Being Human in Islam

The Impact of the Evolutionary Worldview

By Damian Howard

© 2011 – Routledge

226 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138789173
pub: 2014-03-09
US Dollars$48.95
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Hardback: 9780415603683
pub: 2011-02-27
US Dollars$145.00
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About the Book

Islamic anthropology is relatively seldom treated as a particular concern even though much of the contemporary debate on the modernisation of Islam, its acceptance of human rights and democracy, makes implicit assumptions about the way Muslims conceive of the human being. This book explores how the spread of evolutionary theory has affected the beliefs of contemporary Muslims regarding human identity, capacity and destiny.

In his systematic treatment of the impact of evolutionary ideas on modern Islam, Damian Howard surveys several branches of Muslim thought. Muslim responses to the crisis of the religious imagination presented by the evolutionary worldview fall into four different forms, incorporating traditional and modern notions. The book evaluates the content, influence and success of these four forms, asking how Muslims might now proceed to address the profound challenges which evolutionary theory poses to the effective reconstruction of their religious thought.

Drawing fascinating parallels with developments in the world of Christian theology which will help understanding between people of the two religions, the author reflects on the question of how Muslims can come to terms with the modern world. A valuable addition to the literature on contemporary Islamic thought, this book will also interest students and scholars of religion and modernity, the history and philosophy of science, and evolutionary theory.

Reviews

"Being Human in Islam is a solid and rich piece of scholarship, a critical guide that will be profitably read by specialist scholars and (perhaps with some effort) students or laypeople alike. Howard’s work not only does justice to the richness and nuances of the debate over religion and evolution per se but, more importantly, to the richness of Muslim positions in this arena. In so doing, it sets the stage for the further exploration of common ground between Christianity and Islam."

Stefano Bigliardi, Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Evolution, the Humanum and Islamic Thought 2. Bergson and the Muslims 3. Defying the Immanent Frame 4. Islamizing the Sciences 5. General Conclusion

About the Author

Damian Howard is an English Jesuit priest who lectures in theology at Heythrop College in the University of London. He combines work in pastoral and spiritual ministries with teaching and research in theology, contemporary spirituality and interreligious dialogue, especially between Christians and Muslims.

About the Series

Culture and Civilization in the Middle East

This series studies the Middle East through the twin foci of its diverse cultures and civilizations. Comprising original monographs as well as scholarly surveys, it covers topics in the fields of Middle Eastern literature, archaeology, law, history, philosophy, science, folklore, art, architecture and language. While there is a plurality of views, the series presents serious scholarship in a lucid and stimulating fashion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REL037000
RELIGION / Islam / General
REL051000
RELIGION / Philosophy
SOC053000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies