01 August 2009
A Short History: Islam
I have just finished reading this book titled, A Short History: Islam. The book is by William Montgomery Watt. Watt passed in 2006. The blurb says that Watt was a bit of a legend in the field. The book was an easy read. It was really concise and left me wondering that there is probably a lot more that one would need to read in order to get a grip on all of the bits and pieces that were introduced throughout.
However, I would tend to agree with the reviews contained in the book that it is an easy to navigate introduction to Islam. I learned a lot by taking the time to read it. I read it in three sittings. That is not to suggest that it is not a page turner, interesting, or worthy. To the contrary, the three sittings were the result of the time available in between feeding, changing nappies, and bathing little Will.
However, the purpose of this post is not a detailed review of the book, but rather to throw up a couple of points that Watt makes for discussion with respect to the problems facing Islam today.
1. "The basic legal ideas of Islam are sound, but they need to be adapted to the changed circumstances of today."
2. "... it is unreasonable to suppose that a return to the Islam of Muhammad and the rightly guided caliphs is literally possible."
3. "Was the period of the rightly guided caliphs really an ideal period?"
4. "For Islam to take its proper place in a multireligious world, it is important that Muslims should admit that there is at least a large measure of truth in other religions."
Just some food for thought for my small but loyal readership.