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Islamic Trends between South and West Asia

This course deals with the organizational interaction and mutual ideological influences between the two most important centers of the Muslim World: the Middle East, Islam's place of origin and classical center of its development, and the Indian Subcontinent with the largest concentration of Muslim population in the world. Our time frame will be the modern period, and especially the past hundred years, from the First World War to the present. Following a short introduction on the spread of Islam in Asia and the structural role of pilgrimage (hajj) and religious learning and Sufism (Islamic mysticism) in maintaining contacts between its different regions, we will examine the fateful encounter of Muslims with modernity and colonialism and their various ideational and organizational responses to the challenge in the meeting point of South Asia and West Asia. Among the issues we will tackle: the Caliphate movement, religious preaching of the Muslim Brothers and the Tablighi-jama'at, the influence of major Indian scholars such as Mawdudi and Nadwi on their Middle Eastern counterparts, and the influence of Saudi Wahhabis and the Islamic revolution in Iran on India and Pakistan. We will also pay attention to the Indian communities in Britain and other Western countries and to the role of Arab fighters in the Afghan resistance to Soviet invasion, from which emerged the global organization of al-Qaeda.


Credits in elective courses: 
4 Credits