We suddenly find ourselves with very little knowledge of a religion and culture that continues to have an enormous impact on our world. Through a close reading of the Qur'an, Khaled Abou El Fadl shows that injunctions to violence against nonbelievers stem from misreadings. Even jihad, or so-called holy war, has no basis in Qur'anic text or Muslim theology, but instead was an outgrowth of social and political conflict. Reading the holy text in the appropriate moral and historical contexts shows that Islamic civilization has long been pluralistic, and even usually tolerant of other religions. Leading scholars of Islam offer nuanced commentary
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. Even jihad, or so-called holy war, has no basis in Qur'anic text or Muslim theology, but instead is an outgrowth of social and political conflict. Leading scholars of Islam offer enhanced commentary.
Khaled Abou El Fadl is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. His recent books include "The Place of Tolerance in Islam." Joshua Cohen is the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of the Humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and coeditor of the "Boston Review." Deborah Chasman is coeditor of the "Boston Review."
"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."