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No god but God (Updated Edition): The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam Paperback – August 30, 2011
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“Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined . . . a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.”—The New York Times
“[Reza] Aslan offers an invaluable introduction to the forces that have shaped Islam [in this] eloquent, erudite paean to Islam in all of its complicated glory.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Wise and passionate . . . an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Acutely perceptive . . . For many troubled Muslims, this book will feel like a revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“Thoroughly engaging and excellently written . . . While [Aslan] might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.”—The Oregonian
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Quite a good many of the chapters dwell on the rise of Islam in the desert of the Arabian peninsula, the life of Muhammad & its strife, the power struggles after Muhammad's death, the expansion of Islam to far away corners beyond its humble Arab origins, & the consolidation of the ways & practices into codified religion. It further does a great job of articulating both the evolution & description, if not definition, of the various sects - namely the Sunni, the Shia, & the Sufi.
The tales continue into the modern nineteenth, twentieth & twenty first centuries - the story of Iran is a gripping one - & the book continues its journey into the many ideological branches that evolved in this period - the politics of Islam at battle with colonialism & a fast modernizing world, & the divergent pulls of reformist agendas against fundamentalist ones. Finally, the author speculates a little on the future of Islam, its diaspora in the western world with deep connections to each other & the larger community using the internet.
For me, the chapters on what defines a Muslim, to the extent possible, & the related symbolism of such practices was an eye-opener. Refreshing, & reinvigorating too, was the chapter on the Sufi - I think the author deliberately changed the tone of his writing in this chapter to sound more mystical - as was the content & commentary on the evolution of the Shia sect, its beliefs & symbols.Read more ›
In his book No God but God the reader is given the benefit of this thoughtful man's years of study. The majority of this book is a readable and systematic description of the theology and history of the Muslim religion. One of my favorite old Bible stories is that of the "Still Small Voice". The lesson from this story is to ignore the storms and bombast the world can give us and listened to the quiet internal logic of real inspiration. Dr. Aslan would never claim to be the still voice of God, but the tone of his book is that of a calm, confident, and knowledgeable instructor.
In reading the biography of Mohammed we meet a man whose divine inspiration may be a matter of debate in the West; but who lived a life remarkable for his ability to succeed in building one of the world's great religions. Along the way he would negotiate alliances and conduct warfare with and without the advantages that would normally guarantee diplomatic or military victory. The collections of his sayings that would be later assembled into the Koran appear to reflect the co-mixture of the words needed to inspire an Army, promote cooperation from allies and to inspire fear in enemies.Read more ›
The only downside is that Aslan's skill as a writer allows him to overemphasize the positive. Somehow in the midst of massacres, assassinations, rivalries, oppression of women, modern extremism, and the dogmatic and even wicked Ulama, Aslan manages to present an idealized Islam that seems downright liberal, like it was born from the European Enlightenment rather than pagan tribalism.
A beautiful vision of what the faith could be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Must read for everyone to understand Islam, and how Islam has evolved over the centuries.Published 2 hours ago by John
a must read for those interesting in religion and how its shaping the world!Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is not an easy read but it is a history of the Islamic faith. Bio of Mohammed also. RecommendPublished 12 days ago by L Shelton
Generally a good read, informative & broad, however the author's personal opinions does somewhat colour the way he presents the raashidun. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
I learned the historical facts of the evolution of this religious idea.Published 24 days ago by Juan L. Sanchez
Very good summary of Islam for the uninitiated. Also found his Jesus of Nazareth book to be informative.Published 1 month ago by RTK
Less than 300 reviews on Amazon, compared to more than 2,600 for his book Zealot, the Historical Jesus!! Read morePublished 1 month ago by arthur v neis