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"Almost daily, armed thugs call for a 'holy war' against everyone who disagrees with them. More and more young men wear beards and robes as political badges. Militant preachers proclaim that women who fail to wear the veil are 'waging war against God'.
"But this Islam of intolerance and violence is not the religion of my father and grandfather. It is not the Islam that inspires more than a billion people around the world to pray, to fast, to give to the poor, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. My Islam is a religion of tolerance and brotherhood."--Sa'id al-'Ashmawy
"A welcome addition to the discourse on Islamic fundamentalism and its efforts to politicize Islam."--Aljadid
"Offers a coherent testimonial to al-'Ashmawy's insight and bravery. . . . The translation is highly readable."--Choice
"Helps to build a more balanced and accurate awareness of the full spectrum of Muslim thought. . . . An important contribution."--John O. Voll, Georgetown University
One of the Islamic world's leading voices in the struggle against extremism, Sa'id al-'Ashmawy was trained as a specialist in Islamic law and comparative law at Cairo University and served as judge, chief prosecutor, chief justice of the High Criminal Court, chief justice of the High Court for Security of State as well as chief justice of the High Court Assizes in Egypt. The author of 15 books on Islam and the law, he has been consistently critical of Islamic extremism and opposes the very notion of an Islamic state, on both scriptural and historical grounds.
Facing death threats for apostasy since 1979 and under continuous government protection since 1980, he articulates an opposition to the ideology and practice of Islamic extremists in Egypt that has applicability throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This volume conveys the range of his reformist message from the similarities of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, to the dangers of politicizing Islamic religion, to the place of Islamic law in contemporary politics and society.
Introducting Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawy to an English-language Audience, by Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban
Part I. Islam, Judaism, Christianity: One Religion, One Vision, Many Paths
The Development of Religion
A Framework for the Coexistence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Common Thread of Salvation
Part II. Islamic Religion and Politics
The Relationship between Religion and Politics
The Caliphate Government in Islamic History
The Call for an Islamic Government
The Call for an Islamic Constitution in the State of Egypt
Part III. Islamic Law and Contemporary Politics and Society
The Interpretation of Texts in Egyptian Law and Islam
Taxes, Zakat, and Sadaqa
The Veil in Egyptian Law and Islam
Militant Doctrine in Islam
Jihad or Holy War in Islam
Reforming Islam and Law
Islamic Law and Human Rights
Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, professor of anthropology at Rhode Island College, is the author of six books, including Islamic Society in Practice (UPF, 1994) and Islamic Law and Society in the Sudan.