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Destiny Disrupted summary

Tamim Ansary

A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

4.5 (126 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Destiny Disrupted, by Tamim Ansary, is a historical account of the Islamic world from a Muslim perspective. It offers an informative and insightful narrative, exploring how Islam has shaped global history and how it continues to impact our world today.

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    Destiny Disrupted
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    Sandwiched between West and East, the Islamic world was born amid a commercial and pagan society.

    Have you ever wondered where the “middle” in “Middle East” comes from? To find out, let’s travel back in time to the dawn of civilization.

    On one side, we have Western civilization, which emerged in the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. On the other, around what is now China, we have Eastern civilization. Between these two worlds, we have what the author refers to as the Middle World.

    More specifically, this world is the area between the Indus River, which runs along the border of India and Pakistan, and Istanbul, which is located on the northern tip of Turkey and lies between the Black and Aegean Seas. This is the Middle World, resting between East and West – two very different civilizations, with their own distinct histories.

    At the heart of the Middle World was Mesopotamia, which lay between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, where modern-day Iraq is located. Around 5,500 years ago, in southern Mesopotamia, the Sumerians developed the first high culture, inventing letters and numbers in the process.

    The Sumerians didn’t last and, as history proceeded, several other high cultures came and went. There were the Akkadians, Amorites, Babylonians and, around 550 BCE, the Persians. Then came the Greeks — and the famous conquests of Alexander the Great — which were immediately followed by the rise of the Roman Empire, during which time Christ was born.

    All of these empires and cultures came and went in the Middle World – and it all happened before the birth of Islam.

    Around the year 570 CE, the Prophet Muhammad was born. His birthplace, Mecca, was a trading hub defined by commercial enterprise. He was raised an orphan and grew up poor among a society of rich Arab merchants.

    At the time, these Arabs were pagans who believed in a multitude of gods. But then, one day, Muhammad had a life-changing experience. While meditating in the nearby mountains, he was visited by the angel Gabriel, and a voice commanded him to “recite.”

    After this revelation, Muhammad began preaching monotheism to the people of Mecca. And, much to the discomfort of the rich Arab merchants, the message he had was that God wanted to end debauchery and help the poor.

    Thus, Islam was born.

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    What is Destiny Disrupted about?

    Destiny Disrupted (2009) tells history from an Islamic perspective. It begins before the emergence of Muhammad and Islam in the seventh century CE and ends with the decline of the Islamic empires in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. On this epic journey, Tamim Ansary describes the fascinating stories of great Muslim states, scholars and leaders – a perspective on history that is, unfortunately, widely unknown to most Westerners.

    Destiny Disrupted Review

    Destiny Disrupted (2009) by Tamim Ansary is an eye-opening exploration of Islamic history that challenges our Western-centric perspective. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a comprehensive overview of Islamic history, making it accessible to readers with little prior knowledge.
    • Drawing on personal experiences and anecdotes, Ansary brings the history to life, making it engaging and relatable.
    • The book dispels misconceptions about Islam and offers a nuanced understanding of the religion, its traditions, and its impact on the world.

    Best quote from Destiny Disrupted

    Both Arabs and Jews are Semitic, tracing their descent to Abraham and Adam. Before Islam, there was little difference between their lifestyle and culture.

    —Tamim Ansary
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    Who should read Destiny Disrupted?

    • Historians and students of religion
    • Westerners curious about the Islamic perspective on world history
    • Readers eager to learn more about Islamic culture and religion

    About the Author

    Tamim Ansary has been a major contributing writer to several history textbooks. In addition to publishing several essays and commentaries in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon and Alternet, he has a monthly column on Ansary is also the author of the memoir West of Kabul, East of New York and co-author of The Other Side of the Sky.

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    Destiny Disrupted FAQs 

    What is the main message of Destiny Disrupted?

    Destiny Disrupted explores the history of the Islamic world, revealing its complexity and challenging commonly held beliefs.

    How long does it take to read Destiny Disrupted?

    Destiny Disrupted can be read in several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Destiny Disrupted a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Destiny Disrupted is a thought-provoking and informative book. It offers a new perspective and understanding of the Islamic world.

    Who is the author of Destiny Disrupted?

    Tamim Ansary is the author of Destiny Disrupted.

    What to read after Destiny Disrupted?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Destiny Disrupted, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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