This book is filled with both historical information and contemporary relevance, but Aslan somehow manages to convey it all with brevity, depth, depth, and sincerity. He avoids the pitfalls of dogmatism or sounding preachy on the one hand while unapologetically remaining faithful to the spirit and intention of Islam on the other. I would recommend it highly to anyone with even a passing interest in Islam. I would especially recommend it to the opponents of Islam, or to anyone politically-minded, as it presents what I believe to be an accurate, measured account of the history of one of the world's great religions and sheds light on so many of the current conflicts in which our world is embroiled.
No, but Kurup's reading is excellent.
We are not so different after all.
History is never written without being written from someone's perspective. I appreciated Mr. Aslan's in depth historical treatment of his subject as well his personal story of the return to his birth country and seeing current attempts to form a stable government based on Islam. I also valued his asking questions we all ask about this major religion. "Historically is it peaceful or violent and is it possible to form stable democratic government based on it's principles?" I think I will listen to his other book also.
Non Fiction Reader
At times I had a hard time following the books logic. He posits Iran as the harbinger of the future advocating plurality and human values etc. Then, later, refers to it as a fascist theocracy. He mentions "equality" but doesn't address the historical plight of women, apostates or slaves...who do not receive religious protection. Forget any mention of their ideas on homosexuality or adultry. Shias whipping themselves, the author maintains, is about "freedom" and there is no pain. He mentions Western imperialism but refuses to describe Muslim conquests the same way. Slaughters by Westerners are bad, but he justifies the same actions by Muslims. He likes absolves Muslims of any act by maintaining that Christians and Jews are just as "bad." I believe the author had an aim in mind to make Islam appear to be a pleasant form of worship and that anyone reading the book does not read a newspaper. He barely mentions how Muslim countries interact in the modern world (9/11 is mentioned but not deiscussed) or the reasons for their economic backwardness. (Bernard Lewis is a better read in these areas.) I found his description of Sufism hard to follow; it may have been easier in the written word.
This book is brilliantly written. It laid an excellent foundation for my understanding of Islam.
As a huge Sam Harris fan, I'd written Reza Aslan off after seeing him sound dumb in some of their back-and-forth's. I'll have to give him a second look, because this book was great.
I feel so much more confident understanding what's going on in the world after reading about the origins of Islam, and some of the background of how we got to the point we're at today.
This is just the start of my learning about Islam, but I feel great about the point I'm out thanks to this book.
this book has only gained relavance over the past decade. the lessons taught in it are invaluable to any political mind of the modern era, especially those seeking to understand the most pressing issues of international relations.
The book and content are very good. However, the choice of the narrator was very poor. In a book filled with words in Arabic, the pronunciations were butchered.
Understandably it is an English book but at least some emphasis should be given to proper pronunciation of words in foreign languages related very closely to the subject matter.
This guy represnts uninformed liberal islamic ideology very well. he has a fair grasp of liberal ideas, has obvious bones to pick, enjoys quoting passages from the Qu'ran that support his current mood -ignoring the common practice of taking verses later in the text as more authoritative (liberal people enjoy quoting the "love everyone" passages from surat two while islamic followers all know that it is the more intolerant later verses that are deemed authoritative today) - and he follows in the liberal tradition of stating something in one sentence and then contradicting himself in the next. (last ch min 36 islam has to be democratic because it is fundamentally so ....islam must start being democratic, and more. then he likes statements like "humans make laws, not God." a nice liberal secular view, but one that 80pct of the planet might disagree with.anyway, not an interesting read, but if you haven't had a good dose of fluff lately, this is the book for you!