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What’s Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West

Product Description
One of the most pressing questions of our time is what went wrong in the relationship between Muslims and the West. Continuing global violence in the name of Islam reflects the deepest fears by certain Muslim factions of Western political, cultural, and economic encroachment. The solution requires finding common ground upon which to build mutual respect and understanding. Who better to offer such an analysis than an American Imam, someone with a foot in each world and the tools to examine the common roots of both Western and Muslim cultures; someone to explain to the non-Islamic West not just what went wrong with Islam, but What’s Right with Islam.

American Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s mosque was only twelve blocks from the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11. In the aftermath, finding a common ground between his country and his religion became a personal quest. He began by looking back to a time before such divisions, back to our common ancestor, Abraham. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim Abraham as their patriarch, and the ethic this forebear imparted is an ethic still shared by all three traditions. Imam Rauf skillfully traces the evolution of these foundational beliefs through the golden age of Islam in medieval Cordoba and Baghdad, as well as the development of democratic and capitalist principles in the West.

In stark contrast to thinkers such as Samuel P. Huntington and Bernard Lewis, who suggest the crisis is in Islam itself, Imam Rauf argues that what went wrong is the relationship between the Muslim world and the West. He offers a basis for rebuilding that relationship by arguing that Islamic principles actually support the fundamental values of a pluralistic, free society, uncovering the promise of a Muslim form of democratic capitalism within the Qur’an, the stories and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, and Islamic Law. Focused on finding solutions, not on determining fault, this is ultimately a hopeful and inspiring book.

Born to a long line of religious luminaries, Imam Rauf brings his extensive study of the sacred scriptures of Islam, along with his talent for storytelling and analysis, to bear on one of the most complex and critically important topics facing our world today. By tracing common philosophical roots and religious values, acknowledging the contributions of American democracy and Western capitalism, and by showing what Islamic culture can bring to a new reunion with the West, WHAT’S RIGHT WITH ISLAM systematically lays out the reasons for the current dissonance between these cultures and offers a foundation and plan for improved relations. Wide-ranging in scope, WHAT’S RIGHT WITH ISLAM elaborates in satisfying detail a vision for a Muslim world that can eventually embrace its own distinctive forms of democracy and capitalism, aspiring to a New Cordoba — a time when Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all other faith traditions will live together in peace and prosperity.

What’s Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West


  1. If you have no true understanding of Islam then this book will make you feel all wonderful inside, however, what he never really talks about are the passages in the Quran that say that /all/ infidels (Christians and Jews included) must die. I also find it hilarious that he views America is the “almost perfect Islamic country”. What he fails to acknowledge is that if America were made fully Islamic then what he finds so wonderful about this country would disappear. As I read the book I often wondered whether he realizes that according to his faith he is a hypocrite (a major failing for which he, as a cleric, would be destroyed in truly Islamic countries). All in all, this is a book written to make westerners feel good while the Islamic rope tightens around their throat.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. Feisal Abdul Rauf is an honest and decent man who sincerely believes what he writes. He has an excellent reputation, well deserved.

    Having said that, I must now address what he has written.

    Part of the book’s title is, “A New Vision for Muslims and the West.” Unfortunately, that’s all it is, a vision, a fairy tale told to those who want to believe it.

    The dark and sinister forces who are radical Islamists will have none of it, and if we are lulled into complacency, the events of 9/11 will become repeated events.

    Like it or not, the hardliner Islamists are at war with the West, where the objective is total world conquest, where everyone either becomes a Muslim or he dies (the exceptions being Jews and Christians who, as People of the Book, will be treated as second class citizens).

    What Raef refuses to acknowledge is that there are earlier verses in the Qur’an that _do_ preach peace and tolerance….but their are the later verses calling for subjugation and death to the infidel. Islamic scholars have decided that the later verses abrogate (trump) the earlier ones.

    For this reason, in my opinion, the book misleads and is fatally flawed.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  3. As the US military empire continues its quest for global hegemony, an army of propagandists has cultivated religious bigotry to justify our aggression in the world. The corporate jihad to procure resources and impose markets has cost the lives of over 100,000 Iraqis, and hundreds of thousands more when one includes the lethal sanctions and the bombing of Iraq’s water and sewage systems.

    At some level, the US population understands we are the aggressor in the world and simply doesn’t want to face it. So the Islamophobia of Robert Spencer/Bernard Lewis/Kenneth Timmerman, etc. receive a warm welcome and lots of publicity from our conglomerate media.

    Thank Allah for Rauf’s “What’s Right with Islam.” I’ll be buying extra copies to send to US troops in Iraq, via projects like “Books for Soldiers.” The soldiers of our empire are currently being deluged with the books that dehumanize Muslims like the Nazis dehumanized the Jews. Rauf’s humanity and intelligence are desperately needed to counter the hate. Hopefully, the progressive radio network of Air America will give Rauf the platform he deserves.

    To complement Rauf’s theological and cultural perspective, I’d recommend Robert Fisk’s “The Great War of Civilization” to provide a vital political view. Fisk has commented that, given all the repression that Muslims have received from the West, it’s amazing how restrained their response has been. Although, if the West continues on its path of militarism, it may encounter the sort of catastrophic “blowback” that Chalmers Johnson and other security analysts warn of.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. I am a beginning student of Islam. I am also American. While initially excited by Immam Rauf’s insights, they began to unsettle me in terms of their apologetic and overly simplistic tone. In trying to present a one-to-one correspondence-type analysis between Islam and American democracy, much of the complexity of Islam is either lost or ignored. America, in a sense, becomes the yardstick by which Islam is explained. I think this is a very dangerous approach. It gives people-Americans, especially-the impression that they understand Islam when, in fact, they do not. Islam must be explained on its own terms (complete with its profundities and its limitations), not the terms of an other political system and culture. While certainly not as harmful and aggressively wrong headed as Irshad Manji’s, “The Trouble with Islam,” I do not recommend Rauf’s exegis as a place to begin the study of Islam. A far more productive and insightful book is Carl W. Ernst’s, “Following Muhammed.”
    Rating: 2 / 5

  5. Well written but dodges every touchy issue. Womens rights, minorities etc. One thing is to say how things ought to be and another to explain why things are the way they are.
    Rating: 1 / 5


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