From Literary Review: Righteous Reformations

Eric Ormsby at Literary Reviewengages in his latest review with Christopher de Bellaigue’sThe Islamic Enlightenment. The relationship between the two has not been easy, but that it has been unrequited for either is a misimpression that has gained popularity in some circles, namely populist ones. That is too bad, because de Bellaigue argues that the Sunny side of the Islam has been getting brighter for the last two centuries (Shi’a right… Ormsby thinks):

De Bellaigues title turns on a paradox. We seldom, if ever, think of Islam, at least in its current form, as exemplifying, let alone promoting, enlightenment. Yet his intention is to demonstrate that non-Muslims and even some Muslims who urge an Enlightenment on Islam are opening the door on a horse that bolted long ago. He goes even further when he states that for the past two centuries Islam has been going through a pained yet exhilarating transformation a Reformation, an Enlightenment and an Industrial Revolution all at once. This seems to me somewhat overstated.

Through the course of this absorbing review Mr. Ormsbymanages to insert his opinions while also interesting the reader about what the book has to say. A question that proved especially difficult for the Muslim intellectual of the nineteenth century was that of the seeming inequity of divine dispensation: why do the spiritually awry get more of the share than Muslims? A question that provoked the Christians too centuries before, and still does today even if in a different from. If after this stage of puberty Islam will settle into the moderate mildness like Christianity before it, then there is certainly a Sunny side at least in the future.

Read his full post at Literary Review

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