Friday, March 28, 2014
Book Review: Conference of the Books
Book Title: Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam
Book Author: Khaled M. Abou El Fadl
Copyright: ©2001 by University Press of America, ® Inc.
Published in Pakistan by: Paramount Publishing Enterprise
Conference of the Books, a collection of essays, draws upon the remarkable intellectual heritage of the Muslim civilization. With admiration for the ethos of knowledge that was the hallmark of the civilization of the word, the civilization which was based upon the book of God, the author takes recurring contemporary issues and searches how they were dealt with earlier, reconstructing the past and examining the diversity of scholarly opinion, trying to learn from their successes and their mistakes. In the essay: The Pearls of Beauty, to the question: “…what do you do with the long-established practice of Muslims?”, the author responds: “…, I respect and honor it – it is a formidable precedent to be considered and studied. But if it no longer persuades me, I will respectfully disagree with it.”
The author, a jurist and a teacher, believes that beauty is a core Islamic value. Hence, the laws of Islam are based upon beautiful moral and ethical values, which need to be understood and appreciated, for the rules and laws to be implemented in spirit, and not just in letter. As he puts it: “Piety creates and pursues the rules, but the rules do not create piety”.
Published in Renaissance: Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam