A Life's Journey: The Story Behind a Book
Ahmed Paul Keeler
Paperback, 276 pages
Ahmed Paul Keeler recounts an extraordinary life that began in the 1940s with an idyllic childhood in a conservative Christian family in Windsor, and continued with the trauma of an English boarding school education intended to prepare him for running a British Empire that, by the time he left, no longer existed. Life then took him through three years of drama school and the angst of modern theatre, five years’ involvement with the cutting edge of modern art, an immersion in the 60s counterculture and then, through a series of life-changing encounters, led him to embrace Islam.
A born organizer, Keeler was producing plays as a teenager, and in his 20s set up and ran the pioneering Signals Gallery which promoted kinetic art. However, on another scale altogether was his creation of the World of Islam Festival of 1976. Opened by Her Majesty the Queen, this was the largest and most comprehensive cultural event of its kind ever to have taken place in London. Following this success, Keeler initiated and was engaged with various projects relating to Islamic civilization, traditional culture and the environment, the greening of inner cities and the interaction between cultures and civilizations in the pre-industrial age.
At the age of 70, Keeler finally yielded to a friend’s insistence that he should make available to others the knowledge he had gained from such a rich life, by writing a book. The result was Rethinking Islam and the West: a New Narrative for the Age of Crises, a work which questions the modern world’s obsession with progress, and proposes that the true criterion for judging the success of a civilization should be that of mizan or balance. This principle makes it possible to see the history of Islam and the West in an entirely new light.
A Life’s Journey is the companion volume to Rethinking Islam and the West, and tells the intriguing story behind Keeler’s challenging thesis.