I have taught World Religions in college and have done some research on Islam in China. I am not a fan of Islam nor of its image of God/Allah in the Q'uran. And yet Robert Spencer's book does a disservice to Christianity by using inaccurate translations of the Q'uran and relying on just a few of the more radical ancient Islamc sources.
Arabic, like Hebrew, is a Northwest Semitic language. I may not be able to read Arabic script but I can read with a phonetic script because of it's close association with Hebrew. Any seminary trained Christian can can read Arabic phonetic by studying Hebrew. So I was surprised at some of Spencer's reading of the Q'uran. Spencer is not an Arabic scholar. He ignores the better translations.
There are pacific and militant Muslims. Within a generation of Muhammad's death, Muslims differed as to the militancy of Allah. It may be safe to say that the origin of the confusion is in the ambiguity of Muhammad himself. By siding with the radical interpretation Spencer sees pacific Islam as a contradiction. It's not. It's the part of Islam that will survive the Islamic age of the Internet more than Jihadist swords of steel.
--Dana Roberts, MA, MTS
This is a very illuminating book, about the beginnings of Islam. It is full of interesting facts about where Mohammad came from, and how he was chosen as the prophet.It also tells what the division between the major sects is all about, this not a book about modern mainstream Islam. It tells the how and why Islam is more like Christianity than most Muslims will admit. If you are trying to understand The mind set of the Islamic radicals this book will help.
Yes, it brings about many facts and events that are correct according to my account of the history of islam.
Yes, He has critical sense and an apparent accademic presentation.
All the verses of Quraan, it touch me deeply in the heart. It is my first time to listen to them in English, with such elegant reading.
No, i had to stop many times and reflect on what was said
As a muslim i felt offended in many places reading this book. And I disgaree with much of the critique that was writtern about Prophet Mohammed. But it was interesting to know how Non-muslims may interpret Islam and the Islamic beliefs.
Points out important realities about the relationship between Christians, Muslems and Jews, revealing details that only someone educated in the issues could ever know. A real heads up for our current and future politics!
A Christian [my implication is that he starts out biased] writing about the founder of Islam has done a fabulous job of documenting an otherwise intelligible narrative of the founder's life. The sources are Islam's holy scriputure. The emphasis is not on what actually happened, which is unimportant from a practical standpoint, but what is perceived, as sanctioned by religious scholars, to have happened. Taking the treatment of women for example, the point is not that Muhammhed was a few decades or centuries ahead of his time in his treatment of women. For example, an apolgist on this website said [paraphrased], "But, he allowed women to own land." The point is that his treatment of women is seen by Islamists as the precedent for TODAY's treatment of women. The way the Islamist want women to be treated TODAY is important. And this is directly related to how Muhammhed treated women himself. How the religious believers perceive him is what is important.
By the way, for Christians and Jews: Muhammhed's God is eerily similar to the horrible God of the Old Testament (Written 700 BC). Muhammhed was just 1,400 years later, by which time Judaism had grown and developed quite a bit. Muhammhed just took it back old school monotheism: The old My God is Stronger than Your God argument. As an example, take the story of Muhammed and the adulterous woman. The author shows the various attitudes of the onlookers, and simply shows you, the reader, what Muhammed taught about it.
And for Muslims: You may have to take a close look at what Muhammhed actually taught when you read this book. The frightening thing is that it actually may justify terrorism in the mind of the devout Muslim. In fact, that's just the problem.
Moderates teach religion for "family values." Extremists are the ones who actually believe it.
There is no question this book is worth reading. However, books of this nature and subject matter really need a narrator who not only can keep one's attention but who can also inspire you to keep listening. Unfortunately, the narrator, whom I usually find to be easy to listen to, this time was a struggle. The narrator seemed to be in a rush and did not use enough inflection and change in tone. It was the subject matter that made it worth it.
As you can see from some reviews, this book offends many muslims and apologetics. However, the author of this book references nothing but the most highly regarded texts and speakers of the muslim world. He doesn't present only small out of context portions of their holy book. He presents the person in full context.
The problem many people have is that they really don't want people to know what type of Person Mohamed was. They are lovers of lies.
I am a psychiatrist.I am 80 year old,in excellent health and believe there is no end in learning and good books is the best. Way to Learn.
The writer has not done thorough review of literature.The author appears not. To be ableto differentiate between his time and muhammed's time.I hate to say that this is what happens < if your mother tongue is different from the language of the poetry you are Translating.)
To give such strong conviction one needs to have thorough knowledge of current a few hundred years old Arabic ,history of current old culture in which those things happen.
Finally do not quote socalled Mullahs and unauthanticated religious schoolers,these are the one and only one responsible for confusion.
If you want to write on religion especially Islam ,Islamic history Read Quran in contex,
we Americans are educated people and believe in things which are varifiable.
Apolagise for my English and no disrespect to wards the author.
The conclusions are not ,most of the time based on history.
He is good.
I think my reply is close to accurate at least in my opinion.r
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
It often happens that you stumble upon a book that could've stayed on the shelve. If you're not American and have an academic knowledge of the Muhammad, this book might be too much to stomach. If you are American and like politics this book is for you. Still I found it very biased. I caught my mind frequently opting out when trying to listen to this audio book.