These essays illustrate the diversity of Islam as lived by Muslims throughout the world and argue for an adaptive missiology that approaches Muslims with a studied appreciation for their specific context (p.144). The essays are written by sixteen practitioner-scholars with a wealth of first-hand experience in often-sensitive Muslim settings, as witnessed by the fact that five of the authors use pseudonyms.
The collection is comprised of eighteen essays: two introductory chapters conceptualize Islam and argue against an essentialist view of one true, orthodox Islam, fourteen case studies illustrate Muslim diversity and two concluding chapters seek to reframe missiological engagement with Muslims in light of this diversity.
The case studies that make up the heart of this volume let the reader share the experience of meeting various kinds of Muslims, none of whom seems to fit stereotypical expectations for Islam and its followers. Along with this shared experience of encounter, these essays offer practitioner reflections supported by a wealth of relevant detail: the words of Muslims and converts from Islam, theoretical perspectives, statistics, trends, historical and political context, and cultural and linguistic issues. Rather than focusing on contestations between Islamic and Christian orthodoxies, these studies take a social science approach that explores the meaning of these diverse Muslims' experience and questions how bridges of understanding might be constructed in sharing the gospel with them.
This collection has assembled an admirable array of contributors who have experienced the diversity of Muslims around the world and are thus able to offer thought-provoking insights. Yet it must be observed that, of sixteen contributors, only one is a woman. This valuable collection of essays
would surely have been greatly enriched and better able to serve its intended purpose had it included the voices, experiences, and insights of more female practitioner-scholars.
This volume explores a missiological approach to Muslims in all their diversity, so it is not surprising that most of the contributors confine themselves to discussions of how to 'reach' various kinds of Muslims. In today's world, access to Muslims of all kids has greatly increated. Yet we are also witnessing the historically unprecedented increase of Christians of Muslim background (CMB) and the emergence of congregations made up of such believers. Of fourteen case studies, four (chs. 3, 11, 13 and 14) touch helpfully on issues of discipleship and Christian formation for CMBs. A similar collection that delves into issues of discipleship and Christian formation for CMBs from such diverse Muslim backgrounds would be a valuable addition to the contribution made by this excellent book.
Reviewed by Charles E. Faroe – PhD researcher at IBTS Centre, Amsterdam.
Gene Daniels and Warrick Farah (eds.), Margins of Islam: Ministry in Diverse Muslim Contexts (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Publishing, 2018), 240 pages. ISBN: 978-0878080663.