Lost in the Sacred: Why the Muslim World Stood Stiill — a look at a Muslim World in crisis

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LOST IN THE SACRED explains why.

“A controversial but refreshingly un-Anglo-Saxon search for answers to some outsized questions.”—Michael Cook, Princeton University

In LOST IN THE SACRED: Why the Muslim World Stood Still (Cloth $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-691-12911-2 Pub date: February 25, 2009), Dan Diner takes readers on an unforgettable intellectual journey, from today’s global conflicts to the distant past in an attempt to answer one daring and all-important question: What is the reason for the Muslim world’s hampered development?

Drawing careful distinctions between the Muslim faith itself and the nature of the sacred that is infused into every aspect of life, Diner argues that the meaning and impact of the sacred is the main cause of the Muslim world’s slow growth. To reach this controversial conclusion, Diner first examines the Arab Human Development Report (2002)—”a meticulous, unsparing, and comprehensive account of the lamentable state of the Arab world”—before delving into the past.

In subsequent chapters, Diner discusses the creation of the Turkish Republic and the accompanying abolishment of Islamic institutions, the different trajectories taken by the West and the Muslim world in the early modern era, and how Islam’s classical era created institutions and legal ordinances that were imbued with the sacred. He also asks specific questions like—did the delay in the introduction of the printing press in the Muslim world impede the spread of knowledge and development? Does Islam’s understanding of time and history prevent the linear development we’ve seen in the West? Did the division of language into high Arabic and colloquial Arabic hinder the dissemination of knowledge?

LOST IN THE SACRED is written with deep sympathy for the Arab and Muslim world, while simultaneously illustrating the urgent need for secularization and modernization in Islam.

“Dan Diner’s breadth of knowledge, capacity for clear and broad interpretation, and stylistic sovereignty will no doubt make this a classic in the field.”—Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University

“Lost in the Sacred offers a broad synthesis on a key problem of the contemporary Middle East, hence of the world at large.”—Rémi Brague, author of The Law of God

About the Author:
Dan Diner is professor of modern history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Leipzig. His books include Beyond the Conceivable: Studies on Germany, Nazism, and the Holocaust and Cataclysms: A History of the Twentieth Century from Europe’s Edge.

Why the Muslim World Stood Still
Dan Diner
Translated by Steven Rendall
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-691-12911-2 $29.95 / £17.95
226 pp. 6 x 9
Pub date: February 25, 2009

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania