Author: Hamied N.Ansari
Publisher: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), IIUM
Description from the publisher:
The ancient Golden Octagon symbolizes a pattern of existence whose perfection stems from answering question concerning the desirability of temporal authority progressing along a circular route of inquiry. Each step in the inquiry builds upon the one preceding it, eventually arriving at justice, which is the final response to the first question raised at the beginning; Why is temporal authority a necessary condition of a stable and orderly existence?
The ideals of this symbol, however, run contrary to natural history where discontinuities and imperfections are often the end products of human activities. Throughout the past centuries, the efforts to reconcile high ideals with a recalcitrant reality have provided the leitmotif of the Islamic civilization. Prodigious we describe here as the informal aspects of history-making including ethnography, ecology, military and economic interest, and other proximate causes.
By rethinking the history of the Islamic civilization, I attempt to define the historical context of the dominant principles permeating the cultural outlook at critical junctures, reflecting the emergence of new patterns of socio-economic organizations and their effects on the centres of political gravity.