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Islam beyond Borders
The Umma in World Politics


  • Date Published: September 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108740555

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About the Authors
  • Assuming a central place in Muslim life, the Qur'an speaks of one community of the faith, the umma. This unity of the faithful is recognised as the default aspiration of the believer, and in the modern era, intellectuals and political leaders have often vied both to define, and to lead it. Based on case studies of actors such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and ISIS, James Piscatori and Amin Saikal consider how some appeals to pan-Islam prove useful, yet other attempts at cross-border institutionalisation including the Sunni Caliphate or the modern Shi'i-inspired Islamic Revolution, founder on political self-interest and sectarian affiliations. Accompanied by a range of scriptural references to examine different interpretations of the umma, Piscatori and Saikal explore why, despite it meaning such widely different things, and its failure to be realised as a concrete project, neither the umma's popular symbolic appeal nor its influence on a politics of identity has diminished.

    • Focuses on the role of the umma, the notion of one community of faith in Islam
    • Uses specific case studies of Saudi Arabia, Iran and ISIS for an insight into modern Muslim politics
    • Employs scriptural references to understand different interpretations of the umma in Muslim life
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this is a very timely, informative, and insightful book.' A. T. Kuru, Choice

    'Piscatori and Saikal fill a lacuna among existing publications in their book's blending of political theory with a novel analysis of political practices among contemporary Muslims … This book should be the default text for fellow practitioners and anyone who wishes to understand the rapidly changing pace of events in Islam and politics today.' Ravza Altuntaş-Çakır, Insight Turkey

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108740555
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Sunni constructions of the Umma
    3. Shi'a Islam and the Umma
    4. Saudi 'guardianship' of the Umma
    5. ISIS's conception of the Umma
    6. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    James Piscatori, Australian National University, Canberra
    James Piscatori is Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. He is a recipient of research grants, including those awarded by the Ford Foundation, British Academy, and the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), he is a member of the Society of Fellows at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Islam in a World of Nation-States (1986) and co-author of Muslim Politics (1994) with Dale F. Eickelman.

    Amin Saikal, Australian National University, Canberra
    Amin Saikal is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. A recipient of the Order of Australia (AM) and elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA), he is the author of Zone of Crisis: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq (2014), Iran at the Crossroads (2015) and Iran Rising: the Survival and Future of the Islamic Republic (2018).

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