The Idea of the Muslim World: A Global Intellectual History
When people of the West think of the Muslim world, they generally think of a mostly monolithic community, kind of like the Catholic church, with a leader at its head to pronounce judgments. But that could not be further from the truth; the Muslim world is not just one giant blob. It is a large and diverse community. But how did the idea of a unified Muslim world come about? Cemil Aydin attempts to answer that question and proves that it might be impossible to ever truly know. Professor Aydin does a thankless task of going through writing, historiography, and pamphlets to attempt to explain how this idea came about and why it remains so prevalent. I am not sure it is entirely possible. This book can be hard to follow with so many names, organizations, and switching from the view of Muslim-dominated empires/countries to Christian ones. And Professor Aydin does spend a lot of time focusing on events in the Ottoman Empire, especially toward the end of the Ottoman Empire. He makes a valiant effort, and it comes across that he knows what he is talking about; this concept just might be impossible to write about.
|Harvard University Press
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