This image is the cover for the book Islam and the Challenge of Civilization

Islam and the Challenge of Civilization

The award-winning author of The Malady of Islam makes an urgent case for an Islamic reformation in this “bold and fresh” study (Publishers Weekly).

Western Europe is now home to millions of Muslims, where Christianity and Judaism have come to coexist with secular humanism and positivist law. In Islam and the Challenge of Civilization, Meddeb advocates a new approach to Islam in tune with today’s diverse society. Rather than calling for “moderate” Islam—which Meddeb views as thinly disguised Whabism—he calls for an Islam inspired by the great Sufi thinkers, whose practice of religion was not bound by doctrine.

With a return to long-standing doctrinal questions, Meddeb calls upon Muslims to distinguish between Islam’s spiritual message and the temporal, material, and historically grounded origins of its founding scriptures. He contrasts periods of Islamic history—when Muslim philosophers engaged in lively dialogue with other faiths and civilizations—with modern Islam’s collective amnesia of this past.

In this erudite and impassioned study, Meddeb demonstrates that Muslims cannot join the concert of nations unless they set aside outmoded notions such as jihad. Ultimately, he argues, feuding among the monotheisms must give way to the more important issue of citizenship in today’s global setting.

Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jane Kuntz

Abdelwahab Meddeb (1946-2014) was novelist and poet who taught comparative literature at the Université Paris X (Nanterre). Meddeb published more than twenty books in French. His La maladie de l’islam, winner of the Prix François Mauriac, has been translated into English as The Malady of Islam.

Jane Kuntz has a doctorate in French from the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign and has translated eight works of contemporary French fiction for Dalkey Archive Press.

Fordham University Press