Volume 4 Number 2
A Comradeship of Belief
01 February 1991
When a Turkish editor was recovering from bullet wounds, he reached out a hand of friendship to the student (by then in jail) who had shot him.
The Muslim Mind
By Charis Waddy
New Amsterdam Press, New York
Grosvenor Books, London
When a Turkish editor was recovering from bullet wounds, he reached out a hand of friendship to the student (by then in jail) who had shot him. When an inter-Arab conflict broke out some years ago, a devout Muslim diplomat at the UN played an effective role in resolving it.
Charis Waddy's remarkable friendships with such people enable her to draw out from Muslims how they reckon to live, in the light of what they believe.
In The Muslim Mind a Palestinian housewife and a group of Indian carpenters contribute their experience alongside theologians from Mecca and Qom, the intelligentsia of Beirut and Karachi, the Emir of Kano, and Muslim scholars in Washington and London.
It is from the colourful range of these sources that we learn about the Quran, the life and sayings of Mohammed, the Islamic tradition of Moses and Jesus, and the spiritual themes of prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, divine guidance, and forgiveness. These lead us in this updated third edition into the modern Muslim approach to family, race, finance, war and peace, education, and the environment.
A reviewer of the first edition noted the extraordinary fact that, though written by a professed Christian, this book bears a letter of thanks and approval from Cairo's Saikh al Azhar. He is generally regarded as Islam's supreme authority on matters of law and doctrine.
The book begins with a mosque in Adelaide, built in the last century for the Afghan camel drivers who opened the desert routes of the author's native Australia. Too much religious solemnity can dampen the spirit but this book is lightened with a poetic touch and ornamented with Islamic designs and calligraphy.
Since the collapse of European communism, the Western dialectical mind has been searching for a new enemy, and Islam is on the shortlist. There are indeed examples of gross hatred and bigotry within the Muslim world which are a threat to humanity. Muslims, for their part, deplore the amoral secularism to be found in Western society, and the cold-heartedness of many Christians towards sincere believers of other faiths. Here is a book that helps open-minded non-Muslims to understand.
Dr Waddy grew up in Jerusalem, where her father was headmaster of St George's School. He knew Muslim and Jewish families and, as an Anglican minister; could speak of the `comradeship of our joint belief'. Her scholarly work illuminates the grace of that perception.