One of the most dynamic aspects of the Islamic revival during
the past two centuries has been the rethinking of Islamic political
thought. A broad range of actors, ideas, and ideologies
characterize the debate on how Islamic ethics and law should be
manifested in modern institutions. Yet this aspect of the "return
to Islam" has been neglected by policymakers, the media, and even
many scholars, who equate "political Islam" with merely one strand,
labeled "Islamic fundamentalism." Bringing together ten essays from
six volumes of the Ethikon Series in Comparative Ethics,
this book gives a rounded treatment to the subject of Islamic
The authors explore the Islamic ethics of civil society,
boundaries, pluralism, and war and peace. They consider questions
of diversity, discussing, among other subjects, Islamic regimes'
policies regarding women and religious minorities. The chapters on
war and peace take up such crucial and timely issues as the Islamic
ethics of jihad, examining both the legitimate conditions for the
declaration of war and the proper conduct of war.
In their discussions, the contributors analyze the works of
classical writers as well as the full range of modern
reinterpretations. But beyond these analyses of previous and
contemporary thinkers, the essays also reach back to the two
fundamental sources of Islamic ethics--the Qur'an and traditions of
the Prophet--to develop fresh insights into how Islam and Muslims
can contribute to human society in the twenty-first century.
The authors are Dale F. Eickelman, Hasan Hanafi, Sohail H.
Hashmi, Farhad Kazemi, John Kelsay, Muhammad Khalid Masud, Sulayman
Nyang, Bassam Tibi, and M. Raquibuz Zaman.
From the foreword by Jack Miles:
"Western foreign ministers and secretaries of state may have to
learn a little theology if the looming clash between embattled
elements both in the West and in the Muslim umma is to yield to
disengagement and peaceful coexistence, to say nothing of fruitful
collaboration. . . . It is, then, no idle academic exercise that
the thinkers whose work is collected here have in hand. The
long-term practical importance of their work can scarcely be