- Taschenbuch: 176 Seiten
- Verlag: Ember (14. August 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0385739761
- ISBN-13: 978-0385739764
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 12 Jahren
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14,1 x 1 x 21 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 139.870 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
No god but God: The Origins and Evolution of Islam (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 14. August 2012
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
REZA ASLAN has studied religions at Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in fiction. The original adult edition of No god but God was listed by Blackwell Publishers as one of the hundred most important books of the past decade. Born in Iran, Reza Azlan now lives in Los Angeles, where he is associate professor of creative writing at UC Riverside.
From the Hardcover edition.
Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
Religion in Pre-Islamic Arabia
A Brief Word on Prophets and Religion
Prophets do not create religions. Because all religions are bound to the social, spiritual, and cultural landscapes from which they arose and in which they developed, prophets must be understood as reformers who redefine and reinterpret the existing beliefs and practices of their communities. Indeed, it is most often the prophet's successors who take upon themselves the responsibility of fashioning their master's words and deeds into unified, easily comprehensible religious systems.
Like so many prophets before him, the Prophet Muhammad never claimed to have invented a new religion. On the contrary, by Muhammad's own admission, his message was an attempt to reform the existing religious beliefs and cultural practices of pre-Islamic Arabia so as to bring the God of the Jews and Christians to the Arab peoples. "[God] has established for you [the Arabs] the same religion enjoined on Noah, on Abraham, on Moses, and on Jesus," the Quran says (42:13). It should not be surprising, therefore, that Muhammad would have been influenced as a young man by the religious landscape of pre-Islamic Arabia. As unique and divinely inspired as the Islamic movement may have been, its origins are undoubtedly linked to the multiethnic, multireligious society that fed the Prophet's imagination as a young man and allowed him to craft his revolutionary message in a language that would have been easily recognizable to the pagan Arabs he was so desperately trying to reach. For whatever else Muhammad may have been, he was, without question, a man of his time. And so, to truly understand the nature and meaning of Muhammad's message, we must travel back in time to that intriguing yet ill-defined era of paganism that Muslims refer to as the Jahiliyyah--"the Time of Ignorance."
The Time of Ignorance: Arabia, the Sixth Century C.E.
In the arid, desolate basin of Mecca, surrounded on all sides by the bare mountains of the Arabian desert, stands a small, nondescript sanctuary that the ancient Arabs refer to as the Ka'ba: the Cube. The Ka'ba is a squat, roofless structure made of unmortared stones and sunk into a valley of sand. Its four walls--so low a young goat could leap over them--are swathed in strips of heavy cloth. At its base, two small doors are chiseled into the gray stone, allowing entry into the inner sanctum. It is here, inside the cramped interior of the sanctuary, that the gods of pre-Islamic Arabia reside.
In all, there are said to be three hundred sixty idols housed in and around the Ka'ba, representing every god recognized in the Arabian Peninsula: from the Syrian god Hubal and the powerful Egyptian goddess Isis to the Christian god Jesus and his holy mother, Mary. During the holy months, pilgrims from all over the Peninsula make their way to this barren land to visit their tribal deities. They sing songs of worship and dance in front of the gods; they make sacrifices and pray for health. Then, in a remarkable ritual--the origins of which are a mystery--the pilgrims gather as a group and rotate around the Ka'ba seven times, some pausing to kiss each corner of the sanctuary before being captured and swept away again by the current of bodies.
The pagan Arabs gathered around the Ka'ba believe their sanctuary to have been founded by Adam, the first man. They believe that Adam's original edifice was destroyed by the Great Flood, then rebuilt by Noah. They believe that after Noah, the Ka'ba was forgotten for centuries until Abraham rediscovered it while visiting his firstborn son, Ismail, and his concubine, Hagar, both of whom had been banished to this wilderness at the behest of Abraham's wife, Sarah. And they believe it was at this very spot that Abraham nearly sacrificed Ismail before being stopped by the promise that, like his younger brother, Isaac, Ismail would sire a great nation, the descendants of whom now spin over the sandy Meccan valley like a desert whirlwind.
Of course, these are just stories intended to convey what the Ka'ba means, not where it came from. The truth is that no one knows who built the Ka'ba, or how long it has been here. It is likely that the sanctuary was not even the original reason for the sanctity of this place.
It is also possible that the original sanctuary held cosmological significance for the ancient Arabs. Many of the idols in the Ka'ba were associated with the planets and stars; additionally, the legend that they totaled three hundred sixty in number suggests astral connotations. The pilgrims' seven "turnings" around the Ka'ba may have been intended to mimic the motion of the heavenly bodies. It was, after all, a common belief among ancient peoples that their temples and sanctuaries were terrestrial replicas of the cosmic mountain from which creation sprang. The Ka'ba, like the Pyramids in Egypt or the Temple in Jerusalem, may have been constructed as an axis mundi: a sacred space around which the universe revolves, the link between the earth and the solid dome of heaven.
Alas, as with so many things about the Ka'ba, its origins are mere speculation. The only thing scholars can say with any certainty is that by the sixth century c.e., this small sanctuary made of mud and stone had become the center of religious life in pre-Islamic Arabia: the time known as Jahiliyyah.
The Pagan Arabs
Traditionally, the Jahiliyyah has been defined by Muslims as an era of moral depravity and religious discord: a time when the sons of Ismail had obscured belief in the one true God and plunged the Arabian Peninsula into the darkness of idolatry. But then, like the rising of the dawn, the Prophet Muhammad emerged in Mecca at the beginning of the seventh century, preaching a message of absolute monotheism and uncompromising morality. Through the revelations he received from God, Muhammad put an end to the paganism of the Arabs and replaced the Time of Ignorance with the universal religion of Islam.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Well that's just frustrating... I don't think it changes my review, but maybe explains why I didn't like it very much.
I'm not religious, but find religion fascinating. I also find islamic history very interesting, without knowing a whole lot about it.
I read Zealot and enjoyed that and was interested in seeing what Aslan brought to a history of Islam.
I wanted to understand both the history and beliefs of islam better.
A few areas where I wasn't satisfied.
1. As in Zealot, Aslan frequently doesn't distinguish when he is talking about what believers believe vs. what historians believe. I had several cases where I couldn't tell if what I was reading was what the koran said or what historians had verified. I know there is a balance (ie it would have been a SLOW book if every sentence was marked as history or koran).. but a chapter or two saying which was which would have been great..
2. Almost no time was spent on the basic islamic traditions... Why pray 5 times a day? What about the major holidays? etc... I don't think I really learned much about the religion itself.
3. He more or less abruptly stops long before modern times. Very little attention is paid to how modern Islam came about (for example, s***e and sunni are mentioned, but not followed through on... seems like these are sort of a big deal in modern islam, right?).
4. In the last few chapters, Aslan tries to explain why some of the uglier beliefs of Islam (attitude towards women, jihad, etc) are misinterpretations of the real message.
Which is fine. I'm not one to paint an entire religion by the views of it's extremists. But those chapters feel completely tacked on. Especially when he stops the Islamic history somewhere in the 1100s.
It's like he completely changed the subject.
Anyways... short summary is I didn't feel like I got the history lesson I was hoping for.
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