Cover image for Against Islamic extremism : the writings of Muhammad Saʻid al-ʻAshmawy
Against Islamic extremism : the writings of Muhammad Saʻid al-ʻAshmawy
ʻAshmāwī, Muḥammad Saʻīd.
Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [1998]

Physical Description:
viii, 131 pages ; 20 cm
Reading Level:
1320 Lexile.
Format :


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BP60 .A8 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Almost daily, armed thugs call for a 'holy war' against everyone who disagrees with them. More and more young men wear beards and robes as political badges. Militant preachers proclaim that women who fail to wear the veil are 'waging war against God'.
"But this Islam of intolerance and violence is not the religion of my father and grandfather. It is not the Islam that inspires more than a billion people around the world to pray, to fast, to give to the poor, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. My Islam is a religion of tolerance and brotherhood."--Sa'id al-'Ashmawy

"A welcome addition to the discourse on Islamic fundamentalism and its efforts to politicize Islam."-- Aljadid

"Offers a coherent testimonial to al-'Ashmawy's insight and bravery. . . . The translation is highly readable."-- Choice

"Helps to build a more balanced and accurate awareness of the full spectrum of Muslim thought. . . . An important contribution."--John O. Voll, Georgetown University

One of the Islamic world's leading voices in the struggle against extremism, Sa'id al-'Ashmawy was trained as a specialist in Islamic law and comparative law at Cairo University and served as judge, chief prosecutor, chief justice of the High Criminal Court, chief justice of the High Court for Security of State as well as chief justice of the High Court Assizes in Egypt. The author of 15 books on Islam and the law, he has been consistently critical of Islamic extremism and opposes the very notion of an Islamic state, on both scriptural and historical grounds.

Facing death threats for apostasy since 1979 and under continuous government protection since 1980, he articulates an opposition to the ideology and practice of Islamic extremists in Egypt that has applicability throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This volume conveys the range of his reformist message from the similarities of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, to the dangers of politicizing Islamic religion, to the place of Islamic law in contemporary politics and society.

Introducting Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawy to an English-language Audience, by Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban
Part I. Islam, Judaism, Christianity: One Religion, One Vision, Many Paths
The Development of Religion
A Framework for the Coexistence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Common Thread of Salvation

Part II. Islamic Religion and Politics
The Relationship between Religion and Politics
The Caliphate Government in Islamic History
The Call for an Islamic Government
The Call for an Islamic Constitution in the State of Egypt

Part III. Islamic Law and Contemporary Politics and Society
The Interpretation of Texts in Egyptian Law and Islam
Islamic Jurisprudence
Taxes, Zakat, and Sadaqa
The Veil in Egyptian Law and Islam
Militant Doctrine in Islam
Jihad or Holy War in Islam
Reforming Islam and Law
Islamic Law and Human Rights

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, professor of anthropology at Rhode Island College, is the author of six books, including Islamic Society in Practice (UPF, 1994) and Islamic Law and Society in the Sudan .

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Judge Sa'=id al-'Ashm=aw=i is retired from the High Criminal Court of Cairo, where he served as Chief Justice from 1981 until 1994. He now lives secluded in his Cairo apartment, protected around the clock by armed guards. He has been threatened repeatedly with death for apostasy. Why? Because he opposed the very notion of an Islamic state, on scriptural as well as historical grounds. In both English and Arabic lectures and essays, he argued for strengthening civil society in order to promote 'true' Islam--that is, an Islamic humanism that dignifies women, protects minorities, and fosters diversity of views. The present volume, edited by Fluehr-Lobban (anthropology, Rhode Island College) and produced under his supervision, includes a rare synthesis of his major writings on three key topics: Abrahamic religions, Islam and politics, and Islamic law and contemporary politics. It offers a coherent testimonial to al-'Ashm=aw=i's insight and bravery. Though there is no index to help the ordinary reader, a glossary explains most technical terms, and the translation is highly readable. Recommended for all readership levels. B. B. Lawrence; Duke University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introducing Muhammad Sa02d3id Al-02d3ashmawy To an English-Language Audiencep. 1
References Citedp. 31
Part 1 Islam, Judaism, Christianity One Religion, One Vision, Many Pathsp. 33
Part II Islamic Religion and Politicsp. 67
Part III Islamic Law And Contemporary Politics and Societyp. 93
Glossaryp. 127