New Thinking in Islam: The Jihad for Democracy, Freedom and Women's Rights

New Thinking in Islam: The Jihad for Democracy, Freedom and Women's Rights

by Katajun Amirpur


$35.96 $39.95 Save 10% Current price is $35.96, Original price is $39.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 6 days


In Rethinking Islam, Katajun Amirpur argues that the West’s impression of Islam as a backward-looking faith, resistant to post-Enlightenment thinking, is misleading and—due to its effects on political discourse—damaging. Introducing readers to key thinkers and activists—such as Abu Zaid, a free-thinking Egyptian Qur’an scholar; Abdolkarim Soroush, an academic and former member of Khomeini’s Cultural Revolution Committee; and Amina Wadud, an American feminist who was the first woman to lead the faithful in Friday Prayer—Amirpur reveals a powerful yet lesser-known tradition of inquiry and dissent within Islam, one that is committed to democracy and human rights. By examining these and many other similar figures’ ideas, she reveals the many ways they reject fundamentalist assertions and instead call for a diversity of opinion, greater freedom, and equality of the sexes. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781909942738
Publisher: Gingko Library
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Katajun Amirpur is professor of Islamic studies at Hamburg University and the author of The De-politicization of Islam and God Is with the Fearless.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

1 On the Way to the Modern 1

The Tradition of Reform Islam 1

Secularism and Islamism 5

2 Islamic Reformers Today 12

Post-Islamism 12

Islamic Feminism 15

Men on the side of Women 20

Islam in and for Europe 27

Criticism as Self-Criticism 31

3 Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid: Who's the Heretic here? 35

A Born Conqueror 35

Africa, America, Asia 39

Severance from the Homeland 42

The Word of God 46

Does God Speak Arabic? 54

Disaster Politics 57

Scholarship: The Personal is Political 62

4 Fazlur Rahman: from the Qur'an to Life, and Back Again to the Qur'an 66

A Traditional Scholar 66

The Decline of Muslim Societies 71

The Dictation Theory 74

The Qur'an as an Ethical Guide 76

The People of the Book 78

Reception and Criticism 85

5 Amina Wadud: In the Midst of the Gender Jihad 88

A Muslim by Conviction 88

Why Islam? 90

Female, Muslim, Black 94

Gender in the Qur'an 100

What does the Qur'an Say to Us Today? 107

Perspectives of Islamic Feminism 112

6 Asma Barlas: As Though Only Men Were Objective 117

A Eurocentric View of Islam 117

The Patriarchal Interpretation of the Qur'an 120

Islamic Feminism? 124

As a Muslim Woman in the USA 126

Liberation Theology 128

The Appeal for Another Image of God 133

Will the Best Interpretation Prevail? 136

7 'Abdolkarim Soroush: More than Ideology and State 140

A Revolutionary in the Name of Islam 140

From Court Theologian to Dissident 142

The Variability of Religious Knowledge 147

A Religious and Democratic Government 152

Against the Ideologization of Religion 157

Whose Qur'an? 160

8 Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari: The Prophet Reads the World 168

Tradition and the Break with it 168

As a Cleric in Hamburg 170

Truth and Method in Iran 174

The Reception of Protestant Theology 181

Political Movements in Religious Garb 183

A Prophetic Reading of the World 188

The Qur'an as Narrative 195

The Future of Islam 199

Acknowledgements 202

Bibliography 203

Glossary 214

Index of Persons 217

What People are Saying About This

Ziba Mir-Hosseini

“A well-crafted and deeply engaging book that captures the nuances and sophistication of recent reformist Islamic thought. Amirpur offers an insightful and accessible account of the lives and contributions of key intellectuals, focusing on their novel approaches to the Qur’an. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the contemporary Muslim world.”

Farid Esack

“Amirpur’s masterful work on Islamic reform is an excellent exposition of the ideas and intellectual legacy of notable Muslim scholars who have made the Qur’an central to their understanding of Islam and the need for reform. The richness of the diverse concepts and ideas contained in this volume is worthy of exploration for those interested in the study of Islam and the importance of the Qur’an in modern Islamic thought. Amirpur offers a thoughtful and erudite examination of the nexus between modernity, the Western philosophical tradition, and Islam, particularly the Qur’an, within the ideological framework of some of Islam’s most creative modern scholars. Accessible to both scholars and non-specialists, New Thinking in Islam is recommended reading for anyone concerned with understanding the context and legacy of critical contemporary Muslim thought and the Muslim intellectual engagement with modernity and reform.”

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews