The Future of Islam By John L. Esposito (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 234 pages.)

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Tauseef Ahmad Parray



For John L. Esposito, writing on Islam and Muslim politics has been both a
“profession and a vocation” for over three decades. Thus this book is a “culmination”
of his work and experience, wherein one finds a sea change in
just few decades, as “Islam and Muslim politics have moved from offstage
to center stage” (p. 4). Thus one witnesses “an explosion of interest in and
coverage of Islam” (p. 4) and Muslims because both are now political as
well as religious matters of interest. In fact, Islam is considered “not only a
faith … [but] also an ideology and worldview that informs Muslim politics
and society” (p. 4). The Future of Islam is about “all of our future,” and
through this book Esposito wants to tell the story of “how we got to where
we are and what we need to understand and do to create … ‘a new way forward’”
(p. 6).
This new edition seeks to understand the struggle for reform in Islam and
Muslim societies in order to “explore the religious, cultural, and political diversity
of Muslims facing daunting challenges in Muslim countries in the
west, to clarify the debate and dynamics of Islamic reform, to examine the attempt
to combat religious extremism and terrorism, and to look into the future
of Muslim-West relations” (p. 3). Divided into four main chapters, it is preceded
by Karen Armstrong’s foreword, a preface, and an introduction. It ends
with a precise but perceptive and discerning conclusion ...

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