Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age

Article excerpt

Reasoning with God: Reclaiming SharPah in the Modern Age. By Khaled Abou El Fadl. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.556 pp. $50.

Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at the University of California, Los Angeles, has produced a dense and wordy work that amounts to an encyclopedia of evasion. Endorsed by international Islamist "rock star" and Muslim Brotherhood apologist Tariq Ramadan, Reasoning with God is clearly intended as a major academic text but is really a defense of the outlook of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement the author seldom describes or addresses straightforwardly. Nor is he transparent about his own relations with the Brotherhood even as the text includes numerous personal reminiscences pointing indirectly at such a relationship.

Worse, Reasoning includes flights of fancy and conspiracy theories that make the book, at times, almost comical: The failed "Arab spring" was caused in significant part by Arab resentment over Muslim humiliation at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, he says, and the incarceration of accused terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. The 2002 death by fire of fifteen schoolgirls in Mecca, who were prevented from escaping the blaze by members of the Saudi morals patrol, was really caused by resentment over indignities inflicted by the West in Afghanistan and "Palestine. …

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