Muslim Collective is a dynamic Australian faith-based community for progressive thought and social action. We are a diverse and inclusive group that supports and encourages dialogue about the real issues of our time.
So you want to learn about Islam, but where do you start? We have put together a range of texts and resources in each of the categories below to help support your understanding and critical engagement with the religion.
The resources presented here provide clear, quality information to help navigate and deepen your learning whether you are an advanced student going back to the basics, or a new or non-Muslim searching for more information.
Please note: these books, videos and resources do not necessarily reflect the opinion and position of members of the Muslim Collective. They are intended for exploration of ideas and not as position statements.
Developed in response to the events of September 11 2001, these 14 articles from prominent Muslim thinkers offer a provocative reassessment of Islam's relationship with the modern world. Confronting issues such as racism, justice, sexuality and gender, this book reveals the real challenges faced by Muslims of both sexes in contemporary Western society. A probing, frank, and intellectually refreshing testament to the capacity of Islam for renewal, change, and growth, these articles from fifteen Muslim scholars and activists address the challenging and complex issues that confront Muslims today. Avoiding fundamentalist and apologetic approaches, the book concentrates on the key areas of debate in progressive Islamic thought: "Contemporary Islam," "Gender Justice," and "Pluralism." Articles featured include:
n his work to build a post-apartheid South Africa, noted scholar, writer, and activist Farid Esack found grounding in his Muslim faith. While trained in a Pakistani madrassah where he became acquainted with deeply orthodox forms of Islam, he also came to realize that his religions teachings of justice and peace could guide the struggle against apartheid and gender injustice. Offering perceptive, groundbreaking insights, Esack describes how progressive Islam can speak to social change on six burning issues today: war, poverty, race, gender, sexuality, and the environment. He shows how it is not only possible but necessary for Islam to promote sexual equality. He advocates for womens rights and reproductive freedom. He demonstrates how Islam fosters racial and economic justice and supports practices of nonviolence, and he develops its understandings of protection of the environment. Esack provides a clear rebuttal of the hysterical stereotypes of Islam and a compelling vision of liberation for those seeking to reconcile politics and faith.
With the proliferation of transnational Muslim networks over the last two decades, the religious authority of traditionally educated Muslim scholars, the uluma, has come under increasing scrutiny and disruption. These networks have provided a public space for multiple perspectives on Islam to be voiced, allowing "progressive" Islamic worldviews to flourish alongside more (neo)traditional outlooks. This book brings together the scholarship of leading progressive Muslim scholars, incorporating issues pertaining to politics, jurisprudence, ethics, theology, epistemology, gender and hermeneutics in the Islamic tradition. It provides a comprehensive discussion of the normative imperatives behind a progressive Muslim thought, as well as outlining its various values and aims. Presenting this emerging and distinctive school of Islamic thought in an engaging and scholarly manner, this is essential reading for any academic interested in contemporary religious thought and the development of modern Islam.
Dr. Shabir Ali: Who are progressive Muslims?
Amina Wudud: My first public video opens to why I will be doing this and why definitions for all key concepts are important. I give my definition of "Islam". Do you know how you define it?
Amina Wudud: If our primary sources are divine how is it I say Islam is a human construct? All religions are, actually...
Lesley Hazleton sat down one day to read the Koran. And what she found -- as a non-Muslim, a self-identified "tourist" in the Islamic holy book -- wasn't what she expected. With serious scholarship and warm humor, Hazleton shares the grace, flexibility and mystery she found, in this myth-debunking talk from TEDxRainier.