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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Who Killed Liberal Islam - Book Review

Who Killed Liberal Islam?Who Killed Liberal Islam? by Hasan Suroor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is a misconception that you can't be a liberal and a Muslim at the same time. The book Who Killed Liberal Islam by Hasan Surror takes this question head-on. In doing so it examines the Islam practised in India and abroad. It discusses the causes of decline of liberal Islam in India.

The following lines from the book will serve as eye openers.
'Sharia is the biggest obstacle to change,' according to historian S. Irfan Habib. This despite the fact that the Quran is only one of its four sources along with Qiyas (human reasoning), Ijma (consensus) and Sunnah (sayings of the Prophet), most of which were written some 200 years after the Prophet's death and many having no authenticity. A number of practices justified in the name of Sharia, have no Quranic sanctions.

Today when the patriotism of every Indian Muslim is put to test, the following observations of the author are timely.
It is often forgotten or wilfully overlooked that a majority of Muslims chose to stay back in India in a massive thumbs-down to the idea of a Muslim homeland. We are the inheritors of their values. Faced with a choice between an exclusionist Muslim nationalism on one hand, and inclusive secularism on the other, they had no doubt what was the right thing to do.

The author says that India has a long history of liberal Muslim reformers who were also deeply religious and often used religion to sell their reforms. He cites the examples of Sir Syed Ahmed, Zakir Husain and Abul Kalam Azad.

This is a book of great scholarly work. It is a well researched commentary replete with real life examples. Every person should read this book for this book is a small attempt to bring peace in today's strained world.

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