Synopses & Reviews
Khaled Abou El Fadl, a prominent critic of Islamic puritanism, leads off this lively debate by arguing that Islam is a deeply tolerant religion. Injunctions to violence against nonbelievers stem from misreadings of the Qur'an, he claims, and even jihad, or so-called holy war, has no basis in Qur'anic text or Muslim theology but instead grew out of social and political conflict.
Many of Abou El Fadl's respondents think differently. Some contend that his brand of Islam will only appeal to Westerners and students in "liberal divinity schools" and that serious religious dialogue in the Muslim world requires dramatic political reforms. Other respondents argue that theological debates are irrelevant and that our focus should be on Western sabotage of such reforms. Still others argue that calls for Islamic "tolerance" betray the Qur'anic injunction for Muslims to struggle against their oppressors.
The debate underscores an enduring challenge posed by religious morality in a pluralistic age: how can we preserve deep religious conviction while participating in what Abou El Fadl calls "a collective enterprise of goodness" that cuts across confessional differences?
With contributions from Tariq Ali, Milton Viorst, and John Esposito, and others.
'\"This brief book is elegant and surprising. . . .The overall effect of the three sections is quite unexpected; the reader becomes engages in a dialogue with each writer, realizing with each essay the complexity of the problems facing modern Muslims. . . .Most of the responses are very innovative and represent a step forward in Islamic theological analysis. This lively debate makes for a quick and informative read.\"'
Here, a prominent critic of Islamic Puritanism leads a lively debate by arguing that Islam is a deeply tolerant religion. Through a close reading of the Qur'an, Khaled Abou El Fadl demonstrates that injunctions to violence against non-believers stem from misreadings.
About the Author
Khaled Abou El Fadl is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Fellow in Islamic Law at UCLA and author of Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law.
Table of Contents
Editors Preface by Joshua Cohen and Ian Lague
Khaled Abou El Fadl: The Place of Tolerance in Islam
Milton Viorst: Puritanism and Stagnation
Sohail H. Hashmi: A Conservative Legacy
Tariq Ali: Theological Distractions
Abid Ullah Jan: The Limits of Tolerance
Stanley Kurtz: Text and Context
Amina Wadud: Beyond Interpretation
Akeel Bilgrami: The Importance of Democracy
Mashhood Rizvi: Intolerable Injustices
John L. Esposito: Struggle in Islam
Qamar-ul Huda: Plural Traditions
R. Scott Appleby: The Quandary of Leadership
Khaled Abou El Fadl: Reply
About the Contributors