Three outstanding books by Zulfiqar Ali Shah - Claritas Books
Islam's Reformation of Christianity

Jesus was a product of Semitic monotheism, moral law, piety and humility. His kingdom was the other worldly. His ethical monotheism was transformed by the Roman Empire and mythology. The supernatural, Trinitarian and miraculous Roman Christianity transitioned into unintelligible dogmas, the abolition of law, moral laxity, this worldly kingdom and divine right absolutism.

Natural theology, law, cosmology and politics were all compromised. Religious freedom was barred, and persecutions were normalised. Latin Christendom was a persecutory society. Islam was an intellectual cure to Christian paradoxes and an egalitarian pluralistic alternate to Christian inquisitions and religiopolitical absolutism. It spread in the Eastern Christian territories like a bush fire.

This reformation of Christian excesses in religiopolitical theology reformed its paradoxical incarnational theology, antinomianism, grace-based salvation scheme, divine right Church and monarchy, interventionist cosmology and religious persecutions.

This insightful and groundbreaking new book provides an in-depth study of the Islamic, Southern Reformation of Christianity; a reformation seldom acknowledged or studied by the historians. It explores how the Islamic reformative scheme emphasised ethical, transcendental monotheism, natural theology and rational discourse. It limited monarchy and placed significance on an inclusive, pluralistic and free society.

The Seventh Century Islamic natural, rational, moral, republican and egalitarian reformation was the Southern Reformation of Christianity, long before the partial Northern Reformation of Luther and Calvin.

Islam And The English Enlightenment: The Untold Story

The long medieval centuries witnessed the absolute iron fists of the church and its monarchical abusive powers. The Catholic Church, the only religious power during this time, became the largest landowner, employer and powerhouse of Europe.

Such was the socio-political situation which led many Christian reformers of the sixteenth century such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin to look inward as well as outward to identify Christian problems and their possible remedies. Islam from the outset had claimed to have come as a rectifier of Christian excesses and a reformer of its historical overindulgences.

Muslims had a long history of anti-Christian polemics culminating century’s long tradition of anti-trinitarianism and biblical criticism. Islamic tradition was also rife with theories and conceptual frameworks for heterodoxy, interfaith and intra-faith toleration. Ottoman and Mughal empires of the 16th and 17th Centuries were a practical witness to the effectiveness of these concepts.

This remarkable book is an in-depth study into how Islam shaped and enlightened traditional European ideologies which led to reform and revolution across the continent, and how these ideologies would go on to influence the Founding Fathers of America.

"Never before to my knowledge has the cross-fertilisation of Western and Islamic ideas been so encyclopedically documented as it is here. In reading Islam and the English Enlightenment, you will never see the relationship between Islam and the West in the same way again."

Robert F. Shedinger
Professor of Religion, Luther College

"Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah’s Islam and the English Enlightenment is one of the most profoundly enlightening books I have read in years. Dr. Shah compellingly demonstrates that the thinkers of English Enlightenment were undeniably indebted to Islamic sciences and thought, and that the foundational principles of rationalist thought, scientific inquiry and religious toleration were deeply anchored in the Islamic tradition."

Khaled Abou El Fadl
Omar & Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

"This is a book that anyone interested in stepping outside a Eurocentric view of the rise of the West and of the modern age must read."

Michael A. Gillespie
Professor of Political Science & Philosophy, Duke University

"Dr. Shah convincingly demonstrates the central role that Islam played in shaping the values and ideas of the Enlightenment reformers such as John Locke and Isaac Newton who had helped to produce the modern world."

Gerald MacLean
Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter

St. Thomas Aquinas and Muslim Thought

St. Thomas Aquinas, the most known medieval philosophical theologian; the stalwart of scholasticism; the Doctor of Church; and one of the most influential figures in Western Christianity, was greatly influenced by Muslim synthetic thought.

The gulf between reason and revelation, faith and philosophy or Jesus and Aristotle were wider in Christianity than in Islam. Aquinas bridged that gap with the help of Muslim philosophical thought. This work highlights Aquinas’ intersections with the great Muslim philosophers and their impact upon his personality. Aquinas widely quoted Muslim philosophers and theologians, including Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, al-Farabi, al-Ghazali and al-Razi and acted upon their wisdom in many ways.

In the estimation of E. Renan, "St. Thomas owes practically everything to Averroes." The likes of A. M. Giochon, David Burrell and John Wippel among others asserted that Aquinas and his teacher Albert the Great were highly indebted to Ibn Sina.

Giochon noted that, "Avicenna was not only a source from which they all drew liberally, but one of the principal formative influences on their thought." He read Latin translations of their works and incorporated many of their ideas, thoughts and arguments into his project.

Aquinas’ upbringing in Southern Italy and his geographical and intellectual affinity with Islamic civilisation played a significant role in his intellectual development. His thirteenth century Christendom was fully engaged with Muslims on multiple levels. His greater family was involved with the neighboring Muslims of Lucera and Apulia and in the army of Frederick II.

Medieval Christianity’s transition from the Dark Ages was facilitated by Aquinas’ philosophical theology, which was also shaped by the translation of philosophical and scientific manuscripts from Arabic to Latin.

Aquinas was what he became partly due to these interfaith interactions, which are laid bare for the first time in this revelatory new book.

"Zulfiqar Ali Shah is a thorough historian of so much, as well as being an astute theologian — and the way he brings them together is masterful! I learnt so much from this study and found it fascinating as well…"

David B. Burrell, C.S.C.
Theodore Hesburgh Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame

"This work offers an insightful complement to the understanding and appreciation of St. Thomas Aquinas. This study shows the impact of Islam on Western Europe."

Joseph A. Buijs
Professor Emeritus (Philosophy), St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta

"I found this volume to be a wonderful resource for my own understanding of medieval philosophy and theology."

Bishop Richard J. Sklba
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Milwaukee

"Zulfiqar Ali Shah offers a detailed and well-researched study of the interactions between St. Thomas Aquinas and medieval Muslim philosophy."

Paul Badham
Emeritus Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales

About the author

Zulfiqar Ali Shah received his BA and MA (Hons) in Comparative Religions from the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan and his PhD in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Wales, UK.

He has taught at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, the University of Wales in the UK, the University of North Florida and Cardinal Stritch University in the US. He is the former president of the Islamic Circle of North America, Shariah Scholars Association of North America, the current Executive Director and Secretary General of the Fiqh Council of North America and Religious Director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.

He has authored many articles and books including "Anthropomorphic Depictions of God: The Concept of God in the Judaic, Christian and Islamic Traditions." His other ground-breaking books include "Islam and English Enlightenment: The Untold Story", "Islam and French Enlightenment" and "Islam and the Founding Fathers of America."