By Michael Cook

Why does Islam play a bigger function in modern politics than different religions? Is there whatever concerning the Islamic history that makes Muslims much more likely than adherents of alternative faiths to invoke it of their political lifestyles? if this is the case, what's it? old Religions, smooth Politics seeks to respond to those questions by means of reading the jobs of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity in sleek political lifestyles, putting precise emphasis at the relevance—or irrelevance—of their heritages to today’s social and political concerns.

Michael prepare dinner takes an in-depth, comparative examine political id, social values, attitudes to war, perspectives in regards to the function of faith in quite a few cultural domain names, and conceptions of the polity. In these types of fields he reveals 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 features of Islamism, the phenomenon as a complete is exclusive on the earth at the present time. The ebook additionally exhibits that fundamentalism—in the experience of a decision to come back to the unique assets of the religion—is politically extra adaptive for Muslims than it's for Hindus or Christians.

A sweeping comparative research via one of many world’s best students of premodern Islam, historic Religions, glossy Politics sheds vital gentle at the courting among the foundational texts of those 3 nice non secular traditions and the politics in their fans this day.

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It can be done, the most impressive case being Iran. Here a conspicuous feature of the story is the articulation of the royal heritage of pre-­Islamic Iran in the Shāhnāma (“Book of kings”) of the poet Firdawsī; this was completed in 1010 and became enmeshed in the life of Muslim Iranians. And yet this book was a celebration of what from a strictly Islamic point of view could only be reckoned an evil empire. The problem, as tradition would have it, went back to the time of the Prophet. 67 But this was not the end of it.

In the conditions of early Islamic times there was more to this special status of the Arabs than mere sentiment. The empire that emerged from the rise of Islam was conquered and ruled by Arabs. “We Arabs were For this contrast between Christianity and Islam, see Crone, Nativist prophets, 173–­77. It is noteworthy that in the early Islamic period, when being an Arab was a title to participation in an enterprise that generated unprecedented wealth and power, there were no major disputes between the tribes over the question who was to count as an Arab.

104 Lemercier-­Quelquejay, “Missions orthodoxes,” 378, 379, 397–­98; but note the apostasy of the early 1580s (379). Unlike the later converts, some of the early ones brought with them elements of a pagan heritage, suggesting that their Islam did not go very deep (373 and n3). 105 Lemercier-­Quelquejay, “Missions orthodoxes,” 385, 392–­93, 397, 401. 106 Figures for 1828–­1829 show a Tatar population that was 80 percent Muslim and 20 percent Christian; the second figure was made up of 10 percent who were genuine Christians and another 10 percent who were ready to apostatize (Lemercier-­Quelquejay, “Missions orthodoxes,” 398, my arithmetic; for the low level of success in converting the Tatars, see also 389–­91, 400).

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