The Resurgence of Islam: The Return to the Source

In the second article of The Resurgence of Islam Dr. Leila Ahmed, an Egyptian scholar who has taught at the United Arab Emirates University, examines the Islamic past - that of the Prophet Muhammad and the first four 'right-guarded caliphs' - to which the leaders of the current resurgence in the Islamic world seek a return.

Persepolis in 1971 saw the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian monarchy. Presiding over what The Times described as the largest gathering of monarchs and heads of state ever staged, the Shah of Iran inaugurated celebrations that were quite as grand and dazzling as anything Hollywood might have created. The display set out to recreate the splendour of the nation's past, particularly its imperial, Aryan, pre-Islamic past. That that in particular was the heritage being celebrated was evident in everything; the whole tenor of the proceedings, as was remarked at the time, contained scarcely a reference to Iran's Islamic heritage. The British press of the day gave the event full coverage, even describing the various courses of the state banquet, but also saw fit to point out that perhaps it was not entirely appropriate that wealth should be so ostentatiously squandered in a nation where so many were poor. However this occidental view of the matter evidently did not weigh with the Shah and his advisers, to whom no doubt it appeared insignificant compared to the impact which the spectacle was designed to have on the Persian people.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.