A Remarkable Book For Muslims And Jews – Book Review
A collection of 31 articles by Rabbi Allen S. Maller about Jewish-Muslim connections, previously published on Islamic web sites, has just come out in paperback. Entitled “Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms”; it is available for $15 on Amazon.
Rabbi Maller has knowledge of Judaism and Islam. As a Reform Rabbi he tried to understand how the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad established relations with people of the Book and why some practices of Orthodox Jews were criticized in the Qur’an.
Rabbi Maller states that Reform Rabbis are closer to Islam today than to Orthodox Rabbis. Indeed he says, “I think of myself as a Reform Rabbi and a Muslim Jew.
“Actually I am a Muslim Jew i.e. a faithful Jew submitting to the will of God, because I am a Reform Rabbi. As a Rabbi I am faithful to the covenant that God made with Abraham – the first Muslim Jew, and I submit to the commandments that God made with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai.
“As a Reform Rabbi I believe that Jewish spiritual leaders should modify Jewish tradition as social and historical circumstances change and develop. I also believe we should not make religion difficult for people to practice.
“These are lessons that prophet Muhammad taught 12 centuries before the rise of Reform Judaism in the early 19th century. Reform Jews are the largest of the Jewish denominations in the U.S A.”
From a reformist Jewish perspective he analyzed some hadiths (words of the Prophet Muhammad) and tried to establish commonalities between the two religions. Rabbi Maller gave many examples which indicate similarities between Islam and Judaism.
It is remarkable that Rabbi Maller even approached a religious text that criticize some practices and traditions of Orthodox Jews with sympathy, and tried to get lessons from them. With this approach, the author represents the moderate way of scholarship and well balanced interpretation of religious texts.
*Dr. Recep Dogan is a prominent Imam, Muslim scholar, prolific author and a respected community activist in Australia who completed his PhD in the Islamic Studies Department, Philosophy of Religion at University of Ankara.