INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER - Pulitzer Prize winning author presents the stories of a wide range of Muslim women in the Middle East. As an Australian American and an experienced foreign correspondent, Brooks' thoughtful analysis attempts to understand the precarious status of women in the wake of Islamic fundamentalism.
Frank, enraging, and captivating. - The New York Times
As a prizewinning foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Geraldine Brooks spent six years covering the Middle East through wars, insurrections, and the volcanic upheaval of resurgent fundamentalism. Yet for her, headline events were only the backdrop to a less obvious but more enduring drama: the daily life of Muslim women.
Muslims who explore sources of morality other than Islam are threatened with death, and Muslim women who escape the virgins' cage are branded whores. So asserts Ayaan Hirsi Ali's profound meditation on Islam and the role of women, the rights of the individual, the roots of fanaticism, and Western policies toward Islamic countries and immigrant communities. Hard-hitting, outspoken, and controversial, The Caged Virgin is a call to arms for the emancipation of women from a brutal religious and cultural oppression and from an outdated cult of virginity. It is a defiant call for clear thinking and for an Islamic Enlightenment. But it is also the courageous story of how Hirsi Ali herself fought back against everyone who tried to force her to submit to a traditional Muslim woman's life and how she became a voice of reform.Born in Somalia and raised Muslim, but outraged by her religion's hostility toward women, Hirsi Ali escaped an arranged marriage to a distant relative and fled to the Netherlands. There, she learned Dutch, worked as an interpreter in abortion clinics and shelters for battered women, earned a college degree, and started a career in politics as a Dutch parliamentarian. In November 2004, the violent murder on an Amsterdam street of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, with whom Hirsi Ali had written a film about women and Islam called Submission, changed her life. Threatened by the same group that slew van Gogh, Hirsi Ali now has round-the-clock protection, but has not allowed these circumstances to compromise her fierce criticism of the treatment of Muslim women, of Islamic governments' attempts to silence any questioning of their traditions, and of Western governments' blind tolerance of practices such as genital mutilation and forced marriages of female minors occurring in their countries. Hirsi Ali relates her experiences as a Muslim woman so that oppressed Muslim women can take heart and seek their own liberation. Drawing on her love of reason and the Enlightenment philosophers on whose principles democracy was founded, she presents her firsthand knowledge of the Islamic worldview and advises Westerners how best to address the great divide that currently exists between the West and Islamic nations and between Muslim immigrants and their adopted countries. An international bestseller -- with updated information for American readers and two new essays added for this edition -- The Caged Virgin is a compelling, courageous, eye-opening work.
A collection of modern Sufi tales by renowned Rumi translator and Sufi initiate Nevit Ergin- Contains 24 deceptively simple stories that invoke questioning and awareness - By the renowned English translator of Rumi's complete Divan-i Kebir Sufi stories have traditionally been a means of opening a portal that allows us to advance from our basic perceptions into states of extraordinary awareness. This collection of deceptively simple stories by renowned Rumi translator and Sufi Nevit Ergin has the ability to remove readers' complacent sense of self and identity and to expand their ordinary awareness of reality from every possible direction. In his stories the primrose path we travel suddenly turns into a trickster's hall of mirrors where we learn that we are not children of Adam and Eve so much as children of our perceptions. The protagonists and antagonists of these stories are constantly morphing and exchanging places. They exist in a world where individuals are stalked by a cricket that is an "invisible monster with the face of a demon," confront the ambiguous burden of ridding oneself of one's own corpse, and discover the "invisible fence of reality" existing in the layers of a discarded piece of art. The symbols in these stories are booby traps designed to release the mind from the sense of its own importance and awaken the realization that "if you refuse to be born, you cannot die." Blind faith, the author says, has proved itself incapable of producing wisdom, tolerance, or world peace. This is because the answers to humanity's problems lie beyond our ordinary perception and require love and ecstasy to be made visible. Our thirst for wisdom and understanding must go to the fountain of universal truth. These stories provide water from that fountain.
The "golden age of Islam" in the eighth and ninth centuries was as significant to world history as the Roman Empire was in the first and second centuries. Islamic culture and enterprise stretched from Tunisia to India; its legacy influenced politics and society for years to come. From the founding of the city of Baghdad in A.D. 762 to the end of the ninth century, the rule of the Abbasid dynasty was the zenith of Islamic conquest and influence. The caliphs of Baghdad formed the model for succeeding Muslim regimes, from military conquests to court-sponsored poetry and literature, from building palaces to establishing court bureaucracies. Yet the true story of this fascinating empire has rarely been told outside the academic world.In this deftly woven narrative, Hugh Kennedy introduces us to the rich history and flourishing culture of the period and to the men and women of the palaces at Baghdad and Samarra--the caliphs, viziers, eunuchs, and women of the harem--who fashioned the glorious days of the Arabian Nights . It is an epic story in every sense, with larger-than-life rulers, exotic slave girls, inventive tortures, and enough court intrigue to frighten a Borgia.
As the specter of religious extremism has become a fact of life today, the temptation is great to allow the evil actions and perspectives of a minority to represent an entire tradition. In the case of Islam, there has been much recent confusion in the Western world centered on distorted portrayals of its core values. Born of ignorance, such confusion feeds the very problem at hand.
In The Heart of Islam one of the great intellectual figures in Islamic history offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.
Nasr challenges members of the world's civilizations to stop demonizing others while identifying themselves with pure goodness and to turn instead to a deeper understanding of those shared values that can solve the acute problems facing humanity today. "Muslims must ask themselves what went wrong within their own societies," he writes, "but the West must also pose the same question about itself . . . whether we are Muslims, Jews, Christians, or even secularists, whether we live in the Islamic world or in the West, we are in need of meaning in our lives, of ethical norms to guide our actions, of a vision that would allow us to live at peace with each other and with the rest of God's creation." Such help, he believes, lies at the heart of every religion and can lead the followers of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as well as other religious and spiritual traditions to a new future of mutual respect and common global purpose.
The Heart of Islam is a landmark presentation of enduring value that offers hope to humanity, and a compelling portrait of the beauty and appeal of the faith of 1.2 billion people.
In this book, a young Muslim activist reveals the importance of the youth programmes of religious extremists in creating terrorists - and argues that if they can do it, so can those of us who believe in religious pluralism.
No religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular Western imagination as an extreme faith that promotes authoritarian government, female oppression, civil war, and terrorism. Karen Armstrong's short history offers a vital corrective to this narrow view. The distillation of years of thinking and writing about Islam, it demonstrates that the world's fastest-growing faith is a much richer and more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest.
"Islam: A Short History" begins with the flight of Muhammad and his family from Medina in the seventh century and the subsequent founding of the first mosques. It recounts the origins of the split between Shii and Sunni Muslims, and the emergence of Sufi mysticism; the spread of Islam throughout North Africa, the Levant, and Asia; the shattering effect on the Muslim world of the Crusades; the flowering of imperial Islam in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries into the world's greatest and most sophisticated power; and the origins and impact of revolutionary Islam. It concludes with an assessment of Islam today and its challenges.
With this brilliant book, Karen Armstrong issues a forceful challenge to those who hold the view that the West and Islam are civilizations set on a collision course. It is also a model of authority, elegance, and economy.
This groundbreaking book, developed with a grant from the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for Interreligious Understanding of the American Jewish Committee, is a stepping stone to dialogue. Descended from a common ancestor, Jews and Muslims share a special relationship and practice religions that exhibit remarkable moral and theological resemblance. But most Jews know little about Islam. Professor Khalid Duran presents the majesty of Islam, its history and culture, but neither ignores nor rationalizes its more problematic aspects. His book offers an insightful and forthright treatment of the varieties of Muslim fundamentalism, Islamism and Jihadism. It offers a candid analysis of the status of women in Muslim belief and practice, as well as an unsentimental assessment of the historical treatment of minorities in Islamic societies. A publication of the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding of the American Jewish Committee.
Sufism, a profound blend of the mystical and rational traditions within Islam, emerged in the late tenth century. A reformist movement created as a reaction against the increasing worldliness of Muslim society, it focuses on Islam's spiritual dimension. Described as Islam of the Heart, Sufism has attracted adherents among both Sunni and Shi'a Muslims, and among Western Jews and Christians as well. In THE OTHER ISLAM, Stephen Schwartz traces the origins and history of Sufism, elucidates its teachings, and demonstrates its links to the mystical traditions of Western religions. He introduces such celebrated Sufi poets and philosophers as Rumi, Omar Khayyam, and Al-Ghazali, and illuminates their influence on the Kabbalah, on the Jewish philosopher Maimonides, and on Christian mystics like Saint John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. Many Americans today identify Islam with the maniacal hatred of the West manifested in Arab celebrations of the Twin Tower massacres, the bloodshed in Iraq, and the militant speeches of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By shining a light on the spiritual power and depth of Sufism, THE OTHER ISLAM transforms this image and opens the way to finding common ground in our troubled times.