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Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition: Essays by Western Muslim Scholars (Perennial Philosophy) Paperback – May 14, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Perennial Philosophy
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: World Wisdom; First Edition edition (May 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941532607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941532600
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,258,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This book capably argues for a return to the true spirit of classical Islamic intellectualism, disregarding the distractions and obstacles created by the West. Its strongest chapter, "Recollecting the Spirit of Jihad" by Reza Shah-Kazemi, marshals the history and traditions of the noble Muslim warrior, who never killed out of revenge, protected Jews from slaughter and embodied the true spirit of jihad, which means an inner spiritual struggle. The writer contrasts heroes of Muslim history, like Saladin, with the manipulative terrorists of Al-Qaeda, who politicize and deliberately misconstrue jihad. In the following essay, "Roots of Misconception," Ibrahim Kalin contends that propaganda against Islam, from the Crusades through contemporary movies and news media, is responsible for the inaccurate Western view that Islam needs to be modernized. T.J. Winter's "The Poverty of Fanaticism" contains probably the first academic recognition of the phenomenon of "salafi burnout,'" which takes place when a college-age male follower of the literalist Wahhabi/Salafi philosophy trades his conservative views, beard and religious dress for a Western girlfriend and capitalistic outlook. Although all the authors are Western Muslims—a quality rightly admired by Seyyed Hossein Nasr in his foreword—the absence of an essay by a Muslim woman is glaring. This book is a good resource for progressive Muslims, graduate students and readers already well versed on the politics of Islamic theology.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Joseph Lumbard is the founder of The Islamic Research Institute and is currently Professor of Islamic Studies in the Arabic Studies Department of The American University in Cairo. He is a specialist in Sufism and Islamic Philosophy, and has had numerous articles published in journals of traditionalism, comparative religion, and philosophy. In the wake of September 11, 2001, Dr. Lumbard founded the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) to provide a forum in which Muslim scholars are able to contextualize issues pertaining to Islam and apply the traditional teachings of Islam to the exigencies of modern life.

More About the Author

Joseph E. B. Lumbard is Chair of the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Program at Brandeis University and a former adviser on interfaith affairs to the Jordanian Royal Court. He received his PhD and MPhil in Islamic Studies from Yale University, and a BA and MA in Religious Studies from The George Washington University. His research focuses upon Islamic intellectual traditions with an emphasis on Sufism and Islamic philosophy. He has written "Submission, Faith and Beauty, The Religion of Islam" and is the editor of Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (World Wisdom, 2009), a collection of essays that examines the religious, political and historical factors that have led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. He is currently working as an associate editor for the forthcoming HarperCollins Study Quran (2013).

Customer Reviews

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I thank Robert Spencer for putting in his views.
Conflict Anthropologist
For a person trying to find truth in this crazy situation that we americans find ourselves i think you would find it very enlightening.
Chris Carl
One aspect of Islam that is often misunderstood (and is explained very well in this work ) is the concept of Jihad.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are many books today which deal with the so-called crisis in the Islamic world, from Bernard Lewis' "What Went Wrong?" which takes a narrow and often absurdly one-sided view to the West-Islam problem, to books by Muslims trying to explain away their real shortcomings by blaming everyone but themselves. This book does neither. To my knowledge the perspective that both sides should be embracing a more deep-rooted and traditional practice and understanding of Islam has only appeared in perhaps a few articles in the Western press and in one or two recent books. The rest of the literature out there seems to be caught between either a complete dilution of Islam in favor of modernity or a mindless rejection of all things Western in favor of a cult of zealous legalism.
I reccommend this book for two reasons. First, it starts from a point of view of pragmatism that is refreshing in such an emotional time. A prime example is Ansary's article analyzing Bin Laden's strategy using game theory, which is original and extremely persuasive. Second, it takes into account the vast ocean of Islamic civilization and the intellectual and spiritual history to which it gave rise. Both sides of the issue of Islamic fundamentalism have almost completely insulated themselves from the great tradition of scholarship and traditional spirituality. For example, both Jerry Falwell and Osama bin Laden seem to agree that the Koran allows cart blanche to carry out war as one sees fit (if one is a Muslim). Dakake's article makes it clear that only a total ignoramus or a delusional maniac could accept such an interpretation in light of the history of just war theory in Islam.
In general, one finds insights about Islam and the present situation that it is difficult to find elsewhere. You will not find rehashing of the same tired analysis we are pelted with on a daily basis in our media. Agree or not, the points of view presented here are important and are, to my mind, very persuasive.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Conflict Anthropologist on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
I thank Robert Spencer for putting in his views. However I respectfully disagree with his assessment of this book. This book I do believe gives a powerful counter to the Takfiri/Qutbist/Al-Qaeda ideology of infinite Jihad. The modern Islamic jurists who give the caveats about killing women and children, also follow a modern line of scholars, and NOT traditional Sunni scholars or the examples of their prophet and of the Sahaba (companions of Mohammed). I am not Muslim, however, as a conflict anthropologist I am working on doing research to develop alternative methods of counter-terrorism using traditional Islam as the foundation. This book has been an excellent resources for me in opening the doors to the very long and rich history of traditional Islamic scholars and their views on Jihad. Aside from a handful of fanatical early scholars like Ibn Tammiyah, the majority have never advocated what we see today in the extremist movement in Islam that is rapidly growing as it is being fed by the "War on Terror".
Surah 9:29 is scary at first glance, but not so scary when it's read within the context of Sunah (life, actions, and behavior of Mohammed) which heavily emphasizes respecting peace treaties with non-believers for example. This book mentions also examples of joint-Jihad in which Christian Arab tribes fought alongside Muslims against common enemies. So the Qu'ran needs to be understood within the context of Sunah and historical context. This is something good Islamic scholars do. Sadly not every modern Islamic scholar does this. But that does not mean that they represent Islam and all Muslims. At any rate, this is a form of review and not the place for debate. I will go to the website you named on your post to continue the debate if you post a topic on this book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
In the climate of the current widely orchestrated Islamophobic assessment, this book is a powerfully fresh set of articles to bring to bear against those who are ignorant of Islam's true existence. Throughout the chapters I was confronted/reassured with numerous arresting counter-facts. In the article The Myth of Militant Islam I found out that the Quranic advice "Slay them wheresoever you find them" is located within the very same sentence as "and turn them out wherever they have turned you out," interpreted by the vast majority of historic and current Islamic scholars to refer not to Christians and Jews of the Book but specifically to those polytheist Meccans who cruelly harried the first few adherents to the message of Muhammad. Several other commonly bantered-about Quranic phrases are shown in their true and respectful light. In the article The Decline of Knowledge and the Rise of Ideology in the Modern Islamic World the editor masterfully emphasizes the great degree of effort which traditional Islam gave in wedding knowledge to religious doctrine and action. Historically and even currently, Muslim sufi circles waxed and waned in popularity and influence within the Islamic world. This historic knowledge-spirituality synthesis has faded somewhat, to be replaced by various accretions of discarded Western ideologies reconstituted by liberalizing Muslim modernists and doctrinaire (stringent) Muslim reformists in the form of pseudo-Islamic theological and philosophical writings. Thus, what began as the anti-religious Renaissance and Enlightenment attack against Christianity's religious and intellectual synthesis has been partially ingested into Muslim writings.Read more ›
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