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Islam's perfect stranger : the life of Mahmud Muhammad Taha, Muslim reformer of Sudan

Author: Edward Thomas
Publisher: London : I.B. Tauris ; New York, NY : Distributed in the United States and Canada exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Series: International library of African studies, v. 26.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In Taha's first biography, Edward Thomas reveals how Taha was a legal reformer who creatively reworked Islamic law, abolishing its traditional discriminations against women and non-Muslims. He was also a legal performer, his ideas shaped by Sudan's plural legal systems, jails, judges and police. Sudan's legal pluralism is part of its cultural diversity, and Thomas relates Taha's life to the historical experience of
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Maḥmūd Muḥammad Ṭāhā; Maḥmūd Muḥammad Ṭāhā
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Edward Thomas
ISBN: 9781848850040 1848850042
OCLC Number: 694998420
Description: x, 281 pages ; 23 cm.
Contents: Machine generated contents note: ch. 1 Remembering childhood --
ch. 2 Sudan from 1500-1900 --
ch. 3 Escaping the village shop --
ch. 4 Training an effendi --
ch. 5 Starting work and getting married --
ch. 6 The Republican party --
ch. 7 Taking the lift to the fields of heaven --
ch. 8 Giving up abstinence --
ch. 9 Independence for the elite --
ch. 10 Battle lines --
ch. 11 Glorious October --
ch. 12 Pyramids --
ch. 13 Modern Sufi --
ch. 14 Romancing Sudan --
ch. 15 Perfect stranger --
ch. 16 The perfect ending --
ch. 17 Aftermath.
Series Title: International library of African studies, v. 26.
Responsibility: Edward Thomas.

Abstract:

In Taha's first biography, Edward Thomas reveals how Taha was a legal reformer who creatively reworked Islamic law, abolishing its traditional discriminations against women and non-Muslims. He was also a legal performer, his ideas shaped by Sudan's plural legal systems, jails, judges and police. Sudan's legal pluralism is part of its cultural diversity, and Thomas relates Taha's life to the historical experience of an African country on the edge of the Arab and Muslim world: where the interplay between ethnicity and religion - and a history of slavery - has major consequences for the division of wealth and power.

Taha participated enthusiastically in the high-pitched debates on Islam and politics that were at the centre of discourse on state legitimacy in the Sudan of his day. But within his circle, his aspirations were other-worldly, and he preferred the mystical logic of Sudan's Sufi thinkers to the polemical cut and thrust. He thought that life should be aimed at perfection, and that it was a human duty to give perfection one's best shot. Thomas argues that it was Taha's disconcerting pursuit of perfection that made him a thinker and a martyr.

Interviews with Taha's contemporaries show that Taha's ideas were linked to his identity and to his privileged place in Sudan's divided society. Taha's ethnicity, class, studies, professional life and migrations all shaped him - and here Thomas draws upon a diverse range of sources to bring to light the life and ideas of an important Sudanese reformer and leader who has become a symbol of resistance, tolerance and human rights. --Book Jacket.

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