Some Recent Publications on Islam/Muslims
Muslims at Crossroads: Changing Face of Lived Islam in India by Nadeem Hasnain.2018. New Royal Book Company, Lucknow
In the present religio-political discourses terms such as Wahabi, Salafi, Takfiri, Radical Islam, Militant Islam, Jihadi Islam etc. are scattered all around not only in the media but also in day today conversation. Even lay persons the world over are using these terms along with terms such as Liberal Islam and Moderate Islam. Where are the living, throbbing human beings living their everyday lives in their local contexts?
Thus, what is more important today is to explore how ordinary Muslims make sense of Islam on day today basis in their everyday life. This is ‘Lived Islam’ integrated with their respective local contexts- customs and practices. It portrays the ‘shared culture’, shared with the non-Muslim communities. This shared culture is now being contested and challenged by the ultra conservative, radical fundamentalists who are hell bent ,through sustained campaign largely inspired by Saudi Arabia and Gulf States, on purging local cultures of Muslims describing these ‘unislamic’. In the process they are trying to ‘Arabize’ the South Asian Islam nurtured for centuries within a shared cultural milieu. Ironically, most of the customs and practices being targeted by them do not necessarily violate the fundamental principles of Islam.
This book, based on field research, takes a hard look at what is happening in everyday life of Muslims beyond ‘Textual Islam’.
Nadeem Hasnain is a social scientist with varied interests. He has been Professor of social anthropology at Lucknow University, Fulbright ‘Scholar in Residence’ and Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research. Author of 14 books, his latest work, The Other Lucknow: An Ethnographic Portrait of a City of Undying Memories and Nostalgia (2016)has been described as a path breaking work on Lucknow.
Teaching Islamic Studies in the Age of ISIS, Islamophobia and the Internet by (ed.) Courtney M. Dorroll. 2019 Indiana University Press
How can teachers introduce Islam to students when daily media headlines can prejudice students’ perception of the subject? Should Islam be taught differently in secular universities than in colleges with a clear faith-based mission? What are strategies for discussing Islam and violence without perpetuating stereotypes? The contributors of Teaching Islamic Studies in the Age of ISIS, Islamophobia, and the Internet address these challenges head-on and consider approaches to Islamic studies pedagogy, Islamaphobia and violence, and suggestions for how to structure courses. These approaches acknowledge the particular challenges faced when teaching a topic that students might initially fear or distrust. Speaking from their own experience, they include examples of collaborative teaching models, reading and media suggestions, and ideas for group assignments that encourage deeper engagement and broader thinking. The contributors also share personal struggles when confronted with students (including Muslim students) and parents who suspected the courses might have ulterior motives. In an age of stereotypes and misrepresentations of Islam, this book offers a range of means by which teachers can encourage students to thoughtfully engage with the topic of Islam.
Qur’an of the Oppressed: Liberation Theology and Gender Justice in Islam by Shadaab Rahemtulla.2017.Oxford University Press
Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs
- Analyzes the commentaries of four Muslim intellectuals who have turned to scripture as a liberating text to confront an array of problems, from patriarchy, racism, and empire to poverty and interreligious communal violence.
- Examines 80 primary sources by, and undertakes extensive interviews with, the South African Farid Esack (b. 1956), the Indian Asghar Ali Engineer (1939-2013), the African American Amina Wadud (b. 1952), and the Pakistani American Asma Barlas (b. 1950).
- Provides a rich analysis of the thought-ways of specific Muslim intellectuals, thereby substantiating a broadly framed school of thought.
- Sheds light on the impact of modern exegetical commentary which is more self-consciously concerned with historical context and present realities.
- Illuminates both the role of agency and hermeneutical approaches in modern Islamic thought.
Religion as Critique: Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace by Irfan Ahmad, 2017 University of North Carolina
Irfan Ahmad makes the far-reaching argument that potent systems and modes for self-critique as well as critique of others are inherent in Islam–indeed, critique is integral to its fundamental tenets and practices. Challenging common views of Islam as hostile to critical thinking, Ahmad delineates thriving traditions of critique in Islamic culture, focusing in large part on South Asian traditions. Ahmad interrogates Greek and Enlightenment notions of reason and critique, and he notes how they are invoked in relation to "others," including Muslims. Drafting an alternative genealogy of critique in Islam, Ahmad reads religious teachings and texts, drawing on sources in Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, and English, and demonstrates how they serve as expressions of critique. Throughout, he depicts Islam as an agent, not an object, of critique.
On a broader level, Ahmad expands the idea of critique itself. Drawing on his fieldwork among marketplace hawkers in Delhi and Aligarh, he construes critique anthropologically as a socio-cultural activity in the everyday lives of ordinary Muslims, beyond the world of intellectuals. Religion as Critique allows space for new theoretical considerations of modernity and change, taking on such salient issues as nationhood, women’s equality, the state, culture, democracy, and secularism.
Muslims and Capitalism by Béatrice, Hendrich (ed.).2018.Ergon Verlog
From today’s perspective, Islam and capitalism seem to be natural partners. In a world where state socialism is on the wane, Islamic states in particular seem to be run by an exploitative class that in their hyper-capitalist way of profit-making does not care at all about social justice. Modern history, however, has seen a great number of movements, political parties and individuals propagating the incompatibility of capitalism with Islam. And at a second glance, the quest for social justice and the rejection of capitalism actually appear as a driving force in different Islamic discourses, including that of the so-called Islamic State.
The articles of this volume offer intriguing and original thoughts about the appropriate economic system for a Muslim society. Some of the concepts are based right away on socialism, while others call for a genuine, non-Western Islamic ‘third way‘ between communism and capitalism. In fact, political reality has forced the secular Left to grapple with the response of Islamic movements to poverty and injustice. The volume therefore also includes useful insights into the Left’s reaction to this political challenge.
The articles cover a wide range of world regions, not only the Middle East and Turkey, but also the Far East and North Africa, with a time span ranging from the late 19th century to the present. In addition, the reader is also introduced to economic concepts of early Islam and their textual sources.
Liberal Europe: Islamophobia, Modernity and Radicalization by Natalie J. Doyle , Irfan Ahmad , 2017
Europe sees itself as embodying the ideals of modernity, especially in relation to democracy and the respect for human rights. Faced on the one hand with the need for public recognition of a new population of Muslim identity, and the threat of violent radicalization on the other, Europe is falling prey to the politics of fear and is tempted to compromise on its professed ideals.
Reflecting on the manifestations and causes of the contemporary fear of Islam gaining ground in contemporary Europe, as well as on the factors contributing to the radicalization of some Muslims,
Liiberal Europe: Islamophobia, Modernity and Radicalization offers a diversity of perspectives on both the challenges to social cohesion, and the danger of Islamophobia encouraging a spiral of co-radicalization. Combining empirical studies of several European countries with a comparative account of India and Europe, the book analyzes vital issues such as secularity, domophilia, de-politicization, neo-nationalism, the European unification project and more. Spanning a variety of disciplinary approaches, the volume offers novel insights into the complex landscape of identity politics in contemporary Europe to widen the scope of intellectual inquiry. This book was originally published as a special issue of Politics, Religion & Ideology.
Political Islam, Justice and Governance by Mbaye Bashire Lo, 2018. Palgrave Macmillan
This book argues that political Islam (represented by its moderate and militant forms) has failed to govern effectively or successfully due to its inability to reconcile its discursive understanding of Islam, centered on literal justice, with the dominant neo-liberal value of freedom. Consequently, Islamists’ polities have largely been abject, often tragic failures in providing a viable collective life and sound governance. This argument is developed theoretically and supported through a set of case studies represented by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (under President Muhammad Morsi’s tenure), Hassan Turabi’s National Islamic Front in Sudan and The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It is ideal for audiences interested in Regional Politics, Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.