Acclaimed writer V.S. Naipaul has the eye of a novelist, the fearless curiosity of a 2-year-old, and the tenacity of a cornered badger. In Beyond Belief, he puts these three attributes to use in delving into the secrets of Islam--the other Islam, that is. Journeying into the non-Arab Islamic countries of Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia, Naipaul wonders about how these young nations are absorbing a resurgent Islam into their ancient societies and where it might lead them. His exploration is at the grassroots level, through the people living and breathing Islam today. Naipaul illustrates his points with vignettes about characters he meets, by both happenstance and calculation, along the way. We learn about their histories, their families' histories, their motivations, and their dreams. The mosaic that materializes is not always appealing, for Naipaul is a sensitive but disinterested observer, more a watcher than a champion. Islam, we learn, is a font of hope for the converted peoples, sweet when taken in gulps but often bearing an acrid aftertaste. It buries traditional cultures under promising new foundations, indirectly encourages broken families through polygamy, and turns only tentatively to face the issues of modernity. From beginning to end, we find ourselves empathizing with Naipaul's subjects, seeing ourselves in their struggles with family, religion, and nation, feeling their drive to create a fresh world of virtue and prosperity. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this spiritual travelogue, novelist and essayist Naipaul picks up where he left off in his earlier Among the Believers (1981). Whereas in that earlier work he focused primarily on his own stories of his encounters with the revolutionary potential of Islam in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia, here he allows individuals in those countries to tell their own stories about their experiences with the Islamic faith. Crucial to Naipaul's argument is what he sees as the imperialism of Islam. "Everyone who is not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands.... The disturbance for societies is immense, and even for a thousand years can remain unsolved." In Iran, for example, a young teacher remembers with anguish and cool reflection giving up his university education to be a part of Khomeini's religious revolution, only later to be jailed and almost killed by the Revolutionary Guards for failing to give Khomeini unwavering support. Naipaul also recounts the story of an Indonesian leader who integrated Western technology with his Muslim faith in order to gain a lucrative job in the Suharto administration. Naipaul's luminous prose provides glimpses of insight into the lives of ordinary people whose dedication and commitment to the practice of Islam is the foundation of their lives.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Interesting book that gives you some background on the attitude of muslims!Published 9 months ago by Sops
The prose is elegant and well written. Nice to read about these unknown countries and how culture influences you. Naipaul is a great reporter and analyst of character.Published on June 5, 2012 by Shailesh
By revisiting the countries and the people he described in a previous book (`Among the Believers'), V.S. Naipaul sees the former believers going `beyond belief'. Read morePublished on February 24, 2010 by Luc REYNAERT
Again Naipaul visits the islamic states Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia, 14 years after his first journey about which he reported in his first book. Read morePublished on March 26, 2009 by Roman Nies
I noticed that the one-star reviews are by written by Muslims, meaning the book must be incisive and accurate. I'm buying it. Read morePublished on August 15, 2008 by Scaramanga
Here, the great traveler and cultural observer V.S. Naipaul travels to lands in which non-Arab peoples were historically converted to Islam. Read morePublished on August 2, 2005 by doomsdayer520
In my point of view, this book is a Classic.
First because its prose, its writing quality. Read more
V.S. Naipaul's personality portraits in Beyond Belief are not overtly discriminatory as some reviewers have claimed, but a subtle hubris and xenophobia does creep into the text. Read morePublished on December 28, 2004 by TC
I will break the mold and give this book 2.5 stars! I read Beyond Belief two years ago, and recently, I read two of Naipaul's other books, Among the Believers and India: A Wounded... Read morePublished on November 12, 2003 by "ihatestupidshows"