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The Search for Beauty in Islam

A Conference of the Books

Khaled Abou El Fadl

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Khaled Abou El Fadl is a classically-trained Islamic jurist, an American lawyer and law professor, and one of the most important Islamic thinkers today. In this updated and expanded edition of The Search for Beauty in Islam, Abou El Fadl offers eye-opening and enlightening insights into the contemporary realities of the current state of Islam and the West. Through a 'conference of the books,' an imagined conference of Muslim intellects from centuries past, Abou El Fadl examines the ugliness that has come to plague Muslim realities and attempts to reclaim what he maintains is a core moral value in Islam-the value of beauty. Does Islamic law allow, or even call for, the gruesome acts of ugliness that have become so commonly associated with Islam today? Has Islam become a religion devoid of beauty, compassion and love? Based on actual cases, this book tackles different issues and problems in each chapter through a post-9/11 lens, discussing such topics as marriage, divorce, parental rights, the position of women, the veil, sexual abuse, wife-beating, terrorism, bigotry, morality, law, and the role of tradition. Abou El Fadl argues that the rekindling of the forgotten value of beauty is essential for Muslims today to take back what has been lost to the fundamentalist forces that have denigrated their religion. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 432Size: 7 1/4 x 10 1/4
978-0-7425-5093-3 • Hardback • December 2005 • $107.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7425-5094-0 • Paperback • December 2005 • $42.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-4616-4554-2 • eBook • December 2005 • $40.99 • (£27.95)
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law where he teaches Islamic law, immigration, human rights, and international and national security law. He holds degrees from Yale University (B.A.), University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.) and Princeton University (M.A./Ph.D.). He serves on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch and was also appointed by President George W. Bush as a commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Author of numerous books and articles on Islamic law and Islam, his most recent work focuses on issues of authority, tolerance and democracy in Islam.
El Fadl attempts to offer interpretations that are humanistic and accommodating to modern values, yet simultaneously challenging for traditionalist scholars and preachers.
An-Chi Hoh Dianu; The Library Quarterly


This highly original book is in part a dialogue with Muslim scholars in the past, and, in part, a hymn to an enthralling vision that 'beauty' is to bring life to the truth of the Prophet. The dialogue shows the enormous breadth of [the author's] reading in classic works of learning by Muslims, and his vision suggests a new spiritual esthetic, which is both inspiring and challenging.
Roy Parviz Mottahedeh, Gurney Professor of History, Harvard University


Khaled Abou El Fadl is emerging as a major Muslim voice for the twenty-first century. Conference of the Books is an excellent introduction to the ideas, insights, and reflections of this important scholar of Islam and Islamic law, author, and poet.
John L. Esposito, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University


Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, the most important scholar writing on Islamic jurisprudence and its development in the American context today, sets a high standard here for legal discourse and practice among North American Muslims.
Karen Leonard, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine


Each independent essay may be read in any order, but collectively they illustrate richness and diversity.
Charles C. Kolb, National Endowment for the Humanities, Religious Studies Review


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