Indian religion

Bangladeshi expat Mohiuddin Ahmed publishes book on religion and reform

In his first book, Keno Proyojon Dormochintar Punorgothon (September 2021), published by Rabbul Islam Khan, Managing Director of Kushtia Prokashon Amla, Mirpur, Kushtia, Toronto-based Bangladeshi expatriate Mohiuddin Ahmed adds to the body of work on Islamic reform in Bangla.

The book contains chapters on “Cultivating Islam in the Shadow of Emotion and Ignorance”; “The lack of creative knowledge and religious intolerance”; and “Why We Need an Ethical Economic System”, each of which seeks to provide insight into Islam, ethics, tolerance and spiritual empowerment.

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The author identifies issues of dogmatic thoughts and interpretation that are propagated by some Muslims in Bangladesh and around the world. The impact of fatwas and human rights abuses by some clerics are discussed, as well as reported sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (for example, regarding women’s leadership roles) that have been misinterpreted for sociopolitical reasons.

The issues of Islamophobia, superpowers and their hegemonic conceptions are counterbalanced by discussions around the issues (eg fanaticism, politicization of Islam) that plague the Muslim community. The author argues that in today’s nation states there should be no communal division based on religion. The concept of an Islamic state in the political arena is debated, and readers wonder if such a state would be inherently productive and practical in advancing the cause of Islam in the modern world.

The text emphasizes the need to challenge ideas and encourage religious discussion and dialogue, and to differentiate between religion and religious thought or understanding of religion. The first, the author emphasizes, is Divine. These are human endeavors that can be influenced by an individual’s culture and the times in which they live. One argues against relying on a single individual as the guardian of religion. It is openness and the perpetual pursuit of understanding that can lead to true enlightenment, the author states.

A number of notable personalities contributed to the foreword of the book, including Farhad Mazhar, famous Bangladeshi writer, activist, environmentalist and one of the founders and managing director of UBINIG; as well as Professor Dr Taj Hashmi, an analyst of history, society and politics, and Hasan Mahmud, an expert in Sharia law and author of Charia Ki Bole, Amra Ki Kori.

“Today or tomorrow, we must follow the path the author has shown in restructuring Islamic thought through his objective and unbiased research,” Hasan Mahmud said.

The book is available on Rokomari.