No god but God: The Origins and Evolution of Islam
Beginning with a vivid account of the social and religious milieu in which the Prophet Muhammad forged his message, ...more
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Aslan makes a strong case for the Hijaz as a place of prelapsarian cultural intermingling for Jews, Christians, and Muslims; his po ...more
This quote (from West Wing- yeahyeahyeah) kept coming to mind while I was reading this book. Reza Aslan has done this to absolutely brilliant effect. This book, which functions both as an introduction to the religion of Islam and a political statement on current affairs, frames Islam and its history in terms meant to make it sympathetic and understandable to an audience raised in Judeo-Christian based, secularized ...more
On the one hand:
There are multiple cases of seemingly intentional skews. One particular example is Aslan's analysis of the practice of stoning adulterers: He says it was instituted by Umar, the second successor of Muhammad. Umar apparently lied about it being a part of original Revelation that was somehow "accidentally" left out of the authorized text. Aslan then refers to the hadith collections of Muhammad al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj as t ...more
In the other I say for the sake of all that's holy Reza, will you stop banging on about how Islam is a liberal-democrat's wet dream religion? Because that doesn't sit very well with your endless claims that the Ulama comprises ...more
If there is anything I didn't like, it would have been Reza's retelling of the history of the first three Caliphs of Islam especially the third Caliph, Uthman bin Affan. In this book, Uthman comes off looking like an inept leader who practised nepotism and corruption. Did Reza take notes from historical sources that were anti-Uthman? There have been m ...more
this was a book that mike recommended to me, and it just so happened that our local library had a copy.
i think most of us in the 'west', and certainly a good number of us christians, like to think we know a bit about islam. we hear about it in the news almost everyday, and we hear the rhetoric that comes from all sides. unfortunately, it is usually only sensationalist material that makes it to the news, and i have to admit that the sa ...more
This book is a great antidote to the kind of ridiculous rhetoric we see about "Islamofascism" (essentially a contradiction in terms, btw) as it explores the history of Islam, and how that history is the real subject of the current divide in the Islamic world. The author's central thesis is that the collected textual and extratextual traditions of Islam, like those of any other religion, can be assembled t ...more
He ultimately relays the history of Islam from the context in which it was first revealed, through to its current state in flux. He's very academic but keeps the language accessible and fluid. He tackles events and instances from the lif ...more
The only thing I disliked was the apologetic tone often ...more
"All religions are inextricably bound to the social, spiritual, and cultural milieux from which they arose and in which they developed. It is not prophets who create religions. Prophets are, above all, reformers who redefine and reinterpret the existing beliefs and practices of their communities, providing fresh sets of symbols and metaphors with which succeeding generations can describe the nature of reality. Indeed, it is most often the prophet's suc ...more
The story of Aisha (one of Muhammed's wives) and her lost necklace in particular had me snickering at the idea that Allah w ...more
If you want to read a good introduction to the Muslim faith and how it's played out since Muhammad, I recommend this book. I certainly learned a l ...more
1. The Quran does not dictate Muslim women to wear the veil...yet countless women have been imprisoned, tortured and/or murdered for not wearing the veil.
2. Jihad once prohibited wars unless it was in defense. Now, it oft is the rallying factor behind war.
3. Members/supporters of al-Qaeda "believe their rigid and Puritanical form of Islam is the onl ...more
It really is one of the most interesting economic and social stories I've heard in a while. A tribe takes over the local religious icon and reorganizes the town around it. The closer you live to the Ka'ba, the wealthier you ...more
Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is author most recently of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
He is the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world, and co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and abou...more