Description - The Shade of Swords by M. J. Akbar
The attack on the towers of the World Trade Center of 11th September 2001, and the retaliatory assault on Afghanistan by the United States and its allies has redefined, in the most powerful manner since the Crusades, the interaction between Islam and the West as a clash of civilisations. Whilst the West today casts its shadow over the Middle East in the form of an avaricious secular faith, seeking control over oil and raw materials, the ancient accusation of 'Infidel' is snatched out of its hands. Holy war or Jihad - set forth in the Quran as Allah's 'divine bargain', paradise in return for martyrdom - is now clearly visible as the defining validation of the Muslim aggressors. 'The West's next confrontation', observes M J Akbar, an Indian Muslim and political journalist, 'is definitely going to come from the Muslim world. It is in the sweep of Islamic nations from the Maghreb to Pakistan that the struggle for a new world order will begin.' But why is this modern, retaliatory Jihad , a response to American materialism, phrased in terms of the logic of faith, and fought in its name?
What is it about Jihad, in which politics and religion meet, that inspires such loyal ferocity and joy in death, on a scale unmatched by the prudent violence of the Western campaign? Why is Jihad equated with 'terrorism', and why does it incite such fear in the hearts of apparently stronger opponents? In The Shade of Swords - the first cohesive history of the phenomenon - Akbar considers how Jihad's origins lie in the earliest consciousness of Muslims, as witnessed in the miraculous victory of the Prophet's outnumbered troops at Badr. Travelling over centuries and continents, from Muhammed to the Assassins, and from the collapse of the Moghul and Ottoman empires to the modern struggle for Palestine, Akbar's story explains how Jihad thrives on complex and shifting notions of persecution, victory and sacrifice, and how Muslims themselves have historically tried both to direct and to control the phenomenon. The power of Jihad, and thus of the Taliban today, pervades the mind and soul of Islam. Its plural meaning as simultaneous mass and private sentiment is its true strength and significance.
The Islamic mind is where the current battle will be fought, and this is why it will be a long war.
Buy The Shade of Swords by M. J. Akbar from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(198mm x 129mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication:
Other Editions - The Shade of Swords by M. J. Akbar
Book Reviews - The Shade of Swords by M. J. Akbar
Author Biography - M. J. Akbar
M J Akbar is an Indian Muslim and journalist, best-selling author, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Asian Age newspaper and former government advisor and official spokesman to Rajiv Ghandi. He is a respected expert on Indian and Middle Eastern politics.