Reza Aslan in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
From the very moment that God spoke the first word of Revelation to Muhammad — “Recite!” — the story of Islam has been in a constant state of evolution as it responds to the social, cultural, political, and temporal circumstances of those who are telling it. Now it must evolve once more.
It may be too early to know who will write the next chapter of Islam’s story, but it is not too early to recognize who will ultimately win the war between reform and counterreform. When 14 centuries ago Muhammad launched a revolution in Mecca to replace the archaic, rigid, and inequitable strictures of tribal society with a radically new vision of divine morality and social egalitarianism, he tore apart the fabric of traditional Arab society. It took many years of violence and devastation to cleanse Arabia of its “false idols.” It will take many more to cleanse Islam of its new false idols — bigotry and fanaticism — worshiped by those who have replaced Muhammad’s original vision of tolerance and unity with their own ideals of hatred and discord. But the cleansing is inevitable, and the tide of reform cannot be stopped. The Islamic Reformation is already here. We are all living in it.
Full essay here.