What precisely is “Muslim theology?” What would a “Muslim theology” in the present day look like? And what then is a “Muslim theology of engagement?” In Modern Muslim Theology: Engaging God and the World with Faith and Imagination
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), Martin Nguyen
draws from – and critically engages with – a constellation of resources available in the Islamic intellectual and spiritual tradition as well as those in the secular western academic tradition to take readers on a journey through these questions by rearticulating theology as a creative, imaginative, and active process accessible to all.
Nguyen critically interrogates anthropocentric definitions of such nebulous concepts as “time,” “tradition,” and “imagination” by calling for their reconceptualization along terms that center the Divine, all while accounting for the critical role of human agency in his formulation. Theology thus becomes more than a mere insulated scholastic exercise reserved for a specialist elite, but a transformative agent for the collective advancement of righteousness in the world. What emerges from this project is a rich theological praxis that will serve both specialists in exploring these questions in secular academia as well as non-specialists engaging with these questions in their everyday lives, irrespective of their scholastic training or religious persuasion.
Asad Dandia is a graduate student of Islamic Studies at Columbia University.