Islam's Reformation of Christianity
Jesus was a product of Semitic monotheism, moral law, piety and humility. His kingdom was the other worldly. His ethical monotheism was transformed by the Roman Empire and mythology. The supernatural, Trinitarian and miraculous Roman Christianity transitioned into unintelligible dogmas, the abolition of law, moral laxity, this worldly kingdom and divine right absolutism.
Natural theology, law, cosmology and politics were all compromised. Religious freedom was barred, and persecutions were normalised. Latin Christendom was a persecutory society. Islam was an intellectual cure to Christian paradoxes and an egalitarian pluralistic alternate to Christian inquisitions and religiopolitical absolutism. It spread in the Eastern Christian territories like a bush fire.
This reformation of Christian excesses in religiopolitical theology reformed its paradoxical incarnational theology, antinomianism, grace-based salvation scheme, divine right Church and monarchy, interventionist cosmology and religious persecutions.
This insightful and groundbreaking new book provides an in-depth study of the Islamic, Southern Reformation of Christianity; a reformation seldom acknowledged or studied by the historians. It explores how the Islamic reformative scheme emphasised ethical, transcendental monotheism, natural theology and rational discourse. It limited monarchy and placed significance on an inclusive, pluralistic and free society.
The Seventh Century Islamic natural, rational, moral, republican and egalitarian reformation was the Southern Reformation of Christianity, long before the partial Northern Reformation of Luther and Calvin.
Islam And The English Enlightenment: The Untold Story
The long medieval centuries witnessed the absolute iron fists of the church and its monarchical abusive powers. The Catholic Church, the only religious power during this time, became the largest landowner, employer and powerhouse of Europe.
Such was the socio-political situation which led many Christian reformers of the sixteenth century such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin to look inward as well as outward to identify Christian problems and their possible remedies. Islam from the outset had claimed to have come as a rectifier of Christian excesses and a reformer of its historical overindulgences.
Muslims had a long history of anti-Christian polemics culminating century’s long tradition of anti-trinitarianism and biblical criticism. Islamic tradition was also rife with theories and conceptual frameworks for heterodoxy, interfaith and intra-faith toleration.
Ottoman and Mughal empires of the 16th and 17th Centuries were a practical witness to the effectiveness of these concepts.
This remarkable book is an in-depth study into how Islam shaped and enlightened traditional European ideologies which led to reform and revolution across the continent, and how these ideologies would go on to influence the Founding Fathers of America.
St. Thomas Aquinas and Muslim Thought
St. Thomas Aquinas, the most known medieval philosophical theologian; the stalwart of scholasticism; the Doctor of Church; and one of the most influential figures in Western Christianity, was greatly influenced by Muslim synthetic thought.
The gulf between reason and revelation, faith and philosophy or Jesus and Aristotle were wider in Christianity than in Islam. Aquinas bridged that gap with the help of Muslim philosophical thought. This work highlights Aquinas’ intersections with the great Muslim philosophers and their impact upon his personality. Aquinas widely quoted Muslim philosophers and theologians, including Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, al-Farabi, al-Ghazali and al-Razi and acted upon their wisdom in many ways.
In the estimation of E. Renan, "St. Thomas owes practically everything to Averroes." The likes of A. M. Giochon, David Burrell and John Wippel among others asserted that Aquinas and his teacher Albert the Great were highly indebted to Ibn Sina.
Giochon noted that, "Avicenna was not only a source from which they all drew liberally, but one of the principal formative influences on their thought." He read Latin translations of their works and incorporated many of their ideas, thoughts and arguments into his project.
Aquinas’ upbringing in Southern Italy and his geographical and intellectual affinity with Islamic civilisation played a significant role in his intellectual development. His thirteenth century Christendom was fully engaged with Muslims on multiple levels. His greater family was involved with the neighboring Muslims of Lucera and Apulia and in the army of Frederick II.
Medieval Christianity’s transition from the Dark Ages was facilitated by Aquinas’ philosophical theology, which was also shaped by the translation of philosophical and scientific manuscripts from Arabic to Latin.
Aquinas was what he became partly due to these interfaith interactions, which are laid bare for the first time in this revelatory new book.
The Concept of God in Judiac, Christian and Islamic Traditions
This monumental study examines issues of anthropomorphism in the three Abrahamic Faiths, as viewed through the texts of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Quran.
Throughout history Christianity and Judaism have tried to make sense of God. While juxtaposing the Islamic position against this, the author addresses the Judeo-Christian worldview and how each has chosen to framework its encounter with God, to what extent this has been the result of actual scripture and to what extent the product of theological debate, or church decrees of later centuries and absorption of Hellenistic philosophy.
Shah also examines Islam s heavily anti-anthropomorphic stance and Islamic theological discourse on Tawhid as well as the Ninety-Nine Names of God and what these have meant in relation to Muslim understanding of God and His attributes. Describing how these became the touchstone of Muslim discourse with Judaism and Christianity he critiques theological statements and perspectives that came to dilute if not counter strict monotheism. As secularism debates whether God is dead, the issue of anthropomorphism has become of immense importance.
The quest for God, especially in this day and age, is partly one of intellectual longing. To Shah, anthropomorphic concepts and corporeal depictions of the Divine are perhaps among the leading factors of modern atheism. As such he ultimately draws the conclusion that the postmodern longing for God will not be quenched by pre-modern anthropomorphic and corporeal concepts of the Divine which have simply brought God down to this cosmos, with a precise historical function and a specified location, reducing the intellectual and spiritual force of what God is and represents, causing the soul to detract from a sense of the sacred and thereby belief in Him.
The Astronomical Calculations and Ramadan
This book shatters the myth that naked-eye sighting of the new moon and completing thirty days in the case of weather-related or other obscurities are the only two valid methods of determining the month of Ramadan.
The author explains that certainty, not actual sighting, is the real objective of the Sharicah and that the Qur an does not mandate physical sighting.
A careful analysis shows that those hadiths that seemingly require sighting actually require certainty. The assertion that all Muslim scholars prohibit the use of astronomical calculations, both in affirming or negating the month of Ramadan, is not correct.
As calculation is now more accurate than naked-eye sighting, due to certain astronomical and scientific advancements, the use of calculation is the closest to the real objective of the Shari ah and to the spirit of the hadiths.
Ifta' and Fatwa in the Muslim World and the West
During the formative classical period of Islamic jurisprudence, well-known scholars possessed not only the intellectual skills required for analytic reasoning, but also a broad general knowledge of the fields relevant to the cultural contexts in which they issued their edicts.
A viable fatwa requires knowledge of the Shari ah as well as local customs, cultural realities, individual and communal implications, and related matters. The original juristic tradition was formulated and fixed during the first three Islamic centuries, a time of widespread sociopolitical turmoil. Of course, the jurists legal outlooks and thinking processes could not have escaped this reality. While Muslims of the prophetic and r shid n periods adhered closely to the authentic texts due to their sincerity, piety, prophetic training, and proximity to the revelation, the changing environment in which their descendants functioned gradually started to impact how the authentic texts were understood, interpreted, paraphrased, and implemented.
Both the Muslim and the non-Muslim worlds have drastically changed since that time. The new geopolitical and scientific realities of our rapidly changing world demand a fresh look at some aspects of the established juristic tradition. The way forward involves a systematic fresh look at and reevaluation of the old fatwas, as well as the issuance of new ones with a maq sid outlook that can deal successfully with today s ever-changing global realities. In this edited volume, papers on fatwa and ift point to an approach that is both rooted in the Islamic legacy and committed to meeting the challenges of the modern world.