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Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey de…
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Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981 original; edició 1981)

de V. S. Naipaul (Autor)

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Among the Believers is V.S. Naipaul's classic account of his journeys through Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia; 'the believers' are the Muslims he met on those journeys, young men and women battling to regain the original purity of their faith in the hope of restoring order to a chaotic world. It is a uniquely valuable insight into modern Islam and the comforting simplifications of religious fanaticism. 'This book investigates the Islamic revolution and tries to understand the fundamentalist zeal that has gripped the young in Iran and other Muslim countries . . . He is a modern master.' - Sunday Times 'His level of perception is of the highest, and his prose has become the perfect instrument for realizing those perceptions on the page. His travel writing is perhaps the most important body of work of its kind in the second half of the century.' - Martin Amis, author of Time's Arrow.… (més)
Membre:CalAnderson
Títol:Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey
Autors:V. S. Naipaul (Autor)
Informació:Alfred a Knopf Inc (1981), Edition: First American Edition
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey de V. S. Naipaul (1981)

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I read Among the Believers when it appeared ('82), assigned bits on daily papers to my Freshmen worried about the American embassy takeover (mentioned p.395). I reassured them that the Iranians had, 150 years earlier, over-run another Empire's embassy: the Russians'. Then they killed the ambasador, a great writer, Griboyedev. Among the B-livers has many amusing passages, such as VSN pushing his stalled little Taxi half a block, then quitting and thinking, "This is NOT the way to the Holy City of Qom."

The book soon moves on to Pakistan, which occupies half of it, then the last hundred pages on Indonesia. Naipaul interviews journalists throughout, including Nusrat in Karachi, as Pakistan is building a new culture. Nusrat considers himself a bad Muslim for several reasons, like the 248 rupees he gains in interest, (forbidden to Muslim banks--how build a bank system without? 397). He goes to cover the slums in Clifton, not far from the Bhutto house, but gets irritated that, in 32 years, the poor people had not marched to the Bhutto house. I have a personal connection with Bhutto's daughter Benazir, whose pilot Aly Khan we dined with in London, over a few years, once at his flat there. He was in a different car from P.M. Benazir when she was shot by the government, the only ones who could shut off the electricity.

Nusrat's newspaper caused riots by printing an article about the Prophet's great-grand-daughter, whom the Shias reject. Some planned to amass a crowd and burn down the newspaper, but because of the savvy, though ill, editor, the paper survived. Nusrat reads Art Buchwald, wants to publish his columns in a book like the American's. VSN advises him, though very good as columns, they would not make a book. For instance, he writes without irony about a public flogging, how the buses break down, fail to bring witnesses. Though jaunty, Nusrat's columns are humorless, "It was part of his candour, his attractiveness"(399).

Naipaul interviews a medical doctor in Rawalpindi, twenty miles from the newer, British-built capital city Islamabad. VSN asks the doctor how his faith helped him in his profession, as he claimed.
An expert on bites-- donkeys', snakes', scorpions', mostly affecting the shoeless poor-- he'd been the Asst Medical Director for years, but when the director retired, the post remained open for six months. (He could cure viper bites, but not cobra and krait.) So he went to the General Manager, who thought he just wanted the big house and salary. The G.M. said if the bite expert didn't like his job, he should resign. Passing over the form, the doctor wrote out his resignation and signed it--buoyed by his faith. The G.M saw that, and rejected the letter.

By the way, I highly respect this doctor's idea of holy war, jihad, the fifth article of faith; for him, it was "the constant struggle in yourself to fight evil"(171). To myself, raised Protestant, Congregationalist (though fallen), the doctor's holy war is part of my faith, too.
The doctor's son Syed, who says he is not religious, was educated to become a doctor, but he also wrote poetry, and describes his process, "I am empty for three, four months--empty in terms of poetry. I am occupied, then it just comes, two or three poems. I don't want to do anything else, even if I'm supposed to be studying"(176). ( )
  AlanWPowers | Feb 6, 2021 |
A whole section on Indonesia entitled "Indonesia: Usurpations"
  Alhickey1 | Sep 19, 2017 |
Naipaul focuses on the social and cultural aspects of Islam and provides a lot of food for thought but never really convinces when exploring Islam as a faith. 3 Aug 2015 ( )
  alanca | Aug 3, 2015 |
Critical view of the religion and its followers ( )
  bruce.montador | May 5, 2014 |
Travelling through Iran just after the revolution as well as Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia where he meets up with those caught up in the push for Islamist nations: Shias and Shi'ites, communists and apostates, youth organisers, mullahs and government officials. Asking them about their lives, looking at their hopes and dreams and always questioning their reasons.

It's a fascinating time: we glimpse the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, visit Pakistan in flux, in the grip of the army and struggling to be a Islamic state and then see an Indonesia caught between old and new and looking for a way forward. Obviously it's deeply topical but not only for providing historical grounding on Islamic fundamentalism but also asking questions about that fundamentalism and ones that still haven't been answered.

It's not a hatchet job, Naipaul is kind, highly intelligent, sometimes superior, honest, deeply insightful and always questioning. For those used to the uncritical simplifications of today's portrayal of Islam this a most refreshing book and because Naipul looks at the Islamic faith itself, I found I learnt much. If I have made it sound dull and worthy I apologise it's eminently readable, very human but it is serious as well as fascinating, troubling as it is enlightening and the questions it raises can be applied to all fkavours of fundamentalism.

I really cannot praise this enough but maybe if you are familiar with both the faith and the history it will not be as good. Still it's worth reading as a simple, interesting, travelogue. ( )
2 vota clfisha | Jun 30, 2010 |
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Among the Believers is V.S. Naipaul's classic account of his journeys through Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia; 'the believers' are the Muslims he met on those journeys, young men and women battling to regain the original purity of their faith in the hope of restoring order to a chaotic world. It is a uniquely valuable insight into modern Islam and the comforting simplifications of religious fanaticism. 'This book investigates the Islamic revolution and tries to understand the fundamentalist zeal that has gripped the young in Iran and other Muslim countries . . . He is a modern master.' - Sunday Times 'His level of perception is of the highest, and his prose has become the perfect instrument for realizing those perceptions on the page. His travel writing is perhaps the most important body of work of its kind in the second half of the century.' - Martin Amis, author of Time's Arrow.

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