Blog universitario sobre Estudios Árabes e Islámicos, sostenibilidad y responsabilidad social

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  • El caso de Hula demuestra el retraso de la inteligencia occidental en Siria

    Enviado el junio 18th, 2012AdministradorGeneral
    Artículo por Thierry Meyssan.
    La investigación demuestra que la masacre de Hula fue cometida por los rebeldes y luego manipulada para culpar al régimen sirio.
  • El islam salvó al judaísmo

    Enviado el junio 11th, 2012AdministradorGeneral

    Jewish Chronicle 25 May 2012

    So, what did the Muslims do for the Jews?

    David J Wasserstein

    ISLAM SAVED Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.

    By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

    Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman empire.

    A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

    This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian empire at this time included Babylon – now Iraq – at the time home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jews.

    Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself – the Talmud – came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.

    Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages – Hebrew and Aramaic – and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture – the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.

    The loss of the unifying force represented by language – and of the associated literature – was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper – Babylon- cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.

    Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

    But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.

    Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.

    First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon – Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.

    Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

    This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.

    In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.

    Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogue – in theory- and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.

    The political unity brought by the new Islamic world-empire did not last, but it created a vast Islamic world civilisation, similar to the older Christian civilisation that it replaced. Within this huge area, Jews lived and enjoyed broadly similar status and rights everywhere. They could move around, maintain contacts, and develop their identity as Jews. A great new expansion of trade from the ninth century onwards brought the Spanish Jews – like the Muslims – into touch with the Jews and the Muslims even of India.

    ALL THIS was encouraged by a further, critical development. Huge numbers of people in the new world ofIslam adopted the language of the Muslim Arabs. Arabic gradually became the principal language of this vast area, excluding almost all the rest: Greek and Syriac, Aramaic and Coptic and Latin all died out, replaced by Arabic. Persian, too, went into a long retreat, to reappear later heavily influenced by Arabic.

    The Jews moved over to Arabic very rapidly. By the early 10th century, only 300 years after the conquests, Sa’adya Gaon was translating the Bible into Arabic. Bible translation is a massive task – it is not undertaken unless there is a need for it. By about the year 900, the Jews had largely abandoned other languages and taken on Arabic.

    The change of language in its turn brought the Jews into direct contact with broader cultural developments. The result from the 10th century on was a striking pairing of two cultures. The Jews of the Islamic world developed an entirely new culture, which differed from their culture before Islam in terms of language, cultural forms, influences, and uses. Instead of being concerned primarily with religion, the new Jewish culture of the Islamic world, like that of its neighbours, mixed the religious and the secular to a high degree. The contrast, both with the past and with medieval Christian Europe, was enormous.

    Like their neighbours, these Jews wrote in Arabic in part, and in a Jewish form of that language. The use of Arabic brought them close to the Arabs. But the use of a specific Jewish form of that language maintained the barriers between Jew and Muslim. The subjects that Jews wrote about, and the literary forms in which they wrote about them, were largely new ones, borrowed from the Muslims and developed in tandem with developments in Arabic Islam.

    Also at this time, Hebrew was revived as a language of high literature, parallel to the use among the Muslims of a high form of Arabic for similar purposes. Along with its use for poetry and artistic prose, secular writing of all forms in Hebrew and in (Judeo- )Arabic came into being, some of it of high quality.

    Much of the greatest poetry in Hebrew written since the Bible comes from this period. Sa’adya Gaon, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Ezra (Moses and Abraham), Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Yehudah al-Harizi, Samuel ha-Nagid, and many more – all of these names, well known today, belong in the first rank of Jewish literary and cultural endeavour.

    WHERE DID these Jews produce all this? When did they and their neighbours achieve this symbiosis, this mode of living together? The Jews did it in a number of centres of excellence.

    The most outstanding of these was Islamic Spain, where there was a true Jewish Golden Age, alongside a wave of cultural achievement among the Muslim population. The Spanish case illustrates a more general pattern, too.

    What happened in Islamic Spain – waves of Jewish cultural prosperity paralleling waves of cultural prosperity among the Muslims – exemplifies a larger pattern in Arab Islam. In Baghdad, between the ninth and the twelfth centuries; in Qayrawan (in north Africa), between the ninth and the 11th centuries; in Cairo, between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and elsewhere, the rise and fall of cultural centres of Islam tended to be reflected in the rise and fall of Jewish cultural activity in the same places.

    This was not coincidence, and nor was it the product of particularly enlightened liberal patronage by Muslim rulers. It was the product of a number of deeper features of these societies, social and cultural, legal and economic, linguistic and political, which together enabled and indeed encouraged the Jews of the Islamic world to create a novel sub-culture within the high civilisation of the time.

    This did not last for ever; the period of culturally successful symbiosis between Jew and Arab Muslim in the middle ages came to a close by about 1300. In reality, it had reached this point even earlier, with the overall relative decline in the importance and vitality of Arabic culture, both in relation to western European cultures and in relation to other cultural forms within Islam itself; Persian and Turkish.

    Jewish cultural prosperity in the middle ages operated in large part as a function of Muslim, Arabic cultural (and to some degree political) prosperity: when Muslim Arabic culture thrived, so did that of the Jews; when Muslim Arabic culture declined, so did that of the Jews. In the case of the Jews, however, the cultural capital thus created also served as the seed-bed of further growth elsewhere – in Christian Spain and in the Christian world more generally.

    The Islamic world was not the only source of inspiration for the Jewish cultural revival that came later in Christian Europe, but it certainly was a major contributor to that development. Its significance cannot be overestimated.

    David J Wasserstein is the Eugene Greener Jr Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. This article is adapted from Iast weeks Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
    The Lectures are now available as audio files on the website here:

  • Revolución por la dignidad en el mundo árabe

    Enviado el mayo 23rd, 2012AdministradorCambios en los países árabes e islámicos

    Revolución por la dignidad en el mundo árabe. De la indignación al renacimiento 
    Libro de El Houssine Majdoubi Bahida (Barcelona: Icaria, 2012)

    El interesante libro de El Houssine Majdoubi descifra las claves del pasado, de la actualidad y del futuro de la Revolución Árabe por la Dignidad, el papel de los movimientos islamistas, el papel actual y futuro del ejército en la Primavera Árabe, además de las relaciones futuras entre Occidente y el Mundo Árabe. Escrito por un árabe, presenta una visión árabe de los acontecimientos que vive el Mundo Árabe. El autor aborda, además, aspectos nuevos teniendo en cuenta la naturaleza del lector occidental y en este caso, el español.

    “El Houssine Majdoubi acierta al considerar que estos pueblos sedientos de libertad son perfectamentes capaces de garantizar el imperio de los valores de la igualdad y la coexistencia en el futuro, aunque el camino sea arduo y nada fácil.” Prólogo del príncipe Moulay Hicham

    A finales del año 2010 no existían indicios en el escenario inter­nacional que nos pudieran hacer presagiar lo que iba a suceder a principios de 2011: una revolución de gran enver­gadura y de dimensiones hasta entonces impensables como la de Túnez, que desembocaría en una reestructuración del mapa político de todos los países del mundo árabe, Egip­to, Libia, Siria y Marruecos, entre otros. Este libro descifra las claves del levan­tamiento para conquistar la democracia y la dignidad de cada uno de estos países. Además, aborda las futuras conse­cuencias en el seno de las sociedades árabes y de las futuras relaciones entre el mundo árabe y Occidente con especial énfasis para España.

    Majdoubi analiza e interpreta este transcendental aconteci­miento, basándose en dos conceptos: el primero consiste en que las actuales revoluciones son una cita con la demo­­cra­cia, a la vez que una cita con la historia, en el sentido de la con­se­cución del renacimiento que tanto tiempo se ha de­mo­rado, mientras que el segundo, se centra en que el ca­mi­no hacia un futuro estable requiere muchos esfuerzos, y los árabes son conscientes de que la libertad, que están logrando con incontables sacrificios, no representa en sí misma la solu­ción final, pero constituye el trampolín de despegue para alcanzar la modernidad.

  • Argelia vive en las urnas su ‘primavera árabe’

    Enviado el mayo 11th, 2012AdministradorCambios en los países árabes e islámicos

  • Congreso Internacional 5ª Primavera del Manuscrito Andalusí: Manuscritos para comunicar culturas

    Enviado el febrero 5th, 2012AdministradorGeneral

    Programa del Congreso

    Hoja de inscripción (gratuita)

  • Siete claves para el despertar árabe


    Los árabes arrancaron el siglo XXI con una segunda Intifada en Palestina y una gran movilización contra la invasión de Irak. No estaban dormidos, sino buscando cómo superar las tiranías poscoloniales.
    Artículo de Luz GÓMEZ GARCÍA. Leer aquí (abre nueva ventana)

  • La farsa de la ONU, la retórica de Obama y algunos actores secundarios

    Enviado el abril 1st, 2011AdministradorCambios en los países árabes e islámicos

    Artículo de Andrés Martínez Lorca en la revista Rebelión
    La farsa de la ONU, la retórica de Obama y algunos actores secundarios

  • Agresión militar en Libia

    Enviado el marzo 23rd, 2011AdministradorCambios en los países árabes e islámicos
    Nuevas mentiras para una nueva guerra, por  Andrés Martínez Lorca

    Artículo que critica la manipulación e intereses del ataque occidental a Libia con la excusa de apoyar la democracia en la estela de  las revueltas árabes de Túnez y Egipto, cuando realmente se trata de una situación y problemas diferentes. Sin embargo, en el caso de Libia se interviene militarmente por los intereses del petróleo y ambiciones occidentales, mientras que en otros casos de mayor agresión internacional, no se interviene.

  • La postergación de las mujeres causa el atraso de la sociedad según el filósofo andalusí Averroes

    Enviado el febrero 25th, 2011AdministradorGeneral

    Al-Andalus iluminó con su alta cultura la Europa medieval. Su luz resplandeció en aquellos oscuros siglos como un primer Renacimiento. El cordobés Averroes fue la estrella más brillante de una constelación de sabios que supieron recuperar el legado griego y recrearlo con el aporte añadido del Islam oriental y con el esfuerzo propio de generaciones de andalusíes.

    En el enlace siguiente se recoge un resumen del pensamiento y trascendencia de la gran figura de Averroes (Ibn Rušd, s. XII), filósofo cordobés universal, a partir  de una entrevista a Andrés Martínez Lorca, autor del libro:  Averroes, el sabio cordobés que iluminó europa (Córdoba: El Páramo, 2010), quien resalta que el racionalismo de Averroes y su crítica social le lleva a ideas tan avanzadas como que la mayoría de las mujeres son más hábiles que los varones en capacidad de organización; cuando han sido muy bien educadas, las mujeres han llegado a ser filósofos y gobernantes; una de las causas de la pobreza en la sociedad es la falta de preparación de las mujeres y su no participación activa en la vida económica.

  • Humor gráfico sobre los cambios y protestas en los países árabes e islámicos

    Enviado el febrero 25th, 2011AdministradorCambios en los países árabes e islámicos