“Islam dan Diabolisme Intelektual” by Dr Syamsuddin Arif (Short Book Review)

I have read this book for a while, actually. This my review on it:

The term “intellectual” is a fascinating, fancy, yet an elusive one. There seem to be endless understandings towards this term, and from it flows an endless trend of ‘intellectualism’. However, as time goes by I cant help but become uncomfortable. As one who aspires to become a Muslim academic (not an academic who is coincidentally a Muslim or vice versa), raised and educated by figures and trends generally deemed to be “intellectual”, something just doesnt seem right about all this. It’s as if there is something ‘diabolical’ with all these trends and figures surrounding me in the ‘intellectual’ trends I gain knowledge from and take part in. Dr Syamsuddin Arif’s book “Islam dan Diabolisme Intelektual” is a collection of essays written over a decade on Islam vis-à-vis contemporary ideologies confronting cultural, social and political issues such as liberty and human rights, religion and secularism, interfaith dialogue, feminism and gender mainstreaming, corruption and civilization, jihad and terrorism. It serves like glasses to the eyes with blurred vision.

I finally could start to understand why have I had all these “intellectual discomforts” all this time. It gives the “Ooh!” to the bits and pieces of knowledge and discourse I have been through. Reading through, it put a new meaning towards what I thought I have known, experienced, and even believed. As it ends with ‘mind-tickling’ and thought provoking poems, this book did not only give me the (much needed) enlightenment. It also gives hints, open questions, and a push to me as a reader to answer -and live up to- a very important question: what then? This book is an imperative necessity to those who truly desire knowledge. Kudos to such a great work! I look forward to more.

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