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Islam in the Modern World: Challenged by the West, Threatened by Fundamentalism, Keeping Faith with Tradition Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 25, 2011

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Nasr, one of the world�s foremost scholars of Islam, here updates one of his classic works in response to the major changes in the Islamic world (and its relationship with the non-Islamic world) that have occurred since the text was last revised in 1990. At its core is the tension between traditional Islam, the worldview defined by the �equilibrium promulgated by the Shari�ah and the serenity of Islamic spirituality� and expressed through traditional Islamic philosophy, science, art, and architecture, and the disunities and profanities of secular modernism that are the norm in the Western world and now pervade much of the Islamic world as well. In rejecting and critiquing modernism, Nasr argues, traditional Islam retains its rich spiritual vitality despite the challenges it faces from within and without. Among the greatest of these challenges is that presented by Islamic fundamentalism and violent radicalism, which, says Nasr, claim to reflect traditional Islam but have actually been profoundly corrupted by some of the modern West�s ugliest attributes. Though passionately argued, this book is essentially an argument for the primacy of a particularly orthodox approach to Islamic faith and as such may not resonate with those inclined toward other Islamic beliefs. It does, however, provide an erudite and unusually accessible look into the ongoing struggle for the heart of Islam. --Brendan Driscoll

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“An erudite and unusually accessible look into the ongoing struggle for the heart of Islam.” (Booklist )

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9695192211
  • ISBN-13: 978-9695192214
  • ASIN: B006CDLP2G
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,824,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Garrison Jr. VINE VOICE on December 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Islam in the Modern World" by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (first ed. c. 1990, but extensively revised, updated & with new chapters: hardback 2010), 472 pgs. Nasr is known for writing books contending that Islam is a moderate, peaceful religion. Does this mean we need to ignore what he has to say? Perhaps there is some knowledge, if not just `factoids' to be learned from him. What strove Nasr to update this book was due to: "Only during the past few decades has a new phenomenon appeared that necessitates distinguishing rigorously between traditional Islam and not only modernism, but also that spectrum of feeling... that has come to be identified... as `fundamentalist', revivalist, or `activist' Islam." Nasr contends that the 1990s-2000s-era `revivalist' (jihadist) groups "that speak of reviving Islam in opposition to modernism and Western civilization" (p. 2) misunderstand non-violent Islam. However, Nasr doesn't go into any depth in detailing the militant activities of any particular `terrorist' jihadist group (i.e., al-Qaeda). Despite his opposition to jihadism, Nasr doesn't go into detail in stating what he has against militant jihadism besides its violence (not all Muslims have to be violence-prone). This book provides a generic background history of Muslims and the Islamic religion. The author discusses the differences in Islamic theology, science and spirituality (Sufism). Nasr is fond of the past `achievements' of Islamic architecture and science, but acknowledges that the West overtook Islamic in science and economic achievements starting in the 17th century. The are several appendices in which Nasr lists `milestone' books written by medieval Muslims regarding architecture, philosophy, science, theology, etc.Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sandrab on February 25, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
In spite of my following comments, I have huge respect for the author, especially for clarifying what traditional (i.e. the `real') Islam is about, and for the positive influences that Sufism brings to Islam. However his writings are not for the average lay person, as he writes and lives at a highly intellectual and metaphysical level, and with much nostalgia and idealism. Compared to the life of most of us, I feel he `floats' through life in a meditative trance- one that I wish all of us could experience more of, but few of us can practicality-wise achieve.

He's spent his entire life living physically and mentally in an above average environment, whether living in the US or in Iran; as such he's never had to experience the dismally difficult lives that the average and lower class Middle Easterners (and us average foreigners) have to endure when living in the Middle East (ME).

Although I don't have his intellect or education, I do feel qualified (much self education, travelling and living in the ME and marrying a Moslem) in sharing my gut reaction to this book. I'm very aware that the Islam that most Moslems (at least in the ME) practice is in fact largely based on tradition and misinformation, both of which too frequently run totally opposite what the true message of traditional Islam preaches.

He makes it clear that the purpose of Islamic teachings is to provide the greatest stability to the greatest number of people, and not to make everyone happy. Well, I guess I don't fit into what the masses want and are willing to give up for this intended stability (and which is no longer materializing). Here are a few examples.
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By Adam M. Donaldson on March 27, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very informative book on the struggles facing islamic communities today around the world. It is a definite read for middle east studies students or anyone interested in the region and it's dominant faith.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Tolliver on February 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Islam is Peace - Lots of knowledge, and wisdom, for any person, willing to listen, and learn, from this Great book.
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