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Muslim Communities: Recommended Introductory Books
Imams and Emirs: State, Religion, and Sects in Islam by
"'Imams and Emirs' is a comparative study of Islamic sects in the contemporary Arab world, in particular those that share the same distinguishing features, including geographical isolation, territorial exclusiveness, intensity of rituals and duality of religious organisation. Khuri argues that conflicts among Muslims arise from the struggle between two opposing forces: religious, doctrinaire authorities (imams) and leaders who derive their authority from power and coercion (emirs). He discusses the role of dogma but also, uniquely, the critical factors that differentiate sects from religious communities and religions from sects. Following a thorough review of the structural characteristics of individual sects, Khuri addresses issues of religious change, dealing with the interplay between religions, states and nationalism. Here he explores the contradictions between modern state structures and the Islamic umma, showing how some religious concepts had begun to take on nationalistic meanings. Khuri also addresses issues of religious change, dealing with the interplay between religions, state and nationalism, and discussing the contradictions between modern state structures and the Islamic umma. Already, he argues, some religious concepts are taking on nationalistic meanings." - Publisher
The Sunna and Shi'a in History: Division and Ecumenism in the Muslim Middle East by
"Sunni-Shi'i relations have undergone significant transformations in recent decades. In order to understand these developments, the contributors to the present volume demonstrate the complexity of Sunni-Shi'i relations by analyzing political, ideological, and social encounters between the two communities from early Islamic history to the present." - Palgrave
Islamic Ecumenism in the 20th Century: The Azhar and Shiism between Rapprochement and Restraint by
The present volume describes the various phases of the inner-Islamic ecumenical dialogue in the 20th century between Sunnis and Shiites, the short-lived periods of success it achieved, but also the fierce mutual polemics it inevitably engendered.
The examination focuses on the role of the Cairene Azhar University as the most important representative of Sunni Islam and its relations with Shiite scholars. Particular importance is attached to the interdependency of theological arguments and the political motivations of the interlocutors, and especially to the significance of Islamic ecumenism for Egyptian foreign policy in the 1950s. Although the main part of the study is confined to the time before 1979, in an epilogue the course of events is followed until most recent developments.
Muslim Communities: Recommended Introductory Articles