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Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing Paperback – March 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159376443X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593764432
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Framed as a kind of memoir-as-road-novel, Knight’s account is ostensibly about his journey to drinking ayahuasca, a psychedelic tea popular in South America. Yet, as with any good journey, the path includes numerous detours, and Knight’s side trips add depth and complexity far beyond what one might expect from the story of some guy looking to trip out. Knight, an American Muslim, places the drinking of ayahuasca in the broader context of the Islamic tradition, musing on what the Qur’an says about drug use and offering a broad, historical examination of the faith. The book is really a series of short essays about Knight’s experiences, held together by an overarching story line but without a strong linkage from chapter to chapter. Along the way, Knight self-consciously struggles with his narrative style, shifting from an academic discussion of Islamic history to casual drug conversations heavily peppered with “peace.” Yet, despite the shifting tone, Knight, who has been called “the Hunter S. Thompson of Islamic literature,” never loses his authenticity, whether he is discussing religion, sex, or drug use. --Eve Gaus

About the Author

Michael Muhammad Knight is a novelist, essayist, and journalist. He converted to Islam at 16, after reading Autobiography of Malcom X, and traveled to Islamabad at age 17 to study at a madrassa. He is the author of The Taqwacores, Impossible Man, Osama Van Halen, Journey to the End of Islam, and William S. Burroughs vs. The Qur’an. Knight lives in New York and North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

The question is not to know if it's reasonnable to write or read this book.
l'aviateur
MMK engages in ad hominem against Corbin, and merely jeers with no substance at all to his claims.
Siv
I'd need to discuss. iF he teaches an on line class I would certainly enroll.
Dr. Jcherry Muhanji

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Waterman on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reads like a rant for the first two chapters. From there on seems mostly downhill. Way too much speculation and mixing black panthers and radical Islam with ayahuasca without a really good justification just doesn't hack it for me. I appreciate the effort to underscore the relationship or similarities between mystical Islam and altered states, but the approach is too crude to yield anything authentic. This is a cross between boisterous rappers on Islam and a rant, in the background, about civil rights and ethnicity, but it just doesn't tackle root issues and for those buying the book for its mentions of ayahuasca this will contribute very little to your insight. The cover design is great, as is the title, but the author clearly lacks experience and still needs to join the dotted lines. Unfortunately, like Graham Hancock, reputedly censured by TED, enthusiasm can't make up for knowledge.
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Michael middle name M Knight obviously likes a good fight and if you're the type of reader who enjoys being ranted at, or what Knight refers to as one of the 'marks' then you will probably enjoy the bludgeoning.

I gave it three stars because, as the book progressed I disliked the author more and more and more. Not just because he comes across as an arrogant prick, but because the book is filled with gonzo garbage, as if he is still trying to live up to the Hunter Thompson label that somebody gave him a while back.

"If nothing else I drank the caapi vine at a counterterrorism convention, which might add something to the project and read as a gonzo-ish thing to do."

He ends by saying: The meaning of Fatima's body, of my touching it and even becoming it and then writing it and the question of how she relates to those bodies in my other books, will be decided by readers that I have never met. Let me know.

I think if Fatima read the book she might say, "Try again, but this time with more feeling and less testosterone."
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By l'aviateur on October 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A bit messy, but interesting. Rude and brave. Not advised to classical literature lovers. Even if it's not easy to find a way through all Muhammad Knight's provocations, I think he has objectively a real talent for creating a modern funny and instructive literary work that nobody's seen before. The cover and design is beautiful and makes the book pleasant to read. The question is not to know if it's reasonnable to write or read this book. I think all the informations mixed in it give some signs of how one should read the living symbols of the world, to really understand religion's message, beyond what's told, written, or untold and unwritten.
How to interprete historical events. Here, beyond mess, there's something like a effort to think or approach the modern time issues and even the religion state of mind of future/tomorow that should not be messy but full of understanding for what the world is.
A lot of questions, but a daring approach. For inquiring minds ONLY.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Justin Harlan on April 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Michael Muhammad Knight's latest book, <em>Tripping With Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing</em>. As is very typical with MMK's work, I was usually captivated, somewhat enlightened, and, at times, extremely confused. We'll start with what I learned.

Knight's latest work taught me a great deal about the history of drug use in religious practice, the basic background of the Santo Daime faith, and some parts of the slave trade that I don't remember covering in history class. I also learned about how Transformers and Dinobot Island can provide allegorical framework for just about any discussion about society and religion... and those discussions that don't fall into the Transformers realm seem to always relate to the world of pro-wrestling... but I digress.

In fact, digressing is a major part of MMK's book, as well. In this hybrid Fiction/Non-Fiction, MMK oft employs a stream-of-consciousness prose style, albeit with structure. The digressions can be distracting, at times, but typically just provide added insight and/or quippy anecdotal information.

Back to the review, I guess... so... in addition to learning about the Transformers, drugs, and the slave trade, I found that MMK continues to find better ways to say things that I've thought and said, as I've noticed in much of his work. One such example that had me on the hook was:

Plenty of Americans are unable to conceive that their country has its own underground, an if they do, they fail or refuse to admit that the underground, the counter-narrative, is just as "American" as the patriots' mythology on top.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Vlek on March 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Tripping with Allah" is Michael Muhammad Knight's ninth offering to the adventurous reader who more than likely stumbles into his campsite drawn by hopes for wisdom on topics germane to Islam and an Amazon recommendation; or perhaps because of the edgy hipster coolness of images surrounding the book Taqwacores and the preposterous treats inside its pages that either delight the senses or pale the sensibilities with horror. Perhaps others still find their way to Knight's door because of the world of wrestling and the whole plethora of young guy stuff people of the younger generation were weaned on, or by Five Percenter lore and history. Doesn't matter. You either become addicted and eagerly await each new offering, or you find your life's new meaning: to mount an impassioned crusade to convince the world that not only isn't MMK a REAL Muslim, but that he's an absolute lunatic who should be ignored by everyone who values their eternal soul and good standing in the Ummah.
And then along comes something like "Tripping with Allah" where the central theme that slithers through the narrative like a spinal cord is Knight's forage into the sinisterly alluring jungles of the soul promised by something with the utterly delicious Lovecraftian name: Ayahuasca. That's right. Go ahead and Google it. Google it now. Okay, got that out of the way? "Tripping with Allah" is nothing short of a Coyote Road Trip where Knight is wearing the pelt and you just sit back, shut up and keep your eyes open. Knight has been called, apparently too many times to count, the Hunter S. Thompson of Islam. I was weaned on Thompson and I'd say there's something appealing and not too far off about that comparison. But instead of saying what TWA is, let Knight show you.
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