cover image Qur'an Liberation and Pluralism

Qur'an Liberation and Pluralism

Farid Esack. Oneworld Publications, $25.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-85168-121-1

This book is a welcome insight into the possibilities of Islam as a home for liberation theology and a refreshing counter to the masculinist excesses of conservative Islamic commentary. Born into apartheid South Africa, Esack possesses a theology that is colored by his experiences of poverty and oppression and by the impact of the revolution against apartheid on the South African Islamic community. Esack narrates his education as a young revolutionary in the turbulent South Africa of the '70s, and he tells of the ways he begins to realize that the Qur'an, at its core, is a text of liberation. As a senior lecturer in religion at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, Esack brings his immense authority to his expose of the ways traditional interpretations of the Qur'an were used to support apartheid as well as the ways the same Qur'anic texts were used to support a campaign for justice and respect across the whole range of South African society. Esack's story of his cooperation with members of other faiths in the search for virtue and justice in a diverse society underscores his rejection of what he sees as an exclusivist Islamic tradition. Esack has produced an engaging memoir that demonstrates that Islam contains within itself the possibility for cooperation with other faith traditions in the struggle against oppression. (Mar.)