Amidst the roil of war and instability across the Middle East, the West is still searching for ways to understand the Islamic world. Stéphane Lacroix has now given us a penetrating look at the political dynamics of Saudi Arabia, one of the most opaque of Muslim countries and the place that gave birth to Osama bin Laden.
The result is a history that has never been told before. Lacroix shows how thousands of Islamist militants from Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries, starting in the 1950s, escaped persecution and found refuge in Saudi Arabia, where they were integrated into the core of key state institutions and society. The transformative result was the Sahwa, or “Islamic Awakening,” an indigenous social movement that blended political activism with local religious ideas. Awakening Islam offers a pioneering analysis of how the movement became an essential element of Saudi society, and why, in the late 1980s, it turned against the very state that had nurtured it. Though the “Sahwa Insurrection” failed, it has bequeathed the world two very different, and very determined, heirs: the Islamo-liberals, who seek an Islamic constitutional monarchy through peaceful activism, and the neo-jihadis, supporters of bin Laden's violent campaign.
Awakening Islam is built upon seldom-seen documents in Arabic, numerous travels through the country, and interviews with an unprecedented number of Saudi Islamists across the ranks of today’s movement. The result affords unique insight into a closed culture and its potent brand of Islam, which has been exported across the world and which remains dangerously misunderstood.
Islamist thinkers used to debate the doctrine of the caliphate of man, which holds that God is sovereign but has appointed the multitude of believers as His vicegerent. Andrew March argues that the doctrine underpins a democratic vision of popular rule over governments and clerics. But is this an ideal regime destined to survive only in theory?
In the post-Soviet era, democracy has made little progress in Central Asia. In Chaos, Violence, Dynasty, Eric McGlinchey presents a compelling comparative study of the divergent political courses taken by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in the wake of Soviet rule. McGlinchey examines economics, religion, political legacies, foreign investment, and the ethnicity of these countries to evaluate the relative success of political structures in each nation.
McGlinchey explains the impact of Soviet policy on the region, from Lenin to Gorbachev. Ruling from a distance, a minimally invasive system of patronage proved the most successful over time, but planted the seeds for current “neo-patrimonial” governments. The level of direct Soviet involvement during perestroika was the major determinant in the stability of ensuing governments. Soviet manipulations of the politics of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in the late 1980s solidified the role of elites, while in Kyrgyzstan the Soviets looked away as leadership crumbled during the ethnic riots of 1990. Today, Kyrgyzstan is the poorest and most politically unstable country in the region, thanks to a small, corrupt, and fractured political elite. In Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov maintains power through the brutal suppression of disaffected Muslims, who are nevertheless rising in numbers and influence. In Kazakhstan, a political machine fueled by oil wealth and patronage underlies the greatest economic equity in the region, and far less political violence.
McGlinchey’s timely study calls for a more realistic and flexible view of the successful aspects of authoritarian systems in the region that will be needed if there is to be any potential benefit from foreign engagement with the nations of Central Asia, and similar political systems globally.
This comprehensive collection examines a broad spectrum of Islamic governance during colonial and postcolonial eras. The book pays special attention to the ongoing battles over the codification of Islamic education, religious authority, law and practice while outlining the similarities and differences in British, French and Portuguese colonial rule in Islamic regions. Using a shared conceptual framework the contributors to this volume analyze the nature of regulation in different historical periods and geographical areas. From Africa and the Middle East to Asia and Europe, Colonial and Post-Colonial Governance of Islam opens up new vistas for research in Islamic studies
Russia occupies a unique position in the Muslim world. Unlike any other non-Islamic state, it has ruled Muslim populations for over five hundred years. Though Russia today is plagued by its unrelenting war in Chechnya, Russia's approach toward Islam once yielded stability. In stark contrast to the popular "clash of civilizations" theory that sees Islam inevitably in conflict with the West, Robert D. Crews reveals the remarkable ways in which Russia constructed an empire with broad Muslim support.
In the eighteenth century, Catherine the Great inaugurated a policy of religious toleration that made Islam an essential pillar of Orthodox Russia. For ensuing generations, tsars and their police forces supported official Muslim authorities willing to submit to imperial directions in exchange for defense against brands of Islam they deemed heretical and destabilizing. As a result, Russian officials assumed the powerful but often awkward role of arbitrator in disputes between Muslims. And just as the state became a presence in the local mosque, Muslims became inextricably integrated into the empire and shaped tsarist will in Muslim communities stretching from the Volga River to Central Asia.
For Prophet and Tsar draws on police and court records, and Muslim petitions, denunciations, and clerical writings--not accessible prior to 1991--to unearth the fascinating relationship between an empire and its subjects. As America and Western Europe debate how best to secure the allegiances of their Muslim populations, Crews offers a unique and critical historical vantage point.
Despite the controversial reputation of Hizbullah in the West, and the significant role this powerful Islamist organization plays in Lebanese politics, there are few reliable, published English translations of the party’s primary documents. With this extensive work, Joseph Alagha seeks to remedy this problem and rectify the distortions and misrepresentations that have resulted from inaccurate translations.
Through privileged access to the party, Alagha was able to compile and meticulously translate a host of original primary documents, from the party’s 1985 Open Letter; through its eight clandestine conclaves from 1989 to 2009; to all of its election programs from 1992 to 2010, as well as all of the agreements, understandings, and pacts the party has ratified over the years; ending with the 2009 Political Manifesto. This firsthand portrait of Hizbullah’s metamorphosis, especially in the past decade, is complete with thorough footnotes, commentary, background information, chronology, and a detailed introductory chapter that maps the party’s transformation by analytically comparing the Open Letter with the 2009 Manifesto. This volume will be an invaluable companion for both scholars and policy makers.
As the dominant political force in Lebanon and one of the most powerful post-Islamist organizations in the world, Hizbullah is a source of great controversy and uncertainty in the West. Despite the significant attention paid to this group by the media, the details of Hizbullah’s evolution have frequently confounded politicians—and even scholars. In this important study, Joseph Alagha, a scholar with unprecedented access to the organization, exhaustively and objectively analyzes Hizbullah’s historical evolution and offers a revolutionary new perspective on the political phenomenon of the organization.
Hizbullah’s Identity Construction is a timely examination of one of the world’s most turbulent regions; a major contribution to the study of contemporary Islamic political movements in the Middle East; and a refreshing departure from the bland hagiographies and ad hominem attacks that are all too common in studies of Hizbullah’s murky history. Superbly documented and argued, and rooted in broad knowledge of contemporary Islamist political thought, this study brings much-needed clarity to a hot-button subject.
“Joseph Alagha remains one of the most thorough and careful analysts of Hizbullah’s political ideology and practice. Scholars, analysts, and policy makers will find in this work a veritable treasure trove of research and insights into this complex organization.”—Michaelle Browers, Wake Forest University
In this book, Umut Uzer examines the ideological evolution and transformation of Turkish nationalism from its early precursors to its contemporary protagonists. Turkish nationalism erupted onto the world stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as Greeks, Armenians, and other minority groups within the Ottoman Empire began to seek independence. Partly in response to the rising nationalist voices of these groups, Turkish intellectuals began propagating Turkish nationalism through academic as well as popular books, and later associations published semipropagandist journals with the support of the Unionist and Kemalist governments.
While predominantly a textual analysis of the primary sources written by the nationalists, this volume takes into account how political developments influenced Turkish nationalism and also tackles the question of how an ideology that began as a revolutionary, progressive, forward-looking ideal eventually transformed into one that is conservative, patriarchal, and nostalgic to the Ottoman and Islamic past. Between Islamic and Turkish Identity is the first book in any language to comprehensively analyze Turkish nationalism with such scope and engagement with primary sources; it aims to dissect the phenomenon in all its manifestations.
This book compares Islamic and Western political formulations, highlighting areas of agreement and disparity. Building on this analysis, the author goes on to show that political Islam offers a serious alternative to the dominant political system and ideology of the West.
Sabet argues that rather than leading to a "Clash of Civlizations" or the assimilation of Islam into the Western system, a positive process of interactive self-reflection between Islam and liberal democracy is the best way forward.
Beginning this process, Sabet highlights key concepts of Islamic political thought and brings them into dialogue with Western modernity. The resulting synthesis is essential reading for advanced undergraduate and graduate students of Islamic and Middle Eastern politics, political theory, comparative politics and international relations.
Islam and the Secular State
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im Na Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress BP190.5.S35N35 2008 | Dewey Decimal 297.272
What should be the place of Shari'a - Islamic religious law - in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari'a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.
Islam exists in global history with its richly variegated cultural and social realities. When these specific cultural contexts are marginalized, Islam is reduced to an ahistorical religion without the ability to contribute to humanity. This limited understanding of Islam has been a contributing factor in many of the violent conflicts in the present day. Reflecting on Islam in Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, supporting the largest Muslim population, Ahmad Syafii Maarif argues for an understanding that is both faithful to Islam’s essential teachings and open to constantly changing social and cultural contexts. Building on this, he then addresses critical contemporary issues such as democracy, human rights, religious freedom, the status of women, and the future of Islam. Syafii Maarif’s insights offer inspiration to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
While Muslims in Indonesia have begun to turn towards a strict adherence to Islam, the reality of the socio-religious environment is much more complicated than a simple shift towards fundamentalism. In this volume, contributors explore the multifaceted role of Islam in Indonesia from a variety of different perspectives, drawing on carefully compiled case studies. Topics covered include religious education, the increasing number of Muslim feminists in Indonesia, the role of Indonesia in the greater Muslim world, social activism and the middle class, and the interaction between Muslim radio and religious identity.
While many previous books have probed the causes of Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, few have focused on the power of religion in shaping a national identity over the decades leading up to it. Islamism and Modernism captures the metamorphosis of the Islamic movement in Iran, from encounters with Great Britain and the United States in the 1920s through twenty-first-century struggles between those seeking to reform Islam’s role and those who take a hardline defensive stance. Capturing the views of four generations of Muslim activists, Farhang Rajaee describes how the extremism of the 1960s brought more confidence to concerned Islam-minded Iranians and radicalized the Muslim world while Islamic alternatives to modernity were presented. Subsequent ideologies gave rise to the revolution, which in turn has fed a restructuring of Islam as a faith rather than as an ideology. Presenting thought-provoking discussions of religious thinkers such as Ha’eri, Burujerdi, Bazargan, and Shari‘ati, along with contemporaries such as Kadivar, Soroush, and Shabestari, the author sheds rare light on the voices fueling contemporary Islamic thinking in Iran. A comprehensive study of these interwoven aspects of politics, religion, society, and identity, Islamism and Modernism offers crucial new insight into the aftermath of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution fought one hundred years ago—and its ramifications for the newest generation to face the crossroads of modernity and Islamic discourse in modern Iran today.
This book examines the political dimension of Islam in predivided Pakistan (1947–1971), one of the first new Muslim nations to commit itself to an Islamic political order and one in which the national debate on Islamic, political, and ideological issues has been the most persistent, focused, and rich of any dialogues in the contemporary Muslim world. Nasim Jawed draws on the findings of a survey he conducted among two influential social groups—the ulama (traditional religious leaders) and the modern professionals—as well as on the writings of Muslim intellectuals. He probes the major Islamic positions on critical issues concerning national identity, the purpose of the state, the form of government, and free, socialist, and mixed economies. This study contributes to an enhanced understanding of Islam’s political culture worldwide, since the issues, positions, and arguments are often similar across the Muslim world. The empirical findings of the study not only outline the ideological backdrop of contemporary Islamic reassertion, but also reveal diversity as well as tensions within it.
In Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions, a preeminent historian of Africa argues that scholars of the Americas and the Atlantic world have not given Africa its due consideration as part of either the Atlantic world or the age of revolutions. The book examines the jihād movement in the context of the age of revolutions—commonly associated with the American and French revolutions and the erosion of European imperialist powers—and shows how West Africa, too, experienced a period of profound political change in the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. Paul E. Lovejoy argues that West Africa was a vital actor in the Atlantic world and has wrongly been excluded from analyses of the period.
Among its chief contributions, the book reconceptualizes slavery. Lovejoy shows that during the decades in question, slavery expanded extensively not only in the southern United States, Cuba, and Brazil but also in the jihād states of West Africa. In particular, this expansion occurred in the Muslim states of the Sokoto Caliphate, Fuuta Jalon, and Fuuta Toro. At the same time, he offers new information on the role antislavery activity in West Africa played in the Atlantic slave trade and the African diaspora.
Finally, Jihād in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions provides unprecedented context for the political and cultural role of Islam in Africa—and of the concept of jihād in particular—from the eighteenth century into the present. Understanding that there is a long tradition of jihād in West Africa, Lovejoy argues, helps correct the current distortion in understanding the contemporary jihād movement in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa.
What would an Islamic modernism look like? The question is a pressing one, as cultures rebel against modernity in its almost exclusively European forms. Alev Cinar's groundbreaking examination of contemporary Turkey, which stands at the threshold of East and West, of religious and secular nationalism, explores modernity through daily practices and the social construction of identity and political agency in relation to nationalism, secularism, and Islam. Focusing on developments of the 1990s, Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey argues that Islamist ideology generated an alternative modernization project, which applied the same strategies and techniques as that of the modernizing state to produce and institutionalize its own version of an equally thorough nationalist program. Using local details and debates - including a fascinating discussion of veiling as symbolic of both the "liberation" of Western appearance and the Islamists' struggle to rescue their nation's culture - Cinar reveals modernity as a transformative intervention in bodies, places, and times.Bringing a much-needed critical theory approach to bear on the politics of an Islamic nation, Cinar's work introduces a new way of conceptualizing modernity based on the analysis of a non-Western context.
In Muslim Becoming, Naveeda Khan challenges the claim that Pakistan's relation to Islam is fragmented and problematic. Offering a radically different interpretation, Khan contends that Pakistan inherited an aspirational, always-becoming Islam, one with an open future and a tendency toward experimentation. For the individual, this aspirational tendency manifests in a continual striving to be a better Muslim. It is grounded in the thought of Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), the poet, philosopher, and politician considered the spiritual founder of Pakistan. Khan finds that Iqbal provided the philosophical basis for recasting Islam as an open religion with possible futures as yet unrealized, which he did in part through his engagement with the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Drawing on ethnographic research in the neighborhoods and mosques of Lahore and on readings of theological polemics, legal history, and Urdu literature, Khan points to striving throughout Pakistani society: in prayers and theological debates and in the building of mosques, readings of the Qur'an, and the undertaking of religious pilgrimages. At the same time, she emphasizes the streak of skepticism toward the practices of others that accompanies aspiration. She asks us to consider what is involved in affirming aspiration while acknowledging its capacity for violence.
Muslim Zion argues that Pakistan has never been a nation-state, grounded in the historic connections of lands and peoples. Just as Israel is the only Jewish state, Pakistan is the only Muslim state to make religion the sole basis of its nationality. Faisal Devji offers a penetrating critique of founding a state on nothing but the idea of belonging.
What does jihad really mean? What is the Muslim conception of law? What is Islam's stance toward unbelievers? Probing literary and historical sources, Bernard Lewis traces the development of Islamic political language from the time of the Prophet to the present. His analysis of documents written in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish illuminates differences between Muslim political thinking and Western political theory, and clarifies the perception, discussion, and practices of politics in the Islamic world.
"Lewis's own style, combining erudition with a simple elegance and subtle humor, continues to inspire. In an era of specialization and narrowing academic vision, he stands alone as one who deserves, without qualification, the title of historian of Islam."—Martin Kramer, Middle East Review
"A superb effort at synthesis that presents all the relevant facts of Middle Eastern history in an eminently lucid form. . . . It is a book that should prove both rewarding and congenial to the Muslim reader."—S. Parvez Manzor, Muslim World Book Review
"By bringing his thoughts together in this clear, concise and readable account, [Lewis] has placed in his debt scholars and all who seek to understand the Muslim world."—Ann K. S. Lambton, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
"[Lewis] constructs a fascinating account of the ways in which Muslims have conceived of the relations between ruler and ruled, rights and duties, legitimacy and illegitimacy, obedience and rebellion, justice and oppression. And he shows how changes in political attitudes and concepts can be traced through changes in the political vocabulary."—Shaul Bakhash, New York Review of Books
In The Politics of Islamic Law, Iza Hussin compares India, Malaya, and Egypt during the British colonial period in order to trace the making and transformation of the contemporary category of ‘Islamic law.’ She demonstrates that not only is Islamic law not the shari’ah, its present institutional forms, substantive content, symbolic vocabulary, and relationship to state and society—in short, its politics—are built upon foundations laid during the colonial encounter.
Drawing on extensive archival work in English, Arabic, and Malay—from court records to colonial and local papers to private letters and visual material—Hussin offers a view of politics in the colonial period as an iterative series of negotiations between local and colonial powers in multiple locations. She shows how this resulted in a paradox, centralizing Islamic law at the same time that it limited its reach to family and ritual matters, and produced a transformation in the Muslim state, providing the frame within which Islam is articulated today, setting the agenda for ongoing legislation and policy, and defining the limits of change. Combining a genealogy of law with a political analysis of its institutional dynamics, this book offers an up-close look at the ways in which global transformations are realized at the local level.
The central question of the Arab Spring—what democracies should look like in the deeply religious countries of the Middle East—has developed into a vigorous debate over these nations’ secular identities. But what, exactly, is secularism? What has the West’s long familiarity with it inevitably obscured? In Questioning Secularism, Hussein Ali Agrama tackles these questions. Focusing on the fatwa councils and family law courts of Egypt just prior to the revolution, he delves deeply into the meaning of secularism itself and the ambiguities that lie at its heart.
Drawing on a precedent-setting case arising from the family law courts —the last courts in Egypt to use Shari‘a law—Agrama shows that secularism is a historical phenomenon that works through a series of paradoxes that it creates. Digging beneath the perceived differences between the West and Middle East, he highlights secularism’s dependence on the law and the problems that arise from it: the necessary involvement of state sovereign power in managing the private spiritual lives of citizens and the irreducible set of legal ambiguities such a relationship creates. Navigating a complex landscape between private and public domains, Questioning Secularism lays important groundwork for understanding the real meaning of secularism as it affects the real freedoms of a citizenry, an understanding of the utmost importance for so many countries that are now urgently facing new political possibilities.
Reinventing Khomeini offers a new interpretation of the political battles that paved the way for reform in Iran. Brumberg argues that these conflicts did not result from a sudden ideological shift; nor did the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 really defy the core principles of the Islamic Revolution. To the contrary, the struggle for a more democratic Iran can be traced to the revolution itself, and to the contradictory agendas of the revolution's founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
A complex figure, Khomeini was a fervent champion of Islam, but while he sought a Shi'ite vision of clerical rule under one Supreme Leader, he also strove to mesh that vision with an implicitly Western view of mass participatory politics. The intense magnetism and charisma of the ayatollah obscured this paradox. But reformers in Iran today, while rejecting his autocratic vision, are reviving the constitutional notions of government that he considered, and even casting themselves as the bearers of his legacy. In Reinventing Khomeini, Brumberg proves that the ayatollah is as much the author of modern Iran as he is the symbol of its fundamentalist past.
In Religion and the Making of Nigeria, Olufemi Vaughan examines how Christian, Muslim, and indigenous religious structures have provided the essential social and ideological frameworks for the construction of contemporary Nigeria. Using a wealth of archival sources and extensive Africanist scholarship, Vaughan traces Nigeria’s social, religious, and political history from the early nineteenth century to the present. During the nineteenth century, the historic Sokoto Jihad in today’s northern Nigeria and the Christian missionary movement in what is now southwestern Nigeria provided the frameworks for ethno-religious divisions in colonial society. Following Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960, Christian-Muslim tensions became manifest in regional and religious conflicts over the expansion of sharia, in fierce competition among political elites for state power, and in the rise of Boko Haram. These tensions are not simply conflicts over religious beliefs, ethnicity, and regionalism; they represent structural imbalances founded on the religious divisions forged under colonial rule.
Scholars praised the 1992 edition of The Search for God’s Law as a groundbreaking intellectual treatment of Islamic jurisprudence. Bernard Weiss’s revised edition brings to life Sayf al-Din al Amidi’s classic exposition of the methodologies through which Muslim scholars have constructed their understandings of the divine law.
Weiss’s new introduction provides an overview of Amidi’s jurisprudence that facilitates deeper comprehension of the challenging dialectic of the text. This edition includes an in-depth analysis of the nature of language and the ways in which it mediates the law, while shaping it at the same time. An updated index has been added.
Secularizing Islamists? provides an in-depth analysis of two Islamist parties in Pakistan, the highly influential Jama‘at-e-Islami and the more militant Jama‘at-ud-Da‘wa, widely blamed for the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. Basing her findings on thirteen months of ethnographic work with the two parties in Lahore, Humeira Iqtidar proposes that these Islamists are involuntarily facilitating secularization within Muslim societies, even as they vehemently oppose secularism.
This book offers a fine-grained account of the workings of both parties that challenges received ideas about the relationship between the ideology of secularism and the processes of secularization. Iqtidar particularly illuminates the impact of women on Pakistani Islamism, while arguing that these Islamist groups are inadvertently supporting secularization by forcing a critical engagement with the place of religion in public and private life. She highlights the role that competition among Islamists and the focus on the state as the center of their activity plays in assisting secularization. The result is a significant contribution to our understanding of emerging trends in Muslim politics.
In a probing biography of her native land, Ayesha Jalal provides a unique insider’s assessment of how the nuclear-armed Muslim nation of Pakistan evolved into a country besieged by military domination and militant religious extremism, and explains why its dilemmas weigh so heavily on prospects for peace in the region.