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Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction

by Adam J. Silverstein

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1751136,855 (3.67)3
Does history matter? This book argues not that history matters, but that Islamic history does. This Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history; the controversies surrounding its study; and the significance that it holds - for Muslims and for non-Muslims alike.Opening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to twenty first century, the book charts the evolution of what was originally a small, localised community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherents. This leads to provocative conclusionsconcerning the relationship between politics and religion in Muslim societies.Chapters are also dedicated to the peoples - Arabs, Persians, and Turks - who shaped Islamic history, and to three representative institutions - the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate - that highlight Islam's diversity over time.Finally, the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts are analysed, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys amongst Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as little more than something thatis not to be repeated.Some of the questions that will be answered are:* How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of twenty first century media?* How do we know what we claim to know about Islam's rise and development?* Why does any of this matter, either to Muslims or to non-Muslims?… (more)
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Efficace, molto ben strutturato e sintetico. Anzi fin troppo sintetico: meglio leggerlo lentamente e con molta attenzione (sconsigliato nei posti rumorosi o a letto la sera). Parecchi passaggi vanno ripetuti più volte perché la sintesi accalca molte informazioni importanti nelle sfumature degli aggettivi e dei pronomi.
I mussulmani credenti, tanti e variegati, lottano in primis fra di loro, fin dalle origini (la diatriba tra sunniti e sciiti risale alla prima successione di Maometto, più o meno come quella sul ruolo del Vescovo di Roma fra i Cattolici e gli Ortodossi) ma li accomuna un profondo senso della propria Storia, che è una storia di vittorie e di conquiste, fortemente rafforzata dalle nefandezze più o meno recenti (dalla seconda metà del' '800 in poi) del colonialismo e del neocolonialismo europeo.
L'articolazione dei popoli e la varietà di confessioni, atteggiamenti e filosofie di vita racchiuse sotto il nome "islam" ci è pressoché sconosciuta e quindi ci rende assai diffidenti, perché unifichiamo tutto sotto l'accusa di fondamentalismo. Non è così e non è molto diverso con i cristiani, frazionati anch'essi in tanti gruppi, sette e confessioni ben distinte, spesso in battaglia feroce fra di loro: a parte i roghi, le scomuniche e le abiure, un esempio recente di "tensione" è quella tra la Chiesa cattolica e l'Ortodossia, soprattutto russa, a causa di una forma assai minacciosa di proselitismo, fortemente voluto da Papa Woytila, che gli ortodossi vedono come una specie di invasione missionaria. Ma questo vale anche per la Chiesa anglicana, che mal tollera lo smottamento di parecchi vescovi e prelati verso Roma.
Mi rendo conto che è un desiderio velleitario, ma non sarebbe male allargare un po' l'insegnamento della storia fino a comprendere qualche elemento (non solo aneddotico) della storia dell'Islam, visto che l'integrazione è difficile ma, senza una certa reciproca conoscenza, diventa impossibile sottrarsi agli effetti del Ministero della Paura. ( )
1 vote ddejaco | Aug 1, 2013 |
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This book is about the story, study, and significance of Islamic history.
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Does history matter? This book argues not that history matters, but that Islamic history does. This Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history; the controversies surrounding its study; and the significance that it holds - for Muslims and for non-Muslims alike.Opening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to twenty first century, the book charts the evolution of what was originally a small, localised community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherents. This leads to provocative conclusionsconcerning the relationship between politics and religion in Muslim societies.Chapters are also dedicated to the peoples - Arabs, Persians, and Turks - who shaped Islamic history, and to three representative institutions - the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate - that highlight Islam's diversity over time.Finally, the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts are analysed, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys amongst Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as little more than something thatis not to be repeated.Some of the questions that will be answered are:* How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of twenty first century media?* How do we know what we claim to know about Islam's rise and development?* Why does any of this matter, either to Muslims or to non-Muslims?

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