Islam & Muslims: A Guide to Diverse Experience in a Modern by Mark Sedgwick

By Mark Sedgwick

Introduces Western readers to the basics of Islam and to how Muslims practice non secular teachings to their daily lives. Islam & Muslims addresses every thing from Islamic perceptions of God to marriage, prayer, and politics. Drawing at the author's event dwelling, educating, and learning within the heart East, It breaks down stereotypes, proposing members in a delicate and independent way.

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Islam spread in the opposite order, first as a state-sponsored religion, and then through individual encounters. Shortly after the death of the Prophet, between 633 and 644, armies of Arab Muslims conquered most of the world around them. In 633, Arabia lay beyond the fringes of two great competing empires, the very ancient Persian empire (based in what is now called Iran) and the more recent Roman empire. Two centuries earlier, the original Roman empire had split into two parts, a Western Empire based on Rome and an Eastern Empire based on Constantinople.

What tends to happen after such conquests is that the conquering nomads fall apart within a few generations of their victory. From a historian’s point of view, then, the really interesting question is not how the Arab Muslims conquered most of the world around them, but how they managed to keep united afterwards. This was probably because they shared an ideal beyond mere conquest—that of Islam. Perhaps it was also because the Arab Muslim leaders of the eighth century were also unusually talented.

Qxp 36 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 sh 35 reg 36 2/22/06 6:01 PM Page 36 I SLAM & M USLIMS When I first visited the Muslim world, I shared the common view of most outsiders, that Islam is medieval. On my fourth evening in Egypt, I was sitting with some other foreigners in a hotel bar, and I explained to one of them how I thought Islam really needed a reformation. One man there was a European scholar of Islam, and his expression, as he said to me, “It’s a bit more complicated than that,” was enough to discourage me from making any more instant judgments for the rest of the evening.

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