A World without Islam
Graham E. Fuller
“A World Without Islam”, at the back of which "What if Islam never existed?" is typed in an arresting font, is a book authored by Graham E. Fuller. The book, written based on no particular point of view, would help anyone to understand Islam from a subjective viewpoint. Unlike other texts analysing any particular aspect of the religion which tend to focus more on the comparative approach (more often with Judaism and Christianity), this book's essence is mainly dominated by an intellectual frame of reference.
First part of the book mainly talks a bit about the history of Islam with a greater focus on the relationships existing between other Abrahamic religions (Judaism and Christianity). This part mainly is based on theological analysis, which, combined with how Islam has emerged and reached certain parts of the world and how it shaped the society, would help the readers make sense of the conclusion drawn by the author - unfolding of Islam as a religion (as a mechanism of social control) has made possible the non-existence of conflict between West and Middle East. With resonance to that, food for thought left in the book: Washington should act as if Islam did not exist in formulating its policies in the Middle East.
The book, in the second part,presents quite an eloquent portrayal of the development of Islam not only in the Middle East where it began, but also how it reached in Europe, Russia, China, India and the Far East.One of the many findings presented which captivated me is the comparison between the Muslims in Europe and Muslims in "semi-worlds" like in the United States of America and Canada. As pointed out, in European region Muslims are mainly working class people whereas majority of the Muslim immigrants in the US or in Canada are positioned in an upper-class.
The book offers a well-researched and thoroughly analysed history of the development of Islam. Since it is written in an academic style, probably with very particular audience has been target, it might feel difficult at times. However, the main theme of the thesis is quite straightforward: the current problems prevalent between Middle East and West have got nothing to do with Islam. Factors influencing the problems are political and cultural frictions, interests, rivalries and clashes.In that sense, the thesis quite strongly challenges the generalization existing regarding the contribution and bad influence happening as an aftermath of 'being' religious.
The book sums up with an assertion that the past wars and inhuman acts of that sort were consequence of human aspirations which can originate from both religious extremism and secular extremism (Facism and Nazism, for instance). With that being said, it should be kept in mind that the belief itself is never prime factor of categorizing events into good and bad and hence, no hierarchy of ideology (in socio-political aspect, in this context) should be considered for normalization.
To conclude, give this book a try to view Islam from an interesting standpoint and integrate more buzzwords for ruminating.
The reviewer is a student and freelancer