Abdel Hussein Shaban, Religion of Reason and Jurisprudence of Reality: Debates with the Jurist Sayyid Ahmad Al-Hassani Al-Baghdadi (Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies, 2021). 320 pp. ISBN 9789953829395

How do we read religious texts? The Iraqi writer Abdul-Hussein Shaaban tries to answer this question through debates with the Islamic jurist Ahmad Al-Hassani Al-Baghdadi in relation to issues pertaining to religion and religiosity, religion and reason, religion and reality, religion and science, and religion and law. Shaaban argues that whenever we deal with religious issues, the dark era—corresponding to the Dark Ages in medieval Europe before the Renaissance—arises to prove that it still inhabits many of our minds, nestles in our language, controls our behavior, and dominates our traditions. It imposes stagnation, heavy restrictions and stereotypes upon us, pushing our thinking towards the past instead of looking to the future.

Hence, the writer stresses the need to review and question...

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