We suddenly find ourselves with very little knowledge of a religion and culture that continues to have an enormous impact on our world. Through a close reading of the Qur’an, Khaled Abou El Fadl shows that injunctions to violence against nonbelievers stem from misreadings. Even jihad, or so-called holy war, has no basis in Qur’anic text or Muslim theology, but instead was an outgrowth of social and political conflict.
Reading the holy text in the appropriate moral and historical contexts shows that Islamic civilization has long been pluralistic, and even usually tolerant of other religions. Leading scholars of Islam offer nuanced commentary