reza aslan was born in teheran, iran; he now lives in hollywood CA
that's quite a scholarly transition to accomplish in one life time
it gives him a unique perspective to relate islam's own impending transition
islam began, in tribal desert isolation, about 600 years after christianity
three of the first four islamic leaders, to follow mohammed, were assassinated
even today, islam retains many of its' harsh, mercantile and feudal elements
but, aslan persuasively argues, much of that history really doesn't matter
the changes outside of islam are minor compared to the changes within islam
the conflict and carnage we see from the outside, obscures an inner turmoil
islam is desperately trying to come to grips with the modern world
it's similar, aslan argues, to the catholic church's encounter with the reformation
the problem is that islam lacks the enlightenment tools for the job
of the 500 best universities on the globe not one is in the muslim world
basic literacy in many arab countries approaches only 40 %
illiterate, uneducated tribesmen make for a slow religious renaissance
reza aslan has the almost impossible job of explaining islam to the west
the task requires equal measures of bravery and scholarly insight
we should applaud him for trying, many others will follow in his steps
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.
I enjoyed listening to the history if Islam by Reza Aslan. It was informative and answered many questions I had about this world religion.
I was assigned to read this book for a comparative religion book. I didn't end up having the time to listen to the whole audiobook. I got about a third of the way through and realized there was far too many chapters left to listen too. The teacher assigned three chapters a night, which for this book = hours of listening or reading. I might have enjoyed it more had I taken the opportunity to listen to it for fun. Though it seems like this book is for a scholar, not the curious student. It goes deep into all of the historical intricacies loosing my attention many times. There was also a rant that seems endless about how Muslims aren't racist, especially against Jews, seems a little desperate to convey the point. Not a terrible book but I would not recommend it unless studying Islam is your passion.
This book is very well done and gives you a good overview of current world views in Islamic nations. You won't get this info from western media...they are too busy reporting on Miley Sirus and her dancing exhibitions!
If you have an interest in Islam...start here.