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  You are in: Home > Theology & Religion > Listening to Islam  
 

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

John Watson

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.

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

“A welcome attempt to present Islam through the eyes of four very different people, two Christian and two Muslim … The dialogue with Islam that we are involved in today is complex and challenging; listening is a very important part of it, especially when we must heed the views we do not understand or approve of, but perhaps even more important is the need to make friends after the example of Thomas Merton and Abdul Aziz.” Watani, the International Egyptian Sunday newspaper

“A cleverly written book which is satisfying in several different ways. … A fine resource for student, scholar and the newcomer to the subject.” Alliance for International Monasticism

“The book is worth buying for its introduction to the writings of Bishop Kennet Cragg, born in 1913 and still producing some of the most profound reflections on the Qur’an, Muhammad and contemporary Islam within the Christian world. Bishop Cragg’s lifelong engagement with Islam is rooted in a poet’s sensitivity to the Arabic language and deep and enduring friendships across the Muslim world.” Theology

“It seems to me that mutual comprehension between Christians and Muslims is something of very vital importance today, and unfortunately it is rare and uncertain, or else subjected to the vagaries of politics.” Thomas Merton, writing to the Pakistani Sufi scholar Abdul Aziz on St. Stephen’s Day, 26 December 1962

 

Publication Details

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

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