Summary Of Mustafa Akyol's Islam Without Extremes

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In Mustafa Akyol’s Islam without Extremes, the author challenges the many misconceptions of Islam as a religion of violence and conservative ideologies. Akyol uses historic narratives of the foundation of Islam, the principles Islam originally proclaimed, and the political development with Islam as its guide; as well as, the split between Traditionalists and Rationalists, in addition to other factors, that led to the rise of the Islam in today’s world. In an effort to inform, the author gives the reasons behind the rise of conservative and violent misconceptions that accompany Islam now, in addition to the fall of liberal ideologies within Islamic states.
In order to underline the principles and foundation of Islam, Akyol uses the Qur'an to
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Though after Muhammad’s death, the differing viewpoints of the four Caliphs brought the rise of the idea of Traditionalists and Rationalists, the Traditionalists favoring a conservative lifestyle, the Rationalists a more liberal. According to Akyol, “These two opposing camps of Islamdom engaged in their war of ideas for at least five centuries… the Traditionists very often secured the backing of political authorities. Only during a brief period in the ninth century did the Rationalists win the favor and support of political authority.“ (107). Due to the clashing opinions between the two ideologies of Islamdom, the battling for the throne led to alternating principles throughout the history of Islamdom. Under the rule of the Rationalist, al-Ma’mum in 813, a new age of philosophical and scientific advancement fell upon Islamdom, though also a time of mihna was put into effect which led to the suspicion and arrest of Traditionists. The mihna, a type of inquisition, would then set in havoc throughout all of Islamdom. (108-109). Although Islamdom were beginning to see a time of advancement in liberal ideas, it was also backfired by the tyrannical huntdown of Traditionalists which only caused more distress between the two camps of Islamdom, so because of this internal conflict within Islamdom, the decline in Rationalism in Islam the triumph of Traditionalist led to the reversal of liberal ideas. Though the Traditionalists upheld conservative viewpoints, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it also followed the Qur’anic view, “Some critics have argued that the Rationalist school was just an alien import from ancient Greece that would inevitably prove ‘incompatible with a Qur’anic worldview.’ Yet, as we have seen, it was not the Qur’anic worldview but the post Qur’anic tradition

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