Our new book is titled Toward A Quranic Understanding of the Divine: Perspectives from Three Thinkers.
In this book, we, the three co-authors, make an attempt to present a view of God that the Quran is seen to portray, that dispels some notions widely held in traditional Islam, and that comes closer to what a modern rational mind would like to believe. God is understood through the wisdom discerned in the Quran, not quite through its literal rendering. God is not anthropomorphic, as many would like us to believe. Nor is He one who arbitrarily decides our fate and destiny. He is one who possesses numerous attributes that we need to be aware of and that we need to emulate to evolve in our lives and to enrich our lives.
This is the very first book that has been sponsored and published by Muslims for Progressive Values.
Amazon link (US site), where the book is available for purchase is this:
Book Summary (Amazon site):
We cannot consider humanity’s relationship to the Divine without asking questions. How can God exist? What lessons does He have for us? If God is omnipotent, what role is there for human free will?
Toward a Quranic Understanding of the Divine seeks the answers to these queries in the wisdom of the Quran. Only the words in the holy book are considered, free from the often-distorting lens of cultural expectations or dogma.
Authors Abdur Rab, Farouk A. Peru, and Siraj Islam start from the basic principle that seeking a path to God is humanity’s primary goal. They then explore how focusing on our real selves (nafs) helps us meet the Divine (liqa’ullah). They candidly discuss how scientific findings, including evolution, have their place in God’s natural laws and interpret scripture as spiritual lessons rather than literal accounts.
From there, the book examines the unity of God and important lessons for humanity, the difference between Divine preordination and human predestination, and the many blessed attributes found in God’s names as they appear in the Quran.
A bold, insightful exploration of Quaranic Islam, this extraordinary book reveals a loving, compassionate God and how His ideals, properly emulated, can transform our spiritual lives.
This small book takes on giant issues. It advances a Quranic appreciation of the divine in the modern context addressing perennial issues such as predestination, evolution and Divine Unity. Both believers and students of religion will find this book an interesting and stimulating read.
– Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Professor of Islam and Global Affairs at the University of Delaware
This book comes at a perfect moment when much of the Muslim world is struggling against radicalism, spurred by a political ideology rather than one of spiritual Islam. When talking heads of the Muslim world speak of “Islam is a religion of peace,” they need to take preaching guidelines from this book, rather than their paymasters.
– Ani Zonneveld, Founder, President, Muslims for Progressive Values
This book offers three Quran scholars’ deeply thoughtful analyses of fundamental questions relating to God such as His existence and unity (Tawhid), His various names with their inherent meanings, and how we can spiritually transform ourselves to understand and meet with Him. It dispels a pervasive misconception about Divine preordination or predestination. The authors deserve credit also for explaining the scientific and philosophical positions on God. I would recommend the book for all seeking deeper knowledge in God and His creation.
– Dr. Haroon A. Khan, Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, Henderson State University
Theorizing on the concept of God in our globally interconnected world is an important task not just for formal theologians but also for all those who aim to live a contemplative and enriching life. Global images of Islam and Muslims are anything but associated with an open-minded and systematic study of theology that is informed by relevant contemporary scientific theories. Three Muslim scholars of the Quran in this important and welcome contribution to theorizing on God wrestle admirably and, at times, originally with a plethora of questions pertaining to how humans can know and understand God. I would recommend this book to all, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, who are inclined to think deeper about the nature and concept of God and who are interested in learning views on this topic which take the Quran as a point of reference in that respect.
– Dr. Adis Duderija, Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, Griffith University and author, The Imperatives of Progressive Islam
Authors Abdur Rab, Siraj Islam, and Farouk Peru deliver a gift to the Reformist movement, which has been trying to generate momentum for over a century now. The Quran, when untethered from traditionalist/literalist interpretations, is a Beacon of Light for all Humanity. This enlightened triumvirate make this point amply clear with their rational, humanistic approach.
– Shabbir Ahmed M.D., author, The Quran As It Explains Itself and Fawad Ahmed, activist and blogger, http://quranaissance.com
Ever since man has set foot on this earth, he has displayed in countless ways the fascination with the concept of God and their relationship with Him. This fascination has not only been governed by the religious rings, but it also has held its sway over secular and modern scientific thinking, too. In this book three distinguished thinkers, whom I know through their writings for several years, tackle this subject in light of the Quran – one of the most revered and read books on the planet. Thoughts written on understanding the Divine proliferate. However, in my experience, I’ve encountered no other book so profoundly written. It makes the subject alive, as it discusses not only the concept in an abstract fashion, but brings to the fore its very relationship with humanity. The book is surprisingly concise for the subject, yet extraordinarily profound in content. The quotes taken from the Quran are relevant and detailed in every instance. And importantly, this reflects the authors’ in-depth knowledge of the Quran and of the subject they analyze. I am content that this is a valuable piece of work for all who wish to read it.
– Adam Sayid, Independent researcher in Islamic theology, philosophy and Quranic hermeneutics
Read a brief preview of the book here.