Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty
In this 350-page tour de force, Akyol first shows how Islamic thought evolved in history, and how liberty, which had its place in Islam, gradually lost to tyranny. The years following Muhammad's passing in 632 AD, he explains, saw an intellectual "war of ideas" rage between rationalist, flexible schools of Islam and the more dogmatic, rigid ones. The traditionalist school won out, fostering perceptions of Islam as antithetical to modernity.
However, through his careful reexamination of the currents of Muslim thought, Akyol discovers a flourishing of liberalism in the nineteenth century Ottoman Empire and the unique "Islamo-liberal synthesis" of present-day Turkey. Only by accepting a secular state, he powerfully asserts, can Islamic societies thrive. Only by accepting "the freedom to sin," and "freedom from Islam," he says Muslims will prove to be confident in their faith.
Persuasive and inspiring, Islam without Extremes offers a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconcilability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms.