Islam: The View from the Edge

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, 1994 - History - 236 pages
5 Reviews
Richard Bulliet's timely account provides the essential background for understanding the contemporary resurgence of Muslim activism around the globe. Why, asks Bulliet, did Islam become so rooted in the social structure of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in those parts of Asia and Africa to which it spread after the tenth century?
In assessing the historical evolution of Islamic society, Bulliet abandons the historian's typical habit of viewing Islamic history "from the center," that is, focusing on the rise and fall of imperial dynasties. Instead, he examines the question of how and why Islam became - and continues to be - so rooted in the social structure of the vast majority of people who lived far from the political center and did not see the caliphate as essential in their lives.
Focusing on Iran, and especially the cities of Isfahan, Gorgan, and Nishapur, Bulliet examines a wide range of issues, including religious conversion; migration and demographic trends; the changing functions and fortunes of cities and urban life; and the roots and meaning of religious authority.
The origins of today's resurgence, notes Bulliet, are located in the eleventh century. "The nature of Islamic religious authority and the source of its profound impact upon the lives of Muslims - the Muslims of yesterday, of today, and of tomorrow - cannot be grasped without comprehending the historical evolution of Islamic society," he writes. "Nor can such a comprehension be gained from a cursory perusal of the central narrative of Islam. The view from the edge is needed, because, in truth the edge ultimately creates the center."
  

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Review: Islam: The View from the Edge

User Review  - Mohammad - Goodreads

Bulliet is perhaps the best living historian on the Middle East. Each of his insights is gold. Read full review

Review: Islam: The View from the Edge

User Review  - إديث - Goodreads

Though in modern times with technology the difference between center and edge has blurred. Perhaps that is the scholar's intention. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Orality and Authority
13
Prophet Quran and Companions
23
The View from the Edge
37
Islamic Urbanization
67
Question and Answer
81
Ulama
101
Caliph and Sultan
115
Cities in Crisis
129
Iranian Diaspora
145
New Center New Edges
169
The View from the Edge Today 18 5
185
Notes
209
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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