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Listening to Islam

With Thomas Merton, Sayyid Qutb, Kenneth Cragg and Ziauddin Sardar
Praise, Reason and Reflection

The Revd Dr John Waston has travelled extensively, exploring Christianity throughout the world, and lectures at home and abroad. He works as an Assistant Priest in a Dorset village, writes the fortnightly Coptophile Column for Cairo’s Watani (the leading Christian newspaper in the Middle East), and contributes regularly to Kirche im Dialog in Mannheim, Germany. He is the author of Among the Copts (2000) and Christians Observed (2004), both published by SAP.


In today’s world, Christianity and Islam are capable of dialogue. Neither faith has a single religious establishment or narrow belief system, both are rainbows of faith and practice. There is difference and there is delight for many believers in both traditions. Tragically, there is also some expression of institutional divergence.

In Listening to Islam a devout Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, and a dedicated Sufi mystic, live in intimate prayerful relationship. Sayyid Qutb, a major ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, was a literary educationalist whose exposition of the Qur’an is justifiably famous, though his version of political Islam is offensive to many Muslims. Bishop Kenneth Cragg is a careful translator, expositor and analyst of the Qur’an and modern Islam. He has devoted much of his life to the Arabic language and its people. He speaks of himself and his Muslim interlocutors as those who believe in one God. Ziauddin Sardar, who describes himself as “a sceptical Muslim in search of Paradise”, writes with remarkable fluency on the current confrontation between the West and Islam.

Through Praise, Reason and Reflection, these four dialogists provide compelling evidence of the complexities, differences and rewards of exchanging ideas and opinions on the development and necessity of Islamic–Christian interfaith understanding.


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-101-6
Paperback Price: £13.95 / $24.95
Release Date: May 2005
   
Page Extent / Format: 120 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No
   

 



Preface
Acknowledgements

THOMAS MERTON – BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE

LISTENING TO ISLAM WITH THOMAS MERTON

SAYYID QUTB – BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE

LISTENING TO ISLAM WITH SAYYID QUTB

KENNETH CRAGG – BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE

LISTENING TO ISLAM WITH KENNETH CRAGG

ZIAUDDIN SARDAR – BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE

LISTENING TO ISLAM WITH ZIAUDDIN SARDAR

Sources
The Qur'an in Translation and Quranic References
Index


Watson alerts that while Merton’s work on Buddhism and Taoism is well known, the extent of his interest in Islam and specifically Sufism has only gradually become common knowledge. The essay on Merton’s ‘listening to Islam’ is focused on Sufism and Merton’s reading of Sufi texts, along with books and articles on Sufism. It highlights his correspondence with a number of contemporary Muslims, most notably the Pakistani Muslim student of Sufism, Abd al-‘Aziz, with whom Merton was in regular if intermittent correspondence during the last ten years of his life. A notable feature of the essay is Watson’s mention of the Orthodox Christian musician, Sir John Tavener, whose views he finds very compatible with Merton’s.
The Merton Seasonal


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