Abdullah Diab's Reviews > Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
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A very nice book, an eye-opener, I would have given it 5 stars if the author had listed the sources for many things he talked about, and if he had not mixed scientific results and data with his own personal opinions and judgements about stuff that are not scientific at all. A good portion of those opinions were wrong, and show that the author didn't do much research to build those opinions, so I really advise any reader to not take them as true but to seek and find the truth on his own.

As a muslim I found many viewpoints that the author included about Muslims, Islam, and Muhammad (pbuh) not to be true, I'm only talking here about the ideas about how Muslims think, or how Islam works, or how Muhammad (pbuh) thought, not about any contradictions that some people of religion might have with the evolution or other science , and these viewpoints showed that the author does not really know much about Islam, or he didn't do his research well and relied on weird sources that are not worthy of trust, and this actually caused a problem for me, I wasn't sure afterwards whether what I'm reading regarding other things is to be trusted or not, is it true or not, it just seems that the author has put so much of his own understanding of things and mixed them with science, and those don't really mix well; for example:

For example, the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his religious career by condemning his fellow Arabs for living in ignorance of the divine truth. Yet Muhammad (pbuh) himself very quickly began to argue that he knew the full truth, and his followers began calling him ‘the Seal of the Prophets’. Henceforth, there was no need of revelations beyond those given to Muhammad (pbuh).

I'm a muslim and I know for certain that Muhammad (pbuh) didn't at all argue that he knew the full truth, on the contrary, he, in many times and many places, asked other people to do the right thing because he doesn't know better, for instance once he was asked a question about farming, and his answer was I don't know, you know your things better than I do. He never claimed to having acquired full knowledge, nor the truth, it is even in the Quran stated that you must seek knowledge and think and look for answers for everything in the universe, and especially for your self, the Quran asks people to look for the intelligent design inside their bodies, and this book is a proof that we haven't yet figured out fully how our bodies work and why, the Quran told Muhammad (pbuh) to ask his companions for their opinion and their ideas, the Quran told Muhammad (pbuh) also to seek the truth and worship the creator until he dies, and thus one cannot by any means claim that Muhammad (pbuh) argued that he knew the full truth, and one cannot claim that Islam didn't urge people to look for answers, and one cannot claim that the Quran says you shall only find answers within the Quran. So if this is one of many ideas that I could argue that the author had wrong, I think that Buddhists might have some ideas too, Christians, Jews, Communists, Marxists, and others too! So be careful when you read this book, don't take those opinions seriously, they might be really spoiled by the author's understanding and personal interpretations.

The book has great pieces, very informative, well structured, although I wanted a bit more details about certain eras of the humankind history, but in general it's a very good book.

One of the most striking things you might get to know from this book is that Homo sapiens have been harming the Earth and everything that lives on it for a very very long time;

Don’t believe tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of biology.

Also that agriculture is not as good as you might think it is, it didn't convert us into better people, instead it converted Homo sapiens into miserable beings;

The Agricultural Revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, but the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather, it translated into population explosions and pampered elites. The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return. The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud.

I recommend people to read this book and get some insights on the Homo sapiens history, and to question many things and many aspects of our lives.
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Reading Progress

October 1, 2016 – Started Reading
October 25, 2016 – Shelved
October 25, 2016 – Shelved as: kindle
October 25, 2016 – Finished Reading

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Mudassir Ajmal I 100% agree with you, my brother

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