Download The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle between Faith and Reason: 1798 to Modern Times (First Edition) Audiobook

The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle between Faith and Reason: 1798 to Modern Times (First Edition) Audiobook, by Christopher de Bellaigue Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Christopher de Bellaigue Narrator: Charles Armstrong Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2017 ISBN: 9781520074368
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With majestic prose, Christopher de Bellaigue presents an absorbing account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Flying in the face of everything we thought we knew, The Islamic Enlightenment becomes an astonishing and revelatory history that offers a game-changing assessment of the Middle East since the Napoleonic Wars.

Beginning his account in 1798, de Bellaigue demonstrates how Middle Eastern heartlands have long welcomed modern ideals and practices, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from seclusion, and the development of democracy. With trenchant political and historical insight, de Bellaigue further shows how the violence of an infinitesimally small minority is in fact the tragic blowback from these modernizing processes.

Structuring his groundbreaking history around Istanbul, Cairo, and Tehran, the three main loci of Islamic culture, de Bellaigue directly challenges ossified perceptions of a supposedly benighted Muslim world through the forgotten, and inspiring, stories of philosophers, anti-clerics, journalists, and feminists who opened up their societies to political and intellectual emancipation. His sweeping and vivid account includes remarkable men and women from across the Muslim world, including Ibrahim Sinasi, who brought newspapers to Istanbul; Mirza Saleh Shirzi, whose Persian memoirs describe how the Turkish harems were finally shuttered; and Qurrat al-Ayn, an Iranian noble woman, who defied her husband to become a charismatic prophet.

What makes The Islamic Enlightenment particularly germane is that non-Muslim pundits in the post-9/11 era have repeatedly called for Islam to subject itself to the transformations that the West has already achieved since the Enlightenment—the absurd implication being that if Muslims do not stop reading or following the tenets of the Qur’an and other holy books, they will never emerge from a benighted state of backwardness. The Islamic Enlightenment, with its revolutionary argument, completely refutes this view and, in the process, reveals the folly of Westerners demanding modernity from those whose lives are already drenched in it.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A stylishly written, surprisingly moving chronicle of intellectual and political flourishing in Egypt, Turkey, and Iran―‘the brain of Islam’―in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”

    Harper’s

  • “Excellent…Focusing on Iran, Turkey and Egypt, ‘the three intellectual and political centres of the Middle East,’ Mr. de Bellaigue tells a story that is at once new, fascinating, and extraordinarily important.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Elegantly written…’The Islamic Enlightenment’ introduces us to a fascinating gallery of individuals who would grapple with reform and modernization in theory and practice…In tracking the sinews of enlightenment through the last two centuries of Islamic thinking, this brilliant and lively history deserves nothing but praise.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Longlisted for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

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About the Author

Christopher de Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in south Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist, the Guardian, and the New York Review of Books. He is the award-winning author of four books, has made several BBC television and radio documentaries, and has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Harvard and Oxford.

About the Narrator

Charles Armstrong is a narrator and actor whose theater work includes productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, and he was in the West End production of Round The Horne … Revisited. His television and film credits include Holby City, EastEnders, Head Over Heels, Poirot, The King’s Speech, and The Navigators. He has also recorded numerous voice-overs and was part of the BBC Radio Repertory.