Marty Solomon's Reviews > The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith

The Trouble With Islam Today by Irshad Manji
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Aug 25, 2011

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Read from August 25 to September 03, 2011

I read this book as the final read in a personal search for an elementary understanding of Islam. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and cannot speak into her deeper thoughts or methods, since I am mostly ignorant. For those that do not know Manji, she is definitely a progressive Muslim who critiques her faith for it's blind following of tribal Islam (and what she later calls "foundamentalism" - idolizing the foundation of the faith).

She calls the reader to take part in "ijtihad", an ancient Islamic tradition of independent thinking and innovative evaluation of the faith's orthopraxy; she claims that the faith as a whole has refused to think for itself, ask good questions and stand up to the tribal leadership of Islam. The book was a refreshing read. There were many parts of the book that made me think; here is one of my favorite quotes:

"But none of this has to mean that Islam is the problem. After all, most of the world's Muslims - that is outside the Middle East - live in electoral democracies... That makes sense if Muslims are a community brought together by their faith in God. Everyone says we are. We believe we are. We must be.
"Suppose we are not. Suppose we're not really joined by faith in God, but by submission to a particular culture. Could it be that Islam, even of the passive sort, is more a faith in the ways of the desert than the wisdom of the divine, and that Muslims are taught to imitate the power dynamics of an Arabian tribe, where sheikhs rule the roost and everyone else chafes under their rule?"
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