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By Michael Cook

Why does Islam play a bigger position in modern politics than different religions? Is there anything concerning the Islamic history that makes Muslims much more likely than adherents of alternative faiths to invoke it of their political lifestyles? if that is so, what's it? old Religions, glossy Politics seeks to reply to those questions by way of 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 in regards to the position of faith in numerous cultural domain names, and conceptions of the polity. In some of these fields he unearths that the Islamic historical past bargains richer assets for these engaged in present politics than both the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He makes use of this discovering to give an explanation for the truth that, regardless of the lifestyles of Hindu and Christian opposite numbers to a few elements of Islamism, the phenomenon as an entire is exclusive on the planet this present day. The publication additionally exhibits that fundamentalism—in the feel of a selection 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 way of one of many world’s major students of premodern Islam, historic Religions, smooth Politics sheds very important gentle at the dating among the foundational texts of those 3 nice spiritual traditions and the politics in their fans this present day.

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Extra resources for Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective

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20 • Chapter 1 5. Pre-­modern Muslim identity: formation and decay So far we have been looking at what Islam means for ethnic identity. We now need to look at it as an identity in its own right. Our starting point is a familiar feature of the early history of the religion: for the last ten years of the lifetime of the founder, from Muḥammad’s arrival in Medina in 622 to his death in 632, his followers constituted not just a religious but also a political community. It is not hard to imagine what this would mean for the formation of a Muslim identity.

The result was to create a social structure through which individual non-­Arabs were incorporated into the Muslim community while remaining what we would call second-­class citizens—­and exposed to no small amount of Arab chauvinism. 36 In other words, in this early period non-­Arab people could convert to Islam, but non-­Arab peoples could not; in that sense the community remained effectively monoethnic. ”37 The changes that marked later centuries had the effect of making this early Arab identity both less salient and less sharply defined.

Islam and Identity • 19 Arabs to high religious office would invite disaster; the Arabs should leave such offices to the non-­Arabs and be content with what they had. This story is interesting from a number of points of view. First, there is an asymmetry about the identity politics described here. The Arabs put forward a claim on the basis of Arab ethnicity, but the non-­Arabs do not impute to themselves any particular ethnic identity or make any claim on that basis, and their rejection of the Arab claim is expressed in terms of the wider public interest, just as it was Islam at large that the non-­Arab rulers of earlier centuries had saved.

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