Monday, January 21

Book: Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism, Omid Safi Click for more info

Another composition of essays, this time by exclusively by self proclaimed progressive Muslims. However what is clear when reading this volume is that like "Muslim" there is no single agreement on what "progressive" actually means, so don't think you know what you'll read in this book.

You get the usual pros and cons as you do with other collections of this type - a variety of sometimes conflicting ideas written in a range of qualities. There are some brilliant essays by the likes of Farish Noor, Ebrahim Moosa and Kecia Ali contrasted by less readable ones; in fact I'd say that most of them aren't that great both in terms of style and content.

I'd also suggest that although open minds are always useful, one should read this with care: there are also some extreme yet interesting topics covered, and anyone reading should do so with the critical mind some of the authors within are asking Muslims to develop. A portion of these articles are just downright silly and not really constructive; a few authors write with baggage or a over-critical and holier-than-thou mindset which for me immediately revoked any progressive qualification they may have gained previously.

Overall it's difficult to recommend this book. Instead I'd say to look up some of the authors that I have noted above and read what they have to say elsewhere - you may not get the exact essays that are contained in this book, but good authors aren't made by single pieces anyway.

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