The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates

The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century
Author: Hugh N. Kennedy,Karl Barbir
Publisher: Pearson Education
ISBN: 9780582405257
Category: History
Page: 419
View: 1553
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Based on original Arabic sources, the new edition of this well-established text has been comprehensively revised. The book covers the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, through the great days of the Ummayad and Abbasid Caliphates (8th-10th centuries), to the period of political fragmentation which followed it when Islam lost its core unity, never to be recovered.

The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates

The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century
Author: Hugh Kennedy
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317376390
Category: History
Page: 356
View: 807
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The Prophet and the Age of Caliphates is an accessible history of the Near East from c.600-1050AD, the period in which Islamic society was formed. Beginning with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, Hugh Kennedy goes on to explore the great Arab conquests of the seventh century and the golden age of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates when the world of Islam was politically and culturally far more developed than the West. The arrival of the Seljuk Turks and the period of political fragmentation which followed shattered this early unity, never to be recovered. This new edition is fully updated to take into account the considerable amount of new research on early Islam, and contains a completely revised bibliography. Based on extensive reading of the original Arabic sources, Kennedy breaks away from the Orientalist tradition of seeing early Islamic history as a series of ephemeral rulers and pointless battles by drawing attention to underlying long term social and economic processes. The Prophet and the Age of Caliphates deals with issues of continuing and increasing relevance in the twenty-first century, when it is, perhaps, more important than ever to understand the early development of the Islamic world. Students and scholars of early Islamic history will find this book a clear, informative and readable introduction to the subject.

A Concise History of the Arabs


Author: John McHugo
Publisher: New Press, The
ISBN: 1595589503
Category: History
Page: 352
View: 6578
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From Algeria and Libya to Egypt and Syria, the Arab world commands Western headlines, even as its complex politics and cultures elude the grasp of most Western readers and commentators. Perhaps no other region is so closely linked to contemporary U.S. foreign policy, and nowhere else does the unfolding of events have such significant consequences for America. A Concise History of the Arabs argues that the key to understanding the Arab world today—and in the years ahead—is unlocking its past. John McHugo takes the reader on a journey through the political, social, and intellectual history of the Arabs from the Roman Empire right up to the present day. His sweeping and fluent account describes in vivid detail the mission of the Prophet Muhammad, the expansion of Islam, the origins of Shiism, medieval and modern conflicts, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the interaction with Western ideas, the struggle to escape foreign domination, the rise of Islamism, and the end of the era of dictators. McHugo reveals how the Arab world came to have its present form, why change was inevitable, and what choices lie ahead following the Arab Spring. This deeply informed and accessible account is the perfect entry point for anyone seeking to comprehend this vital part of the world.

The Church in the Early Middle Ages

The I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church
Author: G.R. Evans
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 085773556X
Category: History
Page: 256
View: 3892
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The creation of a new history of the Church at the beginning of the third millennium is an ambitious but necessary project. Perhaps nowhere is it needed more than in re-describing the Church's development - its life and its thinking - in the period that followed the end of the 'early Church' in antiquity. The cultural, social and political dominance of Christendom in what we now call 'the West', from about 600-1300, made the Christian Church a shaper of the modern world in respects which go far beyond its religious infleunce. Writing with her customary authority, and with a magisterial grasp of the original sources, G R Evans brings this formative era vividly to life both for the student of religious history and general reader. She concentrates as much on the colourful human episodes of the time as on broader institutional and intellectual developments. The result is a compelling and thoroughly modern introduction to devotional and theological thought in the early Middle Ages as well as to ecclesiastical and pastoral life at large.

The Middle East and Islamic World Reader


Author: Marvin E. Gettleman,Stuart Schaar
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
ISBN: 0802194524
Category: Religion
Page: 416
View: 3726
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“The many facets of Middle Eastern history and politics are admirably represented in this far-ranging anthology” (Publishers Weekly). In this insightful anthology, historians Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar have assembled a broad selection of documents and contemporary scholarship to give a view of the history of the peoples from the core Islamic lands, from the Golden Age of Islam to today. With carefully framed essays beginning each chapter and brief introductory notes accompanying over seventy readings, the anthology reveals the multifaceted societies and political systems of the Islamic world. Selections range from theological texts illuminating the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, to diplomatic exchanges and state papers, to memoirs and literary works, to manifestos of Islamic radicals. This newly revised and expanded edition covers the dramatic changes in the region since 2005, and the popular uprisings that swept from Tunisia in January 2011 through Egypt, Libya, and beyond. The Middle East and Islamic World Reader is a fascinating historical survey of complex societies that—now more than ever—are crucial for us to understand. “Ambitious . . . A timely work, it focuses mainly on sociopolitical texts dating from the rise of Islam to the debates concerning U.S. foreign policy in the post-9/11 world.” —Choice

Al Qaeda’s Global Crisis

The Islamic State, Takfir and the Genocide of Muslims
Author: V. G. Julie Rajan
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317645375
Category: Political Science
Page: 354
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This book focuses on the crises facing Al Qaeda and how the mass killing of Muslims is challenging its credibility as a leader among Islamist jihadist organizations. The book argues that these crises are directly related to Al Qaeda’s affiliation with the extreme violence employed against Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the decade since 9/11. Al Qaeda’s public and private responses to this violence differ greatly. While in public Al Qaeda has justified those attacks declaring that, for the establishment of a state of ‘true believers’, they are a necessary evil, in private Al Qaeda has been advising its local affiliates to refrain from killing Muslims. To better understand the crises facing Al Qaeda, the book explores the development of Central Al Qaeda’s complex relationship with radical (mis)appropriations and manifestations of takfir, which allows one Muslim to declare another an unbeliever, and its unique relationship with each of its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The author then goes on to consider how the prominence of takfir is contributing to the deteriorating security in those countries and how this is affecting Al Qaeda’s credibility as an Islamist terror organization. The book concludes by considering the long-term viability of Al Qaeda and how its demise could allow the rise of the even more radical, violent Islamic State and the implications this has for the future security of the Middle East, North Africa and Central/South Asia. This book will be of much interest to students of political violence and terrorism, Islamism, global security and IR.

Al-Farabi and His School


Author: Ian Richard Netton
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113495980X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 128
View: 8179
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Examines one of the most exciting and dynamic periods in the development of medieval Islam, from the late 9th to the early 11th century, through the thought of five of its principal thinkers, prime among them al-Farabi. This great Islamic philosopher, called 'the Second Master' after Aristotle, produced a recognizable school of thought in which others pursued and developed some of his own intellectual preoccupations. Their thought is treated with particular reference to the most basic questions which can be asked in the theory of knowledge or epistemology. The book thus fills a lacuna in the literature by using this approach to highlight the intellectual continuity which was maintained in an age of flux. Particular attention is paid to the ethical dimensions of knowledge.

The Evolution of the Medieval World

Society, Government & Thought in Europe 312-1500
Author: David M Nicholas
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317895428
Category: History
Page: 560
View: 3740
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This ambitious and wide-ranging study of the European Middle Ages respects the complexity and richness of its subject; always accessible, it is never merely superficial or over-simplistic. Stressing the long-term factors of continuity, evolution and change throughout, David Nicholas discusses the social and economic aspects of medieval civilization, and examines their links with political, institutional and cultural development. Designed for students and non-specialists, his book triumphantly meets the need for a comprehensive survey of the medieval world within the covers of a single authoritative volume.

Arabs in History


Author: Bernard Lewis
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191647160
Category: History
Page: 256
View: 3874
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`Whoever lives in our country, speaks our language, is brought up in our culture and takes pride in our glory is one of us.' Thus ran a declaration of modern leaders of Arab states. But what exactly is an Arab, and what has been their place in the course of human history? In this well-established classic, Professor Lewis examines the key issues of Arab development - their identity, the national revival which cemented the creation of the Islamic state, and the social and economic pressures that destroyed the Arab kingdom and created the Islamic empire. He analyses the forces which contributed to that empire's eventual decline, and the effects of growing Western influence. Today, with the Arab world facing profound social and political challenges, it constitutes an essential introduction to the Arabs and their history.

Trust

A History
Author: Geoffrey Hosking
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191022829
Category: History
Page: 256
View: 6965
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Today there is much talk of a 'crisis of trust'; a crisis which is almost certainly genuine, but usually misunderstood. Trust: A History offers a new perspective on the ways in which trust and distrust have functioned in past societies, providing an empirical and historical basis against which the present crisis can be examined, and suggesting ways in which the concept of trust can be used as a tool to understand our own and other societies. Geoffrey Hosking argues that social trust is mediated through symbolic systems, such as religion and money, and the institutions associated with them, such as churches and banks. Historically these institutions have nourished trust, but the resulting trust networks have tended to create quite tough boundaries around themselves, across which distrust is projected against outsiders. Hosking also shows how nation-states have been particularly good at absorbing symbolic systems and generating trust among large numbers of people, while also erecting distinct boundaries around themselves, despite an increasingly global economy. He asserts that in the modern world it has become common to entrust major resources to institutions we know little about, and suggests that we need to learn from historical experience and temper this with more traditional forms of trust, or become an ever more distrustful society, with potentially very destabilising consequences.

The Medieval Church

A Brief History
Author: Joseph Lynch
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317870522
Category: History
Page: 400
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The Church was the central institution of the European Middle Ages, and the foundation of medieval life. Professor Lynch's admirable survey (concentrating on the western church, and emphasising ideas and trends over personalities) meets a long-felt need for a single-volume comprehensive history, designed for students and non-specialists.

The Sunna and Shi'a in History

Division and Ecumenism in the Muslim Middle East
Author: Ofra Bengio,Meir Litvak
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 0230370748
Category: Religion
Page: 286
View: 5509
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Sunni-Shi'i relations have undergone significant transformations in recent decades. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran had a major spill-over effect on the entire Middle East, and the 2003 war in Iraq transformed the Shi'is into the dominant force in Iraq. The emergence of Iran as a regional power following Saddam Husayn's removal, along with the weakness of the Arab state system, raised the specter of the "Shi'i Crescent" threatening Sunni-Arab domination in the region. The present volume demonstrates the complexity of Sunni-Shi'i relations by analyzing political, ideological, and social encounters between the two communities from early Islamic history to the present. While analyzing specific case studies in various Middle Eastern regions, the book provides a panoramic picture ranging from hostility to efforts of cooperation and ecumenism.

Geschichte der Kirche im Mittelalter


Author: Francis Donald Logan
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9783896785428
Category: Church history
Page: 367
View: 1953
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Contemporary Islamic Finance

Innovations, Applications, and Best Practices
Author: Karen Hunt-Ahmed
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118240332
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 400
View: 2094
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A comprehensive look at the innovations, applications, and bestpractices of Islamic finance Islamic-compliant finance is transacted in every major worldfinancial center, and the need for information on the topic inlight of its global reach has grown exponentially. As an expert inthis field, author Karen Hunt-Ahmed understands the intricacies ofthis area of the capital markets. Now, along with the help of anumber of experienced contributors, she skillfully addressesIslamic finance from the perspective of practitioners, examiningissues in wealth management, contract law, private equity, assetmanagement, and much more. Engaging and accessible, Contemporary Islamic Financeskillfully explains the practices and innovations of Islamicfinance in everything from banking and real estate to privateequity, asset management, and many other areas. It is intended tobe the go-to resource for both Muslims as well as non-Muslims withan interest in the subject. Divided into three comprehensive parts,it will put you in a better position to understand, and excel at,this important endeavor. Introduces you to the history, legal structures, and basicfinancial contracts in the industry Highlights the various issues facing contemporary Islamicfinance practitioners, and details their significance in thecontemporary financial and cultural environment Includes case studies of United States-based transactions andrelated challenges and successes Filled with in-depth insights and expert advice, this detailedanalysis of Contemporary Islamic Finance will help you gaina firm understanding of how effective this proven approach canbe.

Islamic Law in Action

Authority, Discretion, and Everyday Experiences in Mamluk Egypt
Author: Kristen Stilt
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191629820
Category: Law
Page: 256
View: 5541
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A dynamic account of the practice of Islamic law, this book focuses on the actions of a particular legal official, the muhtasib, whose vast jurisdiction included all public behavior. In the cities of Cairo and neighboring Fustat during the Mamluk period (1250-1517), the men who held the position of muhtasib acted as regulators of markets and public spaces generally. They traversed their jurisdictions carrying out the duty to command right and forbid wrong, and were as much a part of the legal landscape as the better-known figures of judge and mufti. Taking directions from the rulers, the sultan foremost among them, they were also guided by legal doctrine as formulated by the jurists, combining these two sources of law in one face of authority. The daily workings of the law are illuminated by the reports of the muhtasib in the vivid Mamluk-era chronicles, which often also captured the responses of the individuals who encountered the official. The book is organized around actions taken by the muhtasib in the areas of Muslim devotional and pious practices; crimes and offenses; the management of Christians and Jews; market regulation and consumer protection; the specific markets for essential bread; currency and taxes; and public order. The case studies presented show that while legal doctrine was clearly relevant to the muhtasib's actions, the policy demands of the sultan were also quite significant, and rules from both sources of authority intersected with social, political, economic, and personal factors to create full and vibrant scenarios that reveal the practice of Islamic law.

Die islamische Welt, 600-1250

ein Frühfall von Unterentwicklung?
Author: Peter Feldbauer
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: Araber - Geschichte 600-1250
Page: 612
View: 2137
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The Middle East: A History


Author: William Ochsenwald,Sydney Nettleton Fisher
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
ISBN: N.A
Category: History
Page: 816
View: 2965
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Now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, The Middle East: A History has long been the standard introductory textbook in the field of Middle Eastern history. It is the most comprehensive one-volume treatment of Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the present time now available, featuring full coverage of the central and peripheral Middle East. There is a thorough and balanced discussion of the political, religious, social, gender, economic, and cultural history of the region. As a comprehensive textbook, it provides teachers and students with a general introduction in narrative form to the chief elements in Middle Eastern history, thereby allowing readers to proceed into more specialized topics and themes with a firm understanding. This new edition features major revisions for the period from 1939 to the present, including updated analyses of Iraq since 2003, the status of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and the administration of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

Corpus scriptorum christianorum orientalium

Subsidia
Author: Stephen H. Rapp
Publisher: Peeters Publishers
ISBN: 9789042913189
Category:
Page: N.A
View: 5600
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Encyclopedia of medieval Literature, Jay Ruud, 2006

Encyclopedia of medieval Literature,
Author: Fact on File, Inc
Publisher: Bukupedia
ISBN: N.A
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 754
View: 8968
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To compose an encyclopedia of “medieval literature” of the world is a daunting prospect, since it involves a significant period of time (more than 1,000 years) and a remarkable number of literary traditions (European, Middle Eastern, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean—and important subcategories of each). Nevertheless, this book is intended to make general sense of that dizzying array of texts and traditions for beginning students of the era, by selecting the foremost texts and writers from each of the major traditions of Europe and Asia. While there are also African and American texts based on oral traditions that may extend back into medieval times, the written texts that we have of these compositions are modern renditions of ancient oral material, and so I have not included them here. Because this book is written in English for English-speaking students, I have included a greater number of entries from Old English and Middle English than from other literatures. Because English is best understood in the context of European literature, a significant number of texts and writers from French, Provençal, German, Italian, Old Norse, Celtic, Spanish, and Portuguese literature are also included, as well as the most important writers from late classical and medieval Latin literature that formed the basis of early medieval literature in Europe. The following pages also include entries concerning the major writers and texts from classical Arabic and Persian literature, as well as Indian, Chinese, and Japanese, and, to a lesser extent, from the literatures of Korea and of eastern Europe—entries that provide a worldwide context for the more familiar literature in English. For the most part, the entries included here have been suggested by popular anthologies of world literature, of Western literature, and of English literature. I have included entries from texts that are often used in introductory college or advanced high school classes, since the primary intended reading audience for this book comprises beginning students in these kinds of classes and their instructors who seek some background information. Entries concerning English literature are expanded to include any number of texts that might be taught in courses in medieval English literature or that might shed light on such texts. All entries are followed by a selected bibliography of books and, for more often-studied writers or texts, articles intended as a recommended reading list for those students who want to look further into the topic. A comprehensive bibliography of works on the medieval period in general, and on the most commonly taught writers in particular, appears at the end of the volume. Before delving into the very specific details of the individual entries that follow, it makes sense to consider first what we mean by the phrase “medieval literature.” The term medieval, derived INTRODUCTION from the Latin for “middle period,” was an invention of European scholars of the Renaissance, or early modern era, who conceived of themselves as returning to the superior cultural tradition of classical Greece and Rome. Their conception of the 1,000 years that had intervened between classical antiquity and their own time (between roughly 500 and 1500 C.E.) is reflected in the epithet by which they chose to label that span of time— “Middle Ages”—suggesting that the important accomplishments in literature, art, science, philosophy, and culture took place either in antiquity or in the contemporary early modern world, and that little of any consequence had taken place during that intervening millennium. Such a view ignores technological accomplishments such as the invention of the heavy compound plow, the adoption of the stirrup and the horseshoe, the expanded use of the water- and windmill, and the creation of movable type—foundational developments in the history of human civilization (Hollister 1978, 65–67). The view also ignores the monumental aesthetic achievements of the great Gothic cathedrals, as well as, on a lesser scale, the intricate miniatures of illuminated manuscripts. It ignores the primary position of Saint Augustine in Western thought, as well as the complex philosophical arguments of scholastic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, and the invention of the scientific method by Roger Bacon in the 13th century. And of most immediate concern for purposes of this particular book, that view ignores the literary achievements of Dante (the “chief imagination of Christendom,” as he has been called), of Chaucer (the acknowledged “father of English literature”), and of such lesser-known figures as Chrétien de Troyes—apparent inventor of the courtly romance, the direct ancestor of the European novel—and the Provençal troubadours, the first poets in western Europe to write poetry in the vernacular, and the inventors of an attitude toward love (often called the “courtly love” tradition) that pervaded Western thought for centuries. Looking beyond the pejorative connotations of the term medieval, however, there is a sense in which the medieval world is in fact a “middle” period. The ancient world had established a body of texts that proved foundational for European culture, and primitive myth had given way to more sophisticated religion, while at the same time the great empire that had united much of the ancient Mediterranean was crumbling. An old world was indeed going through a transition by the fifth century. A modern world was coming into being 1,000 years later, characterized by a more secular and less universally religious outlook, a greater reliance on scientific thought, a more widespread use of the vernacular in literary and other texts, a more mercantile economy, and new and unprecedented connections between and among cultures, including Africa and the Americas, that had not existed before. Many of these trends, of course, had begun earlier, but the Middle Ages form the long transition from the ancient to the modern world. In this same sense, the term medieval has recently come to be used in referring to other literatures as well, so that roughly the same period can be seen in China or in India or the Middle East, for instance, when they all were moving from the ancient world and its foundational texts such as the Bible, the Confucian classics, and the Vedas into a new era from which the modern world would develop. The rise of Islam made Arabic the dominant language of the Middle East, and the Koran the new chief literary inspiration. Japanese culture began to rival that of China, and Japanese literature grew through Chinese models. More vernacular literatures rivaled Sanskrit as the literary language of India, so that regional classics were composed in Tamil, Bengali, and Kannada. There are some ways in which life in many of these areas of Europe, Asia, or North Africa was similar. Clearly the majority of people everywhere were peasants, usually working the land owned by members of a powerful aristocratic class. Monarchs generally sought support of powerful nobles and gathered the nobility around them, enabling them both to keep an eye on their most powerful vassals and to augment and display their own wealth and glory by the quality and number of their courtiers. Thus the royal courts of Europe, India, China, Japan, Iraq, and Persia were generally sites for the display of pomp and grandeur, vi Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature where courtiers might feast and obtain valuable gifts and where poets (integral members of the court) might write of the sovereign’s virtues, commemorate the martial accomplishments of the king or his vassals, and celebrate the beauties and the loves of the noble courtly women (“The Medieval Era” 2004, 1). Another aspect of life in medieval times through most of the world is the profound influence of religion on most aspects of everyday life. Christianity survived the fall of the Roman Empire as the one institution that still unified the parts of the defunct empire, and Christianity spread throughout all of Europe during the Middle Ages, with the Roman pope dominating western European culture in a way that transcended national boundaries. In the Middle East, Islam was born and spread rapidly from Arabia east to India and west across North Africa to Spain. Although Hinduism, in a variety of sects, remained the chief religion in India, Buddhism spread from India into China, Korea, and Japan. In those countries it rivaled the native Taoism and Confucianism of China and Shinto of Japan, and literature in these countries often reflects the blending of Buddhism with the native traditions. In Europe, the literature more often reflects clashes between older pagan and newer Christian beliefs. Clarifying and defining the dominant religion as against religions it was coming in conflict with became important to theological writers across Europe, the Middle East, and southern and eastern Asia, and this close attention to theology influenced, as well, much of the writing of poets and storytellers, so that Dante Alighieri, the greatest medieval poet of Europe, constructs in his Divine Comedy a detailed picture of the medieval Christian view of salvation and damnation,while the great Persian poet Jalaloddin Rumi writes thousands of mystical verses reflecting ascetic Islamic Sufi mysticism, and in the Bengal region of eastern India the Vaisnava saints (like Vidy¯apati and Chandid¯asa) were writing allegories of mythic encounters between their god Krishna and earthly women (“The Medieval Era” 2004, 4). Of course, each regional literature represented in this volume has its own unique aspects as well, and in many cases the literature of this middle period represents a pinnacle of literary achievement for that culture. The classical age of Arabic literature begins with the composition of the Koran, received, as Muslims believe, by Muhammad in the seventh century. The Arabic tribes united under Muhammad’s successors, and within 100 years took Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Libya. Under the Umayyad dynasty, the Islamic caliphate extended from parts of India across the Middle East and northern Africa into Spain to the Pyrenees. It was the largest empire the world had yet seen. With its new status as a world power and with Arabic as a common language, Islam soon developed a significant literary culture. The Koran itself was written in rhymed prose and provided a model for subsequent writers and poets. The life of the Prophet (Muhammad) also became an important literary subject, initiated by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s first biographer. The tradition known as adab became the dominant literary style among cultured Muslims. It was an aristocratic style that stressed decorum, learning, and elegance, and used difficult meters and allusions that only the initiated would understand. Among later writers, love became an important theme, as it is in the Dove’s Neckring, an autobiographical description of the many manifestations of love by the 11th-century scholar Ibn Hazm. Poetry was also abundant, particularly in the form of the qasída, an ode that had developed a standard form by the eighth century and survived for hundreds of years, though already by the ninth century its form was being parodied by the remarkable and innovative poet Abu Nuwas. But surely the most popular and influential literary text to come out of medieval Islam is The Thousand and One Nights, a huge collection of tales from India, Persia, Egypt, Iraq, and elsewhere, framed by the famous story of Scheherazade. Scorned for centuries in the Islamic world because of its low style, the text has become a classic of world literature. A number of the best-known Islamic writers of the medieval period are philosophers, like Al- Ghazali and Averroës, whose commentaries on the philosophy of Aristotle became an important influence on scholastic thought in Europe. But Introduction vii with the discouragement of philosophic inquiry under the caliphs of later medieval Islam, Islamic learning and culture began to wane by the 14th and 15th centuries, though the most remarkable world traveler of the period, Ibn Batt¯uta, published the story of his travels at this time. Islam is not the only world culture that reached its cultural apex in the medieval period. Many scholars consider the Tang (T’ang) dynasty (618–907) to be the high point of Chinese imperial culture. The first half of the period was characterized by political stability and military expansion. Governing the vast empire demanded a huge bureaucracy, which the Tang officials staffed with bureaucrats who earned their positions through civil service examinations, the most prestigious of which included the impromptu composition of a poem. With this kind of cultural emphasis on the art of poetry, every educated Tang bureaucrat was a competent poet, and incidental poems composed for everyday occasions abound in collections of Tang poetry. Thus the major Tang poets reveal a good deal of their own personalities in their poems. The best known of them also illustrate the religious diversity of Tang China: Li Bai (Li Po), the highspirited Taoist, is perhaps China’s best-known poet; his friend, Du Fu (Tu Fu), was a Confucian chiefly concerned with family and with social responsibility; and their contemporary Wang Wei, a high-ranking government official, was a devout Buddhist. Although the last half of the Tang dynasty was characterized by political instability, great Tang poets continued to compose memorable poetry, and the period remains the influential central point of Chinese culture, in painting and the other arts as well as poetry. Medieval Japan was culturally dominated by China until the Heian period (704–1186), when Japanese literature and culture came into its own. Still influenced by Tang China, Heian Japan was renowned for its refined court culture, where ceremony and religious ritual dominated the lives of the noble class. As in China, the accomplished Heian gentleman was expected to be able to compose poetry as well as master other art forms (such as music, painting, and calligraphy), and to conduct himself according to refined, proper forms of etiquette, a code of behavior (called miyabi) not unlike the expectations of courtesy in European courts of the time. Buddhism, which influenced the Heian aesthetic sensibility (called aware) concerning the transient beauty of the world, was imported from China and modified by native Shinto beliefs. During this period, the Japanese cultivated simplicity and brevity as aesthetic principles and created the short 31-syllable verse form called the tanka, which in modern times developed into the haiku. Imperial collections of poetry, most notably the Kokinsh¯u, were begun during this period, and Japan’s greatest writers were also active:Murasaki Shikibu, author of Japan’s most acclaimed work, The Tale of Genji, wrote in the early 11th century, as did Sei Sh¯onagon, whose Pillow Book established a new kind of autobiographical prose text. Both of these classical writers were women, an unusual aspect of Japanese literature attributable to the fact that Japanese men of the time wrote in the “official” language of Chinese, leaving women to develop literature in the vernacular. The subsequent periods of Japanese culture saw the rise of the samurai class that replaced the Heian court, creating a society of noble warriors not unlike the chivalric knights of medieval Europe. The classic Tale of the Heike dates from this period. The final centuries of the medieval period in Japan saw the rise of N¯o theater under its most important artist, Zeami. These are still considered classical achievements in Japanese literature, but none matches the cherished accomplishments of the Heian era. The literature of India during the middle period reflects a quite different cultural situation. Though the northern part of the Indian subcontinent was united briefly under the Gupta Empire early in the period, that unity fell apart in the sixth century, and South Asia returned to a collection of independent regional kingdoms that fostered enormous cultural diversity. In this India was somewhat like Europe at the time, and like Europe, the subcontinent had a single traditional common language, Sanskrit, but a large number of vernacular languages that began developing their own literary traditions during this middle period. viii Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature Sanskrit was, of course, the traditional language of Hinduism, which was the religion of the vast majority of Indians, despite competition from Buddhism and Islam (which had reached India by the eighth century). But the use of Sanskrit was not limited to religious texts: Sanskrit literature from the second to the 16th century includes every literary genre known at the time. The fourth-century Brahman K¯alid¯asa is generally recognized as India’s greatest dramatist, and most important Sanskrit poet. But essentially Sanskrit, like Latin in Europe, seems not to have been used in everyday situations, and regional vernaculars became increasingly important for literary expression. Tamil, the language of southernmost India, was the first to develop a vernacular literature. Mystical lyric poetry in the bhakti (or “devotional”) tradition was first produced among Tamil poet-saints devoted to the worship of ´Siva, such as Campantar, Appar, and Cuntarar. The greatest Tamil poet, however, is generally conceded to be Kampan, who translated the Sanskrit Ramayana into Tamil verse in the 12th century. Regional devotionalism was spurred in part by the influx of Muslim Turks into India in the 12th century, fleeing from the conquests of Central Asia by Genghis Khan. Many of these Muslim refugees were highly educated and formed an elite class that ultimately assumed power in India, establishing the Delhi Sultanate in 1206. Their religion had a strong appeal among the lower castes of Hindu society, since Islam was a classless religion. The bhakti movement, which emphasized personal devotion to the Hindu gods (partly inspired by Sufi mysticism in Islam), spread rapidly among the Indian people as a reaction to the appeal of Islam. In the 11th century, in the southern region of Karnataka, devotees of S´iva (most important, Basavanna and Mah¯ad¯eviyakka) began writing distinctive poems in the Kannada language. Later, in the 14th and 15th centuries, poets in Bengali dialects of eastern India (notably Vidy¯apati and Govindad¯asa) were writing devotional songs to Krishna, incarnation of the god Vishnu. The rich variety of Indian literatures is one of the remarkable delights of the middle period. In Europe, as well, variety is the chief characteristic of the literature. The medieval literature of Europe is most immediately influenced by the Latin classics of late Roman civilization, by the Christian tradition, and by the pagan Germanic tradition of the northern tribes of Europe early in this period. To some degree, Islamic and Jewish traditions, radiating chiefly from multicultural medieval Spain, exerted some influence on European literature as well. From the beginning, Latin was the primary medium of literacy, and the theological works of such church fathers as Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine dominated the early centuries of medieval Europe. Latin remained a language for theological and philosophical texts, but in the north and west of Europe, vernacular languages were becoming more common as literary vehicles. Old English literature became the first major vernacular tradition in Europe, best known for its treatment of earlier Germanic heroic themes in poems like Beowulf, but just as characteristically producing Christian texts like The Dream of the Rood, a poetic vision of the crucifixion of Christ. This old heroic tradition can be seen influencing later medieval productions such as the French Song of Roland, the German Nibelungenlied, and all of the literary sagas in Old Norse. More influential throughout Europe was the development of the vernacular poetic tradition of southern France, or Provençal. Here, poets like Bernart de Ventadorn and Guillaume IX, duke of Aquitaine, developed the poetry of courtly love, perhaps influenced in part by the Arabic poetry of Spain. The courtly love tradition, extolling the virtues of sensual love as the highest pleasure of the physical world and the greatest inducement to noble behavior, spread quickly to northern France, to Spain, Italy, Germany, and England. In northern France, the tradition spawned Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s highly influential and complex 13th-century love allegory called the Roman de la Rose. In addition, courtly love became associated with the chivalric romance, a new literary genre popularized by Chrétien de Troyes in which he recast old Celtic legends of King Arthur. The Arthurian legends spread throughout Europe as well, significantly to Introduction ix x Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature Germany, where poets like Wolfram von Eschenbach and Gottfried von Strassburg composed much-admired romances, and where poets like Walther von der Vogelweide set the standard for lyric love poetry in German. In Italy, lyric poetry in the courtly tradition became popular in the early 13th century, and from this beginning rose Dante Alighieri, the greatest writer of medieval Europe. Dante’s enormously influential Divine Comedy, written in the early 14th century, demonstrated that a great work of moral, philosophical, theological, political, and literary significance could be written in the Italian vernacular, and his two disciples of the following generation, Boccaccio and Petrarch (often called the first “humanist”), form with Dante the acknowledged high point of Italian literature. It was this group of Italian writers (in particular Boccaccio) that influenced the most important English writer of the later Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer. Inspired in the late 14th century to write in his own Middle English vernacular, Chaucer produced such works as the tragic chivalric romance Troilus and Criseyde and the comic collection of tales in virtually every late medieval literary genre, The Canterbury Tales, demonstrating the narrative possibilities for the English language and earning him the title of “father of English literature.” Thus each of the major traditions of the middle period has its own unique aspects. But one of the remarkable developments of the medieval period was the increasing contact between world cultures. In Spain Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together, while in India Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists coexisted in a multicultural environment. Viking adventurers from northern Europe traveled through Russia, into Muslim lands of the Mediterranean, and across the Atlantic, making the first European contact with the New World. The Crusades brought western Europeans into contact with Turks and Arabs of the Middle East. From northern Africa Ibn Batt¯uta traveled through dozens of countries, farther than anyone in history had traveled before, and wrote of his wanderings, while Marco Polo visited China and described the lands of the East to an isolated European population. Ultimately Polo’s Venice and the ancient Byzantine capital of Constantinople became major trading centers, and a “silk road” was established across Asia to China. By the end of the middle period, Portuguese sailors had explored the coast of Africa and found a sea route to East Asia, while the Spanish had found a route to the New World. This interconnection of all the world’s people is one of the general characteristics of what we might call the modern world—along with an economic system based on trade and capitalism, a reduction of the influence of religion in secular affairs, and a new developing middle class that challenged older notions of class and social stability. Every one of these characteristics has its roots in later medieval developments. The world as it is today grows directly from the medieval period, a lively, varied, eventful era that produced some of the world’s greatest artistic achievements, particularly in the area of literature. The following pages explore many of the details of those varied and exciting literatures. BIBLIOGRAPHY Caws, Mary Ann, and Christopher Prendergast, eds. The HarperCollins World Reader: Antiquity to the Early Modern World. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. Davis, Paul, et al., comps. Western Literature in a World Context: Vol. 1, The Ancient World through the Renaissance. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995. Hollister, C.Warren.Medieval Europe: A Short History. 4th ed. New York:Wiley, 1978. Lawall, Sarah, and Maynard Mack, eds. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Vol. B, 100–1500. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2002. “The Medieval Era.” In The Longman Anthology of World Literature:Vol. B, The Medieval Era, edited by David L. Pike, et al., 1–9.New York: Longman, 2004. Westling, Louise, et al., eds. The World of Literature. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1999

An Introduction to the Religion and History of Islam


Author: Ikenga R. A. Ozigboh
Publisher: Fourth Dimention Publishing Company Limited
ISBN: N.A
Category: Religion
Page: 166
View: 4774
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This book provides an account of the origins, development and character of Islam as a religion, civilisation and form of society, and instrument of power. It covers the spread of Islam from Morocco through sub-Saharan Africa to Afghanistan and from Turkey through inner Asia and Indo-Pakistan to the East Indies over a time period from the sixth century AD until the second half of the twentieth century. It includes a study of the prophet Muhammad, a study of the basic principles of Islam, a survey of the classical age and the Calliphal State and the emergence of Islamic sects and schools of law. The latter part of the book studies globally the 500 years of the middle period of Islamic history and its politics, Islam in modern times, and concludes with a historical profile of Islam in Nigeria from its inception in the eleventh century until the present. The author is a historian at the Univerity of Nigeria and a cultural Christian. The work is based on fact and is essentially historcal in interpretation. It intends to be scholarly in content but manageable for the general reader, and particularly pertinent and informative in the context of Nigeria and existing anxieties between Christianity and Islam.