First and foremost I gratefully acknowledge the interest and cooperation of Muhammad Sa˓id al-˓Ashmawy in this collaborative effort to bring out a first comprehensive book of his writings in English. A previous work, Islam and the Political Order ( 1994) is a translation from the French of an original work in Arabic, Al-Islam al-Siyasi (Political Islam), published in 1987. The present volume is the first work to pull together a broad selection of Dr. al-˓Ashmawy's writings and lectures taken from the past turbulent decade, with Dr. al-˓Ashmawy as an active collaborator. His writings were initially a response to the growing Islamist trend in Egypt, many of the events of which he experienced firsthand as a leading figure in the judiciary. However, Muhammad Sa˓id al-˓Ashmawy has grown to be a leading international figure in the scholarly and intellectual struggle against Islamic extremism, a battle requiring great courage in these times. Without the intellectual and spiritual vision that al-˓Ashmawy expresses in these pages, we would not have such a powerful voice raised for humanism in Islam and as a response to the crises and challenges that characterize the Middle East region today.