Reformation of Islamic Thought: A Critical Historical Analysis, by Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd
Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd, Reformation of Islamic Thought: A Critical Historical Analysis, Amsterdam University Press, 2006.
After September 11, Islam became nearly synonymous with fundamentalism in the eyes of Western media and literature. However widely held this view may be, it is at odds with Islam’s rich political history. Renowned Egyptian scholar Nasr Abû Zayd here considers the full breadth of contemporary Muslim writings to examine the diverse political, religious, and cultural views that inform discourse in the Islamic world.
Reformation of Islamic Thought explores the writings of intellectuals from Egypt to Iran to Indonesia, probing their efforts to expand Islam beyond traditional and legalistic interpretations. Zayd reveals that many Muslim thinkers advocate culturally enlightened Islam with an emphasis on individual faith. He then investigates the extent of these Muslim reformers’ success in generating an authentic renewal of Islamic ideology, asking if such thinkers have escaped the traditionalist trap of presenting a negative image to the West.
A fascinating and highly relevant study for our times, Reformation of Islamic Thought is an essential analysis of Islam’s present and future.