By Hamid Dabashi

From the origins of Muhammad's prophetic stream throughout the improvement of Islam's important branches to the institution of the Umayyad dynasty, the idea that of authority has been significant to Islamic civilization. via interpreting the character, association, and transformation of authority through the years, Dabashi conveys either continuities and disruptions inherent within the improvement of a brand new political tradition. it really is this procedure, he argues, that money owed for the elemental styles of authority in Islam that eventually formed, in dialectical interplay with exterior old elements, the process Islamic civilization.

The e-book starts off by way of analyzing the significant features of authority in pre-Islamic Arab society. Dabashi describes the imposition of the Muhammadan charismatic circulation on pre-Islamic Arab tradition, tracing the alterations it brought within the cloth of pre-Islamic Arabia. He examines the continuities and adjustments that undefined, concentrating on the concept that of authority, and the formation of the Sunnite, Shiite, and Karajite branches of Islam as political expressions of deep cultural cleavages. For Dabashi, the formation of those branches was once the inevitable final result of the conflict among pre-Islamic styles of authority and people of the Muhammadan charismatic flow. In flip, they molded either the harmony and the variety of the rising Islamic tradition. Authority in Islam explains how this got here to be.

Dabashi employs Weber's suggestion of charismatic authority in describing Muhammad and his mode of authority as either a version and some degree of departure. His function isn't to supply serious verification or competition to interpretation of historic occasions, yet to indicate a brand new method of the present literature. The e-book is a crucial contribution to political sociology in addition to the research of Islamic tradition and civilization. Sociologists, political scientists, and center jap experts will locate this research of specific value.

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Extra resources for Authority in Islam: From the Rise of Muhammad to the Establishment of the Umayyads

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The fundamental and primary question is what particular underlying forces, currents, tides, and waves gave rise to the initial formation of these islands. In identifying these underlying forces, first the very fabric of the pre-Islamic social structure and its mode of authority must be ascertained, and then the emphatic and forceful expression of the Muhammadan charismatic authority being pronounced against that background should be considered. It is, then, through an analysis of the interaction between these two forces, along with the particular changes that the charismatic authority may be forced to undergo, that the essence and raison d'etre of these various branches of Islam may be detected.

But of more immediate and obvious interest was the significance of such primogeniture antecedents for the principal doctrine of the Shicite self-understanding of succession to Muhammad's authority. Hashim, Muhammad's great-grandfather, became the custodian of siqayah and rifadah once cAbd Shams abdicated these offices to him because of his constant business trips. The towering figure of Hashim in the Quraysh tribe could not be totally inconsequential in Muhammad's prophetic career. Although institutionally based on a set of different cultural parameters, Hashim's prominence in the pre-Islamic Meccan domain was, on a smaller scale quite similar to Muhammad's later authority.

As a center of gravity it holds a culture together. Violence is central, as Weber pointed out, to any form of political life. But legitimate violence ideally eliminates itself. Inhibitive spaces, such as haram, counter violence by rendering it impermissible within their confinements. While political life within any cultural order necessitates violence, inhibitive spaces, stipulated by that culture, keep it in control. Through specific figures, institutions, and symbolics of authority, the traditional Arab culture was the thriving force of a traditional order of life.

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