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Islams and Modernities Hardcover – August 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1844673841 ISBN-10: 1844673847 Edition: Third Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Third Edition edition (August 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673841
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Islams and Modernities raises urgent questions that are central to the concerns of the contemporary world.”—Guardian

“Aziz Al-Azmeh is perhaps the most original thinker on these themes in Britain today.”—New Statesman

“Deserves to be widely read.”—Times Literary Supplement

“An invaluable addition to the growing literature available.”—Times Higher Education Supplement

“The importance of this work is difficult to exaggerate.”—Middle East Studies Association Bulletin

About the Author

Aziz Al-Azmeh was born in Damascus. He received the PhD in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford. He is currently University Professor at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. His other works include Keywords, Islam in Europe, Ibn Khladun, and The Times of History.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on March 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
This short book is incredibly over-priced and demonstrates that its so-called Marxist publishers are in practice no different from the 'blood-sucking' capitalists that they supposedly despise. How unfortunate it really is that this blemish taints an otherwise excellent collection of essays. This books is a mere 145pp. The previous reviewer inaccurately stated that the author's intention was to prove that there is no such thing as Islam but only Islams, which is a bad reading in my opinion. The presupposition is there, nonetheless, and al-Azmeh obviously considers speaking of Islam outside a specific spatio-temporal context a fruitless enterprise outside the context of theology, which is a reasonable observation. The danger, he asserts, is that in the context of history and social sciences speaking of "Islam" as a category is frustrated by its generic and protean nature that, in turn, subjects it unfairly to the use and abuse of the bias of those who wield it. I have personally seen al-Azmeh lecture at the American University in Cairo and I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed by his eloquence and scholarship. While it must be admitted that the language of this book is opaque at times, his style is nonetheless (I find) not too difficult to become comfortable and given a little patience even appreciated. Overall, I found this book to contribute incredible insights into how one should approach Islam in light of modernity and the current state of the world. Indeed, I found this work much more immediately relevant to the field of Islamic studies of the modern Muslim World than Fazlur Rahman's ISLAM & MODERNITY.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "yogsothoth666" on June 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book immediately after September 11. I haven't read a lot about Islam. I understand that most Muslims are actually MORE fundamentalist than Jerry Falwell.
Al-Azmeh explains Islam in a way that most Westerners will not be threatened by. And he makes no effort to apolgize for its fundamentalist incarnation. He has two recommendations for Muslims: (a) accept that the world really is secular/Christian; (b) don't bother with a literal interpretation of the Qur'an. He also points out that certain famous Western intellectuals liked aspects of Islam (Kant, Goethe).
If you have foresight enough to want to see everyone get along, you can't do better than starting with this book.
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4 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
This rather disparate and dis-appointing collection of essay. The author's main contention is to demonstate that there is no Islam only islams... the demonstration is done by asseration rather than argument. The author seems to think that an opaque writing style will compensate for the analytical rigour the book so clearly lacks. Thus we have a strange brew- an attempted deconstruction of Islamism in the name of an essentialized universalism. Critique of Islamism for its essentialism becomes nothing more than a rhetorical act rather a theoritical position.
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