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The Islamic Jesus

How the King of the Jews
Became a Prophet of the Muslims



When Reza Aslan's bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn't addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that "if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new."

When Reza Aslan's bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn't addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that "if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new."

Mustafa Akyol's The Islamic Jesus is that book -- and even much more.

For The Islamic Jesus not only tells the story of Jesus, and his mother Mary, as narrated in the Qur'an. It also explores how this Islamic picture of the Nazarene resonates with pre-existing Christian sources, especially Apocrypha. In particular, it unveils the fascinating similarity between Islam and "Jewish Christianity," a strain in the early church that got branded as a heresy.

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Islam without Extremes

A Muslim Case for Liberty

From furious reactions to the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad to the suppression of women, news from the Muslim world begs the question: is Islam incompatible with freedom? With an eye sympathetic to Western liberalism and Islamic theology, Mustafa Akyol traces the ideological and historical roots of political Islam. The years following Muhammad's passing in 632 AD saw an intellectual "war of ideas" rage between rationalist, flexible schools of Islam and the more dogmatic, rigid ones. The traditionalist school won out, fostering perceptions of Islam as antithetical to modernity.

However, through his careful reexamination of the currents of Muslim thought, Akyol discovers a flourishing of liberalism in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the unique "Islamo-liberal synthesis" of present-day Turkey. Only by accepting a secular state, he powerfully asserts, can Islamic societies thrive. Persuasive and inspiring, Islam without Extremes offers a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconcilability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms.

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Recommended Articles


"A Letter Concerning Muslim Toleration" — The New York Times 

"How Politics Has Poisoned Islam" — The New York Times

"A Medieval Antidote to ISIS" — The New York Times

 "Open Letter to the Future ISIL Recruit" — Al Jazeera English

"Islam and Freedom: The Challenge and the Hope" — The Catalyst

"Muslims are not Betraying Islam in Embracing Liberal Democracy" — The Guardian

"The Qur’an, the Bible, and the Urge to Violence" — Contending Modernities

 

TED TALK

Mustafa Akyol talks about the way that some local cultural practices - such as the seclusion of women - have become linked, in the popular mind, to the articles of faith of Islam. Has the world's general idea of the Islamic faith focused too much on tradition, and not enough on core beliefs?

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