Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes
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In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe—a place it long perceived as primitive and disorganized—had somehow hijacked destiny.
high-status, modernist, Western-oriented family, and he knew something about British life. His mother, however, was a devout Muslim of legendary piety, respected for her scholarship. She made the boy go to madrassa, and she equaled his grandfather as an influence on this life, so Sayyid Ahmad grew to manhood with these two dueling currents in his personality: a heartfelt allegiance to his own Muslim community and a high regard for British culture and a longing for the respect of those colonials.
promised was not freedom but prosperity and self-respect. It would be quite plausible to say that at this point, Islam as a world-historical narrative came to an end. Wrong but plausible. The Western cross-current had disrupted Muslim societies, creating the deepest angst and the most agonizing doubts. The secular modernists proposed to settle the spiritual turmoil by realigning their societies with the Western current. Make no mistake, most of these leaders still thought of themselves as
popular support. Throughout the Middle World, traditional, religious Islam was quiescent now: beaten and subdued. Educated people tended to see the old-fashioned scholars and clerics as quaint. The ulama, the scriptural literalists, the miracle merchants, the orthodox “believers”—all these had dominated Dar al-Islam for centuries, and what had they created? Threadbare societies that couldn’t build a car or invent an airplane, much less stand up to Western might. Their failure discredited their
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horrified by them, but they didn’t see in these attacks any intellectual challenge to their ideas and beliefs. And although the Crusades were certainly a serious matter for Muslims living along the eastern Mediterranean coast, the Crusaders never penetrated deeply into the Muslim world. For example, no real army ever reached Mecca and Medina, only a small raiding party led by a renegade whom even other Franj regarded as a despicable rogue. The Crusaders never laid siege to Baghdad nor did they