Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

418 Pages ·2011·11.11 MB ·English

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

TAMIM ANSARY Praise for


DESTINY DISRUPTED


"If you want to put today's headlines about jihadist suicide


bombings into the much larger context of history, you'd be well


advised to settle in with Destiny Disrupted. It's the story of a


civilization that suddenly found itself upended by strangers and


now wants to put itself right. And if author Ansary stops short of


calling the result a clash of civilizations, he feels free to call it two


one-sided views of world history. His book is a valuable tool for


opening up a view of the other side."


-St. Louis Post-Dispatch


"This is a marvelous book. Ansary has written an indispensable


historical account of the last 1,500 years from a perspective that


is all too often ignored in the West. Destiny Disrupted will be


read for generations to come."


-REZA AsLAN, author of No god but God


and How to Win a Cosmic ~r


"A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history


of the Islamic world. But the book is more than just a litany of past


events. It is also an indispensable guide to understanding the politi(cid:173)


cal debates and conflicts of today, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and


Afghanistan, from the Somali pirates to the Palestinian/Israeli


conflict. As Ansary writes in his conclusion, 'The conflict wracking


the modern world is not, I think, best understood as a clash of


civilizations ... It's better understood as the friction generated by


two mismatched world histories intersecting."'


-San Francisco Chronicle "Ansary has written an informative and thoroughly engaging look


at the past, present, and future of Islam. With his seamless and


charming prose, he challenges conventional wisdom and appeals


for a fuller understanding of how Islam and the world at large


have shaped each other. And that makes this book, in this uneasy,


contentious post 9/11 world, a must-read."


-KHALED HossEINI, author of The Kite Runner


and A Thousand Splendid Suns


"A lively, thorough, and accessible survey of the history of Islam


(both the religion and its political dimension) that explores many


of the disconnects between Islam and the West."


-ShelfA wareness


"There's not a page where you won't learn something startling in


Destiny Disrupted. Beautifully clear and endlessly engaging, it's


a romp through science, poetry, politics, and religion, in the


company of a wise and charming mind, the perfect antidote to


the Islamophobia that clouds Europe and North America."


-RAJ PATEL, author of Stuffa nd Starved and visiting scholar,


Center for African Studies, University of California at Berkeley


"Never apologist in tone, meticulously researched and balanced,


often amusing but never glib, Destiny Disrupted is ultimately a


gripping drama that pulls the reader into great, seminal events of


world history, a book which offers a wealth of knowledge and in(cid:173)


sight to any reader who wants to understand the movements and


events behind the modern-day hostilities wracking Western and


Islamic societies." -Portland Oregonian DESTINY DISRUPTED THE ISLAMIC WORLD TODAY DESTINY


DISRUPTED


~


of


A History the World


Through Islamic Eyes


TAMIM ANSARY


PublicAffairs


NEW YORK Copyright © 2009 by Tamim Ansary


Hardcover edition first published in 2009 in the United States by PublicAffairs'™,


a member of the Perseus Books Group.


Paperback edition first published in 2010 in the United States by PublicAffairs.


All rights reserved.


Printed in the United States of America.


No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written


permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and


reviews. For information, address PublicAffairs, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 1321,


New York, NY 10107.


PublicAffairs books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the U.S.


by corporations, institutions, and other organizations. For more information, please


contact the Special Markets Department at the Perseus Books Group, 2300 Chestnut


Street, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19103, call (BOO) 810-4145, ext. 5000, or e-mail


special.markets@perseusbooks.com.


Designed by Brent Wilcox


Text set in Adobe Garamond


A CIP catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.


Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-58648-606-8


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-58648-813-0


10 9 8 7 6 54 3 2 1 For Amanuddin and Terttu CONTENTS


List ofM aps


IX


Names and Dates


XI


Introduction


Xlll


The Middle World


2 The Hijra 17


3 Birth of the Khalifate 33


4 Schism 53


5 Empire of the Umayyads 67


6 The Abassid Age 79


7 Scholars, Philosophers, and Sufis 91


8 Enter the Turks 117


9 Havoc 133


10 Rebirth 159


11 Meanwhile in Europe 199


12 West Comes East 217


13 The Reform Movements 247


14 Industry, Constitutions, and Nationalism 269


15 Rise of the Secular Modernists 301


vii


TAMIM ANSARY Praise for


DESTINY DISRUPTED


"If you want to put today's headlines about jihadist suicide


bombings into the much larger context of history, you'd be well


advised to settle in with Destiny Disrupted. It's the story of a


civilization that suddenly found itself upended by strangers and


now wants to put itself right. And if author Ansary stops short of


calling the result a clash of civilizations, he feels free to call it two


one-sided views of world history. His book is a valuable tool for


opening up a view of the other side."


-St. Louis Post-Dispatch


"This is a marvelous book. Ansary has written an indispensable


historical account of the last 1,500 years from a perspective that


is all too often ignored in the West. Destiny Disrupted will be


read for generations to come."


-REZA AsLAN, author of No god but God


and How to Win a Cosmic ~r


"A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history


of the Islamic world. But the book is more than just a litany of past


events. It is also an indispensable guide to understanding the politi(cid:173)


cal debates and conflicts of today, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and


Afghanistan, from the Somali pirates to the Palestinian/Israeli


conflict. As Ansary writes in his conclusion, 'The conflict wracking


the modern world is not, I think, best understood as a clash of


civilizations ... It's better understood as the friction generated by


two mismatched world histories intersecting."'


-San Francisco Chronicle "Ansary has written an informative and thoroughly engaging look


at the past, present, and future of Islam. With his seamless and


charming prose, he challenges conventional wisdom and appeals


for a fuller understanding of how Islam and the world at large


have shaped each other. And that makes this book, in this uneasy,


contentious post 9/11 world, a must-read."


-KHALED HossEINI, author of The Kite Runner


and A Thousand Splendid Suns


"A lively, thorough, and accessible survey of the history of Islam


(both the religion and its political dimension) that explores many


of the disconnects between Islam and the West."


-ShelfA wareness


"There's not a page where you won't learn something startling in


Destiny Disrupted. Beautifully clear and endlessly engaging, it's


a romp through science, poetry, politics, and religion, in the


company of a wise and charming mind, the perfect antidote to


the Islamophobia that clouds Europe and North America."


-RAJ PATEL, author of Stuffa nd Starved and visiting scholar,


Center for African Studies, University of California at Berkeley


"Never apologist in tone, meticulously researched and balanced,


often amusing but never glib, Destiny Disrupted is ultimately a


gripping drama that pulls the reader into great, seminal events of


world history, a book which offers a wealth of knowledge and in(cid:173)


sight to any reader who wants to understand the movements and


events behind the modern-day hostilities wracking Western and


Islamic societies." -Portland Oregonian DESTINY DISRUPTED THE ISLAMIC WORLD TODAY DESTINY


DISRUPTED


~


of


A History the World


Through Islamic Eyes


TAMIM ANSARY


PublicAffairs


NEW YORK Copyright © 2009 by Tamim Ansary


Hardcover edition first published in 2009 in the United States by PublicAffairs'™,


a member of the Perseus Books Group.


Paperback edition first published in 2010 in the United States by PublicAffairs.


All rights reserved.


Printed in the United States of America.


No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written


permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and


reviews. For information, address PublicAffairs, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 1321,


New York, NY 10107.


PublicAffairs books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the U.S.


by corporations, institutions, and other organizations. For more information, please


contact the Special Markets Department at the Perseus Books Group, 2300 Chestnut


Street, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19103, call (BOO) 810-4145, ext. 5000, or e-mail


special.markets@perseusbooks.com.


Designed by Brent Wilcox


Text set in Adobe Garamond


A CIP catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.


Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-58648-606-8


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-58648-813-0


10 9 8 7 6 54 3 2 1 For Amanuddin and Terttu CONTENTS


List ofM aps


IX


Names and Dates


XI


Introduction


Xlll


The Middle World


2 The Hijra 17


3 Birth of the Khalifate 33


4 Schism 53


5 Empire of the Umayyads 67


6 The Abassid Age 79


7 Scholars, Philosophers, and Sufis 91


8 Enter the Turks 117


9 Havoc 133


10 Rebirth 159


11 Meanwhile in Europe 199


12 West Comes East 217


13 The Reform Movements 247


14 Industry, Constitutions, and Nationalism 269


15 Rise of the Secular Modernists 301


vii


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