Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries

Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries

Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries

Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries

Excerpt

In many ways the new millennium is indeed a New Age for humanity, a time in which we are all inexorably becoming ever more closely linked with one another. Human nature being what it is, however, the multiplication of increasingly close economic ties and mechanical social connections is a process which too often outruns our capacity to understand and to appreciate the diverse religious and cultural traditions with which we now find ourselves in such immediate contact. To use the fashionable image, the Other against which we once were safely able to define ourselves at such a comfortable distance is now a much more immediate presence. Given the instincts all too successfully instilled by the early evolution of mankind, the instant reaction to this situation is to sense the threat of strangers getting too close rather than to perceive the opportunity of getting to know some different new friends and something of from where they come.

Openness is certainly the basic requirement for this process of mutual understanding to take place, and is sorely needed if we are properly to move together into the new world of global co-existence into which we have all so rapidly been thrust. But understanding requires not just openness but also knowledge, as is nowhere more apparent today than in the lethal fog of misunderstandings too often born of closed minds and ignorance which prevents so many from a proper appreciation of the world of Islam. The events of recent years have shown, as never before, the urgent need for informed and sympathetic accounts of the kind which alone can hope to help open hearts as well as minds.

It is just such a window of understanding which is opened through this book by Professor Anna Suvorova, herself a distinguished Russian scholar of Urdu literature and South Asian Muslim culture. In its original version, it was deservedly very well received in Russia, which has its own clear needs for studies of this kind. It now appears

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