The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism

The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism

The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism

The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism


This book tackles the most significant issues facing Muslims today. Sachedina argues that we must reopen the doors of religious interpretation--to correct false interpretations, replace outdated laws, and formulate new doctrines. His book critically analyzes Muslim teachings on such issues as pluralism, civil society, war and peace, and violence and self-sacrifice.


The people were one community (umma); then God sent forth the Prophets, good tidings to bear and warning, and He sent down with them the Book with the truth, that He might decide the people touching their differences. (K. 2:213)


The term pluralism is one of the catchwords of a new world order whose diversity of cultures, belief systems, and values inspires both exhilaration at the endless shadings of human expression and dread of irreconcilable conflict. The invocation of pluralism has become as much a summons as a celebration, an urgent exhortation to the citizens of the world to come to terms with their dizzying diversity. The endless conflicts between Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, Tamils and Buddhists, and the attendant atrocities committed against innocent civilians, have imparted a dire urgency to the moral imperative of recognizing the human dignity of the other, regardless of his or her religious, ethnic, and cultural affiliations.

This imperious ethical need to acknowledge the other is a byproduct of snowballing technological advances in transportation and communication. Until recently, nations existed in relative isolation from one another, and past encounters with diversity have not always been friendly. In fact, as many conflicts around the world indicate, clashes of diverse cultures can become a major source of dehumanizing the other. Each tradition, armed with its self-awarded patent on divine revelation, seeks supremacy rather than accommodation when confronted with an alien faith.

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