A Companion to the Muslim World by Amyn B. Sajoo

By Amyn B. Sajoo

What precisely is the Qur'an? How does this impressive record -- actually ""recitation"" -- relate to the lifestyles and occasions of the Prophet Muhammad? And why did the faith of the Prophet, which got here to be referred to as ""Islam"" (or submission to God's will), on the heart of which lies the Qur'an, provide beginning to a legacy so richly assorted in religion, legislation and civilization? This immaculately researched, yet whilst completely obtainable, publication bargains a trip into the total variety of expertise -- earlier and current, secular and sacred -- of the peoples and cultures that proportion in Islamic culture. the amount examines a large range of subject matters and subject matters. Poets, towns and the structure of mosques are as a lot part of its exploration because the function of technology in trust, methods of studying scripture, the connection of girls to the religion and the emergence of a ""digital community"" of believers. within the aftermath of 9-11, the so-called ""war on terror"" and a brand new worldwide geopolitics outlined through response and reaction to the perils of fundamentalism and extremism, it really is primary to appreciate -- throughout all its frontiers -- what Islam is ready and what Muslims believe. A better half to the Muslim World includes an enticing and coherent try by way of exotic students to contibute in the direction of that important means of comprehension.

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IBT021 - A Companion to the Mulism World 10/6/09 16:41 Page 25 2 The Prophet’s City Reza Aslan I In the evening, the sun in the desert is a glowing white orb set low in the sky. It dips into the horizon, and its light is eclipsed by the dunes, making them appear as heaving black swells in the distance. At the edge of Yathrib, a hedge of lofty palm trees forms a boundary separating the oasis from the advancing desert. Here the small band of Emigrants wait, hands shading their eyes, staring out over the vast expanse for any sign of their Prophet.

II Yathrib in the seventh century was a thriving agricultural oasis thick with palm orchards and vast arable fields, most of which were dominated by some 20 Jewish clans of varying sizes. Unlike the Jews who had settled throughout most of the Hijaz, who were mainly immigrants from Palestine, Yathrib’s Jews were primarily Arabs who had converted to Judaism. Apart from their religious designation as Jews, little differentiated them from their pagan neighbours. Like all Arabs, the Jews of Yathrib considered themselves first and foremost members of their own individual clans – each of which acted as a sovereign entity – rather than as a single community of Jews.

In Yathrib, he categorically outlawed usury, the abuse of which was one of his chief complaints against the Meccan religio-economic system. To facilitate the new economy, he established his own market which, unlike the one controlled by the Banu Qaynuqa, charged no tax on transactions and no interest on loans. While this tax-free market eventually became a point of conflict between Muhammad and the Banu Qaynuqa, the Prophet’s move was not a means of antagonizing the Qaynuqa, but a further step toward removing the divide between the ridiculously wealthy and the absurdly poor.

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