Book Review: Muslim Perceptions of other Religions: A Historical Survey
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- Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions - Jacques Waardenburg - Oxford University Press;
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Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Muslim perceptions of other religions: Jean Jacques Waardenburg Publisher: Oxford University Press, English View all editions and formats Rating: Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions. Lists with This Book. Oct 27, JB rated it really liked it Shelves: Mildly outdated by now, but still quite valuable. The first section of the book, perhaps the most important, is simply a Waardenburg's own four-chapter overview of the history of Muslim perceptions of other religions in the early, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods. Waardenburg begins with the Qur'an, sketching how other religious groups are treated there.
We find that "there are a number of texts in which Christians are evaluated positively," but "on the other hand, the Christians are r Mildly outdated by now, but still quite valuable.
Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey
We find that "there are a number of texts in which Christians are evaluated positively," but "on the other hand, the Christians are reproached for having forgotten their spiritual rules and prescriptions and hence living in animosity with one another. Such conflicts have been aroused by God as a punishment, and they will continue until the Day of Resurrection when an account will be made of their deeds.
All of this implies that the Christians have broken their alliance with God. In summary, we can say that the Qur'an directs reproaches at the Christians but explicitly or implicitly recognizes positive religious values in them" What Waardenburg sees by the era's close is that "the religious movement which had started in Mecca as a purification movement and which had become a religious reform movement and potential religion in Medina had now been completed or 'fulfilled' as a full-fledged din in the true meaning of the word at the time.
That is to say, a religion with a strong sociopolitical dimension, or the other way round, a sociopolitical order on a religious foundation" Throughout the medieval period, Waardenburg identifies seven main attitudes toward other religions: Waardenburg particularly examines the scholarship of Ibn Hazm, al-Biruni, al-Shahrastani, and Abu 'l-Ma'ali; and he goes on to sketch medieval Muslim treatments, not only of the 'usual' suspects Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians , but even Hindus, Buddhists, and Manichees.
Medieval Muslim treatments of Christianity tended to be "highly critical," and "the knowledge of Christianity as a religion was largely confined to those doctrines to which the Qur'an alludes and the main divisions between the Christian communities of the Middle East" Waardenburg sketches four periods in medieval Muslim perceptions of Christianity: Adi and Ibn Zur'a began to respond to Muslim polemics, though as Byzantine fortunes tapered, strong Muslim polemics resurface as well e. Waardenburg's treatment of the modern period, , is not quite as detailed, taking special note of "the emergence of new, more extensive empires, such as the Ottoman empire in the fourteenth century and the Iranian and Moghul empires in the sixteenth, [which] created a new situation in the Muslim world," fostering a "new kind of 'togetherness' So, for instance, we see the Moghul ruler Dara Shukoh translating the Upanishads for wider consumption though his younger brother and successor Alamgir I reversed his policies ; we encounter Ottoman works by Evliya Celebi and Hajji Khalifa exploring the history and cultures of Europeans; and more.
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The chapter also investigates the colonial period, and the hardening of various reactions to "the West. Finally, Waardenburg considers the contemporary period, , which saw "the establishment of a number of independent Muslim nation-states" and "the end of the European powers' immediate military and political domination" even while Euro-American economic influence rose. In a number of Muslim states Christian missions were forbidden outright, and in Saudi Arabia, for instance, Christianity cannot even manifest itself in public" Waardenburg surveys an assortment of crises and revolutions, the variety of political ideologies at play and their relationships with Islamic traditions, and so forth.
This period saw "much controversial literature emphasizing the superiority of Islam, often on a popular and even base level, and intellectually deplorable," as well as some higher-quality material proliferating since the 'dialogue years' in the ss.
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Following this initial section, but before the concluding select bibliography compiled by Waardenburg himself, other scholars have the opportunity to treat specific topics within the medieval and modern periods. Plenty of these are worthwhile reading: In the modern period, Isabel Stumpel-Hatami looks at the ways Persian Muslims understand Christianity; Asghar Ali Engineer looks at modern Muslim perceptions of Hindus; Christine Schirrmacher notes the way nineteenth-century Islamic apologetics seized upon Western European higher-criticism; Karel Steenbrink offers a fascinating look at how the Pancasila state ideology of Indonesia interacts with various Muslim views of other religions; and, in a closing chapter, Ekkehard Rudolph examines Arabic-language Muslim periodicals for their reflections on Muslim-Christian dialogue, and where several past Sheikhs al-Azhar are seen to denounce Muslim-Christian dialogue as being "not at all expedient as long as the 'subversive' political and religious influences of the West on the Islamic world endure" , and even some Islamic articles denouncing the idea that Muslims and Christians worship the same God On the whole, while it only reaches up to the final decade of the twentieth century, this collection of essays contains plenty of valuable material; one only wishes that more full English translations of some of the pieces referenced were available, to better get a sense of the sweep and detail of some of the arguments proferred therein.
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