The continuing developments in Islam since Wismar’s time make this book as relevant today as it was when it was published. The question explored here is what the approach of Islam is towards religious tolerance. To get at the answer, Wismar went back to the Quran and the practice of Muhammad, Abu Bakr, and Umar Ibn al-Khattab, the first two Caliphs, in order to determine what the primary sources taught on the issue.
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Truly a book before its time, Wismar’s question has special relevance in our post 9-11 world. Intrigued by the question of what Islam really teaches about tolerance of other faiths, Wismar went back to the primary sources - the
Quran and the Caliphs - to determine what Muhammad originally taught on the issue. Not surprisingly, the unfolding viewpoint is complex. Wismar begins by defining religious tolerance and then delves into what the Quran has to say about it and what the practice of Muhammad was. The motives behind the territorial expansion of Islam are also considered. Wismar explores the outlook of Abu Bakr and Umar Ibn al-Khattab, the first two Caliphs after the Prophet. What emerges is a fluctuating perception of tolerance, based on the personalities and circumstances of the times.
Adolph Louis Wismar (b. 1884) earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He was active in the Lutheran Church, having written articles for the former periodical Pro Ecclesia Lutherana.