Author: M J Akbar
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8174362088
This book traces the origins of jihad in the struggle against oppression that was part of the earliest consciousness of Muslims. Akbar’s gripping story explains how jihad thrives on complex and shifting notions of persecution, victory and sacrifice.
The Shade of Swords’ traces the origins of jihad in the struggle against oppression that was part of the earliest consciousness of Muslims. Traveling across centuries and continents, from the triumphant rise of Islam under the triumphant rise of Islam under the Prophet Muhammad to the depression of defeat in the first Crusade, through the renewal of Saladin to the rise and fall of the Ottoman and Mughal empires and the raw passions of Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent, M. J. Akbar’s gripping story explains how jihad thrives on complex and shifting notions of persecution, victory and sacrifice.
The conflict between Islam and Christianity began from the time of the Prophet himself and has acquired myriad shapes over fourteen hundred years: in doctrine, dialectics, literature, culture and of course of the battlefield, from the fall of Jerusalem to the Caliph Omar in 637, to the presence of British and American troops in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2002. The fire that is visible on the Muslim street across the world today is fuelled by a perception of injustice and exploitation by the West. Akbar observed in an essay written just after the collapse of the Soviet Union: ‘The West’s next confrontation 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. The Shade of Swords narrates why and how.
The shade of swords is not an invitation to kill; it is an invitation to die. When Muslims take the name of their Prophet, Muhammad, they always add a prayer: Peace be upon Him. Peace is the avowed aim of Islam, but from time to time Islam also demands the blood of the faithful in the defense of that faith. ‘This is jihad’. The attack on the towers of the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001, and the assault on Afghanistan by the United States of America and its allies have re-emphasized, in the most powerful manner, the conflict between Islam and the West. At the heart of this conflict is Holy War or Jihad.
The Power of jihad pervades the mind and soul of Islam. The mind is where the current battle will be fought, and this is why it will be a long war.
ACCLAIM FOR M J AKBAR:
Nehru: The Making of India
M.J. Akbar, one of India’s ablest journalists, has provided a brilliant portrait of this mercurial, sensitive, powerful figure.
—The New York Times
A truly magnificent book. . . (it) should be read by every Indian who is concerned about the unity of his country.
—The Times of India
India: The Siege Within
‘An excellent account . . . by far the best and most accessible explanation of the new Indian crisis to have been published.
—Ian Jack, the Sunday Times
A sheer pleasure . . . his qualifications for pronouncing on contemporary Indian history are impeccable.
—Khushwant Singh, India Today
1. Chapter and Verse
2. The Joys of Death: A Bargain with Allah
3. Rebellions in the Dark of the Night
4. A Map of Islam
5. Circle of Hell
6. Allah! Muhammad! Saladin!
7. The Doors of Europe
8. Jihad in the East: A Crescent Over Delhi
9. The Holy Sea: Pepper and power
10. The Bargain Goes Sour
11. The Wedge and the Gate
12. History as Anger, Jihad as Non-Violence
13. Islam in Danger Zone
14. Jinnah Redux and the Age of Osama
A Suggested Reading List
A Relevant Calendar