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Losing My Religion: A Call For Help Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeffrey Lang has authored or coauthored several Star Trek novels and short stories, including "Immortal Coil", "Section 31: Abyss", "The Left Hand of Destiny", Foundlings (in the anthology "Prophecy and Change"), and Mirror Eyes (with Heather Jarman, in the anthology "Tales of the Dominion War"). He lives in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, with his partner Helen, his son Andrew, an irascible cat named Samuel and a fearful hamster named Scritchy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: amana (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590080270
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590080276
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sithara Batcha on December 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Have you ever felt out of place in the Mosque? Ever feel you couldn't really express yourself freely in the Muslim community? Ever wonder about issues such as pre-destination versus free-will, or the purpose of life and suffering? Ever question whether the Prophet (s) REALLY said this or that hadith? Ever feel a conflict between the need to submit to God and the need to rationally explore Islam? Ever wonder why Imams and Scholars never really seem to answer difficult questions, but criticize those who ask or brush them aside?

If so, you are not alone, and could benefit from LOSING MY RELIGION: A CALL FOR HELP. Throughout the book, Lang, tackles such difficult questions and comments put forth to him by second generation Muslim Americans (and Canadians), converts, doubters, apostates, evangelists, and others. He uses the Qu'ran, the hadith, and numerous resources from both Muslim and Non-Muslim scholars of Islam, but most importantly, he also uses reason. What results is a rare book which squarely addresses issues facing the Muslim community, with a particular emphasis on current Mosque culture and the place of rationality in Muslim thought and discourse.

Its important to note at the outset that Lang is not some Muslim hack or discontent who wishes to change the religion to suit his desires. Reading the book, it is quite clear that he is a devout Muslim who takes his religion, including the rituals very seriously (he prays regularly, and very often in the Mosque). His compassion, love and concern for his family and his mother also shine through.

The book is divided into three sections: in the first part, Lang addresses his first experience with the Qu'ran, which led directly to his conversion.
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Format: Paperback
This book addresses the issues of Second Generation American Muslims and American converts to Islam with a tip of the hat to their Canadian counterparts, as the issues described are largely the same in both countries. The book is laid out in three large chapters, the first contains elements of the author's conversion story with emphasis on his first contact with the Qur'an, the second contains the author's exploration of hadith scholarship (both traditional and contemporary), and the third addresses the tremendous cultural pressures that both born American Muslims and converts face in trying to adapt to mosque culture. Conversely, it explains their (our) conspicuous absence in proportionate numbers from the mosque. The author uses actual letters and emails from readers of his first and second books as examples and writing prompts for his responses. Throughout the book, Prof. Lang offers his no-nonsense insights to Islamic scholarship, Islamic history, Muslim cultures, and American culture. His observations are penetrating, and this book is a wakeup call for those who would prefer to ignore the issues and maintain the status quo.

As an American convert to Islam I found this book comforting, due to the challenges I have faced in adapting to my local Muslim community. I found, as many converts do, that while Islam itself is pretty straight forward, the cultural/political dimensions of many masjids in the US are positively Byzantine (pun intended). Prof. Lang does not have ready solutions for the problems he describes, but he does offer an essential approach -- dialogue. My only reservation about this book has nothing to do with its merits (5 stars), but rather I fear that the people who would benefit the most from it, such as mosque administrators and imams, will not read it.
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Format: Paperback
This work by Dr. Lange is his most important yet. A very well-researched, dispassionate discourse that is absolutely vital to any American Muslim, whether convert or American-born.

Dr. Lange takes his correspondence with disenfranchised and disenheartened Muslims; North American converts, North American born, and Foreign born, and formulated responses to their concerns and doubts about Islam. The common thread in all of these many people is the corruption in the practice of Islam caused by centuries of cultural bias and parochial influence. The cause is well-known to so many Muslims not only in North America, but the world over.

Additionally, Dr. Lange is trying to resurrect the practice of reason, which was at one time the hallmark of the Religion, and now an unencouraged, forgotten practice, relegated to ancient history.

Unfortuately, the ruling parties at the North American Masjids(Mosques) are insistent on riveting their operations and customs solidly to cultural norms of the middle-East, which discourage thought and repress women, and have resulted in a massive absence of Muslims from North American Masjids.

Through excellent research and argument, Dr. Lange identifies the bones of contention between the disenfranchised and the Masjid elite, its deep-seated roots and causes. Although the cure for the disease has yet to be worked out, a problem recognized is a problem half-solved.

Sadly I fear this excellent work will be ignored by those who could benefit from it the most; the entrenched who are in possession of the Masjids. The change will come slow, if at all, and will take a great deal of courage. Dr. Lange is to be commended for his excellent work, which could very well serve as the linchpin for change and progress in North American Islam.
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