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Taqwacores: A Novel

32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1570271670
ISBN-10: 1570271674
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Editorial Reviews


"An absolutely fascinating book . . . Michael Muhammad Knight has bravely written what could well become an essential text." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael Muhammed Knight converted to Islam at sixteen after reading Malcolm X's biography, and spent two months at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. He later left orthodox Islam. His writing regularly appears in progressive Islamic venues. He lives in Western New York State.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Autonomedia (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570271674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570271670
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,256,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sabah Al-Noor on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
WOW. This is one of the most brilliant books i've ever read! Who would have thought that two things like Islam and Punk rock could ever overlap, let alone be combined in such a genius way. From the radical feminist in full burqa(her burqa is covered with band patches!), to the straightedge punk with Qur'an verses tattooed on him, to the mohawked drunk punk who plays the call to prayer on electric guitar from the roof of the house...this book is just genius in every detail! The only problem i can imagine is that he uses A LOT of arabic terms and Islamic references which may be hard to understand if you don't have background knowledge about Islam. But READ IT ANYWAY! Find somebody you can ask if you need the terms defined for you. This book is worth the time! (p.s.the word "fasiq" means "pervert") Not exactly for the conservative thinker...BEWARE, you will need to think outside the box on this one. Though the end result is something that is unexplainably...blasphemously reverent, dogma-smashingly righteous...what can one say?...allahu akbar!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jonbodhi on August 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book wasn't my first exposure to punk (I highly recommend 'Please Kill Me') or my first exposure to Islam, but I had a lot of curiosity about how such seemingly incompatible cultures could blend.

Having read it, I'm still not sure they do. I can't imagine American punks bringing any aspect of Christian practice into their music as many in this book are determined to do, but I'd guess a lot of that has to do with being a minority in a larger culture which sometimes barely tolerates it.

In the end, I'm not any more drawn to punk or Islam than I was at the beginning. Both have elements embedding within them that just don't appeal to me, but I found myself liking most of the Muslim punks I met in these pages, and while I wouldn't join them, I can sympathize a bit more with them, and I think I have a clearer view of Islam. I wish luck to those who want to innovate, no matter what their brothers and sisters think.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By azulay on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a muslim, I thought the book was brilliant. It really showed me that there ARE other people who have discussions about how absurd it is that "if you make a drawing, it will torture you in the afterworld", and I couldn't stop reading it. I finished the book in 2 days, so, especially if you are slightly familiar with islam: READ IT!

Now, from a literary point of view, I was kind of disappointed by the end. I mean, I really loved it, but the end was kind of too depressing. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be (it's a punk novel), but maybe I would have preferred a more "Epic" end...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ramadan on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
The most important book detailing the American Muslim experience. I have yet to seen a book that has so eloquently recounted the frustration, loneliness and confusion over a divided identity of many American Muslims youth or second generation immigrants from Muslim countries who have grown up in a post-9/11 America. Whether its critiquing the oppressive conformity experienced by Muslims whether it be "uncles" of suburban mosque or racist high schoolers, or even the mosque mood put on by of many Muslim Americans, observing the boundary breaking etiquette of punk culture or creating an entirely unique subculture, one that can even turn the Israeli Star of David into symbol of incredible offense or the produce imaginary works of pulp/ sci-fi writer Abu Afak; The Taqwacores humors, agitates and force its readers to question faith, culture and reconsider the force that shape our identity. This book is also to powerful and courageous in bringing to the forefront some that do anger many mainstream Muslims, such as a gay Muslims or critiques of the Prophet, and does so in an honest manner that makes it a worthwhile conversation, while advancing an internal dialogue about current American Muslim culture. It should be noted that there should have been glossary for Arabic and punk terms, or a least for the Arabic terms, it might obstacle for some readers to get over. Another issue is that although each of Mr. Knights complaints about Muslim culture means a lot to many Muslims (many who have tried to reconcile those issues), the list does become a strong point of detraction for non-muslim readers, becomes repetitive and tiresome.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hillary C on May 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after hearing about it from a friend who has led the punk rock lifestyle through and through. I frequented an anarchist collective and was involved in the anti-war movement, so I found the portrayals of punk rockers quite accurate. It was nuanced; it was not all "get p***ed, destroy" that some people perceive punks to be or the ideological and philosophical legends that each punk rocker and anarchist imagine themselves to be. It portrayed the Muslim punks as torn between their Muslim identity and the attraction of the Bacchanalian abandon of punk rock.

Yes, Knight's writings probably appear to be blasphemous to believers, as main characters discuss their dismissal of Hell and engage in haraam and self-proclaimed bid'a activities. But these people are as realistic as the evangelical "Leave it to Beaver"-types. Yes, young Muslims engage in premarital sex, and like many other normal teens, may have mixed or confused feelings about it. Yes, young Muslims imbibe alcohol and other psychoactive substances, like other teens. And young Muslims, like many other people in the world, question the faith of their parents and grandparents. It is actually refreshing compared to the hyper-devotion of Islamists and the seething hatred of Americans towards Islam today.

The characters show noticeable development. Jehangir Tabari is your typical male punk, and tries to wax philosophic about having sex with multiple women. Unlike most male punks, he has an epiphany about the direction of his misogyny. Yusuf Ali transitions also, from not caring, to condemning the hypocrisy and infidelity of the punks in the house, to cautious acceptance. Of course, it comes crashing down at the end--just like anarchist collectives or the unified umma before the death of Muhammad.
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