Islam and Modernity Through the Writings of Islamic Modernist Fazlur Rahman

Author: Berry, Donald
Year:2003
Pages:248
ISBN:0-7734-6692-4
978-0-7734-6692-0
Price:179.95
Fazlur Rahman was one of the great 20th-century Muslim modernists, whose prolific writing and sheer number of students who make up a who’s who of Islamic studies throughout North America reveal the impact that he has had on both academe and on Muslim communities throughout the world. The modernist approach is contrasted with the radical approach of Mawlana Mawdudi of Pakistan. The comparison is made richer by the fact that the two men knew each other personally. The need to contrast the Islamic views presented by Fazlur Rahman with those espoused by Al-Quaida are critical to avoid stereotyping the worldwide Muslim community.

Reviews

“Few if any Muslim theologians have grappled with modernity more fruitfully than has the late Fazlur Rahman. His mature and creative thought proves both faithful to the historical Islamic tradition and a viable and needed alternative to the type of Islam usually featured in the popular media. Professor Berry elucidates the results of Rahman’s grappling concisely and well. By setting Rahman’s thought in the context of the wrestling with modernity required of all global religious traditions, he provides a model for many different readers. For the Christian reader, however, Berry’s work offers unique values because he suggests how Rahman’s conclusions can illuminate specifically Christian attempts at grappling with modernity and at communicating the biblical message with authentic faith and with attention to justice.” – A. H. Mathias Zahniser, Emeritus Professor of Christian Mission, Asbury Theological Seminary

“It is important to note that this is the only book of its kind – certainly the only book that reviews the modernist problem cross-culturally, and invites Christians to encounter what an important Muslim thinker has to say on the subject….Berry explores this perspective within an exposition of the life and work of one of the recent greats of Islamic thought: Fazlur Rahman. There have been very few Muslim writers in the West of the caliber of this scholar, and fewer still addressing common religious issues…..situates one of Islam’s most progressive thinkers within the modernist discourse of all religions…This will be significant addition, too, to our understanding of the growth of Islam in the United States…so there is a wider readership potential for the book that just scholars interested in inter-religious dialogue of Christians interested in mission today.” – Earle H. Waugh, University of Alberta

“Donald Berry’s volume provides a clear, theoretically probing, and comprehensive survey of Fazlur Rahman’s enduring thought that sets forth a radically different ‘Islamic response to modernity’ than we are accustomed to in the rigid, sometimes violent extremism of Islamist discourse today.” – Frederick Mathewson Denny, University of Colorado at Boulder

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (main headings):
Foreword; Preface
1. The Dilemma of Religious Traditionalism within the Context of Modernity (Dilemmas of Modernity: Abstraction, Futurity, Individuation, Liberation, Secularization; Rahman’s Assessment of Islam and Modernity)
2. A Call for Rediscovery and Reconstruction in the Thought of Fazlur Rahman (The Man, Educator and Scholar; Toward a Contextual Qur’anic Theology – theological, social, political, and economic issues)
3. A Response to Reconstruction in the Thought of Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi (methodological, theological, social, political, and economic issues)
4. The Significance of Fazlur Rahman’s Thought in the Dilemma of Modernity (Common dilemmas in contemporary religious pluralism; Rahman’s contribution to the issues of modernity – affirmation of the Islamic community, authentic Islamic faith, Qur’anic imperative for justice, rediscovery and reconstruction as challenge for contemporary Christian missiology; faith and community, legitimation, justice)
Fazlur Rahman Bibliography
General Bibliography; Index