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A History of the Arab Peoples
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Cruise Seminars -reference reads > A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani (August 15 until September 30 - 2018)

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message 1: by Niledaughter (last edited Aug 16, 2018 02:48AM) (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod



Here We are going to discuss A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani , Hourani is a British historian of Lebanese descent , this book - first published in 1991 - was hailed as " the definitive story of Arab civilization , a panoramic view encompassing twelve centuries of Arab history and culture " as described by Harvard university Press page about their special edition published in 2010 with an introduction and afterword by Malise Ruthven.



The book is divided into 5 parts : (covering from the seventh century AD until the fifties of the twentieth century )

Part I , The making of a world
Part II , Arab Muslim Societies
Part III , Th Ottoman age
Part IV , The age of European Empires
Part V , The age of Nation-states .



- I know it is not the type of book that we usually read in summer but we can give it a try ;) So who is going to join me reading ?
I suggest that we discuss it part by part , any other idea ?


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments I am with you. I’m having a month In Jakarta to escape the last of the Australian winter starting next Wednesday and this will be my main reading objective. The book is daunting in size and scope. So many pages; such small print! At the moment I’m zoomed in on Edward Said on Palestine from the viewpoint of the victims. The man had such intense insights I find I’m highlighting every other paragraph. It will good to zoom out for a while.


Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Great to have you with me Steve ! :)
I would like to hear your thoughts about Edward Said book!

I am curious now if we should think about Orientalism while reading this book ?


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Sue | 628 comments I have the book too. About to begin. It is a bit daunting in scope and size, isn’t it.


message 5: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
After this book you should read Ezzedine Choukri Fishere's EMBRACE AT BROOKLYN BRIDGE; this book has a wonderful cameo in the first chapter. :-)


message 6: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate I just picked up a copy from my library, looked over the Table of Contents - and it looks a little less daunting now that I've peeked inside. Yes, I'm with you on section by section. I'll start reading today.


message 7: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 169 comments Sue wrote: "I have the book too. About to begin. It is a bit daunting in scope and size, isn’t it."


>Marcia wrote: "After this book you should read Ezzedine Choukri Fishere's EMBRACE AT BROOKLYN BRIDGE; this book has a wonderful cameo in the first chapter. :-)"

Marcia wrote: "After this book you should read Ezzedine Choukri Fishere's EMBRACE AT BROOKLYN BRIDGE; this book has a wonderful cameo in the first chapter. :-)"

Sue wrote: "I have the book too. About to begin. It is a bit daunting in scope and size, isn’t it."

Marcia wrote: "After this book you should read Ezzedine Choukri Fishere's EMBRACE AT BROOKLYN BRIDGE; this book has a wonderful cameo in the first chapter. :-)"

Sue wrote: "I have the book too. About to begin. It is a bit daunting in scope and size, isn’t it."

I’m about to start A History of the Arab People’s. Just finished Embrace At Brooklyn Bridge. Definitely think this would be a book for discussion. The descriptions of each character seem to capture the many different experiences and thoughts of the characters experiences.


message 8: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Gregory (tarjema) | 4 comments This will be my third read-through of Hourani's book. The first time was in 1991 as I was starting to study Arabic and wanted to know more of the history. I'm looking g forward to discussing it!


message 9: by Steve (last edited Aug 15, 2018 04:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Great to have you with me Steve ! :)
I would like to hear your thoughts about Edward Said book!

I am curious now if we should think about Orientalism while reading this book ?"


If the MENA discussion group were a college course, then certainly Orientalism would be a prerequisite. I don’t think it would be outrageous to say that anything that has ever been written about the Middle East in particular or history in general should be read in light of the writings of Edward Said. I say this as an autodidact who is trying to understand and undo his own cultural biases.

To me the seeds of Orientalism were sewn in Said’s work on literary criticism when he says that comprehension occurs in the openness of the conscious mind where the writer and the reader meet to mutually engage in the act of “knowing” and being aware of an experience. He then goes on to dissect 8 volumes of Joseph Conrad’s personal letters to understand what was in his conscious mind when he wrote his novels. Such is the depth of the man.

So when westerners write about the middle east, what is in their mind when they meet the reader? Surely imperialism would be no small part of that. And then, pertinent to ourselves, to what extent have translators been influenced by this cultural hegemony? And how has that, how does that contaminate eastern subject matter?

Said’s endorsement of this book played no small part in my decision to read it as part of my education on Arab history. I see that Orientalism has had it's own discussion. (I haven't read it yet.) We do need to "keep it in mind" but I think treating Orientalism as a pre-req in some way to all the MENA subject matter would be the right way to do it.


message 10: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "I have the book too. About to begin. It is a bit daunting in scope and size, isn’t it."
Kate wrote: "I just picked up a copy from my library, looked over the Table of Contents - and it looks a little less daunting now that I've peeked inside. Yes, I'm with you on section by section. I'll start rea..."


Sue I am very happy to have you both with us discussing this book :)


Marcia wrote: "After this book you should read Ezzedine Choukri Fishere's EMBRACE AT BROOKLYN BRIDGE; this book has a wonderful cameo in the first chapter. :-)"

Very interesting Marcia , I did not read any of Ezzedine C. Fishere books even though I listened to him talking and read some of his political articles . Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge: A Novel has been on my to-read list for a while now .

Tim wrote: "This will be my third read-through of Hourani's book. The first time was in 1991 as I was starting to study Arabic and wanted to know more of the history. I'm looking g forward to discussing it!"

A second read :) I am curious about new perspectives !



Steve wrote: "Said’s endorsement of this book played no small part in my decision to read it as part of my education on Arab history. I see that Orientalism has had it's own discussion. (I haven't read it yet.) We do need to "keep it in mind" but I think treating Orientalism as a pre-req in some way to all the MENA subject matter would be the right way to do it. "

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts :)

I have two editions of the book , the original English one and the Arabic translation , it was published in Syria in 1997 , I can not explain why I like following the thoughts in both languages , I believe that it is always better to read the book in its original language , but I can not help wanting to see how this book is read - perceived - in Arabic .

**********
I started reading Part I , The making of a world

After reading the prologue I wanted to leave a note that we have a discussion thread for The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History in here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I will be waiting for your comments .


message 11: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 656 comments Mod
I'm following this discussion (having read Hourani's book in the past, and not having time for reading it right now, but still interested to see everyone's thoughts). Also, Embrace on the Brooklyn Bridge is on my to-read list too :)


message 12: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 169 comments Thank you for the links to Muqaddimah. I am reading them.


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Bianca | 15 comments Picked the book up from my local library today. Unfortunately I won’t have as much time to read as my summer break is coming to an end.
Gonna give it a try though.


message 14: by Steve (last edited Aug 16, 2018 06:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Niledaughter wrote: "After reading the prologue I wanted to leave a note that we have a discussion thread for The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History in here:

Thank you for the reference, and thank ReemK10 for the overview on this. Would The Muqaddimah be untainted by Orientalism? Certainly Hamid Dabashi has strong views on the subject with respect to the recently departed VS Naipaul here: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi... What a vipers nest I have stumbled into! Perhaps it's best (as I crawl back into my shell) that I remonstrate myself with the words of Ibn Khaldûn (as provided by ReemK10) "Errors and unfounded assumptions are closely allied and familiar elements in historical information. Blind trust in tradition is an inherited trait in human beings. Occupation with the (scholarly)disciplines on the part of those who have no genuine claim to them is widespread. But the pasture of stupidity is unwholesome for mankind." Certainly, reading the bibliography again thanks to ReemK10 here: http://www.library.yale.edu/neareast/... reinforces this remonstration.

One foot in the grave and so much to learn....


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments ReemK10? Hmm. I've forgotten this. You're very welcome!


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments ReemK10? Hmm. I've forgotten this. You're very welcome!


message 17: by Steve (last edited Aug 19, 2018 07:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments I have now finished Part I, The Making of a World – only 79 pages but inasmuch as I was mightily tempted to stray off into reading The Muquddimah or to follow the Edward Said thread I have started, or even to peek at 40 Rules of Love which came off hold, I feel quite a sense of accomplishment. I had trouble settling into a rhythm, however, am very interested in this history and I ended up restarting and re-reading several times. The material is unfamiliar to me as is the pronunciation of Arabic names as are the place names for many of the new cities created by the various Caliphates. In searches, many of these now come up as restaurants!

Let me disclose that I am a non-believer.

Keeping in mind Orientalism, and given Edward Said’s endorsement of this book, “...Here at last is a genuinely responsive history of the Arabs.” I was curious how Hourani would balance four poles: sensitivity, a historian’s detachment, faith and fact.

I was taken with the neutrality of Hourani’s description of days after the divine revelation. “At this point there occurred an event known in the lives of other claimants to supernatural power: the claim is accepted by some to whom it is told and this recognition confirms it in the mind of him who as made it.”

And his flight from Mecca to Madina: “The way had been prepared by men from Yathrib who had come to Mecca for trade. They belonged to two tribes and needed an arbiter in tribal disputes; having lived side by side with Jewish inhabitants of the oasis, they were prepared to accept a teaching expressed in terms of a prophet and a holy book."

I was so curious to understand why/how Muhammad had the impact that he did and I was surprised and disappointed by how little information Hourani includes about the actual life of the Prophet. (None of the 40 loaves, no miracles, etc.) For history, that leaves the Qur’an, the fact it was delivered in Arabic, and the much fuller history of what happened because of it. What do I make of this? But I have learned a great deal – and a sense of the history is settling in on me. I will re-read this Part 1 one more time.


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments I've read Part I a second and third time and have more questions and comments:

Social morality was one of the pillars of the education of Ibn Kahldun. There's a subject one wishes was taught more broadly in the schools today. Perhaps dropping that from the curricula accounts for where we are up to. How prominent is social morality in Islamic culture?

How do I understand Arab history without studying the Qur'an?

Through my lens, Christianity is having a church you go to on Sunday while Islam is more of a 'lived' religion. However, there are subtexts in here about separation of Church and State. Is there any Hadith to support this?

Did rising Arab supremacy lead to the spread of Islam or did Islam lead to a rise of the Arabs?

If not Islam, then what propelled the spread of Arab influence? Arabia, according to Hourani was, after all, steppes, desert and trade routes supported by a scattered oases. Perhaps this will be answered.

Some history of Islam put the Shia Sunni split at the centre of of things, here, not so much.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Some of the theological debates about succession remind me of that.

I must move on.


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments Why Arab history? Why not Muslim history? Middle Eastern history?

Empires on the Sand - The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/31/bo...


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Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
I am on holiday now until weekend , I am on my phone now . We are celebrating Adha feast now . Hopefully I will back with my thoughts on first part -and Steve points - next week .
Thanks for the link Reem !
Steve , wow you read it three times !
Just to make sure I understand right , you are asking about a Hadith to separate religious institution and state ?

I will back for your questions again :)


message 21: by Tamara (last edited Aug 20, 2018 12:23PM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 354 comments Steve wrote: "I've read Part I a second and third time and have more questions and comments:

Social morality was one of the pillars of the education of Ibn Kahldun. There's a subject one wishes was taught more ..."


Steve, these are all great questions, but I don't think they can be answered in a paragraph or two. Whole books have been written on these topics. So instead of struggling with a response, I can recommend some books which address your questions should you want to do any further reading.

I recommend anything by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. In particular, his The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity addresses your question about Islam and social morality. See also his Ideals and Realities of Islam. Nasr is also good on the Sunni/Shia divide.

The best book I've read on the life of the Prophet Muhammad is Martin Lings' Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

And if you are interested in reading a good translation and/or reading about the Qur'an, I can recommend The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. This is a bit of a behemoth (Nasr was one of the editors/translators), but it is excellent. The extensive footnotes at the end of each page provide context for the revelation of each verse and cite various scholarly interpretations/translations. One always has to consider the context for the revelation of a specific verse. And as I learned when I compared several English translations, how even a single word is translated can change the perception/orientation of a verse.

Two other books I can recommend which are not quite as extensive as The Study Qur'an are Michael Sells book Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations and Carl Ernst book How to Read the Qur'an: A New Guide, with Select Translations.

I don't mean to overburden you with references, but the questions you raise are important and cannot be adequately addressed in a few lines. I applaud your efforts, and I sincerely hope some of these references help address your questions/concerns.

all best.


message 22: by Steve (last edited Aug 20, 2018 11:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments I’m sorry for burdening you all with my struggle to “get” this material. I start to read and my mind drifts -or I doze off. When I come back to it I remember little, I cannot not even comprehend my margin notes. It’s like I don’t have a skeleton on which to hang the information, it just falls off. Or perhaps it’s the alienation I feel toward my Catholic indoctrination in light of current scandals that keeps me from letting the faith-based material sink in.
ReemK10 thank you for the review -it helps.
Tamara thank you too for the references. You have this at top of mind? I’m in awe.
Please carry on; I’d like to be silent for a while.


message 23: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
I am back :)
Tamara , thanks for the references .

Who else stated reading ?

Steve , how much did you read so far ?

I read half of part one , it is okay to feel such alienation , the book is very condensed . I will try to discuss some of your points .

- Did rising Arab supremacy lead to the spread of Islam or did Islam lead to a rise of the Arabs?

In my opinion , Islam lead to the rise of the Arabs , Arab's privilege comes from that Islam started in The Arabian Peninsula and the The Quran is in Arabic Which lead to the spread and the superiority of the language that made it the language of science in the golden Islamic era . yet , until today most Muslims are not Arabs and most of these Muslims do not even speak Arabic . The vast Islamic empires were built by the hands of Muslims and this term includes so many races : Arabs , Berbers or or Amazighs ,Persians , Turks ..etc - even if the Khalifa / caliph is an Arab or not .I believe that may be the concept of the superiority of Arabs as a race is what brought major conflicts at some historical points or geographical regions which was mentioned briefly in the book so far . and by the way it conflicts with the Islamic morality .
قالَ رسولُ اللهِ "صـلى اللهُ عليهِ و سلـم " : ( لا فرق بين عربي و لا أعجمي و لا أبيض ولا أسود إلا بالتقوى )
There is no difference among Arab or Ajami or white or black except piety .


- Some history of Islam put the Shia Sunni split at the centre of of things, here, not so much

Well , he talked about the seeds in this part , the death of Ali ibn Abi Talib ( the fourth and last Rashidun caliph) and his both sons from Fatima , different groups appearance in Iraq and Iran even if some supported the Abbasid Caliphate at the beginning , I think the subject will be more in focus later .

- Through my lens, Christianity is having a church you go to on Sunday while Islam is more of a 'lived' religion. However, there are subtexts in here about separation of Church and State. Is there any Hadith to support this?

I am not really sure I understand , I think we are considering a political vision more than it is religious ?
Some people looks at things from the point the Prophet ruled himself and that is where the Khalifa / caliph title comes from .

To build the comparison , How much do you see there is a separation of Church and State in the Byzantium empire so I can understand your point ?


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Hi Niledaughter
I’m just starting on Part II. I think what I was referring to was the passage at the start of Chapter 3 the Formation of a Society; The end of political unity. There were various passages such as ... Buyids who assumed various titles such as ...”King of Kings but not that of caliph.” And that there were dynasties ruling over certain territories supported by armies but who also supported the caliph. And I was thinking of Christ’s admonition to give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God, etc etc. and wondering if there was that kind of separation in Islam.

On reflection I realise this was a formative time, I’m sure we’ll “get to it” later in the book.

I’m traveling in Indonesia for a month visiting mosques in Jakarta. In many mosque library/bookstore I see a copy of A History of Arab Peoples. By the was there is a lecture class on YouTube on the History of British India and the first two lectures were devoted to Edward Said’s book on Orientalism. The first 2-3 lectures are an excellent introduction on the subject. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list....


message 25: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
How is everyone doing so far ?
I finished part 1 and about to start part 2

Hi Steve ,
I am sorry for the late reply , I found chapter 4 ( The articulation of Islam ) as a challenging one !
I can now see where your questions about authority come from.
Did you finish part 2 ?


Steve wrote: " I was thinking of Christ’s admonition to give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God, etc etc. and wondering if there was that kind of separation in Islam..."

I am not an expert but this hadeeth is what secularists usually bring up in political arguments

أنتم أعلم بأمور دنياكم
You people know more about the issues of the world

إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ ، إِذَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ دِينِكُمْ ، فَخُذُوا بِهِ ، وَإِذَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ رَأْيٍ ، فَإِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ
I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being

- thanks for the links , I will check them .:)


Reading about Sufism , I wanted to mention a novel we read here The Forty Rules of Love in here
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

- when I started this book I was wondering what did Hourani mean by Arab people in his historical vision ? I liked the way he put it as more than the groups that have been Arabized through Islamic conquests , but groups whom Arabic became the tool to represent their culture .


*******
Where is everyone ? we want to discuss part 2 by the end of next week ;)


message 26: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate I am not yet through part 1 and am reading 3 other books so don't count on me to finish. I am not finding it difficult and I want to read it but it will be a slow read. I read Reza Aslan's "No god but god" about the history of Islam and found it easier to read than this part of the book. Is that book considered an accurate account of the history of Islam?


message 27: by Steve (last edited Sep 24, 2018 01:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Niledaughter wrote: "How is everyone doing so far ?
I finished part 1 and about to start part


I am on Chapter 14 and have finished Part 2.

I have read 40 Rules of love, while reading this book and found it an interesting enlightenment on Sufism!

Before we go on to Part 2, I’d like to comment on the final part of the last chapter of Part 1, it’s called The Path of Reason. I really liked this; it foreshadows the content of Part 2.

“ The coming of an Arab dynasties did not cause an abrupt break in the intellectual life of Egypt or Syria, Iran or Iraq.” The medical schools, the religious schools and the Jewish schools all kept functioning. In fact the whole of the Greek culture of the time was assimilated into the expanding Arabic language by translation of their texts and expansion of Arabic to accomodate the new concepts. (This is so different to the Islamic book burning that went on in Spain in 1492.) “We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it comes to us, even it it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples. For him who seeks the truth, there is nothing of higher value that truth itself.”

In how we come to know God there is this in the Path of Reason, I really liked this part: “The philosopher could attain to truth by his reason and could live by it, but not all human beings were philosophers and able to grasp truth directly...There were some philosophers who had the power of understanding truth by the imagination as well as the intellect and of stating it in the form of images as well as ideas and these were the prophets. Thus prophetic religion was a way of stating truth by means of symbols intelligible to all men. Different systems of symbols formed the different religions, but all tried to express the same truth...”
Philosophy and the religion of Islam do not therefore contradict each other. They express the same truth in different forms which correspond do the different levels at which human beings can apprehend it. The enlightened man can live by philosophy; he who has grasped the truth through symbols but has reached a certain level of understanding can be guided by theology; the ordinary people should live by obedience to the shari’a.


Steve


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments Steve, you may find this to be an interesting read:

Averroes. The Decisive Treatise
http://people.uvawise.edu/philosophy/...

The different levels of religious understanding: the demonstrative, the dialectical and the rhetorical. 


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments Just came across this:
Check out - Islam in European Thought by Albert Hourani @bintbattuta’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/bintbattuta/statu...


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Just came across this:
Check out - Islam in European Thought by Albert Hourani @bintbattuta’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/bintbattuta/statu..."


I’ve bookmarked it. Are you reading ‘History’ with us?


message 31: by Steve (last edited Sep 09, 2018 05:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Steve, you may find this to be an interesting read:

Averroes. The Decisive Treatise
http://people.uvawise.edu/philosophy/...

The different levels of religious understanding: the..."

To step into the world of these Islamic scholars like Avicenna or Averroes, I'd want to study the Qur'an, the Hadith, Arabic language, Linguistics (the powerful tools of Chompsky and Said) Jurisprudence, Logic, and Philosophy. Ibn Kahldun had achieved this (plus the hard sciences) by his 18th birthday. I, on the other hand, wasted my youth (and much of what followed.) Sad.


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 208 comments Tamara wrote: "Steve wrote: "I've read Part I a second and third time and have more questions and comments:

Social morality was one of the pillars of the education of Ibn Kahldun. There's a subject one wishes wa..."


@Tamara - I can't thank you enough for pulling this group of references together. Really, a fantastic list and resource.


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments No Steve, but the notifications from this read come to me, so I poke my head in and read all of the comments.


message 34: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 354 comments Carol wrote: "@Tamara - I can't thank you enough for pulling this group of references together. Really, a fantastic list and resource..."

You're welcome.


message 35: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "I am not yet through part 1 and am reading 3 other books so don't count on me to finish. I am not finding it difficult and I want to read it but it will be a slow read. I read Reza Aslan's "No god ..."

I hope you can catch up , just keep reading ?
I can not judge No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam , I have not read it , maybe someone can help .

Steve , I enjoy reading your thoughts , I am starting reading part 2 and I will post some thoughts when I am ready .

Reem and Tamara , I am glad you are here with us .:)


message 36: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 354 comments Niledaughter wrote: "I can not judge No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam , I have not read it , maybe someone can help ..."

I read it a couple of years ago. I don't remember it very well, so I don't feel comfortable commenting on it. The fact that it didn't leave a big impression with me either positive or negative suggests that it is probably a good, basic book on Islam.


message 37: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue | 628 comments I am far behind the reading, still in the first half of part one. The writing is excellent but it is so heavy in facts and information that it’s slow reading for me. And I’m reading other books too. So I will be tagging along with the discussion, catching up if possible. The discussion so far is impressive as are the recommended background readings.


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Sue wrote: "I am far behind the reading, still in the first half of part one. The writing is excellent but it is so heavy in facts and information that it’s slow reading for me. And I’m reading other books too..." Keep going Sue, it gets easier.


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Tamara wrote: "And if you are interested in reading a good translation and/or reading about the Qur'an, I can recommend The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary."

Thanks again Tamara. I’ve started The Study now and was particularly interested in Seyyed Hussein Nasr’s editorial stance on the subject of orientalism which Nile Daughter and I have been discussing: “I therefore accepted (the project) with humility on the condition that this would be a Muslim effort and that, although the book would be contemporary in language and based on the highest level of scholarship, it would not be determined or guided by assertions presented in studies by non-Muslim Western scholars and orientalists who have studied the Quran profusely as a historical, linguistic, or sociological document, or even a text of religious significance, but do not accept it as the Word of God and an authentic revelation. Rather, it would be grounded in the classic Islamic tradition in order to provide readers access to the many ways in which the Quran has been understood and explained by Muslims for over fourteen centuries.”

This to me seemed to be the right way to write it and read it.


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Part 2 Arab Muslim Societies (11th-15th Centuries)

Are we ready to start discussing this? I am up to Part 4. I’ve come back to reread sections of Part 2 many times and I keep discovering things I’ve missed. I still have my as yet unanswered question: “what was it about Islam that caused its rampant take up amongst the civilisations of the world?” The author states that his scope is limited to the study of Arab peoples, therefore the western parts of the Islamic world, so we won’t get any insights from the spread of Islam eastward to India, Central Asia, China or the Indo-Pacific. What is it about Islam that made it so universally acceptable?

It could be the 600 years that passed between the time of Jesus and the time of Mohammad. Was this time enough to see the established direction that the Roman church was taking? And for the Prophet to receive correctives? (personal bias warning) Already in Part 2 we begin to see the seeds of division being sewn which led to the dis-integration of the Islamic Empire, and yet this question has not been answered directly. I sense that the answer lies partially in the word, “Community.” There is something very powerful about the universal acceptance of men as equals before God and the power of that sense of community within Islam that seems to have given it its strength.


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Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Sorry , I am a little behind , hopefully I will be able to post by Thursday .


message 42: by Mohib (new) - added it

Mohib | 3 comments Hello everyone,

I bought the wrong book I believe, I am reading Eugene Rogan's the Arabs A History, I am not enjoying how it is written. Can someone give me an opinion?
Thanks


message 43: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Mohib wrote: "Hello everyone,

I bought the wrong book I believe, I am reading Eugene Rogan's the Arabs A History, I am not enjoying how it is written. Can someone give me an opinion?
Thanks"


As far as I know Eugene Rogan is Hourani's student , but I was wrong !

" I keep being described as disciple of Hourani, or a student of Hourani, and I was neither of those things. I never got a chance to study under Albert, though I would have loved to. But I always wanted to write a book like Albert Hourani did. I always felt very much in awe of his scholarship and his depth of knowledge and erudition. And, in a sense, all of those great qualities were brought to bear in his last great work, A History of the Arab Peoples."
https://fivebooks.com/best-books/euge...

I have The Arabs: A History on my to-read list for a while now .

********
I am still reading part 2
I guess having all these geographical details to reach the economical and cultural descriptions of the region can be a lot to digest even if I am familiar with big deal of it .

Anyway , I thought of some books we discussed while reading :
- About Al andalus : The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

- About the Abbasid Caliphate : When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


- From Medieval Iran Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

- One of my favorite novels Samarkand by Amin Maalouf
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 44: by Niledaughter (last edited Sep 20, 2018 05:21AM) (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Steve ,
I guess you finished the book by now ?

Steve wrote: "what was it about Islam that caused its rampant take up amongst the civilisations of the world?

What is it about Islam that made it so universally acceptable?

I sense that the answer lies partially in the word, “Community.” There is something very powerful about the universal acceptance of men as equals before God and the power of that sense of community within Islam that seems to have given it its strength.


This can be big deal of it . it is difficult to answer such question in a simple answer . To understand more about the spread of the religion I guess you will need to read more of the Islamic concepts or the nature of the religion itself . Also how people with different backgrounds were living then before Islam , how Islam provided them with a better community to live in , how non Muslims were treated under the Islamic rule and vise versa in the same era .

Islam was not the first monotheistic religion , its spread was faster in polytheistic communities , why do you think that ?


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Steve ,
I guess you finished the book by now ?

Steve wrote: "what was it about Islam that caused its rampant take up amongst the civilisations of the world?

What is it about Islam that made it s..."

No, not finished yet but I am through Part 4. In most books I read, there is the urge to finish, but this one not so much. Perhaps it’s the density, perhaps the 1st millennium is the one I know least about, so I want to linger there, but I advance slowly and go back many times. It’s like hearing the call to morning prayer when it rouses you those first few times, and you look forward to hearing it. Perhaps it’s the nature of a history book: we know how it ends, there’s no rush.

I am attracted to the study of Islam. The questions I ask in this discussion are the things that attract me. Tamara recommended The Study Quran which I am also reading. I will have to think about the spread of Islam through poly vs monotheistic religions. Perhaps it has to do with the advancements of civilisations, or the revelatory nature of Christianity and Islam, or the power of the written word... it is something to think about .


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments Lol you may appreciate this:
Check out @dan_a_lowe’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/dan_a_lowe/status...


message 47: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2809 comments Mod
Steve wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Steve ,
I guess you finished the book by now ?

Steve wrote: "what was it about Islam that caused its rampant take up amongst the civilisations of the world?

What is it about..."


Yes , there is a lot to think of :)


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Lol you may appreciate this:
Check out @dan_a_lowe’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/dan_a_lowe/status..."


Lol ...:D


Steve Middendorf (stevemid) | 75 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Lol you may appreciate this:
Check out @dan_a_lowe’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/dan_a_lowe/status..."
The first reply to this tweet recommended Rogan's book as an alternative, yet per his interview in 5books, he stood in awe of Hourani: "I never got a chance to study under Albert, though I would have loved to. But I always wanted to write a book like Albert Hourani did. I always felt very much in awe of his scholarship and his depth of knowledge and erudition. And, in a sense, all of those great qualities were brought to bear in his last great work, A History of the Arab Peoples."
https://fivebooks.com/best-books/euge...


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 492 comments Interesting list! I commend all of you reading these books. My reading style is more Leg Over Leg 😁


message 50: by Mohib (new) - added it

Mohib | 3 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Steve wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Steve ,
I guess you finished the book by now ?

Steve wrote: "what was it about Islam that caused its rampant take up amongst the civilisations of the world?

Wh..."


I am reading Rogan's books, I have some reservation and that is why I am planning to switch to Hourani's book. I started to worry when he made a bold call that Mamluks were Christian children brought to Muslim MENA to be trained as special solders. I thought, Mamluks were from the current central Asia region and their names also suggest so. This is just one thing, there are a few like this in only 50 pages that I have read.


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