About the Book
A progressive Muslim not only does not adopt sectarian approach but is respectful of the entire humanity as per the Quran (17:70). He leaves mutual differences, ideological and theological, to Allah and does not condemn anyone who differs as kafirs. It only widens differences and intensifies conflict. A progressive Muslim uses, as per the Quran, wisdom (hikmah) and godly words (maw’izat al-Hasanah) in discussion and leaves rest to Allah. He does not try to be judgemental.
About the Author
Asghar Ali Engineer is a writer, activist and scholar of repute. Awarded Right Livelihood Honorary Award (also called the Alternate Nobel Award) 2004, National Communal Harmony Award, 1997, and many other awards, Asghar Ali Engineer has written over 60 books on Islam, problems of Muslims, Muslim women’s right, communal and ethnic problems in India, South Asia and Islamic state.
This book is a compilation of essays, some published and most others unpublished, about Islam and various related problems faced by the community almost everyday. Most of the articles are critical of the fatwas issued by traditional clergy or the approach adopted by them, which create a lot of problems for lay Muslims, particularly Muslim women.
It is unfortunate that Islamic jurisprudence has lost the dynamism it had in earlier centuries. There were more than 100 schools of jurisprudence of which not more than seven have survived. Now Muslims follow these schools but make no effort to bring about change in view of the new problems arising in the modern world. Islam, in principle, provides for creative interpretation of the Quranic text.
This cannot be done by traditional jurists (foqaha). They are trained only in traditional Islamic jurisprudence and oppose any deviation from the medieval text produced by the then jurists. Whenever they are asked any question relating to juristic problems, they answer simply by referring to these medieval texts, without in any way, applying their mind to the changes which have occurred in the society and the new problems believers are faced with.
My readers continue to ask me to write about these problems and I have tried to comply with their requests. Many of the articles included in this book were written in response to these questions. Most of my readers have welcomed my response and these articles are being compiled in the form of a book, to make these writings available to future generations.
I am thankful to Mrs Brigit Fernandes, my secretary and Mr Gopa Kumar, our typist and computer in-charge, to help me compile these articles, type them and incorporate changes. And of course, I am grateful to Renu Kaul Verma of Vitasta Publications to agree to publish these articles in the form of a book. It is hoped this book would bring about attitudinal change towards juristic problems in the Islamic world.
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