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A great idea and a great book. This is perfect for anyone who actually wants to learn about Islam, rather than just confirm a positive or negative bias. I was very impressed that Brown was able to maintain an academic perspective through some of the more controversial subjects like jihad, gender, child marriage, apostasy, and reformation.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Accurately depicts controversial aspects of scriptural interpretation and its evolutions. Argues that historical interpretation and understanding needs to be upheld even in the modern times insofar that they are set in stone. However, there are a lot of room for new understanding in issues of fiqh which alter with time and situation. Showed that renowned scholars of early Muslims differed on issues respectfully as long as it came from an opinion derived from evidenced scriptural understanding.
Most interestingly showed that early scholars not so critical of hadith that spoke of ample rewards and last days as they promoted better adherence by Muslims. Hadith scholars like Bukhari were not infallible in their Sahih collection but it was important to set it in stone so believers are not confused due to lack of knowledge. Hence Ahmed Ibn Hanbal preferred weak hadith over ones human intellectual opinion which fluctuates with the environment.