BOOK REVIEW
The Message of Islam

Reviewed by Linda “iLham” Barto
Maiden, NC


The Message of Islam
By Dr. Maqsood Jafri
Published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an (TTQ)
Year of publication: 2005
211 pages
Available from TTQ, 80-08 51st Ave; Elmhurst, NY 11373; or orders@koranusa.org; $10


Pointing to the future of Islam, Dr. Maqsood Jafri reminds the reader of the original and dynamic values that Islam has to offer the world as it strives toward a future that can encompass peace and prosperity. With a proper balance of faith, revelation, and reason, humanity can meet its responsibility to establish truth, justice, humanitarianism, and civility. As Dr. Jafri pleads for Muslims to focus on the pure and undiluted message of Islam, he writes, “The real Islam has been corroded by the imperialistic interpretation of Islam. The need for introducing real Islam should be the only priority of the Muslim thinkers of our era. The real Islam keeps an eye upon all eventualities and actualities of human life and presents their realistic and scientific solution while the unreal Islam has taught us the so-called mystical and metaphysical fancies and fallacies. The greatest crisis we are facing today is the lack of right understanding of the message and mission of Islam.”
Dr. Jafri laments the inner conflicts ripping at the seams of Islam as an established religion. “Sectarianism is the greatest ailment, which is weakening the healthy body of Islam. We will have to hold the cord of Allah collectively and tightly. As the teachings of Islam are in complete compatibility and consonance with the laws of nature, people all over the world are being gravitated to its simple and logical principles.” The misuse of religion, however, has created disturbances that discourage many people away from religion, Dr. Jafri explains.
The importance of ijtehad (modern applications) is often mentioned in the book, and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is quoted: “Whoever does ijtehad but arrives at error has nonetheless earned a measure of moral merit; whoever does ijtehad and arrives at truth has earned double.”
Although the foundations of religion cannot be changed, Dr. Jafri explains, religion must be adapted to changing times. “Ijtehad is an empirical and dialectical process which is the orbit of our Islamic state… Human life is supersonically fast and changing. Any system that does not absorb any change in it cannot survive.” Further, he writes, “Islamic culture remains intact and fresh if the principle of movement exercises. Stagnancy and ignorance are social evils and must be abandoned in an Islamic society.”
Dr. Jafri, a professor of comparative religion, stresses the need for interfaith understanding and peaceful relationships. He states, “It is the moral and humane duty of all writers and scholars of all faiths to give positive suggestions to end and eliminate the root causes of conflicts.”
Finding beautiful consonants in all religions of light, Dr. Jafri writes, “Religions have been revealed to serve humans and show them the path of nobility, peace, prosperity, happiness, and justice. Religions were not revealed to kill each other in the name of God.”
Regardless of race, religion, or nationality, all people are one community, like a “sacred family,” says Dr. Jafri. “Money, territory, ideology, and apprehensions should not be the cause of conflict. Power should be attained to protect the powerless. Power should not be attained to crush the powerless. Logic must rule. Logic must supercede. Missiles, cartridges, bombs, and guns must be thrown into the sea. Men should behave like men, not like beasts. Cold war leads to hot war. All prides and prejudices must be shunned. Conference rooms should be erected, and battlefields should be turned into playgrounds wherein our future generations can skip like fawns, without the fear of death.”
Over fifty brief chapters explain Islam’s view on such things as education, jihad (struggle), martyrdom, and terrorism. Dr. Jafri’s work exhibits intelligence and rational thinking as he calls upon people of all faiths to join in a peaceful pursuit toward establishing the ideal global civilization. The book is a wonderful contribution to the goal of a universal Islamic renaissance.

 


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