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Artemy Kalinin
Artemy Kalinin

A world without Islam : Fuller, Graham E., 1937- author - Archive.org


A World Without Islam: A Book Review




Introduction




Have you ever wondered what would happen if Islam never existed? How would the world look like without the clash of civilizations, the holy wars, and the terrorists? Would there be more peace and harmony among different cultures and religions? Or would there be other sources of conflict and violence?




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These are some of the questions that Graham E. Fuller explores in his book A World Without Islam. Fuller is a former vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council at CIA, a former senior political scientist at RAND Corporation, and a professor of history at Simon Fraser University. He is also an expert on the Muslim world, having lived and worked in various Muslim countries for many years.


In his book, Fuller challenges the common assumption that Islam is the root cause of some of today's most emotional and important international crises. He argues that even without Islam, many of the historical and contemporary issues that plague the relations between the East and the West would still exist. He traces the origins and evolution of these issues from ancient times to modern times, covering various aspects such as politics, religion, culture, economics, and geography.


The book is relevant for anyone who wants to understand the complex and dynamic interactions between different civilizations and faiths. It offers a fresh and provocative perspective on how history shapes our present and future. It also provides some insights and suggestions on how to improve our policies and attitudes towards the Muslim world.


Summary of the book




The book is divided into three parts. Each part covers a different period of history and a different theme.


Part One: Heresy and Power




In this part, Fuller examines how Christianity and Islam emerged from their common roots in Judaism. He shows how both religions faced challenges from political powers and heretical movements within their own communities. He also compares how both religions interacted with each other in different regions.


Islam and the Abrahamic Faiths




Fuller begins by explaining that Islam is not a new religion, but rather a continuation and completion of Judaism and Christianity. He says that Islam shares many beliefs and practices with the other two Abrahamic faiths, such as monotheism, prophecy, revelation, scripture, ethics, and eschatology. He also points out that Islam recognizes and respects the previous prophets and messengers of God, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.


However, Fuller also notes that Islam differs from Judaism and Christianity in some aspects, such as the role of Muhammad, the finality of the Quran, the concept of sharia, and the attitude towards other religions. He says that Islam claims to be the original and pure form of monotheism, while Judaism and Christianity are seen as corrupted and deviated versions. He also says that Islam considers itself to be the universal religion for all humanity, while Judaism and Christianity are seen as limited and exclusive.


Power, Heresy, and the Evolution of Christianity




Fuller then traces the history of Christianity from its humble beginnings as a persecuted sect in the Roman Empire to its transformation into a powerful and dominant religion in Europe. He shows how Christianity adapted to different political and social contexts, such as the conversion of Constantine, the Council of Nicaea, the split between the Eastern and Western churches, and the rise of the papacy. He also shows how Christianity faced various challenges from internal dissenters and external enemies, such as the Gnostics, the Arians, the Nestorians, the Monophysites, the Manicheans, the Zoroastrians, and the pagans.


Fuller argues that Christianity evolved into a hierarchical and institutionalized religion that was often used to justify and support political agendas and interests. He says that Christianity became more rigid and dogmatic in its doctrines and practices, while suppressing diversity and pluralism within its own ranks. He also says that Christianity developed a sense of superiority and exclusivity over other religions, while demonizing and persecuting them.


Byzantium versus Rome: Warring Christian Polarities




Fuller then compares the two main branches of Christianity that emerged after the schism of 1054: the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. He shows how both churches differed in their theology, liturgy, culture, politics, and geography. He also shows how both churches competed for influence and authority in Europe and beyond.


Fuller argues that both churches contributed to the development of European civilization, but also to its conflicts and divisions. He says that both churches were often involved in wars and crusades against each other and against other religions. He also says that both churches were often intolerant and oppressive towards their own minorities and dissenters.


Islam Meets Eastern Christianity




Fuller then describes how Islam encountered Eastern Christianity in its early expansion. He shows how Islam conquered most of the territories that were under the control of the Byzantine Empire, such as Syria, Palestine, Egypt, North Africa, Anatolia, and Spain. He also shows how Islam interacted with various Christian sects that were considered heretical by both Byzantium and Rome, such as the Copts, the Jacobites, the Nestorians, and the Monophysites.


Fuller argues that Islam was generally tolerant and respectful towards Eastern Christianity, especially compared to Byzantium and Rome. He says that Islam allowed Christians to practice their faith freely under certain conditions and restrictions. He also says that Islam benefited from the cultural and intellectual achievements of Eastern Christianity, such as philosophy, science, medicine, art, architecture, literature, and music.


The Great Crusades (1095-1272)




Fuller then narrates how Western Christianity launched a series of military campaigns against Islam in an attempt to reclaim the Holy Land. He shows how Western Christians mobilized thousands of soldiers and pilgrims under the banner of holy war. He also shows how Western Christians clashed with Eastern Christians as well as Muslims in various battles and sieges.


Fuller argues that the Crusades were motivated by a combination of religious zealotry, political ambition, economic greed, and cultural curiosity. He says that the Crusades had a profound impact on both sides of the conflict. He also says that the Crusades created a legacy of mistrust and hostility between Western Christianity and Islam that lasts until today.


Shared Echoes: The Protestant Reformation and Islam




Part Two: Meeting at the Civilizational Borders of Islam




In this part, Fuller examines how Islam encountered other civilizations and cultures at its borders. He shows how Islam influenced and was influenced by various regions and peoples, such as Russia, Europe, India, and China. He also compares how Islam dealt with different challenges and opportunities in each case.


The Third Rome and Russia: Russia Inherits the Orthodox Legacy




Fuller begins by explaining how Russia emerged as a successor of the Byzantine Empire after its fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. He shows how Russia adopted the Orthodox faith and culture of Byzantium, as well as its political and imperial ambitions. He also shows how Russia expanded its territory and power across Eurasia, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean.


Fuller argues that Russia developed a complex and ambivalent relationship with Islam. He says that Russia faced both threats and benefits from its Muslim neighbors, such as the Mongols, the Tatars, the Turks, the Persians, and the Central Asians. He also says that Russia had both conflicts and cooperation with its Muslim subjects and minorities, such as the Chechens, the Circassians, the Bashkirs, and the Tatars.


Russia and Islam: Byzantium Lives!




Fuller then describes how Russia continued to interact with Islam in modern times. He shows how Russia fought several wars with the Ottoman Empire and Iran over strategic interests and territorial disputes. He also shows how Russia supported various nationalist and secular movements in the Muslim world, such as in Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.


Fuller argues that Russia still retains some of the characteristics and attitudes of Byzantium towards Islam. He says that Russia still sees itself as a defender of Orthodox Christianity against Muslim aggression. He also says that Russia still seeks to influence and dominate its Muslim neighbors and regions.


Muslims in the West: Loyal Citizens or Fifth Column?




Fuller then shifts his focus to Western Europe and North America. He shows how these regions experienced a significant increase of Muslim immigration and presence in recent decades. He also shows how these regions faced various challenges and opportunities from their Muslim populations.


Fuller argues that Muslims in the West are not a monolithic or homogeneous group. He says that Muslims in the West have diverse backgrounds, beliefs, practices, and identities. He also says that Muslims in the West have different levels of integration, assimilation, adaptation, and alienation.


Fuller argues that Muslims in the West are not a threat or a problem. He says that Muslims in the West are loyal citizens who contribute to their societies in various ways. He also says that Muslims in the West are not a fifth column who seek to undermine or overthrow their governments or values.


Islam and India




Fuller then moves to South Asia. He shows how Islam entered India through trade, conquest, migration, and conversion. He also shows how Islam interacted with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other religions in India.


Fuller argues that Islam had a profound impact on Indian civilization. He says that Islam enriched Indian culture with its art, architecture, literature, music, science, philosophy, and law. He also says that Islam challenged Indian society with its egalitarianism, monotheism, activism, and reformism.


Fuller argues that Islam also faced challenges in India. He says that Islam had to deal with resistance and hostility from some Hindu groups who saw it as a foreign and oppressive force. He also says that Islam had to cope with diversity and pluralism within its own ranks.


Islam and China




Fuller then turns to East Asia. He shows how Islam reached China through trade, diplomacy, migration, and conversion. He also shows how Islam adapted to Chinese culture and society.


Fuller argues that Islam had a relatively peaceful and harmonious relationship with China. He says that Islam respected Chinese authority and traditions while maintaining its own identity and autonomy. He also says that Islam contributed to Chinese development with its commerce, technology, education, and military skills.


Fuller argues that Islam also faced difficulties in China. He says that Islam had to endure discrimination and persecution from some Chinese rulers who saw it as a potential threat or rival. He also says that Islam had to struggle with assimilation and isolation within Chinese society.


Part Three: The Place of Islam in the Modern World




In this part, Fuller examines how Islam responded to the challenges and changes of the modern world. He shows how Islam reacted to colonialism, nationalism, globalization, and terrorism. He also shows how Islam can play a positive and constructive role in the contemporary world.


Colonialism, Nationalism, Islam, and the Independence Struggle




Fuller begins by explaining how most of the Muslim world was colonized by European powers in the 19th and 20th centuries. He shows how colonialism disrupted and exploited the political, economic, social, and cultural structures of the Muslim world. He also shows how colonialism provoked various forms of resistance and rebellion from the Muslim world.


Fuller argues that colonialism had a mixed impact on Islam. He says that colonialism challenged and weakened Islam's authority and legitimacy. He also says that colonialism stimulated and revived Islam's vitality and creativity.


Fuller argues that nationalism was one of the main responses of the Muslim world to colonialism. He says that nationalism aimed to achieve political independence and cultural identity for the Muslim world. He also says that nationalism had different relationships with Islam, ranging from secularism to Islamism.


War, Resistance, Jihad, and Terrorism




Fuller then describes how the Muslim world faced various wars and conflicts in the post-colonial era. He shows how the Muslim world was involved in regional and global wars, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iran-Iraq war, the Afghan-Soviet war, the Gulf war, and the Iraq war. He also shows how the Muslim world was affected by civil wars, ethnic conflicts, sectarian violence, and human rights violations.


Fuller argues that war and violence had a negative impact on Islam. He says that war and violence caused suffering and destruction for the Muslim world. He also says that war and violence distorted and corrupted Islam's teachings and values.


Fuller argues that jihad was one of the main responses of the Muslim world to war and violence. He says that jihad means striving or struggling in the way of God. He also says that jihad has different meanings and interpretations, ranging from peaceful activism to violent extremism.


Fuller argues that terrorism was one of the extreme forms of jihad. He says that terrorism is the use of violence against civilians for political or religious purposes. He also says that terrorism is a misguided and illegitimate tactic that violates Islamic principles and ethics.


What to Do? Toward a New Policy with the Muslim World




Fuller concludes by offering some suggestions on how to improve the relations between the West and the Muslim world. He says that both sides need to change their policies and attitudes towards each other. He also says that both sides need to cooperate and dialogue with each other on various issues and challenges.


Fuller suggests that the West should respect and support the sovereignty and dignity of the Muslim world. He says that the West should stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Muslim world. He also says that the West should stop supporting oppressive regimes or groups in the Muslim world.


Fuller suggests that the West should acknowledge and appreciate the diversity and complexity of Islam. He says that the West should not stereotype or demonize Islam as a monolithic or hostile force. He also says that the West should not impose its own values or models on Islam as a superior or universal standard.


Fuller suggests that the West should engage and partner with Islam on common interests and goals. He says that the West should recognize and utilize Islam's potential and contribution to global development and peace. He also says that the West should encourage and facilitate Islam's reform and renewal from within.


Analysis of the book




In this section, I will analyze the book in terms of its main argument, its strengths and weaknesses, and its implications and contributions.


The main argument of the book




The main argument of the book




The main argument of the book is that Islam is not the cause of some of today's most emotional and important international crises. Rather, Islam is a factor that interacts with other factors, such as history, geopolitics, culture, and religion. Fuller claims that even without Islam, many of the issues and conflicts that exist between the East and the West would still exist. He also claims that a world without Islam might not look vastly different from what we know today.


The strengths and weaknesses of the book




The book has several strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths are:



  • The book is well-researched and well-written. Fuller draws on his extensive knowledge and experience of the Muslim world to provide a comprehensive and nuanced account of Islam's history and role in the world.



  • The book is original and provocative. Fuller challenges the conventional wisdom and stereotypes about Islam and its relationship with the West. He offers a fresh and alternative perspective on how to understand and deal with Islam.



  • The book is relevant and timely. Fuller addresses some of the most pressing and controversial issues that affect the global community today. He provides some insights and suggestions on how to improve the situation and foster mutual respect and cooperation.



Some of the weaknesses are:



  • The book is speculative and hypothetical. Fuller bases his argument on a counterfactual scenario that is impossible to verify or falsify. He also makes some assumptions and generalizations that may not be accurate or valid.



  • The book is selective and biased. Fuller focuses on some aspects and regions of Islam while ignoring or downplaying others. He also favors some sources and interpretations of Islam while dismissing or criticizing others.



  • The book is idealistic and optimistic. Fuller underestimates or overlooks some of the challenges and difficulties that face Islam and its relations with the West. He also overestimates or exaggerates some of the opportunities and potentials that exist for Islam and its role in the world.



The implications and contributions of the book




The book has several implications and contributions for different audiences and fields. Some of them are:



  • The book has implications for policy makers and practitioners who deal with Islam and the Muslim world. It suggests that they should adopt a more balanced and respectful approach towards Islam, based on dialogue rather than confrontation, cooperation rather than competition, and partnership rather than domination.



  • The book has implications for scholars and students who study Islam and its interactions with other civilizations and cultures. It suggests that they should adopt a more holistic and dynamic view of Islam, based on complexity rather than simplicity, diversity rather than uniformity, and change rather than continuity.



  • The book has implications for Muslims and non-Muslims who want to learn more about Islam and its place in the world. It suggests that they should adopt a more critical and open-minded attitude towards Islam, based on curiosity rather than fear, understanding rather than ignorance, and empathy rather than prejudice.



Conclusion




In conclusion, A World Without Islam is a book that explores the question of what would happen if Islam never existed. The author, Graham E. Fuller, argues that Islam is not the cause of some of today's most emotional and important international crises, but rather a factor that interacts with other factors. He also argues that a world without Islam might not look vastly different from what we know today.


The book is well-researched and well-written, original and provocative, relevant and timely. However, it is also speculative and hypothetical, selective and biased, idealistic and optimistic. The book has implications and contributions for policy makers, scholars, students, Muslims, and non-Muslims who are interested in Islam and its role in the world.


The book is a valuable and stimulating read for anyo


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