Reopening Muslim Minds

A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance

Published by Macmillan. In Reopening Muslim Minds, Mustafa Akyol, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times, both diagnoses “the crisis of Islam” in the modern world, and offers a way forward.

In Reopening Muslim Minds, Mustafa Akyol, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times, both diagnoses “the crisis of Islam” in the modern world, and offers a way forward. Diving deeply into Islamic theology, and also sharing lessons from his own life story, he reveals how Muslims lost the universalism that made them a great civilization in their earlier centuries. He especially demonstrates how values often associated with Western Enlightenment ― freedom, reason, tolerance, and an appreciation of science ― had Islamic counterparts, which sadly were cast aside in favor of more dogmatic views, often for political ends.

Elucidating complex ideas with engaging prose and storytelling, Reopening Muslim Minds borrows lost visions from medieval Muslim thinkers such as Ibn Rushd (aka Averroes), to offer a new Muslim worldview on a range of sensitive issues: human rights, equality for women, freedom of religion, or freedom from religion. While frankly acknowledging the problems in the world of Islam today, Akyol offers a clear and hopeful vision for its future.

Table of Contents
  1. A Night with the Religious Police
  2. A Self‐​made: Hayy Ibn Yaqzan
  3. Why Theology Matters
  4. Islam’s Euthyphro Dilemma
  5. How We Lost Morality
  6. How We Lost Universalism
  7. How the Sharia Stagnated
  8. How We Lost the Sciences
  9. The Last Man Standing: Ibn Rushd
  10. Why We Lost Reason, Really
  11. Back to Mecca
  12. Freedom Matters I: Hisbah
  13. Freedom Matters II: Apostacy
  14. Freedom Matters III: Blasphemy
  15. The Theology of Tolerance
  16. Epilogue
Reopening Muslim Minds book cover
Live Online Book Forum

Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance

April 8, 2021 | 11 AM — 12 PM EDT

In his new book, Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance, Mustafa Akyol diagnoses “the crisis of Islam” in the modern world and offers an authentic way forward. Diving deeply into Islamic theology, and sharing lessons from his own life, Akyol reveals how Muslims lost the universalism that made them a great civilization in their earlier centuries.

About the Author

Mustafa Akyol is a regular contributing opinion writer for The New York Times since 2013, covering matters of Islam in the modern world. His earlier books, Islam without Extremes (2011) and The Islamic Jesus (2017), have been reviewed and praised by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and the Economist. Islam without Extremes was long‐​listed for the 2012 Lionel Gelber Prize literary prize, while being banned in Malaysia for challenging the “religion police.”