Islamic Variations. "Faithlines: Muslim Conceptions of Islam and Society", by Riaz Hassan. [review]
This book is a study of Muslims’ perceptions of religion and society. Among the related aspects it explores are self-image and gender relations in Islam. The study is a survey-type questionnaire, carried out in four Muslim countries: Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt and Kazakhstan. The book comprises nine chapters, including a comprehensive Introduction that relates the aims of the study to a variety of literature on Islam, ranging from the fourteenth-century work al-Muqaddima, of Ibn Khaldun, to contemporary writings by influential Islamologists such as Fazlur Rahman and Muhammad Arkoun. The author is clearly well-versed in a wide-ranging literature on Islam. In this respect, the book is impressive in its intellectual scope. Perhaps the most complex aim of the book is to examine the influence of religion in various institutional configurations — that is, to assess the extent to which Muslims assign trust and legitimacy in religious institutions compared to state institutions.