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Makers of Contemporary Islam 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195141283
ISBN-10: 0195141288
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Editorial Reviews


"It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of Esposito and John O. Voll's intellectually expansive yet thoroughly accessible volume. . . . Esposito and Voll's book adds to our understanding of the intellectual and cultural foundations of the diverse religious and political movements ramifying throughout the Islamic heartlands and far beyond."-- The Journal of Asian Studies

"a major contribution to the general study of Islamic religion . While this book may serve as an overview of the intellectual foundations of contemporary Islamic politics, it is historically rich and capable of provoking many layered readings."-- The Journal of Religion

About the Author

John L. Esposito is University Professor and Founding Director for the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. His publications include The Oxford History of Islam (OUP, 2000), The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality (OUP, 1999), Islam: The Straight Path (OUP, 1998), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (OUP, 1995), and Islam and Democracy (OUP, 1996).

John O. Voll is Professor of Islamic History at Georgtown University. He is the author of Islam: Continuity and CHange in the Muslim World and coauthor of Islam and Democracy (OUP, 1996).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195141288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195141283
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At present, John Esposito and John Voll are probably the most prominent writers on things Islamic in the United States. Both pair a sound academic grounding in religious studies with the ability to provide readable and balanced accounts on current affairs and important intellectual trends in the Islamic world. In 'Makers of Contemporary Islam' they present a number of Islamic thinker-activists - some of whom are quite controversial - in an empathic manner.
In composing this book the authors have tried to strike a balance between 'pure' intellectuals and political activists. In addition to that they have endeavored to ensure a fair geographical spread as well, by including representatives from North Africa, the Arab Middle East, Iran, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia.
In their introductory chapter Esposito and Voll give an account of the role of the intellectual in society. This issue is addressed from both a historical and cross-cultural perspective. The writers have also included a typology of the intellectual in Islamic society: distinguishing between traditional religious scholars (the so-called Ulama), secular thinkers, and modern Muslim activist intellectuals. While the relative influence of the first group has been on the decline ever since the arrival of modernity in the Islamic world, the second group was discredited and soon overtaken by the Islamists following the defeat of the Arabs by Israel in 1967.
The authors have emphasized the subtleties in the thought of the Islamists treated in this volume. It is made clear that all these thinkers take a critical stand towards their own cultural heritage and share an interest in dialogue and intellectual exchange with other cultures.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent discussion on the ideas of men and a woman who have played, or continue to play, formative roles in the shaping of Islamic praxis in the 20th and 21st centuries. Beginning with an introductory analytical chapter on the role of the 'utama' during the different phases of Islamic history until the rise of what the book defines as "Muslim Activist Intellectuals" in the contemporary period, "Makers" focuses on the ideas and activities of a new breed of 'utama' -- viz., intellectuals who addressed contemporary issues and challenges facing the Muslim world. These intellectual-activists come from nearly every part of the world: the USA, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia and are prominent Muslim personalities today.

Devoting a chapter to the biography, thinking and activities of each of these contemporary Muslim thinkers, such as Ismail al-Faruqi, Khurshid Ahmad, Maryam Jameelah, Hasan Hanafi, Rashid Ghannoushi, Hasan al Turabi, Abdolkarim Soroush, Anwar Ibrahim and Abdurrahman Wahid, "Makers" illustrates that trends of 'tajdid' and 'ijtihad' continue to play an important role in the world of Islam. The contributions of each of the aforementioned thinkers is discussed in an interesting and detailed manner, showing what influences played a role in the shaping of their ideas and their critical contributions toward shaping Islamic discourse in their respective countries. The chapters on Abdolkarim Soroush of Iran and Hasan Hanafi of Egypt are particularly informative for their intellectual contributions to the ongoing Islamic discourse that is not easily accessible to the English reading public.
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Islam attempts to be a faith that attempts to encompass the political, social and economic life as well as the religious life of its adherents. It tries to do this without a central voice to define its principles and interpret its founding texts. This book helps to clarify the many strains of thought that have gone into its modern day development.
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