Based on the author’s earlier acclaimed work Exploring Islam in a New Light: A View from the Quranic Perspective, this compact volume with a new title seeks to provide a comprehensive, in-depth description of Islam in a bold new light through the lens of the Quran itself. The book presents a view of Islam that promotes tolerance, pluralism, and peaceful interreligious co-existence, justice, equality, compassion, and service to humanity – far too removed from a fanatic, militant, misogynistic, and cruel image in which it is so often portrayed in the West. The work is a blueprint for wide-ranging reforms in practiced Islam, not only in the arenas of sociomoral ethos and economic issues but also in various religious beliefs and practices. Its major focus is on how we can evolve spiritually – a subject that forms the core message of the Quran. It promotes human freedom, human rights, human initiative and enterprise, an exploitation-free free-market competitive economic system, a broad socioeconomic welfare mechanism to rid the world of poverty and deprivation, gender equality, and a humane justice system. A major contention of the book is that the Hadith is a major source of distortion of the message of the Quran. It provides a compelling critique of this literature. The message of the Quran, reinterpreted in the light of its worldview as well as taking account of the changing context and times, calls for fundamental reforms in numerous aspects of practiced Islam, including doing away with archaic, harsh shariah rules. Finally, the book suggests how we can bring about a revival of genuine Islam.
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Except for a brief stint as a Lecturer in Economics in Dhaka University, Abdur Rab held research and consulting positions throughout his career with numerous organizations, including the Bangladesh and former undivided Pakistan governments. He served the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics as a Staff and Research Economist, the Pakistan Tariff Commission as a Member, and the Bangladesh Planning Commission as a Section Chief and Senior Consultant. He was an Industrial Economist with UNIDO, Financial and Monetary Advisor for the Uganda government under a World Bank assignment, and a Senior Industrial Economist for the Qatar government under a UNIDO assignment. He also did consulting for various development projects in Bangladesh supported by USAID, the World Bank, UNDP, and the Asian Development Bank, and also for the US-based International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC). He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Dhaka University and a PhD from Harvard. Born and brought up in a traditional Bengali Muslim family, Abdur has been a devoted follower of the traditional teachings and rituals of Islam since his very childhood. However, when he went to college, he came into close contact with a versatile spiritual teacher Shah Aksaruddin Ahmad and underwent a paradigm change in his religious approach. Inspired by him, Abdur closely studied the Quran to learn about genuine Islam. Afterwards he studied also the Hadith and relevant literature of modern Islamic scholars. He is the author of Exploring Islam in a New Light: A View from the Quranic Perspective, Brainbow Press, 2010 and of many articles on Islamic topics. He presented an article on riba and interest to a recent NAAIMS (North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies) conference held at Princeton University. A Bangladeshi-American, Abdur lives in Houston, United States.
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