Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey by V. S. Naipaul

By V. S. Naipaul

Naipaul's debatable account of his travels during the Islamic international used to be hailed by way of the hot Republic as "the such a lot striking paintings on modern Islam to have seemed in a really lengthy time."

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Sample text

Abraham is able to receive contact from the ™amr il a¯ h¯ı not only because he inherited the recessive gene from his grandfather ¡Ever, but also because he was a student of his grandfather, and had known his righteous ancestor Noah as well. The early ancestors passed down both a tradition and a capacity for connection with the Divine; thus, the capacity for prophecy is both inherited and learned. In each generation the ™amr il a¯ h¯ı continues to make ittiÓsa¯ l with one individual whom God finds worthy—as we saw in the Sh¯ı¡ite texts— from Adam down to the twelve sons of Jacob.

Communal IttiÓsa¯ l God’s ittiÓsa¯ l with individual founding figures expands to a group phenomenon when the twelve tribes grow into a religious nation, solidified through the Exodus from Egypt and the revelation at Mount Sinai. This series of events establishes the unique religious status of the Jewish people: The King: Is your Law then confined to you? The Haver: Ó Yes, but whoever from among the nations joins us, in particular (kh¯a ÓsÓsatan)70 shares in our good,71 although they are not quite the same as us (lam yastawi ma‘n¯a).

Does this indicate that some of Adam’s descendents are the “select” of their father because of an innate capacity or worthiness, or that their actual ittiÓsa¯ l—God’s relationship with them—makes them an elite? Are the Ósafwa special because they are chosen, or are they chosen because they are special? The Haver’s Ó equivocal language leaves room for an arbitrary quality to the choice. One might argue that the rejected sons’ status as “husks” derives at least partially from the fact that God did not actually connect with them, that for Ha-Levi ittiÓsa¯ l is ultimately an act of God, who chooses to initiate contact with certain descendents of the primordial Adam.

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