Monday, September 22, 2008

BookIntro2: Speaking In God’s Name.

This is a brilliant book. Brilliant. When I first read the book, I was simply mesmerized with the mental ability of Prof Khaled to express his thoughts with such clarity and accuracy. Whether you are agree or disagree with his views, you will be compelled to admit that his arguments are sound and worth serious thinking. Obviously tremendous amount of thinking and research has gone into writing this book. I also admire his scholastic courage and honesty.

This challenging book reviews the ethical foundations of the Islamic legal system, suggesting that an authoritarian reading of scripture has often had grave consequences for parts of Muslim society. Khaled argues that divinely ordained law is frequently misinterpreted by Muslim authorities at the expense of certain groups especially women. Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University correctly describes this book as “a bold and courageous engagement of authoritarian interpretations of Muslim teachings. Not only does the author confront these teachings, but he also advocates alternative interpretations”.

Those who are interested in examining the foundations and thinking behind interpretative rules and the basis thereof will find this book immensely enlightening. A must read book for anyone who wants to talk on Islam.

Khaled Abou El Fadi studied Islamic Law in Egypt and Kuwait and has degrees from Pennsylvania, Yale and Princeton. He has served on a variety of committees for Human Rights and has published several books and articles.

I have not come across any local Islamic scholar whose mental ability comes close to that of Khaled’s – unless there is one hiding somewhere. It is just sad that most of our local scholars are merely juristic (“fiqhi”) and even that, at a repetitious and taqlid level. I strongly suspect it is because the culture of knowledge and inquiry is suppressed in our country.

The powers that be are content to make averages or below averages of Malaysians.


Anonymous said...


This is Dohala. Can you give us some excerpts from this book? Then maybe we can have our own discussions that may benefit? Thanks.

jahamy said...

Good idea. Will do on thursday. Now busy with trials!