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


    "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




    A History the World

    Through Islamic Eyes



    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


    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


    Names and Dates




    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


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