Islamic Perspectives on the New Millennium

Islamic Perspectives on the New Millennium
Date of publication:  2004
Publisher:  Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Number of pages:  266
Code:  BM258
Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789812302403
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"[This book] is a compilation of short pieces purposefully standing in contrast to each other to reflect the diversity that is inherent in an Islamic understanding of world affairs and modern life. Highlighting different but equally strong anxieties over the Bush administration, warfare, and state intrusion into the private lives of both non-Muslims and Muslims, the collection is an important contribution that introduces Muslim views to Western audiences that are largely unaware of these views" (Population Review).

"Virginia Hooker, one of the editors and a well-known Malaysia scholar in her own right, has provided excellent introductory and concluding essays to the volume. She has summed up the powerful supposition that knits the various essays together: 'change is rooted in cultural transformation'" (JMBRAS).

"A superb article by Ahmad Shboul, discusses Arab Muslim debates over globalisation (chatper 4). The quality of the essays is overall good, and several chapters rise to a standard of excellence. M.B. Hooker has written longer works on Indonesia's shari'a debates, but his essay here provides what is arguably the best historical summary currently available. Madjid, one of Indonesia's most celebrated modernist thinkers, makes the case for a pluralistic and contextual interpretation of the Qur'an. Not many of Madjid's works have been published in English, and this chapter is as succesful as any at illustrating the humanist decency of this great man. Islamic Perspectives addresses some issues in the contemporary Muslim world more effectively than others. This fine book deserves to be read by all students of Islam in Southeast Asia, as well as by readers interested in key debates in contemporary Muslim affairs" (Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies).

"Generally speaking the book does address a very wide range of views held by Muslims and provides readers with a sense of the main debates taking place within the Islamic world. The volume serves as a useful counterbalance to the media coverage of the more violent expressions of Islamic issues that often overshadow intellectual discourse among Muslims. It also draws attention to the undoubted importance and potential centrality of Indonesia as a force for change in the Muslim world, which is partly due to the fact that there are more Muslims there than in the Middle East" (Aseasuk News).

About the publication

The early years of the twenty-first century have been characterized by a sense of widespread anxiety and fear because of the violent activities of groups of terrorists who claim they act in the name of Islam. Their acts of terrorism, viewed by a majority in the Muslim world as crimes which must be subject to the law, are in tragic contrast to the efforts of many Muslim intellectuals who have been working for the past several decades to find common ground between people of all faiths based on the universality of humankind.
           This book aims to bring to the attention of non-Muslims, in particular, the range of views which Muslims in the Middle East and in South and Southeast Asia hold on six topics of importance to life in the twenty-first century. The topics have been addressed from the internal Muslim point of view to provide readers with a sense of the main debates within Islam on each of the issues. The topics addressed are: the new world order; globalization and modernity; banking and finance; the nation-state; the position of women; and law and knowledge.
           The chapters have been written by Muslims and non-Muslims, each of whom is an expert on the area about which they write. The chapters are presented in pairs which offer Middle Eastern (and in one case South Asian) points of view which are matched by Southeast Asian perspectives on each of the six topics. While the media is quick to report on the more violent expressions of Islam, including terrorism, the vigorous debates, which now characterize the intellectual discourse in Muslim communities, are rarely if ever reported. This book not only describes and analyses those debates but also reflects the views of many Muslims across the world, emphasizing the connections and contrasts between the Middle East and Southeast Asia.


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