"I certainly never write a review about a book I don't think worth reviewing, a flat-out bad book, unless it's an enormously fashionable bad book." --
says, John Gardner in Conversations with John Gardner
Quoted from 'Dictionary of Library and Information Science Quotations'     Edited by Mohamed Taher & L S Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423 (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) p.150. Available @ Amazon.com

Monday, July 31, 2006

Islamic Societies in Practice

This book is offered to those who seek a deeper understanding of Arab and Islamic cultures. The motivation can be self-serving, and if that is the case, then one purpose of the book will be achieved because information will replace ignorance. If greater mutual understanding is achieved, then a more valuable humanistic goal will have been reached...
This means incorporating into our basic education and worldview the idea of a shared Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage where both convergent and divergent forces have operated. Such an approach does not weaken the West, but it strengthens our world (from the book's closing lines; p. 232)

I think the title of the book is a good reminder. It simply allows us to reflect on our daily lives. And, in this sense, best practices and good practices depend on knowledge sharing, anyways. This is true not only for communities of practice in the corporate world, but also for the society at large.

The book I found of interest in this regard is: Islamic Societies in Practice, by Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, University Press of Florida; 2nd edition ( 2004); ISBN: 0813027217; more details at Amazon.com

Book Description
Originally written in the wake of the Gulf War, this book introduced the West to everyday Arab-Islamic cultures and societies, humanizing the region and its people. It ventured behind the headlines to offer a positive, constructive view of Islam and Muslims, showing how Islam is lived and practiced in daily life.
Now revised and expanded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamic Societies in Practice embraces the breadth of global Islam with significant new material on Islam in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States, as well as the Middle East. New maps and illustrations are included, detailing the diversity and representation of Islam and Muslims throughout the world. Additional material includes discussions of male and female relations; folk Islam, popular expressions of faith, and the five pillars; Sufism, including the Turkish Dervishes; ethnic and racial differences in the Muslim world; Islamic law and the application of harsh punishments; political Islam and the future of the state in the Islamic world; and the many voices of progressive Muslims--feminists, human rights activists, and anti-extremist writers.

Choice Magazine, March 2005 Vol. 42, No. 7
...compares and contrasts Muslim values and ways of live with the dominant values and practices of Western societies...

See more reviews at the publisher's Website

1 Islam and Muslim societies in practice 5
2 Islam and the five pillars as observed by Muslims 28
3 Arab-Islamic values of social practice 60
4 Women and men in Muslim societies : family and community relations 83
5 National, religious, and ethnic identity : relations with the West 117
6 Islamic law : the foundation of Muslim practice and a measure of social and political change 163
7 Liberalism, moderation, or extremism : the future of the state in Muslim societies 197

My comments:
My fascination with this book began by seeing the title. I thought societies, as used herein the title, is more comprehensive, than terms such as culture, community, etc. Practice, as another word, in the title, narrowed the scope of the book indicating that it is not deconstructing the theory; rather it is about sharing knowledge relating to Muslim societies, per se.

In short, I find this book easy to read. It is a value-added asset for any library that specializes in Islam and Muslim world, as well as, in area studies.

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