Middle East Nazih N. Ayubi Political Islam

ISBN 13: 9780415054423

Political Islam

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9780415054423: Political Islam

Islamic theocracy is now firmly established in fundamentalist Iran, and waves of fundamentalism are sweeping the entire Islamic world, and its diaspora. This book examines the claim of those Islamists who contend that as a belief system and a way of life, Islam carries with it a theory of politics and the state which should be applied unquestioningly. Ayubi traces both the intellectual sources and the socio-economic bases of political Islam, arguing that it is a modern phenomenon, dating back only to the inter-war period. He describes its major proponents as urban, educated and relatively young people, whose energies were mobilized, but whose expectations were not fulfilled by the post-independence "populist" regimes in the Arab World. Islamic movements in six countries are studied in detail. Ayubi's broad definition of politics encompasses material on sex and the family, and on the emerging alternative economic and social network of Islamic banks, schools, and hospitals in the countries discussed. Ayubi stresses the traditional concern in Islam for the collective enforcement of morals, but argues that there is no case for the commonly held conception that politics begins from theological principles in the Arab world: the historical connection between Islam and politics can be explained as an attempt by the rulers to legitimize their actions. He suggests that radical Islamists are reversing this position by subjecting politics to their specific religious views, so their movement is in some senses an anti-state one. He concludes by discussing possible intellectual responses to fundamentalism, drawing on the thinking of contemporary Muslim liberals.

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About the Author:

Nazih Ayubi is Director of the Middle East Politics Program and Reader in Politics at the University of Exeter.

Review:

." . . scholarly in tone and substance and well researched, with penetrating shafts of insight."
-"International Affairs
"Among all the books attempting to explain the reassertion of Islam, this must be one of the most useful."
-"Theological Book Review
"Ayubi examines the writings of hundreds of Arab authors--almost all Muslims--and probes their intellectual discourse. . . . Scholars and specialists will appreciate the erudition of the author and the depth of the analysis that he has given to the subject."
-"The Middle East Journal
"This is a most original and perceptive work on Islamic revivalism. Ayubi has produced a compelling critique of both revivalism and the Western understanding of its place in Muslim life and thought."
-"Middle East Studies Association Bulletin
"This interesting and well-written book . . . argues that Islam is not a particularly political' religion, but rather a social' religion."
-"Journal of Church and State

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Nazih N. Ayubi
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