Your Garage botysf16 Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc DJ Shadow Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer AllOrNothingS1 AllOrNothingS1 AllOrNothingS1  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro STEM
Customer Review

129 of 165 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Real Disappointment, January 20, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Islam: A Short History (Hardcover)
The enormity of my disappointment from this book is a direct result of the high expectations I had based on a friend's recommendation and Ms. Armstrong's description as a scholar in the field. I found the book badly written, biased and lacking in critical depth. Ms. Armstrong bombards the reader with scores of names, dates and jargon. She wastes time describing minor events, sects and characters that did not leave a lasting impression on Islam or its interaction with the world. The level of detail and brevity of the work prevents the author from describing and analyzing the larger trends and does not offer the benefits of critical historical discourse.
While the books is not blatantly biased and avoids many "classical" pitfalls of antagonistic statements regarding Christianity and Judaism it is far from objective. One example of such subtle bias is that the author properly explains that many acts performed by the early Muslims (pillaging, conquests, etc.) should be judged in their context and that this was not uncommon behavior at the time. The same understanding, however, is not extended towards any other culture or group whose actions are described by Ms. Armstrong. The emerging sense from the language is that the militant expansion of the Muslims was appropriate and understandable, but defeats that were inflicted on them by their rivals were not. Another example of misdirection (or simply sloppy work), out of many, is the description of the Suez Canal as an Egyptian project that was forcefully taken over by European powers. In fact, a Frenchman designed and built it, financing the work by selling shares to French investors with support, mostly in labor supply, from the local government. The British government later bought shares of the canal from the Khedive Said of Egypt, the other major shareholder.
Having read the book I found myself disagreeing with the author's notion that there's some separation between "true" Islam and those that act under its auspices. All religions have some ideal form in the abstract; most religions are practiced differently by various sects or schools of thought and I find it hard to accept that we can say that those who do not follow our notion of the ideal religion do not represent it. Islam, just like Christianity, Judaism and all other religions is represented by all those who believe that they practice it. Among them you will find kind and generous people as well as thieves, militants or people having any other quality.
If you are looking to learn objectively about Islam and the history of the Muslim nations, your money and time will be much better spent reading other books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail
Tracked by 2 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 12, 2013 9:17:10 PM PDT
J. Alexander says:
You wrote, "If you are looking to learn objectively about Islam and the history of the Muslim nations, your money and time will be much better spent reading other books."

What other books? I am unpersuaded if you cannot or will not name them.

Posted on Jul 9, 2015 10:39:18 AM PDT
Awni says:
Please stay away from subjects you are not well educated about ... I mean the Suez Canal history.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2015 1:05:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 14, 2015 1:05:32 PM PDT
Sir Pentor says:
J. Alexander,

You ask that question over a decade after the initial review? I hope you don't expect a reply?

Besides that, it's clear from the context of the review that virtually any other book on Islam is better than this one.

If you would ask for my suggestion, I would point you to the Quran. You might not need to read the whole thing but you can start with understanding these passages in context:

4:24
5:65-86
66:1-5

If you can get that far and still have a stomach for Islamic scholarship then there's nothing anyone here can say to help you.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2015 8:05:38 AM PDT
Awni says:
Sir Pentor: I don't know how you based your judgement of few "selected" verses of the Holy Quran. I can do the same with the old testament and the new testament just to prove a point but there is no sense in doing so. Obviously you do not read Arabic and chose to denounce the whole book because you didn't understand few verses, or misunderstood them. No one asked you to believe in Islam, but so many tried to make me believe that if I don't accept Jesus as the son of God (?) and the savior I will burn in eternal hell. So, what do you say to that?
Judge not lest you be judged.
Oh, also I thought the subject was review a book written by Karen Armstrong! You didn't, and if you did it was with one word without any reasonable explanation!
My dear friend, believe in what you want but there is reason to insult other's beliefs.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2015 3:24:10 PM PDT
Sir Pentor says:
Awni,

My response, as you can clearly see, was to the question posed by J. Alexander. Not sure why you're inflamed at me over something I didn't actually do.

Also, if telling the truth about the Quran, by referring people directly to the Quran and letting it "speak" for itself, offends you - well, that is rather telling on how much you value the truth.

As for your flaccid threat of offering to cite old testament and new, well, I'll take you up on the new testament part. Go ahead, cite three new testament passages that are even in the same league as those three I cited from the Quran.

Better yet, explain to me how Mohammed and his companions understood the Quran in these three passages:
4:24
5:65-86
66:1-5

I read the text of the Quran in two different English translations (the one from Oxford and the one published by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and compared that to the relevant portions of the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Sittah.

But maybe you understand better than those great scholars of Islamic thought and history. Please, show us your wisdom and truth-speaking skills.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2015 7:18:30 PM PDT
"Sir" Pentor apparently insults anyone who disagrees with him. I was the recipient of one of his caustic comments because I became tired of reading his long-winded criticism of the book. Life is short.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2015 3:54:04 PM PDT
Awni says:
Mr. Pentor, After thinking deeply about your message I decided simply to discontinue our exchange. You are set in your thoughts and simply can not get you to consider even trying to understand others'
So, let us drop the subject. No one forced you to read the Quran and I really do not care if you do.
So, let us leave at that and remain friends!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2015 9:44:30 PM PDT
Sir Pentor says:
Awni,

Set in my thoughts am I?

And you are not?

How is being set in my thoughts relevant criticism to my posts above of September 14th and 19th?

And had it crossed your mind that my thoughts were set by reading the Quran? I even read it in two translations (plus official commentary) to be certain I was understanding it correctly.

One last thing. You say you "really do not care if I do read the Quran". To that I ask, how much do you have to hate me to not care if I remain deficient in my understanding of the perfect word of Allah? For if I remain deficient in my understanding I will be consigned to everlasting flames on the Day of Judgement.

And yet you say we remain "friends"? What kind of friendship is that?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2015 9:46:20 PM PDT
Sir Pentor says:
"Long-winded criticism of the book"? LOL - long-winded!

Here I thought I indeed had been a bit caustic in our other exchange but now I see my riposte was rather spot-on. If 805 words is long winded, well then I truly do pity you. Though I am want to ask, given your lack of attention to my other post, how you expect anyone to believe you have actually read Karen Armstrong's book. She doesn't write for elementary schoolers.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 25, 2015 8:52:11 PM PDT
Dissident says:
I would very much like to you sir.
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›