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Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East (Library of Modern Middle East Studies) Paperback – 15 Dec 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; First Edition edition (15 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848850700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848850705
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 750,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sami Zubaida is Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London and a specialist in the religion, culture and politics of the Middle East. He is the author of 'Law and Power in the Islamic World', 'Islam, the People and the State' and co-editor of 'A Taste of Thyme: the Culinary Cultures of the Middle East' (all I.B.Tauris).

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By docread on 31 Dec. 2011
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After witnessing last year's major political upheavals sweeping through the Arab world ,it is becoming a compelling task once again to understand the historical and sociopolitical processes at work in this important region. Zubaida's book is a welcome addition to the existing corpus of work on the Islamic Middle East as it provides a radically different analysis to the usual over simplistic "Islamist reaction" types of explanation.He starts by debunking the essentialist myths affirming the immutability of Islamic culture.He decries the use of the epithet "Islamic" to describe the historically and geographically diverse cultural forms arising in this region.In fact he asserts that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism a wide range of doctrines, practices and moral precepts.Moreover a number of social practices described as typically Islamic antedates Islam and can be traced back to Pre- Islamic Mediterranean , African and Central Asian rural and tribal traditions.Even the "Sharia" which supposedly cements the historical Muslim identity , is far from being an established body of canonical law hermetically closed to various doctrinal and sectarian interpretations. In fact pure Islamic Law has never prevailed throughout the historical Middle Eastern societies and never got embedded in robust long lasting institutions.The author thus remains critical of all artificial historical constructions of a homogeneous Muslim identity that ironically tends to appeal to both the Islamic apologists and to the Western scholars and commentators.

We are reminded that Religious Fundamentalism with its moralising and anti scientific stance, is a conservative reaction against the perceived corrupting effects of Secular Modernity.
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