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A comprehensive introduction to the faith and politics of Islam Today, 23 percent of the global population is Muslim, but ignorance and misinformation about Islam persist. In this fascinating and useful book, Perry Anderson interviews the noted scholar of Islam Suleiman Mourad about the Qurʾan and the history of the faith. Mourad elucidates the different stages in Islam's A comprehensive introduction to the faith and politics of Islam Today, 23 percent of the global population is Muslim, but ignorance and misinformation about Islam persist. In this fascinating and useful book, Perry Anderson interviews the noted scholar of Islam Suleiman Mourad about the Qurʾan and the history of the faith. Mourad elucidates the different stages in Islam's development: the Qurʾan as scripture and the history of its codification; Muhammad and the significance of his Sunna and Hadith; the Sunni-Shiʿi split and the formation of various sects; the development of jihad; the transition to modernity and the challenges of reform; and the complexities of Islam in the modern world. He also looks at Wahhabism from its inception in the eighteenth century to its present-day position as the movement that galvanized modern Salafism and gave rise to militant Islam or jihadism. The Mosaic of Islam reveals both the richness and the fissures of the faith. It speaks of the different voices claiming to represent the religion and spans peaceful groups and manifestations as well as the bloody confrontations that disfigure the Middle East, such as the Saudi intervention in the Yemen and the collapse of Syria and Iraq.


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A comprehensive introduction to the faith and politics of Islam Today, 23 percent of the global population is Muslim, but ignorance and misinformation about Islam persist. In this fascinating and useful book, Perry Anderson interviews the noted scholar of Islam Suleiman Mourad about the Qurʾan and the history of the faith. Mourad elucidates the different stages in Islam's A comprehensive introduction to the faith and politics of Islam Today, 23 percent of the global population is Muslim, but ignorance and misinformation about Islam persist. In this fascinating and useful book, Perry Anderson interviews the noted scholar of Islam Suleiman Mourad about the Qurʾan and the history of the faith. Mourad elucidates the different stages in Islam's development: the Qurʾan as scripture and the history of its codification; Muhammad and the significance of his Sunna and Hadith; the Sunni-Shiʿi split and the formation of various sects; the development of jihad; the transition to modernity and the challenges of reform; and the complexities of Islam in the modern world. He also looks at Wahhabism from its inception in the eighteenth century to its present-day position as the movement that galvanized modern Salafism and gave rise to militant Islam or jihadism. The Mosaic of Islam reveals both the richness and the fissures of the faith. It speaks of the different voices claiming to represent the religion and spans peaceful groups and manifestations as well as the bloody confrontations that disfigure the Middle East, such as the Saudi intervention in the Yemen and the collapse of Syria and Iraq.

30 review for The Mosaic of Islam: A Conversation with Perry Anderson

  1. 5 out of 5

    یاسر میردامادی

    This book is the result of a (written or otherwise) conversation between Perry Anderson (b. 1938) a British journalist and Suleiman Ali Mourad, an scholar of early Islam who teaches at Smith college. In this book, Mourad talks about 'the Qur'an and Mohammad', 'Spread of Islam and Development of Jihad', then 'Shi‘ism and Sunnism', and finally about 'Salafism and Militant Islam'. Though Mourad's discussion, as far as a short book allows, is informative, some conclusions he makes seem too hasty to This book is the result of a (written or otherwise) conversation between Perry Anderson (b. 1938) a British journalist and Suleiman Ali Mourad, an scholar of early Islam who teaches at Smith college. In this book, Mourad talks about 'the Qur'an and Mohammad', 'Spread of Islam and Development of Jihad', then 'Shi‘ism and Sunnism', and finally about 'Salafism and Militant Islam'. Though Mourad's discussion, as far as a short book allows, is informative, some conclusions he makes seem too hasty to me. For example, he argues: “If the Qurʾan was a later production, it would reflect some of the bitter disputes that broke out among the faithful once the Prophet died—major theological splits and definitely political conflicts revolving around his succession. But the Qurʾan says nothing about the question of succession or any of the later schisms. So there is no reason to doubt that the Qurʾan we have today is the same as the one produced in 650 and also resembles closely the Qurʾan the Prophet Muhammad told his followers was the revelation he had received”. Even if convincing this argument only shows that 'alteration by adding' (tahrif bi-ziada) did not occur in the Qur'an. It, however, tells logically nothing about 'alteration by removing' (tahrif bi-nuqsan) which was the main claim of some proto-Sunni and Shi‘i figures. Therefore, the conclusion he makes to the effect that we have no reason to think the current Qur'an is altered does not logically follow from the premise (the absence of later controversial discussions in the Qur'an). All in all, this is an informative book which can be used, with some reservations, in an introductory course on Islam.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Francisca Martins

    Just the thought of an interview conducted by Perry Anderson was enough to arouse my curiosity about this book. But what really fascinated me was Suleiman Mourad's brilliant insights into the theology and politics of Islam, by recognising its multiple stances and historical trajectories. In a sense, thinking of Islam as mosaic can be a way of reclaiming humanity to the Muslim community (umma) and thus support forms of resistance against dehumanisation imposed by Western-centred representations o Just the thought of an interview conducted by Perry Anderson was enough to arouse my curiosity about this book. But what really fascinated me was Suleiman Mourad's brilliant insights into the theology and politics of Islam, by recognising its multiple stances and historical trajectories. In a sense, thinking of Islam as mosaic can be a way of reclaiming humanity to the Muslim community (umma) and thus support forms of resistance against dehumanisation imposed by Western-centred representations of Islam. It also reveals the ways in which this hatred and dehumanisation is more often than not driven by a misunderstanding of the historical context in which Islam flourished, which not only prevents one from identifying revelant links with Christianity or Judaism but also informs a recurrent narrative that portrays Muslims as the fatal enemy of Western civilization, legitimising the rise of a modern Crusade (like the one most visible in US foreign policy during the Bush era) that ultimately denies agency to a whole community for the sake of the so called national interest.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    Good stuff, though fairly standard in its treatment of what's important: the early centuries, and yesterday. I wish Mourad had said more about the rest of history. "Modern reformers have realized the limitation of the Qur'an but only after they butchered the best thing about Islam: the fascinating civilization that Muslims have created over the centuries, with its curiosity about knowledge and science, its religious pluralism, the flexibility of Shar'ia, and the great diversity that went with th Good stuff, though fairly standard in its treatment of what's important: the early centuries, and yesterday. I wish Mourad had said more about the rest of history. "Modern reformers have realized the limitation of the Qur'an but only after they butchered the best thing about Islam: the fascinating civilization that Muslims have created over the centuries, with its curiosity about knowledge and science, its religious pluralism, the flexibility of Shar'ia, and the great diversity that went with that."

  4. 4 out of 5

    GONZA

    Grâce à une interview exprimant plus de préciser que illustrer, un historien et un islamiste parlent du Coran, et les différentes explications possibles et comment el peut être la raison des divisions actuelles entre les musulmans et la base d'une folie comme l'organisation de l'Etat islamique (EI). Attraverso un'intervista tesa piú a chiarire che ad illustrare, uno storico ed un islamista si interrogano sul corano, sulle varie e possibili spiegazioni e su come possa essere la ragione delle attua Grâce à une interview exprimant plus de préciser que illustrer, un historien et un islamiste parlent du Coran, et les différentes explications possibles et comment el peut être la raison des divisions actuelles entre les musulmans et la base d'une folie comme l'organisation de l'Etat islamique (EI). Attraverso un'intervista tesa piú a chiarire che ad illustrare, uno storico ed un islamista si interrogano sul corano, sulle varie e possibili spiegazioni e su come possa essere la ragione delle attuali divisioni tra i mussulmani e la base di una follia come l'ISIS. MERCI NETGALLEY POUR L'ARC!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Khairi

    a bit of a mixed bag. i appreciate mourad's attentiveness to the historical formations of Islamic phenomenon and their modern resonances. his assessments of the muslim world's psyche are often spot-on, even if he leaves a bit to be desired by way of explaining and qualifying these assessments. there are gems of insight within this book which i delighted in. there is a dynamism to this book which is shaped by interviewer perry anderson's vivid questioning framework. that said, some expectations f a bit of a mixed bag. i appreciate mourad's attentiveness to the historical formations of Islamic phenomenon and their modern resonances. his assessments of the muslim world's psyche are often spot-on, even if he leaves a bit to be desired by way of explaining and qualifying these assessments. there are gems of insight within this book which i delighted in. there is a dynamism to this book which is shaped by interviewer perry anderson's vivid questioning framework. that said, some expectations for anyone coming into the book: this is not a comprehensive introduction to islam. it is a targeted depiction of some flecks of the muslim world, concentrating on the geopolitical and theological underpinning of modern islam. its mentions of the period before that are passing ones, and i wish it had more to say about the possible futures of the muslim world; this coming from someone as shrewd as Mourad would be something to behold.

  6. 5 out of 5

    papafawn

    concise and fluid, the interview format flows very nicely and gives context for mourad. this book is an absolute info-dump, but it does not waste time or space and gives and great insight into cultural conflicts, material manifestations of idealism, and the fundamental splits of interpretation that cause the divides of today's islamic sects. really helpful and great to re-read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Saoirse go Deo

    Good basic overview of the history of Islam, the formation of the Quran and the roots of Islamic splits and sects including the genesis and growth of Islamic Jihad, extremism, wahhabism and ultimately ISIS. As someone who is quite ignorant about Islam I found this short book quite enlightening and would thoroughly recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    LAURA VIEGAS

    Excelente! Claridad total para entender el mundo islamico hoy desde una perspectiva histórica y teológica.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James Wentworth

    Perry Anderson is the most brilliant intellectual on the left in Europe. His brilliant writing output - books and articles, cover, in a scholarly way, European history, the history of ideas, debates within marxism, Russia and the British national culture. He often publishes surveys on individual countries (Turkey, Brazil, Italy, Germany, to name a few). I met him around 1980 when he taught a short course at my college entitled, "Why is there no socialism in the United States?" He'd like to know t Perry Anderson is the most brilliant intellectual on the left in Europe. His brilliant writing output - books and articles, cover, in a scholarly way, European history, the history of ideas, debates within marxism, Russia and the British national culture. He often publishes surveys on individual countries (Turkey, Brazil, Italy, Germany, to name a few). I met him around 1980 when he taught a short course at my college entitled, "Why is there no socialism in the United States?" He'd like to know the book that I'm now writing at age 57: "Socialism for Millenials." The Mosaic of Islam is an interview not of Perry Anderson, but of Islamic scholar Suleiman Mourad. It is more theology than I'm used to, but it's still good.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    Particularly enjoyed the discussion of philology...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sheeba

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ansar

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tarık Günersel

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fanny Nordmark

  15. 4 out of 5

    Onur Vassaf

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alexandre A. Bastos

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara Lissa

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Bartol

  19. 4 out of 5

    Simon Butler

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kastel

  21. 5 out of 5

    Waqas Mirza

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Day

  23. 5 out of 5

    Josh Berlyne

  24. 4 out of 5

    James

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert Shepherd

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mark Cullen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Usman Malik

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ed

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

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