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Explorations in Islamic Thought
Renowned scholar William C. Chittick explores the worldview of Islam in a series of essays written over thirty-six years. 'In Search of the Lost Heart brings together twenty-six essays by William C. Chittick, renowned scholar of Sufism and Islamic philosophy. Written between 1975 and 2011, most of these essays are not readily available in Chittick’s own books. Although this is a collection, its editors have crafted it to be a book “sufficient unto itself, which, when taken as a whole, can be said to explore the underlying worldview of Islam.” Chittick draws upon the writings of towering figures such as Ibn al->Arabiµ, Ruµmiµ, and Mullaµ S|adraµ, as well as other important, but lesser-known thinkers, as he engages with a wide variety of topics, such as the nature of being and knowledge, the relationship between love and scriptural hermeneutics, the practical and theoretical dimensions of Islamic mysticism, the phenomenon of religious diversity, and the ecological crisis.
This book presents a genealogy of the social networks and power struggles of the major influential group of Indonesian-educated Muslims called "intelligentsia". In this effort, the longue durée approach is combined with an interactive, inter-disciplinary and inter-textual method to better understand the various underlying impulses and interactions contributing to continuity and change in the long-term development of the Muslim intelligentsia and its relation to power. In doing so, this book provides a major and important contribution to the study of the social history of contemporary Indonesia a plausible claim to being the first of its kind.
Muslim-Jewish relations in the United States, Israel, and Europe are tenuous. Jews and Muslims struggle to understand one another and know little about each other's traditions and beliefs. Firestone explains the remarkable similarities and profound differences between Judaism and Islam, the complex history of Jihad, the legal and religious positions of Jews in the world of Islam, how various expressions of Islam (Sunni, Shi`a, Sufi, Salafi, etc.) regard Jews, the range of Muslim views about Israel, and much more. He addresses these issues and others with candor and integrity, and he writes with language, symbols, and ideas that make sense to Jews. Exploring these subjects in today's vexed political climate is a delicate undertaking. Firestone draws on the research and writings of generations of Muslim, Jewish, and other scholars, as well as his own considerable expertise in this field. The book's tone is neither disparaging, apologetic, nor triumphal. Firestone provides many original sources in translation, as well as an appendix of additional key sources in context. Most importantly, this book is readable and reasoned, presenting to readers for the first time the complexity of Islam and its relationship toward Jews and Judaism.
Its History, Teaching, and Practices
This compact introduction to Islam describes the essential aspects of Islam as a living religion and social force. The book is organized around seven topics: the life of Muhammad; Islamic political development and territorial expansion; the important groupings of Islamic believers (Sunni, Shi'ite, and Sufi); the Qur'an (the Holy Book of Islam); Sunnah, Hadith (the record of the Prophet's actions and sayings), and Shari'ah (the compilation of Islamic law); the five Articles of Faith and the so-called Five Pillars of Islam that govern faith and action; and other binding religious observances and festivals. The presentation of these seven aspects of Islam strikes a balance between fact, tradition, current interpretation, and commentary.
S. A. Nigosian underscores two fundamental points: that to understand Islam properly, it is necessary to see it as a major faith tradition, with Muhammad as the last of a series of messengers sent by God; and that to grasp the spirit of Islam, one must recognize its emphasis on an uncompromising monotheism, with strict adherence to certain social, political, and religious practices, as taught by the Prophet and elaborated by tradition.
Between Divine Message and History
Why this book? What can it add to the many works that have already explored Islam as a history, a doctrine, a law, and a code of ethics? The bulk of Islamic thought nowadays is either a repetition of and rumination about what the ancients have already said, or the tackling of partial issues that falls short of a comprehensive view and a theoretical framework. All too often ideology replaces real knowledge. This work attempts to introduce the characteristics of the Mohammedan Mission, with the aspiration to be faithful to its essential purposes and to historical truth at the same time. The author thus illustrates the different ways in which people have understood the Mission and the reasons that led them to those various interpretations. The book presents several alternative interpretations that actually existed but did not enjoy widespread acceptance and popularity.
Challenges and Opportunities
Dedicated to increasing our knowledge and awareness of the ever-growing diversity and pluralism of global society, Forum A. & A. Leysen has initiated an annual debate/lecture series, beginning with a focus on Islam in today's world and in Europe in particular. Seven well-known influential authorities - each an active participant in the public debate on the global role of Islam past, present and future - recently presented papers at the first Intercultural Relations Conference sponsored by Forum A.& A. Leysen. These important contributions, on the topic Islam and Europe: Challenges and Opportunities, are reprinted in this volume. Although each contributor speaks from his own distinctive point of view, a common message emerges from all seven texts: only dialogue - on the one hand between the West (countries that manifest themselves as Western Democratic constitutional states) and Islam, and on the other hand within and among societies historically identified with Islam- will overcome entrenched confrontation and negative animosity, engender new possibilities and understandings, and, by encouraging free and critical thinking, pave the way to social equity and the scientific innovation that, potentially, can lead to more prosperity. In the course of the conference all seven talks led to fascinating debates. This book includes the most important questions asked and the speakers' responses. Although the question of how to actually construct the dialogue remains unsettled, this ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward an answer.
Crises are Challenges
Within the framework of the Forum A. & A Leysen, several experts from in and outside the Muslim world contributed to this book. In Islam and Europe: Crises Are Challenges they discuss how dialogues between Islam and the West, with a focus on Europe, can be achieved. The various authors (legal scholars, political theorists, social scientists, and psychologists) explore in these collected essays such interrelated questions as: How much diversity is permissible within a liberal pluralistic democratic society? How strong are the implications of citizenship? What are equitable accommodations of contested practices? They argue for an adequate understanding of how Western Muslim communities in Europe experience their minority position and what needs to be done to improve their participation in European society. The second part of this volume is a collection of papers written around the work of Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, who also makes his own contribution to the book. The Catholic University of Leuven awarded An-Na'im an honorary doctorate in 2009 on the theme of multiculturalism, intercultural relations and diversity. An-Na'im is recognized the world over as a leading expert in the area of religion and law, and as a human rights activist. Islam and Europe: Crises Are Challenges reinforces our sense that a better knowledge and awareness of the growing diversity of our society, and striving for harmonious relations between Islam and the West, are among the most important challenges of our time. With contributions by: Ahmed Aboutaleb, Durre S. Ahmed, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Shaheen Sardar Ali, Mohamed Benzakour, Jean-Yves Carlier, Marie-Claire Foblets, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Fouad Laroui, Bettina Leysen, Rashida Manjoo, Bhikhu Parekh, Mathias Rohe, Cedric Ryngaert, Prakash Shah. Other publication: Islam and Europe, Challenges and Opportunities
In the atmosphere of suspicion and anger that characterizes our time, it is a joy to hear the voice of Iqbal, both passionate and serene. It is the voice of a soul that is deeply anchored in the Quranic Revelation, and precisely for that reason, open to all the other voices, seeking in them the path of his own fidelity. It is the voice of a man who has left behind all identitarian rigidity, who has 'broken all the idols of tribe and caste' to address himself to all human beings. But an unhappy accident has meant that this voice was buried, both in the general forgetting of Islamic modernism and in the very country that he named before its existence, Pakistan, whose multiple rigidities ñ political, religious, military ñ constitute a continual refutation of the very essence of his thought. But we all need to hear him again, citizens of the West, Muslims, and those from his native India, where a form of Hindu chauvinism rages in our times, in a way that exceeds his worst fears. Souleymane Bachir Diagne has done all of us an immense favor in making this voice heard once again, clear and convincing. Charles Taylor, Professor, McGill University Quebec, Canada
At a time when more nuanced understandings of Muslim countries and their legal and social practices are urgently needed in the West, the appearance of this collection is especially welcome. In these illuminating and accessible essays, the contributors explain how Islam sees itself in terms of social policy, how it treats women, and how it encourages charity, education, and general social welfare. The essays encompass many regional cultures and draw on court records and legal debates, field work on government ministries, and an extensive reading of Islamic law. In his overview of waqf (similar to the Western idea of a foundation, in which an endowment is set aside in perpetuity for specified purposes), Ahmad Dallal explains how charity, a central organizing principle in Islam, is itself organized and how waqf, traditionally a source of revenue for charitable purposes, can also become a source of tension and conflict. Donna Lee Bowen, in her essay on the position of women in Islamic law, points out the crucial differences between the Islamic principles of family equity and the Western notion of individual equality. In a subsequent essay, Bowen addresses the problems surrounding family planning and the dilemmas that have arisen within the Muslim world over differing ideas about birth control. The two final essays look at specific instances of how the modern state has treated Islamic social policy. Gail Richardson examines zakat, an Islamic tax used to assist the poor, and its administration in Pakistan. Carol Underwood, meanwhile, explores public health policy in Iran, both before and after the Islamic revolution that deposed the Shah. Addressing some of the most profound misunderstandings between Islamic and Western societies, ISLAM AND SOCIAL POLICY will be of vital interest not only to scholars and policymakers but to anyone concerned with Islam’s critical place in the modern world.
Abdelwahab Meddeb makes an urgent case for an Islamic reformation, located squarely in Western Europe, now home to millions of Muslims, where Christianity and Judaism have come to coexist with secular humanism and positivist law. He is not advocating "moderate" Islam, which he characterizes as thinly disguised Wahabism, but rather an Islam inspired by the great Sufi thinkers, whose practice of religion was not bound by doctrine. To accomplish this, Meddeb returns to the doctrinal question of the text as transcription of the uncreated word of God and calls upon Muslims to distinguish between Islam's spiritual message and the temporal, material, and historically grounded origins of its founding scriptures. He contrasts periods of Islamic history--when philosophers and theologians engaged in lively dialogue with other faiths and civilizations, and contributed to transmitting the Hellenistic tradition to early modern Europe--with modern Islam's collective amnesia of this past. Meddeb wages a war of interpretations in this book, in his attempt to demonstrate that Muslims cannot join the concert of nations unless they set aside outmoded notions such as jihad and realize that feuding among the monotheisms must give way to the more important issue of what it means to be a citizen in today's post-religious global setting.