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I used to be sure that Islam needed a rational reformation. Yet history has shown me that innovation and freedom have come from faith as much as reason

By Ehsan Masood   February 2009

Surely Islam needs a reformation? Isn’t literalism in religion an obstacle to open minds; and isn’t the promotion of rationalism the best way to boost the slow pace of science and innovation in the Islamic world? Until a few years ago, I believed that the answer to all these questions was a qualified “yes.” Today I am not so sure.

This is because I’ve spent the past few years reading my way into the history of science during what is known as the golden age of Islamic civilisation. This is the 700-year period between the 8th and the 16th centuries,…

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