World Islam: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies

1st Edition

Andrew Rippin

Published June 26, 2008
Reference - 1664 Pages
ISBN 9780415401036 - CAT# RU50614
Series: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies


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Reflecting the diversity of Islam, this collection focuses on the presence of Muslims in countries outside the traditionally conceived heartlands of the Islamic world. The history of the arrival of Islam in such countries and the nature of the way in which Islam is practised in such places is the thematic focus of the materials selected for inclusion.

Today, the community of Muslims around the globe looks to the Arab world (and Iran) as a source of identity and authority. While this is driven as much by finances as by religious ideology, it does create a sense of there being a central Islamic world and a ‘diaspora’ which can be separated and considered. This separation may also be considered a historical phenomenon: the core ‘Islamic world’ came into existence as a result of the early military expansion of the Arabs up to about 750CE; after that point, the spread of Islam occurred by different and more gradual means (often influenced by trade especially). Both of these ways of conceptualizing the region of interest results is a vast amount of territory in which to explore the special manifestations of Islam.

Materials selected for inclusion in this Major Work provide general information on Islam rather than being overly specific. A number of aspects are considered:

• the history of the introduction of Islam into the area;

• the means by which Islam spread;

• the attitude Muslims took to the surrounding culture;

• the character of the Islam which resulted;

• the sense of Muslim identity in the area; and

• the issues which might have emerged as a result.

The gathered material is grouped geographically with an attempt to include as many individual countries as possible within each area, while also paying attention to each of the above criteria. An initial selection of articles on ‘world Islam’—the process and means of the spread of Islam in general and some consideration of what it means to talk about the presence of Islam in the world and a survey of the general diversity of characteristics of Islam—serves as an introductory section to the volumes. Additional groupings are geographical and include South Asia; South East Asia; Australia and islands of the Pacific; China; countries of the former Soviet Union; South Africa; East Africa; West Africa; Europe; North America; Central and South America.

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