Farid Esack is an internationally known South African Muslim scholar, speaker, and social activist. Since 1997 he has been a Commissioner for Gender Equality, a post to which he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela. In this re-visioning of Islam, he tries to steer between dehumanizing fundamentalism and fossilized traditionalism: "This is a path of a radical Islam committed to social justice, to individual liberty and the quest for the Transcendent."
Esack reveals how the believer's relationship with Allah is spelled out in such acts of devotion as pilgrimage to Mecca, prayers five times a day, and fasting during the month of Ramadan. The rest of the book unfolds in a series of expanding circles as the author examines the meaning of Islam in relationship to self-esteem, sharing as an act of love, conflicts with Western ideals of progress and development, discrimination against women, the problem of religious labels, and the value of religious pluralism. Esack's vision of Islam comes across as very relevant to our times.