New PDF release: A Companion to Muslim Cultures

By Amyn B. Sajoo

ISBN-10: 1780761279

ISBN-13: 9781780761275

Culture shapes each element of the connection among God and the believer in Islam — in addition to between believers, and with these past the fold. Fasting, prayers, and pilgrimages are attuned to social rhythms outdated and new, at the very least the designs of mosques and public gardens, the making of "religious" song, and methods of pondering know-how and wellbeing and fitness. historical deserts and sleek city landscapes may possibly echo with an identical demand transcendence, yet in voices that emerge from very assorted daily realities.
Scripture itself, because the Prophet Muhammad knew, is ever visible via a cultural lens; either its language and what it communicates are in detail tied to context. And the cosmopolitanism that runs via Muslim historical past from the outset recollects T.S. Eliot’s comment that tradition is "that which makes lifestyles worthy living." It frames how the inner most spiritual values are understood and practiced, from modesty in adornment and harmony with the underprivileged, to integrity and responsibility in political lifestyles. Muslims have by no means been content material with a passive separation of religion from their day-by-day lives, no matter if public or private.
What are the consequences of this holistic view in a various global of Muslims and non-Muslims? How do center moral values interface with the details of neighborhood cultures in all their complexity, particularly by way of issues just like the prestige of ladies and the scope of person spiritual freedom? The solutions — at a time whilst secular and Muslim identities seem to be locked in clash— are explored during this significant other by means of a few of today’s best scholars.

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While the ethical tenets of the sharia make it the ‘passageway’ into the faith, he distinguishes sharply its interpretive heritage, of which the legal tradition (fiqh) is a part. There is ‘certainly more to Islam than the sharia, which is only part of the rich experience of being a Muslim’, notes An-Naim. The individual’s voluntary submission is of the essence in the theology of the sharia itself, and it is impaired by any coercion. Claims by the state to be its enforcer are exercises in secular politics, and violate the civic pluralism to which both Islamic and contemporary human rights principles hold the state accountable.

Earle Waugh brings this home in his colourful survey of ‘everyday piety’ not only around the Quran but also Muhammad, the Shia Imams and saintly figures whose tombs can be places of uniquely evocative practises. Secular culture may also serve religious ends in highly non-traditional ways, such as when ‘Muslim rap’ makes the music charts. Objects like rosaries or, in Egypt, the eye of Horus, can acquire a sacred quality through use in rituals. Waugh regards popular piety as engaging key aspects of how we see ourselves and our solidarities; as such, it becomes ‘an essential part of the journey of modernity’.

While the focus is on the civic environment – palace communities, urban fortifications, bathhouses, bazaars, public squares, gardens – there are recurrent themes that overlap with religious architecture. Wide reliance on arches, courtyards, pillared halls and elaborate screens (mashrebiyyas), for example, creates an ‘ever-evolving group of aesthetic identities’ around shared tastes. But as such local preferences are displaced by western tastes brought in by globalisation, is there a future for a ‘Muslim’ architecture?

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A Companion to Muslim Cultures by Amyn B. Sajoo

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