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Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty Hardcover – July 18, 2011
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"A delightfully original take on Turkey and on the prospects for liberal democracy in the broader Islamic Middle East." -- Wall Street Journal
"Akyol clarifies the complexities and contradictions of Islam in this indispensable book. He demonstrates how the harsh tribal cultures of the Arabian desert shaped Islam for centuries often at odds with the Qur'an... This even-handed scholarly work... makes Islam accessible to Western readers." -- Publishers Weekly
Akyol is doing important work that should have an impact well beyond his native Turkey. — Doug Bandow (American Spectator)
Starred Review. Informative at every turn. — Kirkus Reviews
From the Author
secular authoritarianism versus Islamic authoritarianism,
there is a third, and promising, way: Islamic liberalism.
More About the Author
His articles have also appeared inÂ Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, Washington Post,Â WallÂ Street Journal, The Guardian and many other publications. He studied political science and history at the Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, where he still lives.Â
His book,Â Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case forÂ Liberty,Â an argument for "Muslim liberalism,"Â wasÂ published by W.W. Norton in July 2011.Â The book was long-listed for the 2012Â Lioner Gelber PrizeÂ literary prize, along with other titles by Henry Kissinger, Francis Fukuyama and Niall Ferguson.
Top Customer Reviews
This question is all the more important now, as we observe the fallout from the Arab Spring of 2011. It is not rare to hear someone ask if there is something inherently authoritarian in Islam. Is democracy even worth trying? Should we be concerned, for example, that an Islamist regime will be elected in Egypt, replacing one kind of authoritarianism with another?
This excellent book by Mustafa Akyol, apparently written before the Arab Spring, speaks to these questions. It is an useful aide to those of us trying to understand these exciting and challenging times.
Akyol first traces the history of Islam, a survey which alone is incredibly helpful to this American reader.
Next Akyol points to a problem that should not surprise western Christians or western readers at large: the confusion of tradition/culture with scripture. By separating these two things, he argues, we can see seeds of liberalism within the scripture. Sharia -- which many fear and some for good reason -- is not scripture, and, Akyol reminds us, is written by men. Therefore it can be amended by men.
With such bold statements, one wonders if Akyol is nailing theses to doors. Only he is, apparently, not the first to do so. Others have come before him and, he says, it is worth taking a look at their work... as well as at the historical events that crushed it.
Finally looking to his home country, Akyol reports exciting news from Turkey.Read more ›
This is way better than 'Destiny Disrupted'.
Must read for all Muslims !
Promise to come back and update this review after I complete the book....
OK, finished the book and as promised have come back to update my review.
Although 'Destiny Disrupted' is a much detailed account of Islamic history, Akyol's account provides a historical perspective on what led to Islam's decline, stagnation and ultimately extremism and despotism.
I strongly suggest all Muslims to read this to better understand themselves, their roots and traditions they take for granted.
And for someone curious about where extremism took its ugly roots in Islam, this book provides a detailed explanation.
Further, it dares to provide a solution to the problem of extremism.
I loved the way he described Abu Hanifa the pioneer of the juristic side of the rationalist school, the Mutazilite philosophy and the war of ideas between the Traditionalists and Rationalists throughout the history of Islam.
Akyol highlighted the link between economic prosperity and freedom of religious ideas, illustrating how the School of Tradition cut off the young Islamic community from the economic mainstream. By isolating Muslims from doing trade with nonbelievers, it severly affects every aspect of life from economy to art, language, science and many resources.
He also addresses a particularly tricky issue; "the rise of hadith" and the theory of abrogation in what is described as the "Post Quar'anic ideology". In fact, if anyone wants a medical diagnosis of what went wrong in Islam, then look within some aspects of this ideology, for example, the distaste of some toward "innovation".
Throughout the book, Akyol incorporates lessons from Turkey (Both Ottomans & kemalist). Akyol described the Ottoman Empire as a pluralist state (a description that I struggle to agree with). Yes, the state was tolerant to non-Muslims, but reforms and modernization only took place in the later period of the Ottoman rule. During the early period, the empire was strong and powerful but many of its subject particularly non-Turks were oppressed and lost their national identity without gaining equal rights.Read more ›
I think this book is not only important to clear up the minds from Islamophobia but also inspiring for muslim world and societies struggling for their freedom and seeking new ways to shape their future with the Arab Spring. Both muslims and nonmuslims would gain a dinamic, inspiring and convincing new perspective from this reading.
Also his command of English as a non native speaker is incredible. Akyol expresses his arguments with an extensive but still quite easy reading way.
Thanks and congratulations Akyol both as an author and as being an idealist intellectual seeking the truth!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A crash course on moderate Islam. Don't be fooled by the size of this book. It contains caste bibliography and the bases to build a renewed religious practice and political view of... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Alexandre C. S.
I found this book to be a fascinating overview of the historical, theological and political development of Islam and the intersection of those perspectives over the past 1,500... Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Liss-Levinson
This is an excellent review of the historical development of Islam, and the persistent tension between the liberal and the traditional (fanatical) views. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sandsmith
If you want to know why there is so much war in the muslim world read this book. It starts from the Prophet Mohammed and comes to today in a very simple and flowing english. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jak Levi
Very well written and very comprehensive. I've discussed what I've learned with a Muslim friend, and it has been useful for both of us.Published 7 months ago by Sheila
Given the horrors that continue to be committed in the name of Islam by some self-styled `Islamic groups in different parts of the world today, it is hardly surprising that many... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Yoginder Sikand
An excellent, unbiased book on the birth of Islam. Recommended for anyone that truly is interested in further understanding the more complex relations of today's world.Published 8 months ago by John O.
He doesn't address the question I thought he would: Why are most terrorists acts in the world now done in the name of Islam? Read morePublished 9 months ago by Simeon