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Guests of God : Pilgrimage and Politics in the Islamic World (Hardcover), Author: Robert R. Bianchi Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (September 9, 2004)

  • Guests of God : Pilgrimage and Politics in the Islamic World (Hardcover)
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Product Description

ISBN: 0195171071 
Author: Robert R. Bianchi 
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (September 9, 2004) 
Pages: 384 Binding: Hardcover w/ dust jacket 

Description from the publisher: 

Winner of the 2005 Albert Hourani Book Prize Award Description

Each year, about two million pilgrims from over 100 countries converge on the Islamic holy city of Mecca for the hajj. While the hajj is first and foremost a religious festival, it is also very much a political event. No government can resist the temptation to manipulate the hajj for political and economic gain. Every large Muslim state has developed a comprehensive hajj policy and a powerful bureaucracy to enforce it. The Muslim world's leading multinational organization, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, has established the first international regime explicitly devoted to pilgrimage. Yet, Robert Bianchi argues, no secular or religious authority - national or international - can really control the hajj. State-sponsored pilgrimage management consistently backfires, giving government opponents valuable ammunition and allowing them to manipulate the symbols and controversies of the hajj to their own ends. Bianchi has been researching the hajj for over ten years and draws on interviews with and data from hajj directors in five Muslim countries (Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia, and Nigeria), statistics from Saudi Arabian hajj authorities, as well as his personal experience as a pilgrim. The result is the most complete picture of the hajj available anywhere, and a wide-ranging work on Islam, politics, and power. Reviews "...a remarkable book that delivers more than its title even begins to suggest."--CHOICE

"...a work of great learning and of astute political and social analysis, written in a direct and jargon-free style that is a joy to read....an achievement remarkable for its learning, its sophistication, its acuity and its sheer lucidity."--F.E. Peters, Middle East and Islamic Studies, New York University

"Guests of God, the fruit of a personal pilgrimage in 1989 (do not miss the pages recounting that) and more than a decade of research throughout the Muslim world, is a beautifully wrought study that tells much about the hajj and more."--Foreign Affairs

"This is a masterful study of the Hajj, one of the greatest human experiences of our time, in historical, social scientific and legal perspectives, ranging from global thematic issues to detailed case studies. Bianchi combines fascinating narrative, accessible prose, and wealth of information with sophisticated analysis, insightful scholarship, and clarity of presentation. A highly instructive and inspiring contribution to possibilities of international peaceful cooperation at the present creative moment in human history."--Abdullahi An-Na'im, author of Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and International Law

"Robert Bianchi describes the Hajj as 'magical'. Guests of God is no less so. Melding social science analysis, history, public policy, Islamic studies, personal narrative, and travelogue Bianchi takes his readers on a Hajj of their own. From Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Nigeria, and elsewhere Bianchi reveals the mechanics, the politics, and the spiritual dimensions of perhaps the world's greatest regularized movement of people. Relying on brilliant scholarship, elegant writing, and rare insight this book is truly a colossal achievement."--Jerrold D. Green, Director of International Programs and Development and Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy, RAND

"Robert Bianchi's Guests of God is a unique and masterful treatment of the politicization of the hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, and its global significance. Based on extensive field research and data, this is a definitive and critical study, must-reading for those who wish to understand the continuing role of the hajj from Nigeria to Indonesia in Muslim belief, politics and international relations." --John L. Esposito, author of Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam


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