The Jews of Islam (Princeton Classics) by Bernard Lewis

By Bernard Lewis

This landmark publication probes Muslims’ attitudes towards Jews and Judaism as a unique case in their view of different spiritual minorities in predominantly Muslim societies. With authority, sympathy and wit, Bernard Lewis demolishes competing stereotypes: the Islamophobic photograph of the fanatical Muslim warrior, sword in a single hand and Qur’ān within the different, and the overly romanticized depiction of Muslim societies as interfaith utopias.

Featuring a brand new advent by way of Mark R. Cohen, this Princeton Classics version units the Judaeo-Islamic culture opposed to a bright historical past of Jewish and Islamic historical past. For these wishing a concise evaluation of the lengthy interval of Jewish-Muslim relatives, The Jews of Islam continues to be a vital place to begin.

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T h e Q u r ’an sp e a k s clearly a n d u n e q u iv o c a lly o n these issues a n d c o n ta in s th e n u cleu s o f w h a t la te r b ecam e a n e la b o ra te sy stem o f legal re g u la tio n s. B ut M u h a m m a d becam e a sta te sm a n in o rd e r to acco m p lish his m issio n as a p ro p h e t, n o t vice v ersa, a n d it is clear th a t th e m o re strictly relig io u s asp ect o f th ese re la tio n sh ip s w a s also a p rim e co n c e rn . H e re to o th e Q u r ’an is very in stru c tiv e .

A nd w ith the replacem ent o f an e th n o ­ religious by a p u re ly religious d efin itio n , access to th e d o m i­ n a n t g ro u p w a s o p e n to all, th u s m a k in g it p o ssib le, in th e c o u rse o f th e cen tu ries, fo r a d o m in a n t m in o rity to b eco m e a n o v e rw h e lm in g m ajo rity . T h is c h a n g e , to o , w as fa c ilita te d by a fe a tu re o b se rv a b le in th e M id d le E ast th ro u g h m o st o f its re c o rd e d h isto ry — a p a t­ te rn o f flu c tu a tio n , o f ch an g e, even o f fusio n b etw een th e d iffe re n t c o m m u n a l, n a tio n a l, te rrito ria l, c u ltu ra l, a n d legal id en tities.

F o r th e m th e ch o ice w as b e tw e e n Islam a n d d e a th , w h ic h la te r m ig h t be c o m m u te d to en sla v e m e n t a t th e d isc re tio n o f th e ir c a p to rs. In th e v a st e m p ire w h ic h th ey c re a te d by c o n q u e st, th e M u slim s a t first fo u n d them selves as a d o m in a n t b u t sm all m in o rity . T h e ir relig io n p ro v id e d th e m w ith c e rta in b asic re ­ ligious p rin c ip le s by w h ic h to ru le th e ir su b ject p o p u la tio n s ; ISLAM AND OTHER RELIGIONS ■ 19 th e o ld e r regim es w h ich they h a d rep laced b e q u e a th e d th e m tra d itio n s , p ro c e d u re s, a n d even p e rso n n e l w ith w h ich to p u t these p rin c ip le s in p ra c tic e , o r to m odify th em .

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