Omid Safi is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Colgate University in New York. He specializes in the study of the Islamic mystical tradition, the pre-modern history of the Islamic world, and contemporary Muslim thought. In this helpful paperback, he has gathered articles from 15 Muslim scholars and activists who are progressive in their views. They maintain that Islam must move beyond an excessive emphasis on the past and interpret this faith for the twenty-first century. Besides engaging tradition, they share a common interest in social justice, gender justice, and pluralism.
In the introduction, Safi talks to Gilles Kepel who notes that fundamentalists of all three of the "religions of the book" seem to him to have one thing in common: bad adab:
"Ah, adab . . . that most essential, basic, and glorious of Muslim interpersonal codes. Adab is the compassionate, humane, selfless, generous, and kind etiquette that has been a hallmark of refined manners in Muslim cultures. Almost anyone who has ever traveled to areas that have been profoundly influenced by Muslim ethics has no doubt seen great examples of this wonderful way of being welcomed and put at ease."
All of the writers in this anthology are doing one form of adab or another. Some of our favorite essays are on reclaiming beauty in Islam; transforming feminism; Muslims, pluralism, and interfaith dialogue; and American Muslim identity.