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The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books Paperback – December 5, 2005
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El Fadl attempts to offer interpretations that are humanistic and accommodating to modern values, yet simultaneously challenging for traditionalist scholars and preachers. (An-Chi Hoh Dianu The Library Quarterly)
This highly original book is in part a dialogue with Muslim scholars in the past, and, in part, a hymn to an enthralling vision that 'beauty' is to bring life to the truth of the Prophet. The dialogue shows the enormous breadth of [the author's] reading in classic works of learning by Muslims, and his vision suggests a new spiritual esthetic, which is both inspiring and challenging. (Roy Parviz Mottahedeh, Gurney Professor of History, Harvard University)
Khaled Abou El Fadl is emerging as a major Muslim voice for the twenty-first century. Conference of the Books is an excellent introduction to the ideas, insights, and reflections of this important scholar of Islam and Islamic law, author, and poet. (John L. Esposito, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University)
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, the most important scholar writing on Islamic jurisprudence and its development in the American context today, sets a high standard here for legal discourse and practice among North American Muslims. (Karen Leonard, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine)
Each independent essay may be read in any order, but collectively they illustrate richness and diversity. (Charles C. Kolb, National Endowment for the Humanities, Religious Studies Review)
About the Author
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law where he teaches Islamic law, immigration, human rights, and international and national security law. He holds degrees from Yale University (B.A.), University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.) and Princeton University (M.A./Ph.D.). He serves on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch and was also appointed by President George W. Bush as a commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Author of numerous books and articles on Islamic law and Islam, his most recent work focuses on issues of authority, tolerance and democracy in Islam.
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This book is very unique because it's written in a very personal form, almost like a diary, where the author, each evening has philosophical discussions about modern issues with wise muslim scholars of the past.
Abou El Fadl whom I actually went to meet after reading the book is a progressive muslim, with many shared views to my own and my upbringing. I feel this book must be required reading for all muslims, for them to truly see the beauty in Islam, and not what they see on tv done by non spiritual people in the name of faith. a true tragedy.
This book is divided in to separate chapters, so you don't have to read them sequentially, and you don't have to be an expert in religion (there's no such thing actually) to enjoy this book, just have an open mind and an open heart.
His other books are more academic and more for the serious student, but for me, this book, and the book by Elif Shafak called The forty rules of love are beautiful books to truly move you, and to come to the realization that all faiths are the same in essence, and the true practice is kindness and compassion to yourself and others.
Based on actual cases, these original essays present an honest and critical evaluation of the problems and challenges that confront Muslims in the contemporary world. Using the Muslim experience in the United States as a lens, the author examines what he identifies as a pervasive alienation suffered by Muslims over their place in history, source of identity, and moral foundations. The author imagines himself sitting in a conference of Islamic books-- the Conference convening to examine the contemporary Muslim condition. Various influential intellectual trends are represented in this Conference, and the author is an active participant who reacts with introspection and critical moral insight, positioning himself on a bridge between the intellectual heritage of Islam and the oppressive Muslim present, arguing that the salvation of one is intricately linked to the other, and attempting to reclaim a core moral value in Islam-- the value of beauty. From "The Pirates of the Intellect" to "On the Beating of Wives" to "Dial-a-Fatwa", these 62 highly readable essays are must reading for anyone with some knowledge of Islam and the present Muslim condition. Rescue this exciting work from obscurity and see why the "pirates of intellect" don't want you to read it!
Teachers/Librarians: 9th grade to adult - Pirates of the Intellect are everywhere. . . wield your power and order a copy now!