Dr. Rashid Shaz is an ISESCO Ambassador for Dialogue of Culture among Civilizations and a professor of English at the Aligarh Muslim University, India. Dr. Shaz is considered as one of the foremost ideologues of living Islam both in India and abroad. He has extensively delivered talks on various aspects of Islam in the Muslim world, Europe and America. Some of his writings have sparked serious debates on issues of strategic importance. His major published works include
Understanding the Muslim Malaise: A Conceptual Approach in the Indian Context, Hindustani Musalman: Ayyam Gumgashta ke Pachas Baras (Urdu), Muslemu Al-Hind (Arabic), Muslim Mas’ela ki Tafheem (Urdu), Ghalaba-e-Islam (Urdu), Idrak-e-Zawal-e-Ummat, Vol.-I (Urdu).
Dr. Shaz has also revived and taken up further the long-frozen debate on shibh-ahle-kitab. In his magnum opus ادراک اسباب تراجع الامۃ(۲ مجلد, he takes up the issue from the point where Al-Baironi and Shahrastani had left. In 2004, he motivated many enlightened intellectuals in Abrahamic traditions to debate the common issues on futureislam.com.
Appreciation and Activism
He has been in the public arena for almost two decades. In 1992, while Oslo Peace Accord was in the air, he went on a peace mission to London and Washington DC to convey to the policy makers in these capitals about the Muslim sentiments on Jerusalem. In 1994 Dr. Shaz launched from New Delhi a weekly newspaper, the Milli Times International that ceased its publication in the year 2001. The year 2004 witnessed the birth of yet another journal FutureIslam.com, this time an electronic one and in four major languages; English, Urdu, Arabic and Indonesian. In 2005, under the aegis of futureislam.com he organized a major event in London on “Muslim Ummah: What Shall We do Now?”. Some of his books have been ground breaking and pioneered a new thinking as the Islamabad based journal of Ijtihad has projected him among a few living voices of modern ilm al-kalam and some scholars at the Imam university have projected him as pioneer of a neo-rationalist school in Islam. He rejects both the nomenclatures, though. FutureIslam.com, the journal that he edits and which is being revived after the suspension of three years, is regarded today as one of the most respectable forums of civilizational dialogues and Reform Islam as acknowledged by Amirpur & Amman in their German book Der Islam am Wendepunkt: Liberale und konservative Reformer einer Weltreligion, 2006, Verlag Herder, Germany. Recently, Robert Reilly, an American thinker, has written a whole new book The Closing of the Muslim Mind to support his contention. He writes in ‘Reinventing the Muslim Mind’, a contemporary Indian leader of reformist thought, Rashid Shaz states: “those eager to make a new beginning must accept beforehand that the traditional mind will lead them to nowhere… This book, then, is an effort to understand the journey that Sunni Islam took to nowhere.’’