Social Science Academics Launch Book at Time of the Writer
Two UKZN academics from the School of Social Sciences, Professor Sultan Khan and Dr Lubna Nadvi, launched their new co-authored book (De) Monopolising Paradise at the Time of the Writer Festival at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.
(De)Monopolising Paradise is a multi-layered discourse on religious intolerance as witnessed in the 21st Century. It argues that some interpretations of Islamic texts serve to distance Islam from other communities.
Originally published as Islam and non-Muslims by M.I. Meer in 1956, this edited version offers an in-depth interpretation of Qur‘ânic verses, with the idea that unlike other religions which regard salvation as the sole monopoly of their followers, Islam recognises that God-fearing people of other religions would be duly rewarded by their Lord for pursuing the path of righteousness within the context of their faith.
The book is an intellectual inquiry into what the Qur‘ân actually says about Muslims and non-Muslim relationships; it is a treatise for all persons of faith reminding them of the real message of Islam, Tawhîd, (Oneness), and the idea of unity under one God.
According to the authors, the book can be read as a response to a double question: Is it ever possible to have a religiously inclusive society in a polarised world? And if so what would be the basis for such an inclusive society?
‘The book speaks to these questions; it also serves as a refreshingly non-sectarian reading of Islam and negotiation of Muslim identity in relationship with other world religions and faith groups which are tearing the world apart in the name of God,’ said Nadvi.
Khan added: ‘The book has taken seven years to complete with the most updated analysis on the source of religious conflict and strife in different parts of the world. It demystifies the notion that no single religion in the world can claim monopoly to paradise and all religions strive for the betterment of humanity who are equal in the eyes of God as long as they do good deeds.’
Mr Tahir Fuzile Sitoto of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University said: ‘(De) Monopolising Paradise is undoubtedly a multi-layered text which refuses to be trapped by time and history. Although punted as a book that deals with mainly issues of inter-religious tolerance, dialogue and peace, it would be a gross error to limit the book to matters of inter-faith relations - it is also for those in search for peaceful and meaningful co-existence across the religious and cultural divide.’