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Six outstanding Muslim religious thinkers and reformers during the last 150 years-- Sir Syed (d.1898), Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908), Shibli Nomani (d.1914), Amir Ali (d.1928), Iqbal (d.  1938), and Abul Kalam Azad (d.1958) shaped the religious sensibility of the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent until roughly the first half of the 20th century. Thereafter, Abul Ala Mawdudi (d.1979) deeply influenced the course of Muslim thinking and politics, especially in Pakistan.

When Sir Syed died at the ripe age of 81 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had already founded the Ahmadi sect in Islam, Iqbal was a young man of immense promise, deeply influenced by Sir Syed’s writings and TW Arnold’s, The Preaching of Islam, and Azad, a precocious youth of about 14 with his remarkably creative mind in ferment due to exposure to diverse streams of influence. Mirza Sahab, Iqbal and Azad, all had come under the spell of Sir Syed, the father of Islamic Liberalism in the sub-continent. I shall briefly state Sir Syed’s main theses in order to make it the point of departure for offering some critical comments on the religious thought of Iqbal and Azad. I shall not comment at all on Mirza Sahab except to confess that I, for one, feel deeply pained and also ashamed at the intolerance meted to a great Muslim reformer and the entire Ahmadi community. I hold that the Ahmadi movement is entitled to respectful hearing and full tolerance by all Muslims no less than by others.

The Search for the Quintessence of Islam:

Every religion has a nuclear core of basic beliefs and values embedded in a wide cultural matrix comprising myths, ancient collective memories, folklore, customs, stereo-typed images etc.  All these elements are enmeshed and the ordinary believer hardly cares to separate the nuclear core from the total cultural matrix of faith and practice. The total cultural tradition is the spiritual atmosphere in which he lives, moves and has his being. The German Protestant thinker of the 20th century, Bultmann, called the gradual process of distilling the nuclear core of the Christian thought and value system from the cultural matrix of the Christian tradition, the ‘demythologization of Christianity. This concept, however, has universal and timeless relevance to all religious traditions. Several creative thinkers and savants of Islam- Al-Beruni (d. app.1040), Ibn Sina (d.1037), Ibn Rushd (d.1198), Al-Ghazzali (d.1111), Ibn Arabi (d.1240), Jalaluddin Rumi (d.1273), Fariduddin Attar (1229), Ibn Khaldun (d.1406), Wali Ullah (d.1763) and others attempted to grasp the essence of Islam.

Sir Syed also attempted to distil the nuclear essence of Islam in the framework of modern thought, as he understood it. He was not a professionally trained philosopher, social scientist or historian. But his extra-ordinarily sharp intellect, intuitive insight and common sense, and above all, his intellectual honesty and moral courage enabled him to distil the nuclear core of Islam from its concrete historical forms in space and time. It is instructive to recall that in his earlier pre-critical phase, Sir Syed had adhered to the conventional ideas of his milieu, though even then he had come under the influence of the, relatively, liberal philosophical theology of Shah Wali Ullah of Delhi. However, soon after the failure of the great Indian rebellion of 1857 against British imperial rule, when Syed Ahmad was roughly 45, he outgrew his honestly held ideas and values and became clearly aware of their limitations, without, however, ever rejecting the nuclear core of his Islamic faith. Those who were unable to appreciate the spiritual pilgrimage of the great man and the organic growth of his ideas charged him with having abandoned Islam or distorting the faith for ulterior motives. Half a century later Abul Kalam Azad passed through a similar experience.

Sir Syed’s Islamic Liberalism in Bare Outline--God and Revelation:

That the universe is the creation or ‘Work of God’, and the Quran, the ‘Word of God’, revealed to Muhammad, the last and the greatest among the numerous messengers of God, is the kernel of the Islamic faith. Sir Syed thought that this simple faith was rationally demonstrable. He, however, reconstructed the traditional sense or meaning of the attributes of God and of revelation with a view to removing the mythological or anthropomorphic elements deeply embedded in traditional notions.

Sir Syed’s critics saw these reconstructive efforts as tantamount to rejecting or repudiating the faith, as such. Thus, for instance, Sir Syed’s philosophical understanding of the way in which God creates, maintains and regulates nature or guides the prophets through Divine revelation gave rise to the charge that Sir Syed totally disbelieved in revelation (wahi). What Sir Syed had rejected was, not the belief that the Quran was the ‘Word of God’, but the traditional belief concerning the mode of revelation through the agency of an angel. According to Sir Syed, conventional views on this matter reflected the Semitic mode of interpreting or conceptualizing the super-spiritual phenomenon of revelation. Modifying or reconstructing the conventional view in regard to the modus operandi of ‘wahi’ is not the same thing as rejecting the faith in revelation, as such.

Sir Syed held that God inspires and guides all creation through an internal mechanism of Divine guidance appropriate to the level of the created being. The terms ‘Gabriel’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ do not stand for any external being or agent, but to the Divinely bestowed gift to some specially elected humans among whom Prophet Muhammad occupies a unique rank. Sir Syed’s views on this crucial matter are, basically, similar to the approach of classical Muslims religious thinkers. The same is true of Azad.

Miracles: Sir Syed also rejected the conventional belief in miracles, though certainly not the belief in Divine omnipotence. He held that the causal uniformity of nature reflected the wisdom and will of God and also that there was no real conflict between the laws of nature, as taught by science, and Quranic reports of miraculous events which, seemingly, contradict those laws. Sir Syed removed the seeming contradiction by giving fresh and novel interpretations or meanings of Quranic words and expressions. This method was quite successful in several cases, but it did not work in every instance. In any case Sir Syed was perfectly right in questioning traditional interpretations of several Quranic verses, and outlining afresh the principles of Quranic exegesis based upon Arabic philology and etymology as well as the historical context of revelation.

Spiritualism: In keeping with his scientific and rationalistic approach Sir Syed made a clear distinction between genuine spiritualism (cultivating the ethical and spiritual dimension of the human soul), but doing away with all superstitious beliefs and practices grafted upon the valid elements of sufi thought and culture. Sir Syed, thus, lauded spiritualism, but decried superstition.

Petitionary Prayer to God:  Sir Syed rejected the popular view that God answers the supplications of the faithful by altering the natural course of events without appropriate human actions. However, Sir Syed did accept the efficacy of spiritual prayer as a means of the flow of Divine grace which gives solace to the believer and raises his morale and creativity which, in turn, result in more effective purposeful action.

Status of the Reported sayings of the Prophet (Hadis): Sir Syed also questioned the propriety of uncritically accepting ‘Hadis’ as absolutely binding upon the believer in very walk of life. In the first place, notwithstanding the piety and labors of the esteemed editors of the ‘Hadis’ its authenticity is not assured like that of the Quran. Moreover, it is impossible to treat the Prophet’s putative instructions or actions in social, political, economic, administrative, scientific matters on par with Quranic injunctions Now according to Sir Syed, faith in Islam and veneration of the Prophet do not impose any religious obligation to do exactly what the Prophet did in purely worldly matters. Thus there is nothing ‘Islamic’ about personal or proper names, dress, food or eating habits, entertainment, style of living, and so on, as long as the believer does not violate any Quranic injunction.

Separation of Religion and Politics: Sir Syed redefined the scope of shariah and limited it to the purely religious or spiritual sphere. Indeed, this was the crux of his break–through into the spirit of the modern scientific age and its corresponding religious sensibility in general. In the final analysis, Sir Syed stood for the separation of religion and state, even though the word ‘secularism’ may not occur in his writings, and even though he passionately opposed Muslim participation in the Indian National Congress. It is pertinent to point that his unambiguous opposition to the politics of Pan-Islamism earned him bitter criticism from Jamaluddin Afghani, the foremost champion of pan-Islam. Sir Syed consistently held that the violent conflict between Turkey and the predominantly Christian Balkan states was not a holy war between the Crescent and the Cross, but the understandable demand of Balkan nationalism. Sir Syed also did not accept ‘the institution of the Caliphate as an integral part of the Islamic faith, though he fully accepted the idea of Muslim brotherhood.

It would be unfair to maintain that Sir Syed’ views on the separation of religion and politics were shaped merely by political exigencies or his desire to be on the right side of the British rulers. Sir Syed was genuinely fascinated by British liberalism, tolerance, fair–play and political institutions, in general, as well as the British contribution to literature, science and technology.  In other words, Sir Syed genuinely accepted the liberal thesis of the separation of church and state. Unfortunately, he was not fully aware of the thought and culture of other modern western nations and of India and China in the ancient period. As a result, Sir Syed could not fully empathize with those Congress leaders who stood for the speedy transplantation of the Westminster pattern of democracy in the extremely heterogeneous Indian society.

Iqbal and Azad in Relation to Sir Syed’s Demythologization of Islam:

1. Both Iqbal and Azad follow the lead Sir Syed gave in his program of demythologizing Islam and pruning the Islamic nuclear core of all secondary or tertiary accretions, be they of pre-Islamic Arab origin, or later developments in the long career of Islam in history. Iqbal questioned the popular anthropomorphic notions of after-life, heaven and hell, petitionary prayer, fate etc, quite in the manner of Sir Syed. But unlike Sir Syed, Iqbal did not reconstruct these concepts. The same applies to Azad with the exception of the concepts of Divine providence (Rububiyat) and Divine revelation (wahi). Azad’s remarkably suggestive and detailed reinterpretation of these concepts is his lasting contribution to Islamic thought.

2. Theology: Both Iqbal and Azad reject the rationalistic illusions of Sir Syed. They abandoned the claim that reason could prove conclusively the existence of God, the revealed character of the Quran, life after death etc. Sir Syed thought and argued on scholastic lines, while both Iqbal and Azad fully realized the several limitations of pre-Kantian rationalistic theology, Christian as well as Islamic.

Iqbal’s religious approach is existentialist. For him belief in God is not a hypothesis, which explains the features of the universe, but rather the depth whisper of the soul. The same is the case with Azad. Iqbal, in his poetry, and Azad, in his prose, reach the height of literary beauty and power beyond the reach of Sir Syed. Sir Syed, however, goes into far greater detail and displays far greater candor and moral courage in the course of his restatement of Islam than either Iqbal or Azad.

3. Quranic Exegesis: Sir Syed’s critical approach to Quranic exegesis was vitiated by his far-fetched and twisted interpretations of several Quranic texts for the express purpose of proving a particular thesis. The thesis was that miracles never take place, and those Quranic texts, which, ostensibly, describe miracles, have been wrongly understood (for various reasons) by Muslim believers and scholars alike. Now, both Iqbal and Azad do not fall into this vicious trap. Nor do they accept as final any particular scientific theory that may have gained currency at the moment. Thus, they do not feel called upon to reconcile any seeming discrepancy between science and scripture by twisting the plain meanings of Quranic words or expressions. This was also the approach of Muhammad Abduh, the famed contemporary of Sir Syed in Egypt.

Both Iqbal and Azad had a better understanding of the scientific method and the philosophy of science. They held that natural laws, as revealed by science, were empirical generalizations, rather than logically necessary truths. This approach does not rule out the occurrence of miracles, as logically impossible and leaves the matter open. Conceptual space is thus, provided for a more rational and honest understanding of the scriptures, science and the world in general.

4. The Islamic Nuclear Core: Both Iqbal and Azad were concerned, as was Sir Syed himself, to identify and preserve the Islamic nuclear core rather than conserve every strand – social, cultural, political and economic –constituting the tradition. Sir Syed’s Islamic vision was opposed to the idea of Islamization of every detail of life, as if Islam were a total code of conduct meant for every conceivable sphere of human activity. Sir Syed’s plea to his brother Indian Muslim to keep religion and politics separate was, thus, a matter of principle rather than of sheer expediency. That Sir Syed steadfastly opposed the Congress movement is much too complex an issue to admit of any simple explanation. Both his uncritical admirers and his hostile detractors tend to become one-sided.  To trace the ultimate responsibility of the partition of India in 1947 to his shoulders is the height of historical simplism. However, Iqbal, quite clearly, did go back upon Sir Syed’s principled separation of religion and politics when he affirmed the organic unity of religion and politics and the all embracing jurisdiction of shariah, even though he did permit, rather encouraged, internal movement of thought within the Muslim community.

Iqbal’s view on the organic link between religion and politics, thus, gave intellectual respectability to a version of Islam that Sir Syed had outgrown. Iqbal’s concept of the ‘organic unity between the church and the state in his famous Reconstruction of Religious Concepts in Islam, thus, gave many modern educated Indian Muslims (rather perplexed by Sir Syed’s radical interpretation of Islam) a ready excuse for relapsing into the comfort zone of traditional ideas.Azad, on the other hand, not only affirmed the principle of movement within the shariah (as Iqbal also did) but also reaffirmed Sir Syed’s approach to the principle of separating religion from politics. It is another matter that their ‘contextual politics’ was very different. While Sir Syed advocated communitarian politics in his time Azad stood for vigorous nationalist struggle for independence. Both Iqbal and Azad affirm the principle of movement in religious thought and the ‘shariah’. But they disagree about the jurisdiction of the shariah. Iqbal stuck to the traditional position that it embraced the totality of life; Azad, creatively developed Sir Syed’s nascent Islamic liberalism into the modern principle of the separation of church and sate. Iqbal’s approach is, thus, primarily applicable to purely, or predominantly, Muslim societies; Azad’s approach has universal relevance. Iqbal, indirectly, puts the clock back, as it were, in this crucial matter, even though his command over modern western thought and literature was immensely greater than either Sir Syed’s or Azad’s. Moreover, he was also far ahead of Sir Syed in his insight into and understanding of the difference between the nature of truth and certainty in the sphere of science and in the sphere of morality, spirituality and art. Sir Syed’s scholastic rationalism, on the other hand, was wedded to the illusion that reason can prove the existence of Allah and the revealed status of the Quran.

5. Secularism and Democracy:  Azad developed the seed of Sir Syed’s nascent secularism into an articulate Islamic Liberalism, which does not fight shy of humanism, nationalism and democracy. While Iqbal, in a sense, regresses from Sir Syed’s groping secularism, Azad advances in the direction of modernity in redefining the scope and jurisdiction of the shariah.  To me, Azad’s position is a creative development of the earlier break-through of Sir Syed into religious modernity with regard to three crucial issues, namely, the proper jurisdiction of religion, territorial basis of community and secular democratic basis of governance. Indeed, in some well-known verses he denigrated democracy as a system of government, which counted but did not weigh heads. His fascination for the virtues of the superman and the quest for power (considerably, if not wholly, under the influence of Nietzsche) seems to betray an undercurrent of authoritarian elitism and male chauvinism in his attitudes and outlook.

Iqbal also did not do full justice to the role of nationalism in the modern age. While rightly pointing out the harmful aspects of Western nationalism he ignored or minimized the role of almost all organized world religions in perpetuating divisive tendencies, intolerance, hatred and the suppression of man's freedom and dignity. He also ignored the complications involved in the concept of exclusive salvation and the ideal of one world-one religion. While Iqbal welcomed the federation of Muslim states, Azad stood for religious pluralism based on the inter-faith movement. Iqbal's version of Islamic liberalism is well suited for predominantly Muslim societies; Azad's version of Islamic liberalism has a universal appeal. It may truly be said that notwithstanding the political divide between Sir Syed and Azad, Azad takes over where Sir Syed left in the matter of identifying and refining the nuclear core of universal Islam.

As we all know, Mawdudi and his school strongly reject the thesis of the separation of religion and politics. Indeed, affirming the organic union of religion and politics is the heart of Islamic fundamentalism in Western terminology. Unfortunately, political passions cloud the accurate understanding of basic concepts. This applies to all of us rather than merely to our out-group whom we too readily perceive as enemies. The real position of one party gets distorted in the other's perception, and this leads to endless controversy. The protagonists of Islamic fundamentalism form a distorted idea of the real position of the believers in secularism whom they regard as the ‘wicked enemies of God’. However, it is patent that those who stand for the principled separation of religion and politics, or those who demarcate their proper spheres are neither against religion, nor wicked. Likewise, those who hold that the shariah is applicable to every sphere of life and that the good Muslim is one who regulates his or her life, up to the minutest details, according to the Sunnah, are neither terrorists nor knaves. Some who follow this line, obviously, turn into terrorists and become a menace to the human family. 

Mawdudi was a fundamentalist but he never stood for or practiced terrorism. However, he went totally wrong when he projected Islamic liberals, like Sir Syed, Amir Ali, Azad et al as cosmetic or toothless believers who reduced Islam to merely ritualistic prayers, fasting, zakaat, and Hajj, etc. but gave up the idea that the shariah applied to the totality of life including politics and economics. But this is precisely where Mawdudi and his school of thought falter. They are unable to see that the   ‘principled separation of religion from politics’ does not mean or imply the banishment of morality from politics, or any devaluation of religion. All that the talk of the separation of religion and politics in modern times means is that citizens of every state should have equal rights and duties and complete equality of status in a democratically governed state run on the basis of an agreed constitution rather than on the basis of any particular religion or creed. It follows that the proper way to achieve the above objective is through free enquiry and democratic discussion, at different levels, rather than conforming to any particular religion or religious authority in the form a person, book or school of thought.

The Principle of Movement as applied to the Legacy of Azad:

The human situation is subject to ceaseless change. No thought and value system can claim finality. Azad's contribution, no less than that of Sir Syed or Iqbal, needs to be critically examined and creatively nourished by his admirers. They must follow the spirit of inner freedom (azadi) of Azad himself who had won it after a prolonged spiritual struggle. They will be true to Azad only to the extent to which they practice the ethos of inner freedom to choose. Any conviction that does not spring from the soil of inner freedom (without fear of heresy or hope of reward) is liable to be born of cultural conditioning, rather than of authentic faith. Authentic faith is inseparable from inner freedom. What, then, are some of the areas where the legacy of Azad needs creative development by a grateful posterity?

(a) The essential Unity of Religions (wahdat e deen) and the idea of tolerance.

Azad questioned the traditional Muslim belief in the exclusive salvation of Muslims. This questioning was based not merely on philosophical grounds, but on an honest and fresh interpretation of relevant Quranic texts. However, this interpretation was not entirely novel since Sufi saints and poets have long preached and practiced the tolerance of religious plurality. Some critics of Azad allege that on being sharply criticized in some circles for holding ‘un-Islamic’ views Azad preferred to beat a hasty retreat by watering down his position or by adopting a studied silence on this crucial issue. My submission is that valid as is Azad 's approach, it must be deepened still further in the light of the study of Comparative Religion and the practice of inter-faith dialogue.

The followers of every religious tradition must practice loving tolerance of dissent in the sphere of faith. Intolerance is not an index of the intensity of faith in one's own religion, but rather the absence of true faith. Intolerance inevitably brings about the hardening of one's spiritual arteries and leads to conceit and arrogance. True faith in one’s own beliefs and values is quite compatible with genuine appreciation of the elements of value in other faiths. Intolerance of dissent, in the final analysis, results from a compulsive drive to abolish cultural plurality in the human family.

(b)Concept of Authenticity:

Azad 's view that a common 'deen’ underlies the diversity of religious symbols, rituals, social customs and laws (collectively termed 'shariah') is a liberating insight which he shares with Sir Syed and also the Sufis. Islamic liberals in general define ‘eeman’ as authentic commitment to Islam as a ‘deen'. But what about authentic commitment to ‘deens’ other than the Islamic deen, as such? It is impossible to claim that there are no ‘deens’ other than Islam in the face of the obvious plurality of creeds and religious traditions found in the human family. And it is equally obvious that some among the devotees or followers of any particular ‘deen’ are truly sincere and also authentic, some are sincere but not authentic in the strict sense of having made an inner free choice, some are ‘strategic hypocrites’, while some (perhaps the great majority of the followers) are merely products of cultural conditioning. It appears to me that Islamic liberals (including Sir Syed, Iqbal and Azad) stop at this point. They do not reach the level of Sufi poets and other mystics who have arrived at the concept of ‘pure authenticity’ or ‘authentic being', in the contemporary existentialist sense. This means that a person begins to hear the depth whispers of his own being in the stillness of his inner freedom and then freely responds, to the inscrutable mystery of ‘Being’. Authenticity, in the existentialist sense, is not bound to any particular faith or set of beliefs, just as Kant’s ‘good will’ is not bound to any particular system of morality.

The above existentialist approach accords the highest value or sanctity to the condition of 'pure authenticity' of an inwardly free man quite irrespective of the concrete belief system he may hold. Now, if this approach be accepted, a sincere Muslim believer, without compromising his own Islamic faith, may well venerate an authentic Christian. Likewise, a theist may respect an atheist, provided the latter be authentic, that is, if his atheism is an inwardly free and honest response to the mystery of Being. Both Sir Syed and Iqbal stressed 'eeman' more than 'shariah’. But for both of them ‘eeman’ meant Islamic ‘eeman', rather than ‘pure authenticity’ in the strict contemporary existentialist sense when an inwardly free truth-seeker, in all humility and courage, confronts the mystery of 'Being'. 'Authenticity', in the above sense, eludes the reach of Azad. Neither Sir Syed nor Azad embrace it in its full depth, as is done by some contemporary Christian theologians.

Muslim theologians are yet distant from assimilating this liberating concept, though the sufis did this long ago. The 19th century Urdu poet, Ghalib, celebrates this concept, but then, he had no theological credentials.

  1. (c)Religion as a Particular Language of the Spirit:

Leading contemporary analytical and existentialist thinkers hold that every religion is a particular mode of existential response to the mystery of 'Being’. No particular response or existential perspective can be proved in the logical or scientific sense; each response, however, can be of varying degrees of depth commitment. In other words, religious experience is closer to moral or aesthetic awareness, rather than to perceptual or logical cognition. Another way of expressing the same insight is to hold that each religion is a distinct language for expressing man's idea of the Holy and the human sense of reverence and mystery at the contemplation of ‘Being', without its having been fractured through perception or conceptualization. Just like natural languages, each language of the spirit has its own distinctive idiom and grammar, or symbols and rites, which perform, basically, the same three functions of self-purification, inner fortification and cosmic integration. Now, in view of the in-built diversities of the human situation the idea of 'one humanity-one language', does not sound feasible, even though this is logically possible. Just as linguistic hegemony is, practically, ruled out in the case of natural languages, it is, also ruled out for the different ‘languages of the spirit’ spoken by the human family. In other words, the human family requires not one formal religion, or the dominance of any particular religion, but full freedom of growth and loving dialogue between fellow-pilgrims in the quest for values whose horizons ever recede as moves forward.

Azad‘s liberal views on the unity of faith (deen), universal salvation and the separation of politics and religion were steps in the broad direction of religious existentialism and pluralism in the place of the global hegemony of any particular religious tradition.

(d)The Principle of Secularism:

Azad 's principled separation of politics and religion, in the Indian context, is right. But his writings and public utterances do not make it sufficiently clear what course he proposed for predominantly Muslim societies. It needs pointing out that secularism is right not only in the case of mixed societies but also in the case of predominantly Muslim societies. The rationale behind this approach is that the social customs and the polity (which Muslims inherited from its original Jewish and Arab environment) must be de-linked from the core of the Islamic faith and value system. The primary scope of the shariah ought to be restricted to pure spirituality as the essence of religion (deen). Polity, in the modern age, ought to be guided by democratic decision making based on autonomous and informed enquiry, as is being done in the case of natural sciences.

The first to affirm the principled separation of religion from politics were the founding fathers of the American constitution, although they themselves were deeply committed to the Christian faith and to value based politics. Their reason was that the union of religion and politics, inevitably, makes the established religion intolerant of other religions. This was the precise and precious lesson America had learnt from the experience of the European peoples.

The principled separation of church and state, however, does not mean or imply that politics has no need to be regulated by moral and spiritual values. I strongly feel that many who strongly oppose secular politics and insist that the lasting strength and beauty of true Islam lies, precisely, in   preserving and promoting the ‘organic unity of religion and state’, consciously or subconsciously equate secular politics with immoral or unethical politics. They do so because of their still deeper conviction that morality and spirituality are not possible without belief in a personal God or without following religious laws or prescriptions in every walk of life. I submit that this belief is a half-truth. This is not the place to debate this complex issue. I have fully discussed this issue in my other published works.          

Sir Syed, Iqbal and Azad
BY Jamal Khwaja

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Jamal Khwaja studied Philosophy in India & Europe. He was elected to the Indian Parliament in 1957. He retired as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy, Aligarh Muslim University. He is the author of seven major books. 

Khwaja’s work seeks to answer three inter-related questions: Firstly, What does it mean to be an authentic Muslim? Secondly, How should a believer understand and interpret the Holy Quran in the 21st century?  And finally, What is the role of Islam in a pluralistic society? 

Khwaja believes in judiciously creative modernization rooted in the Quran and firmly opposes shallow, unprincipled imitation of the West. His mission is to stimulate serious rethinking and informed dialog between tradition and modernity in Islam. 

Khwaja’s work is the definitive contemporary discussion regarding the collision of Islam and Modernity. Readers of his work will be in turn, informed, inspired, and intellectually liberated.