Islam and Belief
At Home with Religious Freedom
Islam and religious freedom—
are they compatible or on a collision course?
Abdullah Saeed examines Islamic teachings in the Quran and in the Hadith regarding the status of religious minorities living in Muslim-majority societies and he surveys the perspectives of major Muslim scholars around the world today on whether or not Islam and religious freedom can coexist. In addition, he considers whether Muslim societies stand to benefit or face a threat from religious freedom, not least of all the freedom to explore and debate their own faith.
Saeed finds that "[d]espite the many restrictions that have emerged for both Muslims and non-Muslims in the course of the development of Muslim theology and law in the post-prophetic period, the realities of the modern world are forcing Muslim thinkers and scholars to rethink such restrictions and argue for religious freedom for all. In doing so, these Muslims are coming closer to the teachings of the Quran and the actual practice of Prophet Muhammad."
There is perhaps no issue more important for contemporary Muslim thought than the freedom of religion. It influences attitudes on conflict, citizenship, and rights in an increasingly pluralistic world. Abdullah Saeed, in this short booklet, raises key questions from scripture, theology, law, history, and politics, providing a comprehensive background as well as courageous leadership for the future development of Muslim thought.
- Mahan Mirza, Zaytuna College
The question of the freedom of belief remains a crucial question worldwide, and this book provides a succinct and informative reflection on Islam and pluralism.
- Jonathan A.C. Brown, Georgetown University
Human rights reform in the Muslim world requires a deep grounding in Islamic theology. Islam and Belief is an important contribution to this vital project.
- Asma Uddin, Religious Freedom lawyer
About the author:
Abdullah Saeed is the Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne and Director of Australia's National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies
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