Skip to main content

Liberal Islam anthologyLiberal Islam: A Source-Book, edited by Charles Kurzman (Oxford University Press, 1998). Translated into Indonesian as Wacana Islam Liberal: Pemikiran Islam Kontemporer tentang Isu-Isu Global (Jakarta, Indonesia: Paramadina, 2001); translated into Arabic as الإسلام الليبرالي: كتاب مرجعي (Al-Islam al-Liberali: Kitab Marja’i) (Beirut, Lebanon: EBDAA, 2017).

“Liberal Islam” is not a contradiction in terms; it is a thriving tradition and undergoing a revival within the last generation. This anthology presents the work of 32 prominent Muslims who are share parallel concerns with Western liberalism: separation of church and state, democracy, the rights of women and minorities, freedom of thought, and human progress. Although the West has largely ignored the liberal tradition within Islam, many of these authors are well-known in their own countries as advocates of democracy and tolerance. Among the authors are: `Abdul-Karim Soroush, a leading oppositional figure in Iran; Nurcholish Madjid, a prominent Indonesian intellectual; and `Ali `Abd al-Raziq, an Egyptian religious scholar whose writings on the separation of church and state have been controversial since the 1920s. More…

Summary paper: Liberal Islam: Prospects and Challenges, Middle East Review of International Affairs, September 1999. Translated into Persian as اسلام ليبرال: چشم اندازھا و چالشھا in باشگاه اندیشه (Bashgah-e Andisheh), May 2009.

Table of Contents:


Charles Kurzman, “Liberal Islam and Its Islamic Context”

I. Against Theocracy

`Ali `Abd al-Raziq (Egypt, 1888-1966) – Muhammad Ahmad Khalaf-Allah (Egypt, 1916-1997) – Mahmud Taleqani (Iran, 1911-1979) – Muhammad Sa`id Al-`Ashmawi (Egypt, 1932-2013)

II. Democracy

Mohammad Natsir (Indonesia, 1908-1993) – S. M. Zafar (Pakistan, born 1930) – Mehdi Bazargan (Iran, 1907-1995) – Dimasangcay A. Pundato (Philippines, born 1947) – Rachid Ghannouchi (Tunisia, born 1941) – Sadek J. Sulaiman (Oman, born 1933)

III. Rights of Women

Nazira Zein-ed-Din (Ottoman Empire-Lebanon, 1908-1976) – Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan, 1953-2007) – Fatima Mernissi (Morocco, 1940-2015) – Amina Wadud-Muhsin (United States, born 1952) – Muhammad Shahrour (Syria, 1938-2019)

IV. Rights of Non-Muslims

Humayun Kabir (India, 1906-1969) – Chandra Muzaffar (Malaysia, born 1947) – Mohamed Talbi (Tunisia, 1921-2017) – Ali Bulaç (Turkey, born 1951) – Rusmir Mahmutcehajic (Yugoslavia-Bosnia, born 1948)

V. Freedom of Thought

`Ali Shari`ati (Iran, 1933-1977) – Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (Egypt-Qatar, born 1926) – Mohamed Arkoun (Algeria-France, 1928-2010) – Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im (Sudan-United States, born 1946) – Alhaji Adeleke Dirisu Ajijola (Nigeria, born 1932) – Abdul-Karim Soroush (Iran, born 1945)

VI. Progress

Muhammad Iqbal (India, 1877-1938) – Mahmoud Mohamed Taha (Sudan, circa 1910-1985) – Nurcholish Madjid (Indonesia, 1939-2005) – Mamadiou Dia (Senegal, 1911-2009) – Fazlur Rahman (Pakistan-United States, 1919-1988) – Shabbir Akhtar (Pakistan-England, born 1960)