This month, Routledge releases “Indonesia, Islam, and the International Political Economy: Clash or Cooperation?” by Mark Williams (Vancouver Island University). The publisher’s description follows:
The Republic of Indonesia is a rising great power in the Asia-Pacific, set to become the eighth largest economy in the world in the coming decades. It is the most populous Muslim majority country in the world. The largest Islamic organizations and parties have supported Indonesia’s participation with global markets, but this has not come from an ideological support for capitalism or economic liberalization. Islamic political culture has denounced the injustices caused by global capitalism and its excesses. In fact, support for Indonesia’s engagement with the international political economy is born from political pragmatism, and from Indonesia’s struggles to achieve economic development.
This book examines the role of Islamic identity in Indonesia’s foreign economic relations and in its engagement with the world order. There is no single expression of Islam in Indonesia, the politics espoused by Islamic parties and organizations are far from monolithic. Islamic sentiment has been invoked by the state to justify heinous acts of brutality, as well as by violent, subnational revolutionary groups. However, these expressions of Islam have deviated from the dominant narrative, which is in favour of international cooperation and economic development. Economic exploitation, political alienation, financial volatility, and aggression toward Muslims around the world that has caused some Islamic groups to radicalize. The political culture of Islam in Indonesia is a social force that is helping to foster a peaceful rise for Indonesia. However, a peaceful expression of Islam is not inevitable for the republic, nor can it be assumed that Islamic identity in Indonesia will unwaveringly support the global economic order, regardless of what might occur in global politics.
Next month, Yale University Press will release The Mongols and the Islamic World: From Conquest to Conversion by Peter Jackson (Keele University). The publisher’s description follows:
The Mongol conquest of the Islamic world began in the early thirteenth century when Genghis Khan and his warriors overran Central Asia and devastated much of Iran. Distinguished historian Peter Jackson offers a fresh and fascinating consideration of the years of infidel Mongol rule in Western Asia, drawing from an impressive array of primary sources as well as modern studies to demonstrate how Islam not only survived the savagery of the conquest, but spread throughout the empire.
This unmatched study goes beyond the well-documented Mongol campaigns of massacre and devastation to explore different aspects of an immense imperial event that encompassed what is now Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan, as well as Central Asia and parts of eastern Europe. It examines in depth the cultural consequences for the incorporated Islamic lands, the Muslim experience of Mongol sovereignty, and the conquerors’ eventual conversion to Islam.
In June, Oxford University Press will release Victorian Muslim: Abdullah Quilliam and Islam in the West edited by Jamie Gilham (University of London) and Ron Geaves (Cardiff University). The publisher’s description follows:
After formally announcing his conversion to Islam in the late 1880s, the Liverpool lawyer William Henry Abdullah Quilliam publicly propagated his new faith and established the first community of Muslim converts in Victorian Britain. Despite decades of relative obscurity following his death, with the resurgence of interest in Muslim heritage in the West since 9/11 Quilliam has achieved iconic status in Britain and beyond as a pivotal figure in the history of Western Islam and Muslim-Christian relations.
In this timely book, leading experts of the religion, history and politics of Islam offer new perspectives and shed fresh light on Quilliam’s life and work. Through a series of original essays, the authors critically examine Quilliam’s influences, philosophy and outlook, the significance of his work for Islam, his position in the Muslim world and his legacy. Collectively, the authors ask pertinent questions about how conversion to Islam was viewed and received historically, and how a zealous convert like Quilliam negotiated his religious and national identities and sought to indigenise Islam in a non- Muslim country.
Next month, the University of Michigan Press will release Medieval Jerusalem: Forging an Islamic City in Spaces Sacred to Christians and Jews by Jacob Lassner (Northwestern University). The publisher’s description follows:
Medieval Jerusalem examines an old question that has recently surfaced and given rise to spirited discussion among Islamic historians and archeologists: what role did a city revered for its holiness play in the unfolding politics of the early Islamic period? Was there an historic moment when the city, holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, may have been considered as the administrative center of a vast Islamic world, as some scholars on early Islam have recently claimed? Medieval Jerusalem also emphasizes the city’s evolution as a revered Islamic religious site comparable to the holy cities Mecca and Medina.
Examining Muslim historiography and religious lore in light of Jewish traditions about the city, Jacob Lassner points out how these reworked Jewish traditions and the imposing monumental Islamic architecture of the city were meant to demonstrate that Islam had superseded Judaism and Christianity as the religion for all monotheists. He interrogates the literary sources of medieval Islamic historiography and their modern interpreters as if they were witnesses in a court of law, and applies the same method for the arguments about the monuments of the city’s material culture, including the great archaeological discoveries along the south wall of the ancient Temple Mount.
This book will be of interest to a broad range of readers given the significance of the city in the current politics of the Near East. It will in part serve as a corrective to narratives of Jerusalem’s past that are currently popular for scholarly and political reasons.
In May, Oxford University Press will release The Sultan’s Renegades: Christian-European Converts to Islam and the Making of the Ottoman Elite, 1575-1610 by Tobias P. Graf (Heidelberg University). The publisher’s description follows:
The figure of the renegade – a European Christian or Jew who had converted to Islam and was now serving the Ottoman sultan – is omnipresent in all genres produced by those early modern Christian Europeans who wrote about the Ottoman Empire. As few contemporaries failed to remark, converts were disproportionately represented among those who governed, administered, and fought for the sultan. Unsurprisingly, therefore, renegades have attracted considerable attention from historians of Europe as well as students of European literature. Until very recently, however, Ottomanists have been surprisingly silent on the presence of Christian-European converts in the Ottoman military-administrative elite.
The Sultan’s Renegades inserts these ‘foreign’ converts into the context of Ottoman elite life to reorient the discussion of these individuals away from the present focus on their exceptionality, towards a qualified appreciation of their place in the Ottoman imperial enterprise and the Empire’s relations with its neighbours in Christian Europe. Drawing heavily on Central European sources, this study highlights the deep political, religious, and cultural entanglements between the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe beyond the Mediterranean Basin as the ‘shared world’ par excellence. The existence of such trans-imperial subjects is not only symptomatic of the Empire’s ability to attract and integrate people of a great diversity of backgrounds, it also illustrates the extent to which the Ottomans participated in processes of religious polarization usually considered typical of Christian Europe in this period. Nevertheless, Christian Europeans remained ambivalent about those they dismissed as apostates and traitors, frequently relying on them for support in the pursuit of familial and political interests.
In April, the University of Michigan Press will release The Most Noble of People: Religious, Ethnic, and Gender Identity in Muslim Spain by Jessica A. Coope (University of Nebraska). The publisher’s description follows:
The Most Noble of People presents a nuanced look at questions of identity in Muslim Spain under the Umayyads, an Arab dynasty that ruled from 756 to 1031. With a social historical emphasis on relations among different religious and ethnic groups, and between men and women, Jessica A. Coope considers the ways in which personal and cultural identity in al-Andalus could be alternately fluid and contentious.
The opening chapters define Arab and Muslim identity as those categories were understood in Muslim Spain, highlighting the unique aspects of this society as well as its similarities with other parts of the medieval Islamic world.The book goes on to discuss what it meant to be a Jew or Christian in Spain under Islamic rule, and the degree to which non-Muslims were full participants in society. Following this is a consideration of gender identity as defined by Islamic law and by less normative sources like literature and mystical texts. It concludes by focusing on internal rebellions against the government of Muslim Spain, particularly the conflicts between Muslims who were ethnically Arab and those who were Berber or native Iberian, pointing to the limits of Muslim solidarity.
Drawn from an unusually broad array of sources—including legal texts, religious polemic, chronicles, mystical texts, prose literature, and poetry, in both Arabic and Latin—many of Coope’s illustrations of life in al-Andalus also reflect something of the larger medieval world. Further, some key questions about gender, ethnicity, and religious identity that concerned people in Muslim Spain—for example, women’s status under Islamic law, or what it means to be a Muslim in different contexts and societies around the world—remain relevant today.
In December, Palgrave MacMillan released Jihad in Premodern Sufi Writings by Harry S. Neale (UC Berkley). The publisher’s description follows:
This book is the only comprehensive study in a European language that analyzes how Sufi treatises, Qur’anic commentary, letters, hagiography, and poetry define and depict jihad. Harry S. Neale analyzes Sufi jihad discourse in Arabic and Persian texts composed between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries, providing access to many writings that have hitherto been unavailable in English. Despite the diversity of practice within Sufism that existed throughout the premodern period, Sufi writings consistently promulgated a complementary understanding of jihad as both a spiritual and military endeavor. Neale discusses the disparity between contemporary academic Sufi jihad discourse in European languages, which generally presents Sufis as peaceful mystics, and contemporary academic writing in Arabic that depicts Sufis as exemplary warriors who combine spiritual discipline with martial zeal. The book concludes that historically, Sufi writings never espoused a purely spiritual interpretation of the doctrine of jihad.
In February, the University of Edinburgh Press will release Women in Mongol Iran: The Khatuns, 1206-1335 by Bruno De Nicola (University of St. Andrews). The publisher’s description follows:
Bruno De Nicola investigates the development of women’s status in the Mongol Empire from its original homeland in Mongolia up to the end of the Ilkhanate of Iran in 1335. Taking a thematic approach, the chapters show a coherent progression of this development and contextualise the evolution of the role of women in medieval Mongol society. The arrangement serves as a starting point from where to draw comparison with the status of Mongol women in the later period. Exploring patterns of continuity and transformation in the status of these women in different periods of the Mongol Empire as it expanded westwards into the Islamic world, the book offers a view on the transformation of a nomadic-shamanist society from its original homeland in Mongolia to its settlement in the mostly sedentary-Muslim Iran in the mid-13th century.
In January, Yale University Press will release a new translation of Advice for Callow Jurists and Gullible Mendicants on Befriending Emirs by Abd al-Wahhab ibn Ahmad ibn Ali al-Sharani, translated by Adam Sabra (University of California, Santa Barbara). The publisher’s description follows:
This mirror for princes sheds light on the relationship between spiritual and political authority in early modern Egypt
This guide to political behavior and expediency offers advice to Sufi shaykhs, or spiritual guides, on how to interact and negotiate with powerful secular officials, judges, and treasurers, or emirs. Translated into English for the first time, it is a unique account of the relationship between spiritual and political authority in late medieval / early modern Islamic society.
In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Islamic History and Law: From the 4th to the 11th Century and Beyond,” by Labeeb Ahmed Bsoul (Khalifa University). The publisher’s description follows:
In Islamic History and Law, Labeeb Ahmed Bsoul undertakes an extensive examination of Islamic intellectual history, covering ages that witnessed different movements and doctrinal trends. While political and geographical factors certainly influenced the Islamic religious sciences, internal and intellectual factors exerted a much more substantial influence. This study gives priority to jurists’ intellectual operations throughout the Muslim world, covering the historical development of Islamic jurisprudence from the middle of 4th century. Bsoul’s examination of jurisprudential advances takes into account the shifting dominance of particular centers of legal scholarship in light of competing doctrines and their adherents. This work sheds light on jurists of North Africa and the Andalus, who are rarely mentioned in general modern works, and also aims to demonstrate Muslim women’s important role in the history of jurisprudence, highlighting their participation in the Islamic sciences. Bsoul relies mainly on Arabic primary sources to give an impartial presentation of these jurists and produce an accurate memory of the past based on objective knowledge.