CAIRO BOOKS's Description
As the specter of religious extremism has become a fact of life today, the
temptation is great to allow the evil actions and perspectives of a minority to
represent an entire tradition. In the case of Islam, there has been much recent
confusion in the Western world centered on distorted portrayals of its core
values. Born of ignorance, such confusion feeds the very problem at hand.
In The Heart of Islam one of the great intellectual figures in Islamic
history offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of
Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing
this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition,
Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for
mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional
sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and
Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.
Nasr challenges members of the world's civilizations to stop demonizing
others while identifying themselves with pure goodness and to turn instead to a
deeper understanding of those shared values that can solve the acute problems
facing humanity today. "Muslims must ask themselves what went wrong within
their own societies," he writes, "but the West must also pose the same question
about itself . . . whether we are Muslims, Jews, Christians, or even
secularists, whether we live in the Islamic world or in the West, we are in
need of meaning in our lives, of ethical norms to guide our actions, of a
vision that would allow us to live at peace with each other and with the rest
of God's creation." Such help, he believes, lies at the heart of every religion
and can lead the followers of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam) as well as other religious and spiritual traditions to a new future
of mutual respect and common global purpose.
The Heart of Islam is a landmark presentation of enduring value that offers
hope to humanity, and a compelling portrait of the beauty and appeal of the
faith of 1.2 billion people.