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An Islamic jurist and American lawyer offers a passionate defense of Islam against the encroaching tide of fundamentalists corrupting the true faith. Seduced by the lure of fundamentalism himself as a teenager in Egypt, he rejected that path once he began studying Islamic law. A longtime moderate Muslims everywhere as one of the only learned voices defending the faith, he has received death threats from extremists for that very same reason. As quick to criticize the failure of Islamic leadership in the U.S. as abroad, Abou El Fadl remains a brave voice against the pressures and threats of Wahhabi extremism. The Great Theft will present the beliefs and practices of moderate Muslims, and identify the points of difference and disagreement with the fundamentalist-puritan practice of Islam. This book offers a vision for Moderate Islam- past, present, and future. Abou El Fadl is dedicated to providing the tools necessary to help readers reclaim an understanding of Islam that is grounded in the tradition's history and law.
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.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Khaled Abou El Fadl's book represents the first systematic examination of the idea and treatment of political resistance and rebellion in Islamic law. Pre-modern jurists produced an extensive and sophisticated discourse on the legality of rebellion and the treatment due to rebels under Islamic law. The book examines the emergence and development of these discourses from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries and considers juristic responses to the various terror-inducing strategies employed by rebels including assassination, stealth attacks and rape. The study demonstrates how Muslim jurists went about restructuring several competing doctrinal sources in order to construct a highly technical discourse on rebellion. Indeed many of these rulings may have a profound influence on contemporary practices. This is an important and challenging book which sheds light on the complexities of Islamic law and pre-modern attitudes to dissidence and rebellion.
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