Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > Resources > Jihad or Ijtihad: Indian Muslim speak up on the issue of religion and (...)

Jihad or Ijtihad: Indian Muslim speak up on the issue of religion and science

book review

Tuesday 6 November 2012, by siawi3

Irfan Habib
Jihad or Ijtihad - Religious Orthodoxy and Modern Science in Contemporary Islam

Harper Collins, India, 2012

While Europe was still stuck in the dark Ages, scientists in the Islamic world were translating Aristotle, and making huge strides in astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. Two thousand years later, the idea of ’scientific progress’ seems to be locked in a hopeless war with Islam. When and how did Islam lose its enthusiasm for the workings of the natural world?

S.Irfan Habib, one of the country’s foremost historians, traces the trajectory of how ’mainstream’ Islam came to the question of modern science - beginning with the reformers of the nineteenth century and ending with present-day ideologues. Through the lives of famous men like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, he demonstrates that the modern-day promulgation of Islam and its followers as ’anti-modern’ and ’anti-science’ is a myth that leads, quite literally, to explosive consequences. Habib also channels his scholarship of both history and Islam to question the controversial idea of ’Islamic science’ as a category distinct from ’modern’, ’Eurocentric’ science.

In an engaging, easy style that belies the weightiness of the questions it seeks t answer, Jihad or Ijtihad challenges both stereotypes and propaganda. this book places in perspective the relationship between Islam and science today.