The beauty of this book is that Dr. Hamid Algar relies on Saudi historical writings themselves to proves his case. As it is an essay, it is quite shorThe beauty of this book is that Dr. Hamid Algar relies on Saudi historical writings themselves to proves his case. As it is an essay, it is quite short. I only wish it was expanded into a full-fledged book....more
This book actually exceeded my expectations. The author touches on almost every "controversial" issue by which the false puritans have made a divisiveThis book actually exceeded my expectations. The author touches on almost every "controversial" issue by which the false puritans have made a divisive criterion between "true" Islam and tradition. He cites numerous hadith as the basis of all his contentions, supported by quotes from authorities who are indisputably recognized in their fields, clarifying what Muslims throughout the generations have actually believed. Above all, the tone of the book is refreshingly positive - something which is uncommon in a refutational piece such as this. ...more
This perhaps one of the most well written, insightful and captivating books that I have had the good pleasure to have read. In sum, it is an advancedThis perhaps one of the most well written, insightful and captivating books that I have had the good pleasure to have read. In sum, it is an advanced introduction to Islam with a Perennialist Philosophical outlook (he probably references Schuon and Nasr more than anyone else). It is at times a novel, a metaphysical treatise and cultural critique. I was initially disturbed by the philosophical underpinnings of the author, particularly the "universal validity of religions" of which the first quarter of the book is laden, but he won me back over with an affectionate narrative of Umar ibn al-Khattab's rule and from that point on, the few perceived flaws of the book faded away into the background.
This book is not without its flaws, however. In addition to the perennial philosophy, he makes mention of the "closure of the gates of ijtihad" (which is more of an annoyance than a serious flaw - though he manages gives a decent philosophical defense of it), his characterization of "intoxicated" Sufism is problematic AND he argues for the temporality of Hell (something which in less confusing times was considered a blatant act of kufr). But all o this more or less is what Perennialism is typically known for, so there is nothing new here.
Be that as it may, I strongly feel that anyone who appreciates philosophy and a critiqued defense of traditionalism (in juxtaposition to modernism) will fall in love with this book.
I initially selected this book because my referral (King of the Castle: Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World) wasn't readily on hand and after reading this, it only makes me want to read that title that much more. All that being said, I would not necessarily feel comfortable with simply handing this book over to a new convert or non-Muslim and walk away before for the reasons stated above. It is not an easy read (though it isn't obtuse either) and someone who doesn't have a strong background in orthodox theology may be convinced by some of his more unorthodox views. But considering what else is out there, a person could do a lot worse. In spite of its flaws, the eloquence and insightfulness of this book alone makes is worth reading....more
The one review of this book on this site does not do it justice. Hence, this is my take: This book is perhaps the best statement and explanation on whThe one review of this book on this site does not do it justice. Hence, this is my take: This book is perhaps the best statement and explanation on why Islamism as a political tool has failed miserably. Far from being rooted in the Islamic scholarly tradition, political Islam is a reactionary movement whose ideological philosophy is rooted in Marxism and the violent revolutionary program that gave so much expression to the Independence Movements during the 50s, 60s and 70s. Though I do not agree with 100% of Olivier Roy's conclusions, the book nonetheless is a must read for anyone interested in global politics and the role that Islam is blamed for playing in global terrorism. Far from being the consequences of the teachings of a 7th century Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), it is more of a case of chickens and roosting. Daniel Pipes hates the book. That has to count for something... The fact that critics of the book cannot see how September 11th proves the authors thesis only demonstrates that when people have made up their minds, facts mean absolutely nothing. I would highly recommend that this book be read in conjunction with Imperial Hubris and War at the Top of the World. I am a Muslim and I do not disagree with the author. Not all Orientalists are bad....more
This has to be hands down one of the best and most insightful books that I have read in the past ten years. It is a must-read for every Muslim livingThis has to be hands down one of the best and most insightful books that I have read in the past ten years. It is a must-read for every Muslim living in the United States, as he has something to say to each member of our vast community. Though some will not agree with everything he has to say (including myself), he nonetheless needs to be heard. Just for his poignant critique of what he terms "Black Orientalism" alone, this book deserves to be on the shelf of every "Black Studies" section in every university library and Barnes and Nobles. After summarizing the history of Islam in the United States, he goes on to elaborate on a way forward for the future of Islam in America. Every aspect of this book is thought provoking and it actually caused me to take a radical departure from my previous views and roles regarding the early new age black religious movements of the past century. I also appreciated his decision to keep the discourse academic, instead of dumbed-down of mass consumption. If you are like me, you may need a dictionary from time to time, but I promise you will be better for it. This is a must read and a book that shall forever remain upon my shelf (once I replace my lent out copy)....more