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The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists Paperback – January 23, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The Great Theft is probably the most dramatic manifesto from an American Muslim since the September 11 attacks.” -- Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

“Those looking for an understanding of the Muslim world and its relationship to the West…will find this book invaluable.” -- Dallas Morning News

“Mother Jones and the National Review rarely see eye-to-eye, but we both agree on this essential title.” -- Mother Jones Magazine

“An uncommonly rich, learned and easily accessible framework for understanding the current theological struggle within Islam.” -- Washington Post Book World

“… [The Great Theft] lucidly answers important questions Westerners have about Islam.” -- San Francisco Chronicle

“Khaled Abou El Fadl has made a contribution that should be widely distributed and deeply reflected upon.” -- Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“One of the more engaging primers on Islam available.” -- Foreign Affairs

About the Author

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is one of the most important and influential Islamic thinkers in the modern age. An accomplished Islamic jurist and scholar, he is a professor at the UCLA School of Law, where he teaches Islamic law, immigration law, human rights law, and international and national security law. As the most critical and powerful voice against puritanical and Wahhabi Islam today, he regularly appears on national and international television and radio, including CNN, NBC, PBS, NPR, and the Voice of America (broadcast throughout the Middle East).

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperOne; Reprint edition (January 23, 2007)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0061189030
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0061189036
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.3 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.31 x 0.76 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars A pivotal book by a reputed scholar, that inspired a new interpretation of Islam
By BioIslam on September 3, 2019
This book serves as an inspiration to every moderate Muslim. Fadl’s love of the faith, and hate of what he calls the heretical “puritans”, comes across clearly.

On p. 286, “To save the soul and reputation of Islam, moderates have a dual obligation. First, they must become educated as much as possible about Islam and the Shari’a... Second, they must consider themselves in a state of defensive jihad… “

Most importantly, he says, “To win this very real war that has done inestimable damage to so many Muslims and to the truth of the Islamic faith, it is absolutely imperative that moderates declare a counter-jihad against the puritan heresy.” (p. 286)

Who are Fadl’s “puritans”? The term is used in varied ways. For Fadl, They are pretty much what BioIslam calls “Traditional Muslims” or “Traditionalists” going by his elaborate definition (below) of who they are.

Fadl’s “puritan heresy” is a strong stuff. This book was written in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, and his anger is palpable. But to slam someone as “heretic” is not in keeping with BioIslam’s view that we must accept “analytic ambiguity” since we live in an AHL AL FATRA, an era between Prophets, one without clear guidance. Due to the twin problems of canonization and complexity, much of what well-intentioned Traditionalist scholars tell us is questionable. Clarity will emerge only when the next Prophet arrives, which will be the second coming of Isa/Jesus, upon whom be peace. As discussed in “HOPING FOR ISA” on BioIslam.org, it could be weeks or centuries until he returns, we just don’t know. Until then, BioMuslims use pure intentions and “open” reason to interpret the Quran and other sources of knowledge, versus the “closed” or boxed-in reason of the ulema. Exemplars include the ulema at AlMaghrib, Yaqeen and Kalamullah – they are profoundly pious and highly learned, struggling to defend the faith from the excesses of hedonism, scientism, hyper-rationalism, and the dehumanizing downside of the materialist machine. However, they too are victims of the canonization and complexity problems, since they fail to rail against the Tragic Errors and Inconvenient Implications. This is illustrated in the attached figure, the TRAGIC HOUSE of Traditional Islam.

PURITANS DEFINED

On p. 163, “For puritans, it is considered a fundamental premise of the faith that Islam fulfilled its potential during a particular historical period, which they consider to be “the golden age of Islam.” According to puritans, the golden age of Islam consisted of the time that the Prophet ruled Medina and the ages of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs… While Sunni Muslims in general respect the first four caliphs and admire their achievements, puritans go much further – Puritans highly idealize this time period, which lasted roughly for the first fifty years of Islam, and believe that in the golden age, perfect justice and fairness were fully realized. For puritans it is simply not possible for any polity anywhere, at any time, to accomplish a greater degree of justice and fairness. After the first fifty years, they believe, the balance of Islamic history was one of unmitigated deterioration.”

On p. 164, “Consequently, puritans believe that Muslims should reclaim the golden age by closely imitating and replicating the institutions and codes of conduct they believe existed at that time. It is as if history had peaked and fulfilled its complete potential during the golden age of Islam. As to what remains of history, puritans imagine that Muslims, and indeed the rest of humanity, must strive to replicate that earlier time when history reached its zenith.”

How do Fadl’s “puritans” know what exactly occurred during this golden age? They rely on the transmitted-Sunnah and make an AUTHENTICITY ASSUMPTION and subscribe to a CULT OF CERTAINTY, as detailed in the COMPLEXITY PROBLEM page of BioIslam.org. If we replace Fadl’s “puritans” with “Traditionalists” it approximates BioIslam’s views.
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Siam Siam
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank you for fine and well resourced presentation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars A steal at twice the price. Buy it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 7, 2016
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2.0 out of 5 stars Was a waste of money.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 19, 2020
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Moderate1
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most informative books I've read!! But an easy read...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2012
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EnAhmad
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Everyone
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2015
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