A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Zealot
Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic state be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights? A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has earned international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions. In No god but God, challenging the “clash of civilizations” mentality that has distorted our view of Islam, Aslan explains this critical faith in all its complexity, beauty, and compassion.
Contrary to popular perception in the West, Islam is a religion firmly rooted in the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Aslan begins with a vivid account of the social and religious milieu in which the Prophet Muhammad lilved. The revelations that Muhammad received in Mecca and Medina, which were recorded in the Quran, became the foundation for a radically more egalitarian community, the likes of which had never been seen before.
Soon after his death, the Prophet’s successors set about the overwhelming task of defining and interpreting Muhammad’s message for future generations. Their efforts led to the development of a comprehensive code of conduct that was expected to regulate every aspect of the believer’s life. But this attempt only widened the chasm between orthodox Islam and its two major sects, Shiism and Sufism, both of which Aslan discusses in rich detail.
Finally, No god but God examines how, in the shadow of European colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile traditional Islamic values with the social and political realities of the modern world. With the emergence of the Islamic state in the twentieth century, this contest over the future of Islam has become a passionate, sometimes violent battle between those who seek to enforce a rigid and archaic legal code and those who struggle to harmonize the teachings of the Prophet with contemporary ideals of democracy and human rights. According to Reza Aslan, we are now living in the era of “the Islamic Reformation.” No god but God is a persuasive and elegantly written account of the roots of this reformation and the future of Islamic faith.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A book on Islam, by a moslem and read by one too. Covers the history and issues as much as one can.
Makes some very good points on religious history and the branches of Isalm, Aslan does like the sufi it seems - how could one not. Makes the point Islam is in its refermation - so expect a lot of fighting; and the USA is not really the target. The fight is between the conservative, literalist and the modernist who sees the need to being the Islam into the 21 century and move past its tribal roots.
Good for all to read as so few actually know much about their religion much less about anothers.
Balanced and factual
This book is the BEST start to get an accurate and detailed account of Islam, the social pressures before Islam and how the Prophet Mohammad single handedly changed society at that time, the divisions and religious branching after his passing all the way to the present day. In the back of the book there are detailed list of sources for further reading and research if you wish to expand a specific topic. In this day and age it is crucial for the global population to gain knowledge of the mind-set of a growing people, especially Americans and Israelis, who are at war with radical groups who use their version of "Islam" as a weapon to spread hate and control a population. Also, reading this book will allow people to communicate easier with each other and create solutions of our troubled world. Reza Aslan has done an exquisite job undertaking this project and presenting it with such simpleness. Well written and well done Reza.