Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices - Vol. 2

Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices - Vol. 2

Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices - Vol. 2

Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices - Vol. 2

Synopsis

Looks at modern Muslim views on religious authority, including feminism's 'new' Islam and shows how these views affect the perception of the Qur'an and the figure of Muhammad in the traditional practice of Islam.

Excerpt

In reviewing Volume 1 of this book, which deals with the formative period of Islam, some readers were led to wonder just what might be in store for Volume 2. in one sense, they were perfectly right to wonder. Volume 1 covers a very limited amount of material and there are vast expanses of Islamic intellectual thought which are in need of attention. the fact that this volume isolates the chronologically contemporary period should not be taken to suggest that the rest of Islamic history is of no importance or somehow uninteresting. By no means is this the case. the contents of the present volume reflect, rather, my perception of both current teaching tendencies in undergraduate university situations and the reading public’s interest in Islamic matters. the contemporary period is one of vital concern and finding ways of explaining it to students and other interested parties is something that occupies much of my time and the time of many other university teachers like me.

On the other hand, the contents of Volume 2 of this work should really come as no surprise. Volume 1 deals with the three central components which came together to form classical Islam: the image of pre-Islamic times, Muhammad—the prophet of Islam, and the Qur’an—the scripture of Islam. the interaction of those elements provides the basis for a look at Muslim theology and law, as well as alternative visions of Islam. Given that basic understanding of the core of Islam, the coverage of this volume is quite predictable. the central issues to be raised relate to how Muslims perceive the contemporary period, and how they understand the Qur’an and the figure of Muhammad as interacting with, and being relevant to, the situation of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How these understandings (and they are emphatically multiple) have interacted to produce certain ramifications in Muslim contemporary life and thought becomes the task of the rest of the work. in sum, we are dealing with a revealed, inherited world view in tension with and changing alongside an emerging, newly discovered world view.

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