- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 21, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195187288
- ISBN-13: 978-0195187281
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb 1st Edition
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"In this timely and engaging book, Umar Abd-Allah brings to life an important, but little-known figure in Victorian America. In an illuminating story of Alexander Webb, Abd-Allah shows how he navigated life as a prominent Muslim and an American with relative ease and without resistance from mainstream society. This work is an important lesson, not only for history buffs but for anyone interested in understanding contemporary times." --Geneive Abdo, author of Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11
"A remarkable biography of the intriguing Alexander Russell Webb, one of the earliest American converts to Islam. Webb's efforts to plant Islam in the United States are placed in the historical context of his New York upbringing, the religious developments in Victorian America, and his travels in the Muslim world." --Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, co-author of Muslim Women in America
"A prodigious study of one of the most important early American Muslims. Webb's tour acoss the Islamic world is captivating, and his interpretation of the faith provides a model for contemporary Islamic thought." --Jane I. Smith, author of Islam in America
"Fascinating for all Muslims and all Americans." --The Muslim World Book Review
"Given our current lack of solid information about the place of Islam in American religious history, Abd-Allah's scholarly work is really quite valuable." --H-Net
"An informative biography of an important spiritual figure." --Religious Studies Review
"Umar Abd-Allah's account of Webb is by far the most comprehensive...Abd-Allah's lucid and elegant prose should make the work attractive to a wide array of general readers as well as religious historians of the United States." --Journal of Religion
About the Author
Umar F. Abd-Allah is the Chair and Scholar-in-Residence at the Nawawi Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation based in Chicago. Abd-Allah received his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1978.
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Read the book, you will like it. It is a book about a man of his times, who lived in a time of turmoil and great change in the USA, andshould interest any student of American and Islamic history.
In a way, Webb's Islamic advocacy could well be considered an abject failure. "During the initial stages of the American Mission, Webb expressed boundless confidence that it would succeed. 'I honestly believe that within five years [of 1892] we will have a Moslem brotherhood in America very strong numerically.' Webb's relatively short-lived experiment fell drastically short of his predictions." (p. 256)
Hindsight offers several explanations for the precipitate collapse. "The first sees it as a failure of patronage, probably compounded by less than brilliant management. ...Never in his life does [Webb] appear to have been especially practical or fitted for management. A second explanation... combines allegations of financial and administrative shortcomings with misconduct. ...A third analysis focuses on the hostility of Victorian American society and the incompatibility of Webb's mission with its time and place." (p. 257)
Yet, "like his precursors and successors, Webb provides the American Muslim community today not only with a sense of the importance of community, but also with a deeper sense of identity and historical continuity." (p, 269)
Webb could well be called the father of the Muslim movement in America and he lived a life that reflected the best of what the Muslim religion could be. After his death in 1916, he was largely forgotten and the center of Muslim religion in the US moved to Noble Drew Ali in Chicago whose early writings implied that he knew or at least had heard of Webb. After Drew Ali's death the Muslim faith in American split into many factions.
This is the first ever biography of Webb.