Issues in Contemporary Islamic Thought

by Taha Jabir Al-Alwani

This collection of papers presents a reformist project calling upon Muslim intellectuals and scholars everywhere to com- prehend the vast breadth and depth of the crisis engulfing Muslim thought today and the necessity of solving this crisis to enable the Ummah to experience a revival and fulfill its role among the nations of the world. The reader will find a variety of articles dealing with this intellectual crisis, these include a chapter on ijtihad’s role and history, important since our intellectual problems cannot be solved without the
scholars’ use of independent reasoning and creativity. Another discusses imitation (taqlid) calling upon Muslim scholars and intellectuals to abandon imitation and to stop favoring the past over the present when trying to solve modern problems. Another looks at human rights.

“It is refreshing to read a work by a traditional scholar dissecting the mental climate of the Muslims as they enter the first decade of the new millennium. Considering his background it takes great courage for Shaykh Taha to expose what he sees as intellec- tual reductionism dominating some Islamists. The Muslims today are sleeping over an accumulated treasure of ideas produced by creative thinkers of the past. Shaykh Taha puts up a vigorous case for a new practice of ijtihad, which could not be operational without recourse to the rich legacy of intellectual resources.”

Anwar Ibrahim, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

“Issues in Contemporary Islamic Thought provides the insights of a lifetime of scholar- ship by a distinguished scholar and educator. Al-Alwani calls for a reconstruction of the Muslim mind, a reassessment and reinterpretation (ijtihad) to formulate an Islamic response to major contemporary issues: the authority of the past and its rele- vance to modern life; the Qur’an, Islamic governance and divine sovereignty; Islamic law and social change, citizenship, the rights of the accused, women’s status, education, and capitalism.”

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