Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire

Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire

by Seema Alavi


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Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire recovers the stories of five Indian Muslim scholars who, in the aftermath of the uprising of 1857, were hunted by British authorities, fled their homes in India for such destinations as Cairo, Mecca, and Istanbul, and became active participants in a flourishing pan-Islamic intellectual network at the cusp of the British and Ottoman empires. Seema Alavi traces this network, born in the age of empire, which became the basis of a global Muslim sensibility--a form of political and cultural affiliation that competes with ideas of nationhood today as it did in the previous century.

By demonstrating that these Muslim networks depended on European empires and that their sensibility was shaped by the West in many subtle ways, Alavi challenges the idea that all pan-Islamic configurations are anti-Western or pro-Caliphate. Indeed, Western imperial hegemony empowered the very inter-Asian Muslim connections that went on to outlive European empires. Diverging from the medieval idea of the umma, this new cosmopolitan community stressed consensus in matters of belief, ritual, and devotion and found inspiration in the liberal reforms then gaining traction in the Ottoman world. Alavi breaks new ground in the writing of nineteenth-century history by engaging equally with the South Asian and Ottoman worlds, and by telling a non-Eurocentric story of global modernity without overlooking the importance of the British Empire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674735330
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/06/2015
Pages: 504
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Seema Alavi is Professor of History at the University of Delhi.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Map: Muslim networks in the nineteenth century xiii

Introduction 1

1 Muslim Reformists and the Transition to English Rule 32

2 The Making of the "Indian Arab" and the Tale of Sayyid Fadl 93

3 Rahmatullah Kairanwi and the Muslim Cosmopolis 169

4 Haji Imdadullah Makki in Mecca 222

5 Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan and the Muslim Cosmopolis 267

6 Maulana Jafer Thanesri and the Muslim Ecumene 331

Conclusion 368

Abbreviations 409

Notes 411

Acknowledgments 473

Index 475

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