Book Review: ‘Fault Lines in the Faith’ by Iqbal S. Hasnain

Navigating Islamic Dynamics: Hasnain's Profound Exploration of Faith, Politics, and Radicalization

Book Title: Fault Lines in the Faith: How Events of 1979 Shaped the Islamic World
Author: Iqbal S. Hasnain
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-9357029001
Date Published: Nov. 6, 2023
Price: INR 310

Fault Lines in the Faith by Iqbal S. Hasnain Book Cover

Book Review

Hasnain’s Profound Exploration of Faith, Politics, and Radicalization Review: Iqbal S. Hasnain’s compelling work, “Fault Lines in the Faith: How Events of 1979 Shaped the Islamic World,” delves into the intricate landscape of political Islam from 1979 until the early years of Crown Prince Bin Salman’s era in Saudi Arabia. Through meticulous research, Hasnain explores the expansion of political Islam in both Arab and non-Arab regions, providing a comprehensive examination of the radicalization of Muslim youth in North America and Europe.

The book also meticulously unravels the intricate web of sectarian fault lines and the emergence of the Shia crescent in the Middle East, factors that played a pivotal role in shaping the contemporary Islamic world. Hasnain’s narrative delves into the consequential rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the disturbing trend of weaponizing Islamic thought. This weaponization is manifest through the adept use of various social media platforms for the recruitment of jihadi volunteers, a phenomenon that has significantly impacted global security over the past decade.” The book explores the influence of Wahhabism and sectarianism in society.

Wahhabism, an 18th-century Islamic doctrine, is associated with global jihad and is linked to Iraq’s invasion, US support for Arab regimes, and Israel’s over-protection. Sectarianism in the Middle East is significant, shaping regional developments like civil wars and competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The chapter on Saudi Arabia and Iran explores their complex relationship and its implications for the broader Islamic world. The Iranian Revolution in 1979 caused concern in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, which feared a Shiite regime.

Sunni Islamist insurgents, led by Juhayman al-Otaybi, sieged Mecca, challenging the Al Saud family and restoring Sharia rule. Negotiations led to the enforcement of Wahhabi Islam at home and its promotion abroad. The oil boom in the 1970s funded charities like the Muslim World League. In the exploration of “Fault Lines in the Faith: How Events of 1979 Shaped the Islamic World,” Hasnain scrutinizes the geopolitical dynamics that led to the emergence and expansion of Shia influence, unraveling the intricate web of regional power shifts and sectarian tensions in the 1980s and beyond.

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In conclusion, Hasnain’s revealing work reveals a distressing tale of how extremist organizations, assisted by religious institutions’ involvement, carefully designed a campaign that inflicted significant wounds on faith with the world’s second-largest worldwide following. The author thoroughly dissects the various procedures by which these extreme groupings exploited the backing of religious machinery, ruining the image of a faith that occupies a prominent role around the globe due to sheer numerical power. This investigation not only sheds light on the subtle techniques used but also provokes a critical analysis of the internal dynamics and vulnerabilities within the religious infrastructure that enabled such malignant forces to abuse and tarnish the face of this widely practiced faith.

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