The History Book Club discussion


Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
This is the thread which will be devoted to the discussion of the history of ISLAM and related topics.

message 2: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I like Karen Armstrong's brief but good biographies:

Muhammad A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong by Karen Armstrong

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you for the add Bryan.

message 4: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Bryan, I've also enjoyed some of Karen Armstrong's books. Here is a book from my library that I am yet to read (story of my life) that supposedly offers an interesting history on the Sunni-Shia schism; "The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad" by Barnaby Roderson.

Heirs Of The Prophet Muhammad by Barnaby Rogerson by Barnaby Rogerson

Another one of his titles is; "The Prophet Muhammad".

Prophet Muhammad by Barnaby Rogerson by Barnaby Rogerson

message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Another book:

Islam A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles) by Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong by Karen Armstrong

message 6: by abclaret (new)

abclaret | 20 comments Been meaning to read this after hearing good things;

Muhammad by Maxime Rodinson by Maxime Rodinson

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam

From the Harvard University Press

Hajj Journey to the Heart of Islam by Venetia Porter by Venetia Porter


The Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is the largest pilgrimage in the world today and a sacred duty for all Muslims. Each year, millions of the faithful from around the world make the pilgrimage to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam where the Prophet Muhammad received his revelation.

With contributions from renowned experts Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Hugh Kennedy, Robert Irwin, and Ziauddin Sardar, this fascinating book pulls together many strands of Hajj, its rituals, history, and modern manifestations. Travel was once a hazardous gamble, yet devoted Muslims undertook the journey to Makkah, documenting their experiences in manuscripts, wall paintings, and early photographs, many of which are presented here. Through a wealth of illustrations including pilgrims’ personal objects, souvenirs, and maps, Hajj provides a glimpse into this important holy rite for Muslim readers already grounded in the tradition and non-Muslims who cannot otherwise participate.

Hajj does not, however, merely trace pilgrimages of the past. The Hajj is a living tradition, influenced by new conveniences and obstacles. Graffiti, consumerism, and state lotteries all now play a role in this time-honored practice. This book opens out onto the full sweep of the Hajj: a sacred path walked by early Islamic devotees and pre-Islamic Arabians; a sumptuous site of worship under the care of sultans; and an expression of faith in the modern world.

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jul 01, 2013 03:45AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question

Islam and the Fate of Others The Salvation Question by Mohammad Hassan Khalil by Mohammad Hassan Khalil(no photo)


This book like many others that are centered in a specific religion start with the premise that they believe that their religion and those who practice it are the only people who will be saved while all other non believers of their faith will not be.

This author takes the premise that the above is not true and he has studied some Islamic scholars who feel that others who are not Islamic will be saved too.

Here is the goodreads review:

Mohammad Hassan Khalil masterfully approaches a difficult topic.

What happens to non-Muslims when they die?

Who is accountable for accepting Muhammad’s prophethood?

Could any sane person possibly reject the truth were it clearly revealed to him?

In order to address these questions and others, Khalil’s probes some of the most prominent premodern and modern voices in Islamic history. The author unearths not a monolithic consensus but instead a cacophony of opinions concerning soteriological matters, which overwhelmingly envisions a heaven filled with Muslims and non-Muslims.

This is an illuminating study of four of the most prominent figures in the history of Islam: Ghazali, Ibn 'Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Rashid Rida.

As an added bonus to Khalil’s robust and provocative study, his adroit prose reads smoothly and his storytelling is exquisite. That combined with meticulous attention to transliteration and precise, fluid translations, makes Khalil’s monograph an absolute pleasure to read and should appeal to specialists and non-specialists.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others

Between Heaven and Hell Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others by Mohammad Hassan Khalil by Mohammad Hassan Khalil (no photo)


This synopsis is from the Publisher:

In Between Heaven and Hell, eminent and up-and-coming scholars representing a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints address the question of non-Muslim salvation: according to the Islamic ethos (however understood), what can be said about the status and fate of non-Muslims?

Each of the volume's contributors responds to this often asked "salvation question"-a question with profound theological and practical implications-from different angles: while some limit themselves to its historical dimensions, others approach it as theologians and philosophers, while yet others focus on the relationship between this-worldly relations with Others and next-worldly conceptions of salvation.

Collectively and individually, the essays in this volume advance our understanding of Islamic thought and Muslim societies and indeed the discourse on religious diversity. This groundbreaking volume does not conclude with neat resolutions; instead, it offers fascinating expositions, debates, and points of departure for further contemplation. Contributors include Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Tariq Ramadan, William C. Chittick, Farid Esack, Mohammad Fadel, David M. Freidenreich, Marcia Hermansen, Jerusha Lamptey, Bruce B. Lawrence, Muhammad Legenhausen, Yasir Qadhi, A. Kevin Reinhart, Sajjad Rizvi, Reza Shah-Kazemi, and Tim Winter.

message 10: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) I read this recently and enjoyed it. It appears to be well researched but includes lots of speculation, in my opinion.

The First Muslim The Story of Muhammad by Lesley Hazleton by Lesley Hazleton Lesley Hazleton

And here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Muhammad’s was a life of almost unparalleled historical importance; yet for all the iconic power of his name, the intensely dramatic story of the prophet of Islam is not well known. In The First Muslim, Lesley Hazleton brings him vibrantly to life. Drawing on early eyewitness sources and on history, politics, religion, and psychology, she renders him as a man in full, in all his complexity and vitality.
Hazleton’s account follows the arc of Muhammad’s rise from powerlessness to power, from anonymity to renown, from insignificance to lasting significance. How did a child shunted to the margins end up revolutionizing his world? How did a merchant come to challenge the established order with a new vision of social justice? How did the pariah hounded out of Mecca turn exile into a new and victorious beginning? How did the outsider become the ultimate insider?
Impeccably researched and thrillingly readable, Hazleton’s narrative creates vivid insight into a man navigating between idealism and pragmatism, faith and politics, nonviolence and violence, rejection and acclaim. The First Muslim illuminates not only an immensely significant figure but his lastingly relevant legacy.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Libby for the adds.

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Libby for these adds on the religion threads.

message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
The book looks very good Libby.

message 15: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I think it is typo, Libby, just add the title link and not the image.

(no image) The Clerics of Islam

message 16: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Perfect :-)

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thanks Bryan and Libby.

message 18: by Cassandra (new)


Destiny Disrupted A History of the World through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary by Tamim Ansary Tamim Ansary

We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe—a place it long perceived as primitive and disorganized—had somehow hijacked destiny.

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Libby - looks like a good add.

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
That looks interesting Libby.

message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Teri

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Teri for all of the adds on the religion threads.

message 23: by Ty (last edited Apr 09, 2015 05:44PM) (new)

Ty Teri wrote: "Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

Heretic Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now by Ayaan Hirsi Ali by Ayaan Hirsi AliAyaan Hirsi Ali


Is Islam a religion of peace?"

This has, by far, been the worst book that I have read this year, and probably one of my all-time least favorite books that I have read in general.

With a background in journalism and a love of academia, I have very strong respect for the institution of the dissemination of information to the public. As such, I take works that seek to contribute to public discourse very seriously. The more serious the topic and the more critical the point being posited, the more demanding I tend to be regarding the robustness of the argument being put forth.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali puts forth very serious negative accusations regarding the faith of over a billion people (which she claims is inherently violent and supportive of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram) and also presents herself as an authority in her field of discourse, so needless to say that my expectations for the robustness her related thesis was high.

Ayaan’s resulting book was highly disappointing. Her entire work relies heavily on sweeping generalizations, anecdotal evidence, and downright factual inaccuracies.

She starts off her book by stating that she isn’t going to differentiate between different schools of Islamic thought, a poor place to start for any analysis given the sheer diversity that exists within the faith. Accordingly, she makes absolutely no distinction between say, the political Shiism of Iran or the Wahhabi style conservatism of Saudi Arabia, or the more liberal Hanafi school of thought in Turkey.

She insists that the real Islam is Pakistan where blasphemy against Muhammad can land you in jail or see you executed, but she says nothing of Albania which is both majority Muslim and more open in terms of free speech and religion. She insists that Islam is Saudi Arabia where churches are banned and Christians persecuted, but says nothing about Senegal, which is not only more open religiously speaking, but even elected a Christian as its first post-independence Prime Minister while simultaneously existing as a predominately Muslim country. She insists that Islam is Iran where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged, but ignores Turkey where such practices are not illegal. She insists that it is Brunei where the Sultan is reinstituting Islamic Sharia Law making homosexuality punishable by death, but ignores Brunei’s neighbor, and the most populous Muslim country in the world: Indonesia where homosexuality is legal and in fact becoming more visible over time, not less.

She states: “I will not sub-divide Islam” It is a pretty damning statement for the legitimacy of her own analysis, because the simple fact is that Islam is sub-divided and does not exist as a monolith and never has, even during the time of Muhammad there was great debate among the community of the faithful. Her entire premise rests on the accuracy of this strikingly flawed notion of a singular Islamic entity. This becomes very problematic since she wants to rely heavily on hadith for her analysis of islam without any recognition of the vast levels of debate and disagreement over them within the Islamic world, to say nothing of base divides such as those of Shia Islam, and sunni Islam, or even of the more mystical knowledge bases of Sufis. She wants to use the Sahih Bukhari as a paintbrush for Islam? Well it’s inconsequential then that Shias don’t view it as authoritative, to say nothing of the discussions over the legitimacy and strength of the chains of authority for individual hadiths within these collections which she doesn’t even mention (thus treating each individual hadith as being equally robust when this has never been the case within Islamic religious legal study).

She states that money is important in conflict, but that religious doctrines are more important, yet offers no statistical evidence of this and no modeling to even show that doctrine in and of itself is even a significant causal variable at all let alone more important than money which, unlike religion, has actually been shown within conflict studies to statistically matter.

She states that Islam has “resisted change for 1400 years” which is somewhat completely dismissive of Islamic history because it has changed quite a bit over the past 1400 years; otherwise there would be no need for the rise of Salafis in the first place, their calls to a return to the base of Islam would be meaningless if Islam never truly evolved outside of that “base.”

Other minor, but glaring factual inaccuracies were also prevalent:

1.) She states that Al-Ghazali was second only to the Prophet in his importance in Islam and that it is him who has inspired jihadi groups such as Boko Haram, and ISIS when in reality, common consensus within Islamist ideological examination points instead to roots in Ibn Taymiyyah and his writings on the justification of regime change as it related to the Mongols. She not only fails to mention him, she apparently doesn’t even know that this ideological base for Jihadists was actually historically greatly dismissive of Al-Ghazali in his writings claiming that Ghazali had no understanding of Islamic hadith and shouldn’t even be considered a scholar of Islam. So her suggestion that Jihadists revere him and his writings makes little sense and is either a major oversight on her part stemming from an unfamiliarity of basic general Islamist discourse, or is representative of blatant intellectual dishonesty for the sake of trying to more strongly link mainstream Muslims to Jihadis.

2.) She apparently couldn’t tell the difference between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement which she claims were the ones who engaged in the 1983 Beirut bombings of the US Marine center when in reality it was the Islamic Jihad Movement that was instead Lebanese, received support from the Iranian government, and would go on to become known to the world as Hezbollah. If one were new to the field one could easily be forgiven for mixing the two groups up, but for someone claiming authority on the subject there is no excuse for such basic oversight. Linked to this, she claims that Palestinians have been the most prolific users of suicide bombs (without providing any supporting statistics) which is also numerically and historically not true (See the Tamil Tigers, or now the Taliban, and the Haqqani Network to say nothing of the spreading violence in Iraq).

I gave her the benefit of the doubt for a while, but towards the end of her book it was clear that she was being blatantly intellectually dishonest simply for the sake of selling more books. She repeatedly accuses Muslims of failing to engage in critical thought and then proceeds to show a complete lack of such thoughtfulness in her own writing. Deeply disappointing and the complete opposite of informed discourse. There is simply nothing redeeming within her book.

message 24: by Ty (new)

Ty Teri wrote: I hate to hear that, Ty. I read her book Infidel and liked it somewhat. Thought it was long winded at times, but was interested with the overall message. I'm glad you posted this review. I tend to read some reviews on Goodreads before I choose a book, and I was thinking of reading this one of hers since I read Infidel. I may rethink that."

I haven't read Infidel, so i can't make a comparison. I imagine that it would be better though and probably draws more closely from her own experiences in Somalia. I have seen her name thrown around in discussions before so when I saw she had a new book out I picked it up so that I could better understand where others were coming from vis-a-vis their positions.

It was just such a huge disappointment, and the book was very clearly designed, not to engage the 'Muslim world' in discourse as she states, but rather to cater to conservative western thinkers who she has obviously identified as her reader base. In other words, I feel like she sacrificed intellectual honesty for the sake of selling her books and rather than couch her position in discourse that would be conducive to open and engaging discussion with Muslims, she instead simply went down a list of general conservative talking points that she knew would be popular among her base.

My original review was much longer, just because there were so many parts of her book that simply failed in their robustness and even in their factual accuracy. Like stating that Boko Haram has a genuine belief in returning to the practices of Muhammad, thus linking the atrocities that we are seeing currently in northern Nigeria to the core of Islam, when in reality Boko Haram's own PR machine has largely given up trying to justify their specific attacks with religious scripture or hadith references. The current Boko Haram is ideologically speaking, nothing like it was under its founder Muhammad Yusuf.

Likewise she states that Boko Haram's ideological structures stem from traditional Islamic practices within Nigeria, which I feel is a rather ludicrous claim seeing as how Boko Haram has assassinated and tried to kill remaining members of Nigeria's traditional Islamic elite such as the Emirs of Sokoto, Kano, and Bornu, and seeing as how the Nigerian Islamic council has condemned them repeatedly (all things she fails to mention when putting forth her claim). Nor does she reference the fact that they currently rely primarily on forced recruitment tactics, instead painting a picture of thousands of ideological crusaders which has little basis in reality.

What irks me even more than the base factual inaccuracies though is that she never considers any counterarguments to her posited position. She never takes to time to consider other possible causal variables outside of Islam for the conflict that she attempts to analyze. She gives no analysis of differing viewpoints and when, on the rare occasions that she even mentions one, she dismisses it offhand without any counterargument (something she complains about others doing to her in the beginning of her book).

And then there are little things, like the notion of poor families flocking to hear Muhammad Yusuf speak at his Nigerian "Mecca" when in reality Muhammad Yusuf's messages were primarily distributed to the poor through tape recordings. Stating that Muhammad Yusuf was killed in fighting, when instead he was arrested and extra-judicially executed by the Nigerian security forces (something for which the US heavily criticized Nigeria for). Or even stating that Boko Haram's first terrorist attack was in 2011 which isn't accurate if she is (as she does) treat the Yusufiyya and Shekau's organizations as Boko Haram as well. The 2011 date completely ignores Shekau's spree of violence under the Nigerian Taliban movement.

Others include her section where she goes off topic of her overarching thesis to plug in an examination of Islamic persecution of Christians. While making her list of examples of targeted Christian victims she includes the Genocide in Darfur, despite the fact that all sides in said dispute are overwhelmingly Muslim, not Christian. Then she mentions Sudan's boming of South Kordofan, despite the fact that the Nuba people: the targets of the campaign, are predominately Muslim, not Christian.

These are some of the little things that she gets wrong that indicates a general lack of true familiarity with the subject matter that she is attempting to utilize.

There is no critical examination of her own work, no robust analysis, and no data driven / statistical support for her own positions. It is simply a display of poor academic standards.

message 25: by Ty (new)

Ty Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought

Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought Texts and Contexts from Al-Banna to Bin Laden by Roxanne L. Euben by Roxanne L. Euben and Muhammad Qasim Zaman (no photos)

Synopsis: This anthology of key primary texts provides an unmatched introduction to Islamist political thought from the early twentieth century to the present, and serves as an invaluable guide through the storm of polemic, fear, and confusion that swirls around Islamism today. Roxanne Euben and Muhammad Qasim Zaman gather a broad selection of texts from influential Islamist thinkers and place these figures and their writings in their multifaceted political and historical contexts. The selections presented here in English translation include writings of Ayatollah Khomeini, Usama bin Laden, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, and Moroccan Islamist leader Nadia Yassine, as well as the Hamas charter, an interview with a Taliban commander, and the final testament of 9/11 hijacker Muhammad Ata.


My take: I absolutely loved this book. It is primarily a collection of translated works written by influential Islamists. the book itself, and every section is introduced by the two editors of the book and is heavily sourced and footnoted and detailed in its analysis making the book an excellent reference resource. I only really had two "complaints": the first was that, despite its already considerable length, I would have liked it to be longer and more encompassing. The second is that I would love to see an updated edition now that Osama bin Laden has been killed and Zawahiri is at the helm of Al Qaeda. It would also be great to see works on Al-Baghdadi, and Muhammad Yusuf, as well as the new wave of internet Islamists. The book does much to showcase the differences in the roots of modern Islamist discourse relative to traditional Islamic practices and discourse, with a particular emphasis on the seemingly anti-scholar rhetoric that many Islamists have come to utilize and come to rely upon to justify their own lack of formal religious education.

message 26: by Ty (new)

Ty Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence

Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence by Mohammad Hashim Kamali by Mohammad Hashim Kamali Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Synopsis: In this work, Prof Kamali offers us the first detailed presentation available in English of the theory of Muslim law (usul al-fiqh). Often regarded as the most sophisticated of the traditional Islamic disciplines, Islamic Jurisprudence is concerned with the way in which the rituals and laws of religion are derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah—the precedent of the Prophet. Written as a university textbook, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence is distinguished by its clarity and readability; it is an essential reference work not only for students of Islamic law, but also for anyone with an interest in Muslim society or in issues of comparative Jurisprudence.


My take: A wonderfully detailed introduction to the complex subject of Islamic jurisprudence. Primarily a Sunni work, it none-the-less covers the scholarly basics that make up scriptural and Hadith analysis within Islam, as well as the methodology for the construction of sharia law sets. A perfect panacea for popular websites that attempt to paint Islam as a monolith. also a panacea for the seemingly widespread notion of a singular sharia law set and uniformity in interpretation of scripture and Sunnah that many in the west seem to view Islam through or accuse it of. Having a good foundation in the basics of Islamic jurisprudence is key to understanding modern Islamic political, legal, social, and religious discourse and you will find such a foundation within this book.

message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Ty for the adds.

message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) Hi a lot of interesting books on this thread. I am looking for a good book covering the history of Mohammad.

message 29: by Ty (new)

Ty Michael wrote: "Hi a lot of interesting books on this thread. I am looking for a good book covering the history of Mohammad."

Hi Michael, I have read several biographies of Muhammad. My favorite thus far is Muhammad A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong by Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong.

It does a good job of looking at the wider context of Muhammad's life and actions and how they tie to Quranic revelations. A lot of other biographies of him such as:

Muhammad His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Martin Lings by Martin Lings Martin Lings

Are more so narratives / written in story format rather than well sourced looks at his life. So I didn't care for Lings work as much. lings also sort of requires you to be familiar with both the Quran and Muhammad already and lacks the sort of critical examination and analysis that Karen Armstrong provides.

message 30: by Michael (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) Ty wrote: "Michael wrote: "Hi a lot of interesting books on this thread. I am looking for a good book covering the history of Mohammad."

Hi Michael, I have read several biographies of Muhammad. My favorite ..."

Thanks Ty I have just went and purchased Armstrong's book,

message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thanks Teri for helping Tony and welcome Tony.

message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Well somebody else might be able to help you out more - but I did find this:

List of the Oldest Mosques:

List of First Mosques by Country:

10 Oldest in World:

A video on youtube on oldest mosques in world


Also this:



But this thread probably is not the right one to get some help on that.

There is an Islamic Religion thread and here is the link:

You might find some folks on that thread that might be able to help you - some Islamic scholars possibly.

We also have another thread where you might be able to ask folks for some help - here is that thread: (this is a thread where you can look for a certain book or for information on a certain subject and folks can help you out)

I hope this helps you but I will place this on the Islamic religion thread where it probably belongs the most. However check out the other threads as well.

message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 07, 2016 08:30AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Well that was an interesting post Talha. I think that Muslims are in a tough spot nowadays because of the terrorist acts that have been done in Islam's name. In the United States and other democratic Western cultures that I can think of - those who are knowledgeable try to separate out the religion and peaceful people from those who are doing terrible things to innocent people. We certainly do not want an entire population to suffer at the hands of radicals, or radical fundamentalism or terrorists if that is the only word to describe the horror done to individual civilians just going about their day. Some who have died in these terrorist attacks have been innocent Muslims just going about their day too - going to work or working (like during 9/11, or in Brussels or in Paris or on trains in London or anywhere else where these horrible things occur). Most of us are trying to be moderate and understanding of the "peaceful Muslims" and they are not the same as what we consider the bad radicals.

The Jews had no place to go in terms of returning to their roots and they have been persecuted terribly. However they are welcome in the United States, have integrated into society and they are welcome in most places around the world. Israel I guess is a place which they can call their own and hopefully live in peace although they have not gotten a lot of it. Iran has gone through many upheavals and change at the top of its leadership and they were a vastly different country under the Shah than they are now. I think things are improving somewhat as of late - but it is a matter of perspective how different countries view each of these countries and what they are doing as far as government and leadership.

Your own country of Pakistan began with upheaval and freedom to govern being given to India when the British left and turned the government of India over to its leadership. Many feel that the two countries should have still remained as one. Pakistan has gone through a lot with many different government regimes running it. I am sure that you have lived through some of these and have feelings about them all.

However what we have learned over time is that a government that is able to separate religion from state is better off because then all religions can live peacefully together. Many religions like to feel that they are the chosen religion or the chosen ones and that leads to all sorts of problems for all sorts of people.

I have visited Dubai and the UAE and felt safe and welcomed. I think that these places have a lot to offer the Middle East and Southeast Asia in terms of their commercial growth and their graciousness, their ability to be moderate and to be peaceful and to be tolerant of others. Of course that is the perception of an outsider. But most - thankfully - feel safe in these places.

I do not agree with your concept of jihad if that is what you are posting about. I think that is revengeful and a get even approach which democratic countries cannot tolerate and shouldn't. I think that hate and intolerance and being vengeful and doing horrific things should be banished from the minds of all human beings no matter where they live, no matter what their religion, no matter what their experiences have been. Being loving, kind, forgiving, understanding, moderate, not killing others are qualities that are as basic for us as the ten commandments. These are the qualities that will enhance the way of life for all religions including Muslims. So I hope that I am misunderstanding you and that you are not for hurting others because you feel that you have been hurt or bad things have happened to you.

I think everybody wants to believe that Muslims are peaceful.

We are also quite astute in realizing that there are some sects and radicals and evil people who do not want the world to believe that.

And because of hate in their hearts and in their minds they are trying to hurt innocent people for their own terrorizing ideologies. We feel that these people are wrong. Hurting anybody is wrong.

History has found that these kind of ideologies always ultimately fail although along the way they cause a lot of harm and destruction. I think the Arabs in the peaceful countries and locations have it right - I think it is better to grow in peace and harmony and love than not. I do not think it is good for any people to fear, to be hurt, to be hated, or to be "targeted" because they are different.

I have no idea why you are on the side of intolerance if I understood correctly because the History Book Club is only about civil discourse, understanding, exchanging of ideas for the betterment of folks globally. It is about education and happiness. Everybody knows that there are evil people out there but we would rather they keep their evil ways and evil thoughts to themselves. We would rather promote understanding and global love. And we wish you love too and we hope you find it in your hearts as well. But I want to remind you and I want you to understand and respect that we do this strongly - this site is about peace and toleration of everybody no matter where they reside or who they pray to. We are glad that people pray and want to be the best and the most kind and tolerant that they can be. We are also tolerant of those who don't - we are tolerant - that means we tolerate and we get along.

I am sorry that you are so tormented by progress and feelings of wanting to belong and to be tolerant of others and others to be tolerant of you. There is no harm or weakness in apologies, there is no harm in making tall buildings, there is no harm in teaching your youth to be grateful for peace, love and happiness in their lives and to be able to promote it in others. There is goodness in exclaiming, believing and living peaceful lives. All of that is good but living in darkness, despair, promoting vengeance and hurt or worse on others is sad, dark and horrific. I wish you light, I wish you peace and I wish you "global love". That is what we are about here.

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 07, 2016 01:46PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
I understand the "origin of the word" and I do not believe in it. Most civilized countries do not.

I do not know you - I only know you by some of your ideas and some of the words which you have posted. I do hope you are "nice" but some of your ideas disturb me. But we are tolerant here and try to understand but we do not believe in that concept (jihad). Stereotypical - I do not think so - but understanding the "literal meaning" of what you are saying - I am afraid that I do.

You see Talha - you are posting to an individual that wants to believe that Muslims are nice and is tolerant of those who are but not tolerant of fundamentalists who hurt people who just do not believe what they do. They are the ones who are intolerant.

Did you ever hear the saying - those who live by the sword - die by the sword - that is what happens to those who try to force their beliefs on others and do it by harming them. And jihad is like that. It is like a boomerang which comes back and gets its owner. I haven't read that book - I also have a lot of books already on my to be read list so I will not get to it.

I feel for the Syrian people, I do not respect or admire Bashar Al Assad and Hezbollah - one a man and the other an organization - which has done a lot of harm to a lot of people and destroyed a country in the process.

Again Talha - I wish you peace and I do hope you have many friends of many different faiths. But I think like all religions it is time to come into the next century and develop a more global understanding and tolerance or the end result (the flip side) is staying in the dark and festering on perceived or real injustices without peace, without understanding and without toleration.

Horrible existence.

message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 23, 2018 07:34PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Ibn Khaldun: An Intellectual Biography

Ibn Khaldun An Intellectual Biography by Robert Irwin by Robert Irwin Robert Irwin


The definitive account of the life and thought of the medieval Arab genius who wrote the Muqaddima

Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) is generally regarded as the greatest intellectual ever to have appeared in the Arab world--a genius who ranks as one of the world's great minds.

Yet the author of the Muqaddima, the most important study of history ever produced in the Islamic world, is not as well known as he should be, and his ideas are widely misunderstood. In this groundbreaking intellectual biography, Robert Irwin provides an engaging and authoritative account of Ibn Khaldun's extraordinary life, times, writings, and ideas.

Irwin tells how Ibn Khaldun, who lived in a world decimated by the Black Death, held a long series of posts in the tumultuous Islamic courts of North Africa and Muslim Spain, becoming a major political player as well as a teacher and writer.

Closely examining the Muqaddima, a startlingly original analysis of the laws of history, and drawing on many other contemporary sources, Irwin shows how Ibn Khaldun's life and thought fit into historical and intellectual context, including medieval Islamic theology, philosophy, politics, literature, economics, law, and tribal life.

Because Ibn Khaldun's ideas often seem to anticipate by centuries developments in many fields, he has often been depicted as more of a modern man than a medieval one, and Irwin's account of such misreadings provides new insights about the history of Orientalism.

In contrast, Irwin presents an Ibn Khaldun who was a creature of his time―a devout Sufi mystic who was obsessed with the occult and futurology and who lived in an often-strange world quite different from our own.

message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Science and Islam

Science and Islam A History by Ehsan Masood by Ehsan Masood (no photo)


Today it is little acknowledged that the medieval Islamic world paved the foundations for modern science and the scientific institutions that now form part of our everyday world. The author provides an enlightening and in-depth exploration into an empire's golden age, its downfall and the numerous debates that now surround it.

message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology)

Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (Transformations Studies in the History of Science and Technology) by George Saliba by George Saliba George Saliba


The Islamic scientific tradition has been described many times in accounts of Islamic civilization and general histories of science, with most authors tracing its beginnings to the appropriation of ideas from other ancient civilizations -- the Greeks in particular.

In this thought-provoking and original book, George Saliba argues that, contrary to the generally accepted view, the foundations of Islamic scientific thought were laid well before Greek sources were formally translated into Arabic in the ninth century.

Drawing on an account by the tenth-century intellectual historian Ibn al-Naidm that is ignored by most modern scholars, Saliba suggests that early translations from mainly Persian and Greek sources outlining elementary scientific ideas for the use of government departments were the impetus for the development of the Islamic scientific tradition.

He argues further that there was an organic relationship between the Islamic scientific thought that developed in the later centuries and the science that came into being in Europe during the Renaissance.Saliba outlines the conventional accounts of Islamic science, then discusses their shortcomings and proposes an alternate narrative.

Using astronomy as a template for tracing the progress of science in Islamic civilization, Saliba demonstrates the originality of Islamic scientific thought.

He details the innovations (including new mathematical tools) made by the Islamic astronomers from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, and offers evidence that Copernicus could have known of and drawn on their work.

Rather than viewing the rise and fall of Islamic science from the often-narrated perspectives of politics and religion, Saliba focuses on the scientific production itself and the complex social, economic, and intellectual conditions that made it possible.

message 38: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4301 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: February 1, 2022

The Caliph and the Imam: The Making of Sunnism and Shiism

The Caliph and the Imam The Making of Sunnism and Shiism by Toby Matthiesen by Toby Matthiesen Toby Matthiesen


In 632, soon after the prophet Muhammad died, fights broke out among his followers as to who would succeed him. A small number of Muslims--who would become known as the Shia -- believed only members of Muhammad's family should lead. The majority, however--the Sunnis--insisted that the leader should be elected by the community's elite. This initial dispute marks the origin of the Sunni-Shia split in Islam.

In The Caliph and the Imam Middle East scholar and expert Toby Matthiesen explores this hugely significant division from its origins to the present day. Moving chronologically, Matthiesen sheds light on how this initial divide has shaped and continues to influence current events in the Middle and Near East. His book spans from the 7th century to the present, and in particular focuses on one of the key moments in the conflict--the Saudi-Iranian divide, the source of so much conflict in the Middle East. Matthiesen emphasizes the period after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which precipitated the first recent "hot" war in the rivalry, between Iran and Iraq, and he reflects on Sunni and Shia jihadists and their influence on the political landscape of the world today.

Detailed, thorough, and illuminating, The Caliph and the Imam will become the standard text for readers looking for greater understanding of the region's contemporary conflicts and their historical roots.

back to top