so richly different in religion, legislation and civilization? This immaculately researched, yet even as completely available, booklet bargains a trip into the total variety of expertise -- earlier and current, secular and sacred -- of the peoples and cultures that percentage in Islamic culture. the amount examines a large range of topics and subject matters. Poets, towns and the structure of mosques are as a lot part of its exploration because the position of technology in trust, methods of interpreting scripture, the connection of girls to the religion and the emergence of a ""digital community"" of believers. within the aftermath of 11th of September, the so-called ""war on terror"" and a brand new international geopolitics outlined by way of response and reaction to the perils of fundamentalism and extremism, it's principal to appreciate -- throughout all its frontiers -- what Islam is set and what Muslims believe. A significant other to the Muslim World includes an enticing and coherent test through individual students to contibute in the direction of that important strategy of comprehension.
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Additional resources for A Companion to the Muslim World
The rise of the world’s oldest universities, al-Azhar in Cairo (969) and the Nizamiyya in Baghdad (1091), was accompanied by the vigorous building of libraries and centres for translation and research across the Islamic Mediterranean. What’s now thought of as the lowly madrassa was then not merely a ‘Quran school’ but a thriving place of secular and religious learning. These once-innovative institutions became ‘traditional’ when the lead in fostering ‘knowledge societies’ passed to the West. In many Muslim countries, education today lags on every score, from basic literacy to the quality of higher learning in the natural and social sciences, to a degree that is only partly explained by poverty.
For those who uphold the Sufi or mystical traditions of Islam, going back to the time of the Prophet, it is the Quran’s spiritual aspect that matters most – beyond mere adherence to religious laws and customs. Women have figured prominently from the earliest days of the Sufi traditions. At the same time, as many scholars have pointed out, Islam has always been more about how people act and the faith with which they do so, than what their creedal beliefs say. The letter of the law can be overridden by maslaha, the public good.
One is reminded of Cyrus II of Persia’s celebrated assurance of relief and security for all subjects upon his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. But Fatimid Egypt went much further: skilled individuals of all persuasions could gain a place in the highest levels of government, as well as in the military. Women played important public roles in politics and culture, with many receiving an advanced education. The broad setting for all this was one of extraordinary success in the arts, commerce, learning and development, including the founding of the city of Cairo and al-Azhar university.
A Companion to the Muslim World by Amyn B. Sajoo