Thursday, October 13, 2005

Review: Sherman Jackson's Islam and the Blackamerican

Islam and the Black American: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection by Sherman Jackson. Oxford University Press (2005). ISBN 0-19-518081-X. 235 pages. Hardcover.

This book is available from Astrolabe (www.astrolabe.com).

Click here for a direct link to the book .

I was in Atlanta in 1991 when I heard a Louis Farakhan tape in which he said something like, “We did not stop riding the back of the bus to get on the back of the camel!” And, later, around that time frame, I remember reading a line condemning African Muslim hujjaj (pilgrims to Makka) passing the bones of their ancestors to worship at Arab shrines. (I think it was from Molefi Asante’s book Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change.) Lastly, I remember reading an article by Louis Brenner about the manner in which a scholar taught the attributes of God to common people in West Africa. And Dr. Jackson wrote a book which brought together all of these experiences for me.

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2 comment(s):

  • Salaams,

    Yes, I've been dealing with those issues all over my blog, Planet Grenada. Most explicitly in my earlier entries (I even have a few on Prof. Jackson) , but now I'm still trying to wrestle with other aspects of how race, culture, politics and religion come together.

    But briefly, I would say that there is way too much overlap and inter-dependence between Black experience/history/people and Muslim experience/history/people for Asante or Farrkhan's criticisms to make sense.

    And in terms of the American context, as time goes on, I'd expect the two worlds to interweave more and for that relationship to mature.

    By Blogger Abdul-Halim V., at 10/14/2005 03:19:00 PM  

  • Salaam

    i've not read the book - but have read a number of reviews... i think, the author makes a lot of interesting points... but some of the conclusions, i'm not so sure about...

    "How should immigrant Muslims address white supremacy? Being grounded in both American reality and the classical Tradition], that is, within the American constitutional order..."

    The constitutional order (in practice) is nothing more than a temporal/political order that has been superimposed on the land - And it is not something that can be considered indigenous in the sense of being connected to and/or dervied from the geography of the land... And because of this, attempts to relate Islam to the US constitution is a way that leads us further away - rather than towards the goal.

    There is an classic book called God is Red that deals specifically with Christianity.. but can also be applied to Islam and Muslims in someways.

    Becoming "indigenous" does not just mean adapting to a political order (a historically very oppressive order) - rather it means going deeper and becoming connected literally and spiritually to the land and geography itself...

    If White Supremacy is to be combated, then we must also return to understanding the historical roots - that has a lot to do with White relationship (or lack of) with Native Americans.

    And if Islam/Muslims are to become "indigenous" then it also means seeing Islam - signs of Allah in the landscape (not the political entity) of what is now known as America.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/14/2005 11:54:00 PM  

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