Book Title: Radical Reform : Islamic Ethics and Liberation
Author: Reza Aslan
Format: Hardback | 368 pages
Publication Date: 17 Nov 2008
Tariq Ramadan has emerged as one of the foremost voices of reformist Islam in the West. In one of his previous books, 'Western Muslims and the Future of Islam'he urged his fellow Muslims to participate fully in the civil life of the Western societies in which they live, and addressed many of the issues that stand in the way of such participation. In this new book he tackles head-on the thorniest of these issues - namely, the rulings of Islamic jurists that make
Islam seem incompatible with modern, scientifically and technologically advanced, democratic societies. He argues that it is crucial to find theoretical and practical solutions that will enable Western Muslims to remain faithful to Islamic ethics while fully living within their societies and their time.
He notes that Muslim scholars often refer to the notion of ijtihad (critical and renewed reading of the foundational texts) as the only way for Muslims to take up these modern challenges. But, Ramadan argues, in practice such readings have effectively reached the limits of their ability to serve the faithful in the West as well as the East. In this book he sets forward a radical new concept of ijtihad, which puts context - including the knowledge derived from the hard and human sciences,
cultures and their geographic and historical contingencies - on an equal footing with the scriptures as a source of Islamic law. This global and comprehensive approach, he says, seems to be the only way to go beyond the current limits and face up to the crisis in contemporary Islamic thought: Muslims
need a contemporary global and applied ethics. After setting out this proposal, Ramadan applies his new methodology to several practical case studies involving controversial issues in five areas: medical ethics, education, economics, marriage and divorce, culture and creativity. His radical proposal and the conclusions to which it leads him are bound to provoke discussion and controversy. Muslims and non-Muslims alike will have to contend with Ramadan's new idea of the very basis of Islam in
the modern world.