Travelling Home by Abdal Hakim Murad – Reviews

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Travelling Home: Essays on Islam in Europe

Travelling Home: Essays on Islam in Europe by Abdal Hakim Murad was published by Quilliam Press in May 2020.

In the video above (well worth watching!) Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad says his new book, Travelling Home: Essays on Islam in Europe, goes into a number of hot topics he has been pondering over the years. He expects the book will be controversial:

“It really does, I think, represent me stomping across a number of minefields to do with the new body beliefs, to do with gender, to do with integration, to do with racissm, to do with Muslim community leadership, to do with Islamophobia. So I’m going to consider this book a kind of cat that I’m throwing amongst the pigeons.in dealing with some of the most controversial issues on earth. I’ve decided I’m going to speak quite frankly this time. But insha’Allah there will be light generated as wel as heat.”

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“The Must-Read Book of 2020”

The publisher describes Shaykh Abdal Hakim’s book as “a forceful study of Islamophobia in Europe in an age of populism and pandemic, considering survival strategies for Muslims on the basis of Qur’an, Hadith, and the Islamic theological, legal and spiritual legacy.”

Travelling Home contains a series of essays that suggest how Muslims should react to the spread of Islamophobia in Europe. Of course, the lessons apply also to North America and other parts of the West.

While some people might respond with fearfulness or despair, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, a.k.a. Tim Winter, shows that a compassion-based response, rooted in an authentic theology of divine power, could transform the current quagmire into a bright landscape of great promise for Muslims and their neighbours.

Hard copies are not yet available, due to the Coronavirius lockdown: But you can buy Travelling Home from Kobo as an eBook.

 

Review by Michael Sugich

Michael Sugich is the author of Hearts Turn and Signs on the Horizons.

“Dust off your dictionary and dive in! Travelling Home is a wild, invigorating and delightfully erudite ride through the political, social, psychological, theological and semantic landscape of European Islam as it is now. Pitched at a Muslim readership, this collection of essays forms in aggregate a brilliant and incisive analysis of the position of Muslims in a Europe ‘surging rapidly in a nationalist direction’ with their indigenous Muslim populations ‘viewed by increasing numbers as a Dark Other fit only to be securitised and stigmatised, and perhaps, in the dreams of some, banished from Europe’s walled garden.’

More importantly, the book proposes a new, constructive approach. The author, who has been on the frontlines of Muslim affairs in Europe for the better part of thirty years, makes a forceful and nuanced argument for a return to a ‘traditional Islam’ which employs, ‘the cumulative wisdom of the Muslim centuries in all its amplitude’ in an attempt ‘to devise an uncompromising theory of Islamic belonging in the European homeland of the late modern melée’.

In the process he takes aim at, well, just about everyone, and he takes no prisoners. European Islamophobes in ‘an already confused Europe’, Islamists, Muslim extremists redefined as tanfiris – those who make Islam repellent, ‘the continued prominence of race-temple Islam in [ethnocentric] community leadership’ and Muslim leaders ‘whose highest ambition is to have their photograph taken beside an MP’ are all taken out in this scathing and witty take down of the real barriers to positive change. In practice, he posits, Muslims need to replace a ‘reactive identity-religion with its desire for status and revenge driven by ego’ and an externalised Islam, with a revival of the awareness of the ‘presence, power and compassion of God’ in the profound and quintessential tradition of Islamic spirituality.

Travelling Home is an essential and exhilarating read.”

Review by Yahya Michot

Yahya Michot is emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Theological Seminary and author of Ibn Taymiyya: Muslims under Non-Muslim Rule.

“Probably the most important book ever published by a European Muslim scholar. Traditionally enlightened, mercifully uncompromising with the truth, intellectually and spiritually challenging, these eleven essays show the way forward in a dark and dangerous age. A must-read for ‘those who use reason,’ Muslim or other.”

Review by Jocelyne Cesari

Jocelyn Cesari is Professor of Religion and Politics at the University of Birmingham and the author of What is Political Islam and Muslims in the West after 9/11.

“Travelling Home is a unique book which combines spiritual testimony with sharp insights on the current condition of Islam and Muslims in the West. It is written from the heart and is a magnificent example of the tremendous resources of the Islamic tradition to respond to the challenges of extremism, terrorism populism and islamophobia. The author provides a unique perspective to guide the new Muslim generations by showing that moral strength and search for beauty are more powerful than retaliation and anger if one is to be and remain in the Path of God. It is also a must-read for all the Europeans who struggle to make sense of the reality and legitimacy of Muslims in their midst.”

Chapter Titles in Travelling Home

  • Can Liberalism Tolerate Islam?
  • Muslims and National Populism
  • British Muslims and Rhetoric of Indigenisation
  • Islamophobia and the Bosnian War
  • The Venomous Bid’a of Tanfir
  • Good Anger, Bad Anger and Shirk al-Asbab
  • ‘Push Back with Something More Beautiful’ (Qur’an 41:34): Minority Muslims from Complainants to Therapists
  • A Theology of Ahl al-Kidhāb
  • Seeking Knowledge: the Multiple Horizons of British Islamic Studentship
  • Creation Spirituality
  • Zakat in the Post-Modern Economy

Hard copies of Travelling Home: Essays on Islam in Europe may become available in June, depending on the re-opening of distributions systems. To purchase Travelling Home as an eBook, go to Kobo UK.

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