The lack of in text citation is always a pet peeve for me with historical writing. In some places he goes wonderfully into detail and other times he plops and idea out there that I really feel needs elaboration or citation of some kind and there isn't any. The last couple chapters I very much enjoyed and it really gave me a different perspective on the route that Islam is going in modern times. Overall a good over view of the history of Islam with great insight on where its headed. Worth the read if your interested in an approachable intro to the subject.
Really learned SO MUCH about true Islam. Very informative and easy to read. Will probably buy this.
Who is Paul Austin Murphy?
“When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks” (Quran, 47:4).” The problem with this book stems from the writer, and is very well detailed and explained in these excellent articles: www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/198727/problem-reza-aslans-book-about-jesus-robert-spencer and www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/11/christian_terrorists_and_the_innocence_of_islam.html. “The author argued that the teachings in Quran do not demean women and that man and woman are created equal?” Ask women in the muslim world how they like their status! (I thought this book was written by Aslan, not Murphy...)
Not bad, but I wish Aslan didn't try so hard to push a political agenda.
A well-rounded book, and a journey well into the heart of islam. However, sometimes it mentions themes, promises them to explore them further but they never show up in later chapters. Other than that, and of course, because the publisher and editors must have wanted to deem it readable, it is a concise explanation into the past, present and future of Islam and its relevance to the modern context. The book also tries, albeit in a very slight manner, to distinguish between myths and historical facts.
It is regrettable that our library system has only one copy of such an important book available, especially at a time when we need to be better informed about Islam. This book should be widely read in order for this to happen.
I think there has been a revival of previous works y Aslan after the success of Zealot. This is a scholarly book, easier to read than the Armstrong history of Islam, and I certainly recommend it for westerners looking for more insight into the Muslim mind. Bravo Jac444 for your excellent synopsis [below]
Finished the 140 pages over the weekend -- short but engrossing.
The book covers the rise of the Prophet and his several following leaders. The book described him to be more of a social revolutionary than a religious fanatics. He preached against the established social injustice and had to flee Mecca for his life. He then built a Utopia based on his teaching with the backing of local Jewish and Arabic tribes. Eventually his teachings (care for the under-privileged, all men are equal (!), women should be allowed to inherit (!!) and more...) attracted enough followings and he won back Mecca without bloodshed.
What did he do when he went back to Mecca? He shattered ALL idols (No Gods but God) but the images of Jesus and Mary. This is following the same vein that Christianity and Islam are from the same Faith (or something like that, I am no scholar).
The book also tries to dispel some common (at least seems to me) perceptions people have about Islam -- for example, is Islam a "religion of sword", meaning all Kafirs should be killed? No, Quran stated "let you believe in your god and me mine".
The book has a dedicated chapter talking about the status of women in the Islam faith. The author argued that the teachings in Quran do not demean women and that man and woman are created equal. This idea was in front of the western thinking and practice by about 1000 years. However, after the death of the Prophet, the interpretation of his teaching fell mostly to the people that wanted the status quo back (i.e. men OWN women and others).
Read the book and gain a new perspective about Islam.
I highly recommend for anyone seeking to better understand how Islam began, has evolved, and (less persuasively stated) is currently in transition. Author makes efforts to present his views non-ideologically. I leave it to the reader to cast the final vote on how successful he is in doing that....
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