The authors explore the Islamic ethics of civil society, boundaries, pluralism, and war and peace. They consider questions of diversity, discussing, among other subjects, Islamic regimes' policies regarding women and religious minorities. The chapters on war and peace take up such crucial and timely issues as the Islamic ethics of jihad, examining both the legitimate conditions for the declaration of war and the proper conduct of war.
In their discussions, the contributors analyze the works of classical writers as well as the full range of modern reinterpretations. But beyond these analyses of previous and contemporary thinkers, the essays also reach back to the two fundamental sources of Islamic ethics--the Qur'an and traditions of the Prophet--to develop fresh insights into how Islam and Muslims can contribute to human society in the twenty-first century.
The authors are Dale F. Eickelman, Hasan Hanafi, Sohail H. Hashmi, Farhad Kazemi, John Kelsay, Muhammad Khalid Masud, Sulayman Nyang, Bassam Tibi, and M. Raquibuz Zaman.
From the foreword by Jack Miles:
"Western foreign ministers and secretaries of state may have to learn a little theology if the looming clash between embattled elements both in the West and in the Muslim umma is to yield to disengagement and peaceful coexistence, to say nothing of fruitful collaboration. . . . It is, then, no idle academic exercise that the thinkers whose work is collected here have in hand. The long-term practical importance of their work can scarcely be overstated."
(1) Field Testing the Communication of Divine Message: The unique feature of this translation is its field testing for over 3 1/2 years to improve the communication and understanding of the Divine Message. Translation passages were given to the New Muslim and Non-Muslim high school and college students for reading under the supervision of various Ulema (scholars). After reading, the person was asked to explain as to what he/she understood from the passage. If his/her understanding was the same as is in the Arabic Text of the Holy Qur'an then we concluded that we have been successful in conveying the Divine Message properly. If his/her understanding was different than what the Qur'anic verses were stating, we kept on rewording the translation until those verses were understood properly. It was tremendous patience on part of the participants. May Allah reward them all.
(2) Simplicity: In this translation Simple Language and Direct Approach is used for appealing to the common sense of scholars and common people.
(3) Understandability: There are no foot notes to refer and no commentary or lengthy explanations to read. All necessary explanations have been incorporated right there in the text with italic type setting to differentiate from the translation of the meanings of Qur'anic Arabic Text.
(4) Outline of Pertinent Information: Before the start of each Srah, information relating to its Period of Revelation, Major Issues, Divine Laws and Guidance has been presented as an outline. Then a summary of the preceding events has been tabulated for the reader to understand the histo! rical background to grasp the full meaning of the Divine Message.
(5) Reviews, Input and Approvals: This project was started in 1991 and initial draft completed in 1994. Then the Translation was sent to different Ulema (Scholars) in Town and throughout United States for their review and input. After their reviews and input it was sent to Jme Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in Egypt, Ummal Qur in Saudi Arabia and International Islamic University in Pakistan for their review, input and approval. This translation was published after their reviews and approvals.