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Journal ArticleDOI

Early Islamic Cosmopolitanism? Constructing the ʾ Umma of India in Pre-Mongol Muslim Scholarship

Edmund Hayes1
20 Jun 2019-Comparative Islamic Studies (Equinox Publishing)-Vol. 13, pp 75-120
TL;DR: This paper analyzed the ways in which the archetypically idolatrous land of India is treated by Islamicate thinkers of the ʿAbbasid empire and after illuminates an Islamic cosmopolitanism that managed to incorporate the other into its view of human history and religious history.
Abstract: This article analyzes possible avenues for the study of a pre-Mongol Islamic cosmopolitanism. The ways in which the archetypically idolatrous land of India is treated by Islamicate thinkers of the ʿAbbasid empire and after illuminates an Islamic cosmopolitanism that managed to incorporate the other into its view of human history and religious history. Two major fields for the generation of cosmopolitan ideas are analyzed: narratives drawn from historiography, and taxonomies erected by theological-heresiographical works. Both frameworks rely on a Muslim model of history and society in which divine truth and guidance are mediated to the communities (ʾumma, ʾumam) of the world firstly by a prophet, but also by sages and philosopher-kings: figures who play important roles in Muslim accounts of India. Through applying these “universal” categories to Indian subject-matter, Muslim thinkers were able to depict Indians as partners in the human struggle to attain and preserve truth, albeit falling short of the Muslim community in various ways. In both the historiographical and the heresiographical fields, cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan trends are observable. By incorporating Indian narratives into a universalizing historical vision, Masʿūdī can best be seen to approach a cosmopolitan sensibility among thinkers within historiographic discourse. Bīrūnī goes furthest among the thinkers working within a theological-heresiographical framework in analogizing Indian philosophy with Muslim thought. It is argued that both thinkers achieve a kind of cosmopolitanism only through an elitist denigration of the commoners of their communities. In addition, their cosmopolitanism was predicated on imperial expansionism into India. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives: CC BY-NC-ND
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Journal Article
TL;DR: The influence of foreign ideas on Indian gayakas is discussed in this article, where the authors make clear the creative use they made of their borrowings in devising the yuga-system of astronomy, pointing out their almost complete lack of originality.
Abstract: (ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)ONLY in recent years have the interrelationships of Babylonian, Greek, and Indian astronomy and astrology become a subject which can be studied meaningfully. This development is due to several factors: our greatly increased understanding of cuneiform material made possible by the scholarship of Professor O. Neugebauer; 1 the discovery of Babylonian parameters and techniques not only in the standard Greek astronomical texts,2 but in papyri and astrological treatises as well; and the finding of Mesopotamian material in Sanskrit works and in the traditions of South India. Unfortunately, a lack of familiarity with the Sanskrit sources and a failure to consider the transmission of scientific ideas in the context of a broad historical perspective have recently led one scholar to the erroneous conclusion that Sasanian Iran played a crucial role in the introduction of Greek and Babylonian astronomy and astrology to India and in the development of Indian planetary theory.4 It is my purpose in this paper to survey briefly the influence of foreign ideas on Indian gayakas so as to make clear the creative use they made of their borrowings in devising the yuga-system of astronomy; and then to examine the character of Sasanian astronomy and astrology, pointing out their almost complete lack of originality.The earliest Indian texts which are known - the Vedas, the Brâhmaijas, and the Upanicads - are seldom concerned with any but the most obvious of astronomical phenomena; and when they are so concerned, they speak with an obscurity of language and thought that renders impossible an adequate exposition of the notions regarding celestial matters to which their authors subscribed. One may point to the statement that the year consists of 360 days as a possible trace of Babylonian influence in the Kgveda,4 but there is little else which lends itself to a similar interpretation. It has often been proposed, of course, that the list of the twenty-eight naksatras which is given for the first time at the beginning of the last millennium before Christ in the Atharvaveda and in various Brâhmanas is borrowed from Mesopotamia.8 But no cuneiform tablet yet deciphered presents a parallel; the hypothesis cannot be accepted in the total absence of corroborative evidence.However, the naksatras are useful in the tracing of Indian influence on other cultures. The oldest lists0 associate each constellation with a presiding deity who is to be suitably propitiated at the appointed times. It became important to perform certain sacrifices only under the benign influence of particularly auspicious naksatras.7 The roster of activities for which each was considered auspicious or not was rapidly expanded,6 and, in particular, the naksatras came to be closely connected with the twelve or sixteen samskâras or purificatory rites. Thereby they gave rise to the most substantial part of muhurtasâstra, or Indian catarrhic astrology,® traces of which are to be found in Arabic, Byzantine, and medieval Latin texts.10 The Indians also combined the twenty-eight naksatras with the Babylonian arts of brontology and seismology 11 in a form which, for some unknown reason, became immensely popular among the followers of Buddha.'2 Their works spread these superstitions throughout Central Asia and the Far East.18The relative seclusion from the West which the Aryans had enjoyed in northern India for centuries alter their invasions was broken shortly before 51.3 b. c., when Darius the Great conquered the Indus Valley. In the ensuing six centuries, save for a century and a half of security under the Mauryan emperors, North India was subjected to the successive incursions of the Greeks, the eakas, the Pah lavas, and the Kuyânas. An important aspect of this turbulent period was the opportunity it afforded of contact between the intellectuals of the West and India. This opportunity was not missed. …

110 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Kalicki as mentioned in this paper argues that the succession of Sino-American crises was a constructive learning experience for both the United States and the People's Republic of China, and that the conventional diplomatic and historical approach to these crises to be negative, old fashioned, and really not very helpful.
Abstract: The Pattern of Sino-American Crises by J. H. Kalicki is a vastly different proposition. I have long believed that the scholar with substantial experience outside academia would write less and more persuasively, both desirable, than one without it. This study only confirms that view. I t is concerned with four crises in Sino-American relations during the 1950s: The Korean War, the pre-Kennedy Indochina crisis, and the two crises over the Taiwan Straits. Kalicki finds what he calls the conventional diplomatic and historical approach to these crises to be negative, old fashioned, and really not very helpful. He calls his approach “strategic.” By this he means that the succession of crises was a constructive learning experience for both the United States and the People’s Republic of China. In each succeeding crisis each participant demonstrated enhanced sophistication and skill in crisis management, subtler nuances in communicating signals, deeper perceptions of the other’s position. He does not say this, but is one to assume an implication that this alleged learning process carried to its ultimate would mean the disappearance of crisis? Having myself been involved in one of the crises he discusses and having some knowledge of the other three, it seems highly unlikely to me that anyone involved in any one of them thought of himself as deeply involved in a learning experience, or that anyone involved in more than one spent much time ruminating about how he was improving his skills. This is somehow just not the way things work in foreign affairs-or much ofanywhere else, least of all in academic politics, when one’s own business and interests are involved rather than someone else’s. In fact, the whole exercise sounds more as though it were concerned with the evolution of a new ballet, rather than with problems whose resolutions quite literally mean life or death for millions of people, even of the human race. To one of my generation it is almost inevitable that it conjures up the image of that macabre ballet of the period between two World Wars, Tlie Green Table. One can even wonder what our present secretary of state will think of his earlier scholarly writings, unleavened by non-academic experience, once he again has the time to ponder such things. JOHN F. hfELBY University of Guelph Ontario Canada

32 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, Dabashi's ambitious and wide-ranging survey of the history of Persian literature is presented. But this work is divided into eight chapters that can be divided into four categories:
Abstract: This monograph bears the hallmark of Dabashi's ambitious and wide-ranging scholarship and offers a rich and enriching study of the history of Persian literature. Divided into eight chapters that tr...

22 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), Emile Durkheim set himself the task of discovering the enduring source of human social identity as discussed by the authors, and investigated what he considered to be the simplest form of documented religion - totemism among the Aborigines of Australia.
Abstract: 'If religion generated everything that is essential in society, this is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.' In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), Emile Durkheim set himself the task of discovering the enduring source of human social identity. He investigated what he considered to be the simplest form of documented religion - totemism among the Aborigines of Australia. Aboriginal religion was an avenue 'to yield an understanding of the religious nature of man, by showing us an essential and permanent aspect of humanity'. The need and capacity of men and women to relate socially lies at the heart of Durkheim's exploration, in which religion embodies the beliefs that shape our moral universe. The Elementary Forms has been applauded and debated by sociologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, philosophers, and theologians, and continues to speak to new generations about the origin and nature of religion and society. This new, lightly abridged edition provides an excellent introduction to Durkheim's ideas. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

6,633 citations

Book
14 Oct 2020
TL;DR: In this article, Fields has given us a splendid new translation of the greatest work of sociology ever written, one we will not be embarrassed to assign to our students, in addition she has written a brilliant and profound introduction.
Abstract: "Karen Fields has given us a splendid new translation of the greatest work of sociology ever written, one we will not be embarrassed to assign to our students. In addition she has written a brilliant and profound introduction. The publication of this translation is an occasion for general celebration, for a veritable 'collective effervescence.' -- Robert N. Bellah Co-author of Habits of the Heart, and editor of Emile Durkheim on Morality and Society "This superb new translation finally allows non-French speaking American readers fully to appreciate Durkheim's genius. It is a labor of love for which all scholars must be grateful." --Lewis A. Coser

5,158 citations


"Early Islamic Cosmopolitanism? Cons..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...We might compare Bīrūnī’s prioritizing of concept and function within a system as opposed to linguistic usage and indigenous categories, to Durkheim’s functionalism (Durkheim 1995)....

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Book
01 Jan 1993
TL;DR: In this paper, a genealogies of the concept of ritual in medieval Christian monasticism is discussed. But the focus is on the construction of religion as an anthropological category toward a genealogy of the concepts of ritual.
Abstract: Part 1 Genealogies: the construction of religion as an anthropological category toward a genealogy of the concept of ritual. Part 2 Archaisms: pain and truth in medieval Christian ritual on discipline and humility in medieval Christian monasticism. Part 3 Translations: the concept of cultural translation in British social anthropology the limits of religious criticism in the Middle East. Part 4 Polemics: multiculturalism and British identity in the wake of the Rushdie affair ethnography, literature and politics - some readings and uses of Salmon Rushdie's "Satanic Verses".

2,179 citations

MonographDOI
TL;DR: Gutas as mentioned in this paper explores the major social, political and ideological factors that occasioned the unprecedented translation movement from Greek into Arabic in Baghdad, the newly founded capital of the Arab dynasty of the 'Abbasids', during the first two centuries of their rule.
Abstract: From the middle of the eighth century to the tenth century, almost all non-literary and non-historical secular Greek books, including such diverse topics as astrology, alchemy, physics, botany and medicine, that were not available throughout the eastern Byzantine Empire and the Near East, were translated into Arabic. Greek Thought, Arabic Culture explores the major social, political and ideological factors that occasioned the unprecedented translation movement from Greek into Arabic in Baghdad, the newly founded capital of the Arab dynasty of the 'Abbasids', during the first two centuries of their rule. Dimitri Gutas draws upon the preceding historical and philological scholarship in Greco-Arabic studies and the study of medieval translations of secular Greek works into Arabic and analyses the social and historical reasons for this phenomenon. Dimitri Gutas provides a stimulating, erudite and well-documented survey of this key movement in the transmission of ancient Greek culture to the Middle Ages.

565 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Dec 1994
TL;DR: In this article, a genealogies of the concept of ritual in medieval Christian monasticism is discussed. But the focus is on the construction of religion as an anthropological category toward a genealogy of the concepts of ritual.
Abstract: Part 1 Genealogies: the construction of religion as an anthropological category toward a genealogy of the concept of ritual. Part 2 Archaisms: pain and truth in medieval Christian ritual on discipline and humility in medieval Christian monasticism. Part 3 Translations: the concept of cultural translation in British social anthropology the limits of religious criticism in the Middle East. Part 4 Polemics: multiculturalism and British identity in the wake of the Rushdie affair ethnography, literature and politics - some readings and uses of Salmon Rushdie's "Satanic Verses".

259 citations