By Akbar S. Ahmed

Now reissued with a brand new advent, Discovering Islam is a vintage account of the way the heritage of Islam and its family with the West have formed Islamic society this day. Islam is frequently caricatured as competitive and enthusiast. Written within the culture of Ibn Khaldun, this readable and wide-ranging e-book balances that snapshot, uncovers the roots of Islamic discontent and celebrates the resources of its power. From the 4 "ideal Caliphs" who succeeded the Prophet to the refugee camps of Peshawar, an target photograph emerges of the most beneficial properties of Muslim background and the compulsions of Muslim society.

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Extra info for Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslim History and Society

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Abruptly loneliness, then awe, and finally exaltation fill the heart. In the most profound sense one is face to face with oneself. The cave, the Prophet’s refuge, is tiny. It points to Makkah and the haram sharif, containing the Kaaba, is faintly visible. The drop from the cave is sheer, about 2,000 feet. The climb itself is steep. I, not much older than the Prophet when he received the call to Islam at 40, was stiff the next day. Praying on the spot, in the cave, where Islam was revealed is highly evocative for a Muslim.

Later the monarchs ruling Iran continued on the same path; they completely distorted Islam and established something quite different in its place. The process was begun by the Umayyads, who changed the 30 A THEORY OF ISLAMIC HISTORY nature of government from divine and spiritual to worldly. Their rule was based on Arabism, the principle of promoting the Arabs over all other peoples, which was an aim fundamentally opposed to Islam and its desire to abolish nationality and unite all mankind in a single community, under the aegis of a state indifferent to the matter of race and colour.

The problem lay in locating a genuine hadith. It is said Imam Hanbal narrated one million. Al Ghazzali earned his title hujjat al-Islam, the authority of Islam, by memorizing 300,000. The accepted authority, Imam Bukhari, after a lifetime’s work, selected about 7,300 from 600,000 in 97 books. Collecting hadith became an Islamic science. The Prophet’s actions and customs are sunna (from custom)—hence ahlesunna, Sunni, or followers of the sunna. The sunna includes a wide range of Muslim responses.

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