Refreshingly unpreachy and theologically accessible; a marvelous, beautifully written book that offers a sound grasp of Islamic faith…
Khaled Abou El Fadl, distinguished law professor and classically trained Islamic jurist, presents a collection of meditations on key Islamic precepts in his remarkable latest. In his foreword to this anthology, Josef Linnhoff notes the importance of insightful khutbah that address the real ethical issues that plague Muslim communities the most. The potential of such khutbah, he says, is that they can convey some of the most basic and foundational truths of the faith, reminding Muslims of “an Islam of ethics, justice, and beauty; an Islam that speaks to both head and heart, rooted in the past but fully engaged with the present; an Islam that sees reason and enquiry not as enemies of faith, but as a means to faith.” Khaled Abou El Fadl’s twenty-two sermons here deliver on this promise of addressing the real problems that Muslims confront while teaching something new and inspiring from the vast tradition. The author does a beautiful job of taking the reader through the teachings of the Prophet. Divided into five sections, the book begins with how a deterioration in the quality of Jumu‘a has impacted the quality of khutbahs, alienating the attendees. Blaming it on the consistently diminishing education systems for jurists, the author calls for an improved teaching system which trains the jurists not only in thinking and reason but also in basic ideas of obligation, duty, responsibility and ethics. “Jumu‘a should leave you with something that hearkens the remembrance of God in your heart,” he writes. In “On Reading and Testing the State of Your Faith,” he stresses on the importance of keeping one’s moral agency. To strengthen his argument, he presents facts from the Quran (Q 3:32): “Muslims at the time of the Prophet would enter into a covenant with him in which it was stated that they must continue to speak for truth. Even in the presence of the Prophet, they would not surrender their free will.” Some of other notable entries include “On Love and a Loving God in Islam,” “Recolonization, Racism, and the Role of Reason,” “Resisting the Colonization of Muslim Minds.” The beauty of Khaled Abou El Fadl’s writing is his ridiculously simple, unembellished prose, which makes it easy for even a non-Muslim to grasp all the concepts. A foreword, an introduction and a note on presentation, a glossary of terms, and a list for further reading offer valuable guidance and context. Part Qur’anic exegesis and part socio-ethical observation, the book not only offers a way to access the inner heart of the Islamic tradition but also provides the knowledge to defend against Islamophobic rhetoric. A treasure.
The Prophet’s Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam
Khaled Abou El Fadl (Author), Josef Linnhoff (Editor)
Pub date April 21, 2022
Price $27.99 (USD) Hardcover, $19.99 Paperback, $8.49 Kindle edition