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.