Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples Paperback – December 7, 1999
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
One of the interesting ideas in this book is that great conversions take place when the pace of change overwhelms nations or cultures that "have no means of understanding or retrieving their past" because they lack the education, the language, and above all the freedom to reflect on it.Read more ›
What Naipaul depicts in this book and its companion volume, "Among the Believers," is nothing less than a very thorough "wiping out" of vibrant local cultures by a religion/political system that holds that everything before its arrival is from "the time of ignorance". (Never mind the fact that pre-Islamic Iran and Pakistan were fabulous empires that fathered ancient cultures far more sophisticated than anything produced by their Arab conquerors.)
Naipaul is relentless in hammering home this point through meticulously detailed observations. The most damning parts of these two books (I recommend buying both) are the contrasts that Naipaul draws between modern-day, non-Islamic India and modern-day, Islamic Pakistan -- India "ever expanding" and Pakistan "ever contracting" -- despite the fact that both share common races, histories, problems and cultures. If you read the current news about Pakistan and its precipitous slippage into religious obscurantism, you realize just how prescient Naipaul's observations have proven themselves to be. India, for all its overcrowding and poverty, is currently experiencing a high-tech boom and gaining world-wide respect for its vibrant film industry, Bollywood. Meanwhile, Pakistan's big "contribution" of the past few years to the world stage has been the production of an "Islamic nuclear bomb". No wonder this book makes Muslims uncomfortable. Thanks, Naipaul, for having the courage to write these books while living in the Salman Rushdie era.
Nearly two decades later, Naipaul recently retraced his steps and visited the same four countries, sometimes even visiting the same individuals he'd talked to a generation earlier. His quick vignettes, word sketches, and pieces of conversation make Beyond Belief a pleasure to read. His travels this time dwell less on internal contradictions and more on the widespread feeling that things have gone amiss. In Iran, the country of most direct interest to Americans, Naipaul finds that the revolution of 1978-79 has run its course and is virtually defunct. Regulations, Naipaul finds again and again, are everywhere, "deforming people's lives." They have taken the place of spontaneity. Naipaul finds that the government's heavy-handed use of religion has turned many Muslims against their religion. Hypocrisy has become rank: Men grow beards for job applications, to enhance their religiosity, then but them off. "The word religious rankled with Mehrdad," he notes of a typical young man, a believer in God but a rebel against the many rules His earthly representatives impose. Things have gotten so bad, a most revealing conspiracy theory is making the rounds-that Khomeini was a British agent and "the establishing of the Islamic state in Iran was an anti-Islamic plot by the Powers." In significant ways, Naipaul finds Iran to be an Islamic-flavored version of the Soviet Union.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you're reluctant to give Islam the bashing it deserves, try reading this.Published 4 months ago by O Otvos
Naipaul is a controversial figure without doubt, scathing (unfairly) in his criticism of his native country and myopic in his admiration of his adopted country, who is the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Raulin
Interesting book that gives you some background on the attitude of muslims!Published 18 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