Today’s Sunday Snippet is from the 156 paged book on freedom and security What Would a Muslim Say: Conversations, Questions, and Answers About Islam by Ahmed Lotfy Rashed. It is currently available as a Kindle ebook (ASIN: B01N7V28AK, Publisher: Common Word Publishing; 3 edition (21 Jan. 2017)) and paperback (ISBN-13: 978-1943740161, Publisher: Rashed Lights Press (18 Sept. 2016))
Synopsis of What Would a Muslim Say by Ahmed Lotfy Rashed
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Review by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers’ Favorite:
“What Would a Muslim Say: Conversations, Questions, and Answers about Islam by scientist and author Ahmed Lotfy Rashed is a compilation of questions and answers shared by email between visitors to the WhyIslam.org website and Rashed, who was a volunteer with the organization. Questions posed by the visitors range from the general to the very specific, and cover a broad spectrum of topic areas. These include details of Islamic worship; laws related to women, chastity and marriage; and Islam’s role in the modern world. Rashed provides these email transcripts with the stated hope that they will lead to better understanding and harmony between people. In the process, he shares many references and links which the reader can pursue to deepen their knowledge. The email exchanges are arranged chronologically with the topic area noted in the table of contents.
For readers who know little about Islam, but see or watch the news and social media and have some questions, What Would a Muslim Say is a useful introduction to the topics. Rashed’s responses are intelligent, detailed, thorough, and scholarly, but offered in a respectful, understandable, and friendly tone. He is like a skilled educator who encourages dialog, rather than simply answering a question. The topic areas are broad enough and Rashed goes into them deeply enough so that the reader not only learns new facts about Islam, but finds that they have new questions about it as well. One topic can lead to another as the conversation continues, and we find ourselves coming to know each other better as people in the process.”
With Dialogue Comes UNDERSTANDING
This is the first book in the series, covering a variety of conversations from 2009 to 2011. In this book, you will learn about:
- Faith, Sex, and Marriage in Islam
- How a Muslim Should Respond to Criticism
- Jihad and Freedom in the Modern World
- How the Qur’an Informs a Muslim’s Faith
- Islamic Worship, Prayer, Charity, and Pilgrimage
- Salvation and Tolerance in Islam
- Muslim Culture and Modernity
- Understanding Islamic Law
- Etiquettes of Visiting a Mosque
- God’s Grace and Free Will
- Are Islamic Rulings Static or Dynamic?
- How Can Islam be Called a Religion of Peace?
- Can Muslims and Christians Ever Live in Harmony?
These days, Islam is no stranger to controversy. There are many questions, fears, and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. I believe these books can answer questions, build bridges, and promote understanding.
Since 2009, I have facilitated interfaith dialogues with many different people. The conversations in these books are real. Some are curious, some are concerned, some are hostile, some are academic, and some are soul-searching. My hope is that this can be a small step towards better understanding and harmony.
This snippet is from the chapter: A Message From the Author
“You will never understand a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.”
I thank you for walking a mile with me on my journey of interfaith conversations. It has always been my belief that understanding comes with dialogue, and I pray this book has added understanding and benefit to you. I would like to take this opportunity to share some reflections about these dialogues.
One of my earliest lessons as a WhyIslam volunteer was that there are three main types of visitors. The first type hates Islam and Muslims, no matter what we may say. They have a right to their opinion, and as the Qur’an says, “You are only responsible for conveying the message.” So I learned to keep emotionally aloof, replying only with enough objective facts to address their issue or refute their accusations. This has the benefit of keeping the conversation from degenerating into unproductive arguments. While these visitors rarely turn over to reconciliation, it does happen occasionally, so it behooves us to keep a level head, to speak to the talking points, and to restrain from comments that will only lead to escalation.
The second type is supportive of Islam and Muslims and usually come requesting clarification and advice. For these visitors, I learned that they are hungry for details; therefore, it is okay to go more in depth, with tangential comments or background stories. These extra details add substance to the conversation and often lead to other lines of inquiry that these visitors find very valuable to them.
The third type is the truly undecided, and it is this type that provided the most memorable and soul-shifting conversations. To me, these visitors represent the essence of what we are trying to achieve: to touch the minds and hearts of those who do not know us and bring them from a position of not knowing about Islam and Muslims to a position of knowing Islam and Muslims. Even if they do not agree with us at the end of the conversation, what is important is that there was dialogue and the opportunity for improved understanding.
The last thing I learned is that sometimes people disengage and stop responding. You may have noticed a few times in this book that a conversation would end abruptly. While this is not satisfying, it is unfortunately the nature of email. Nobody is obligated to reply, and for this reason every reply is precious. Likewise, remember that “in real life,” nobody is obligated to return your greeting or your salutation of peace; therefore, everyone who does respond to you – whether neighbor or classmate or coworker – is likewise precious.
If you enjoyed reading this snippet from What Would a Muslim Say: Conversations, Questions, and Answers About Islam by Ahmed Lotfy Rashed, please consider purchasing a copy of the book via your favourite book retailer or from Amazon