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Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty

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Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From furious reactions to the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad to the suppression of women, news from the Muslim world begs the question: is Islam incompatible with freedom? With an eye sympathetic to Western liberalism and Islamic theology, Mustafa Akyol traces the ideological and historical roots of political Islam. The years following Muhammad's passing in 632 AD saw an intellectual "war of ideas" rage between rationalist, flexible schools of Islam and the more dogmatic, rigid ones. The traditionalist school won out, fostering perceptions of Islam as antithetical to modernity. However, through his careful reexamination of the currents of Muslim thought, Akyol discovers a flourishing of liberalism in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the unique "Islamo-liberal synthesis" of present-day Turkey. Only by accepting a secular state, he powerfully asserts, can Islamic societies thrive. Persuasive and inspiring, offers a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconcilability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms.

Review:

"Turkish journalist Akyol clarifies the complexities and contradictions of Islam in this indispensable book. He demonstrates how the harsh tribal cultures of the Arabian desert in the 7th century shaped Islam for centuries since their traditions evolved into unquestioned rules that were often at odds with the Qur'an. The Qur'an stresses family, rights for women, protection of the weak, the use of reason, and the freedom to choose-teachings similar to Jewish and Christian writings of the time. After Muhammad's death, opposing forces (adhering to tradition or the employment of reason as guides for life) clashed bitterly for centuries, their tribal harshness creating a political Islam. Yet Akyol argues that the Qur'an doesn't even include a definition of government. The resulting Islamic political systems are the products of men attempting to recreate the caliphate of 7th century Arabia, a goal that Akyol argues is impractical. This even-handed scholarly work, which also helps explain the rise of the Taliban and other extremists, makes Islam accessible to Western readers. "
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Book News Annotation:

Contrary to the arguments of anti-Islamic demagogues of the type that inspired the twin bombings and shootings in Norway in July of 2011, Akyol (a columnist for the Turkish newspapers Hrriyet Daily News and Star) argues that authoritarianism, oppression, and brutalization in Islamic societies should be seen as coming from the hands of authoritarians, oppressors, and brutalizers who just happen to be Muslim, rather than from Islam in and of itself. He provides a historic review of the development of Islam in order to demonstrate that Islam has frequently allowed for rationalist and even liberal ideas and institutions from its earliest years, through the Ottoman Empire, and on to modern Turkey, with its emerging sector of "Islamic Calvinists" who strongly support democracy, free markets, and individualism. He also presents arguments concerning the ways that Islamism is in fact a misguided departure from Islam (and understood in a misguided way by its foes, as well) and how religious arguments for "freedom from the state," "freedom to sin," and "freedom from Islam," can be drawn from the Quran and other elements of Muslim religious thought. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

A provocative manifesto for an interpretation of Islam that synthesizes liberal ideas and respect for the Islamic tradition.

About the Author

Mustafa Akyol lives in Istanbul and is a columnist for the Turkish newspapers H

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393070866
Author:
Akyol, Mustafa
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Islam
Subject:
Islam - General
Publication Date:
20110731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Religion » Islam » General

Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty New Hardcover
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$25.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393070866 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Turkish journalist Akyol clarifies the complexities and contradictions of Islam in this indispensable book. He demonstrates how the harsh tribal cultures of the Arabian desert in the 7th century shaped Islam for centuries since their traditions evolved into unquestioned rules that were often at odds with the Qur'an. The Qur'an stresses family, rights for women, protection of the weak, the use of reason, and the freedom to choose-teachings similar to Jewish and Christian writings of the time. After Muhammad's death, opposing forces (adhering to tradition or the employment of reason as guides for life) clashed bitterly for centuries, their tribal harshness creating a political Islam. Yet Akyol argues that the Qur'an doesn't even include a definition of government. The resulting Islamic political systems are the products of men attempting to recreate the caliphate of 7th century Arabia, a goal that Akyol argues is impractical. This even-handed scholarly work, which also helps explain the rise of the Taliban and other extremists, makes Islam accessible to Western readers. "
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , A provocative manifesto for an interpretation of Islam that synthesizes liberal ideas and respect for the Islamic tradition.
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