Synopses & Reviews
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 Prophets successors set about the overwhelming task of defining and interpreting Muhammads 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 believers 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of the CNN s Believer
FINALIST FOR THEGUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD
In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam the origins and evolution of the faith in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for democracy in the Middle East mean for the future of Islam in the region, how the Internet and social media have affected Islam s evolution, and how the war on terror has altered the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East. He also provides an update on the contemporary Muslim women s movement, a discussion of the controversy over veiling in Europe, an in-depth history of Jihadism, and a look at how Muslims living in North America and Europe are changing the face of Islam. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account that explains this magnificent yet misunderstood faith.
Praise for No god but God
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
“This is a fascinating book. Reza Aslan tells the story of Islam with one eye on faith and another on history. The result is a textured, nuanced account that presents a living, breathing religion shaped by centuries of history and culture.”
–Fareed Zakaria, author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
“Elegant, accessible, and informed by historical scholarship, No god but God offers a wonderful view into the rich world of early Islam. Reza Aslan brings to the life of Muhammad and the story of classical Islam a lyricism and deft touch reminiscent of Roberto Calasso at his best.”
–Noah Feldman, author of After Jihad and What We Owe Iraq
“Reza Aslan tells a story of Islamic faith, history, and culture that comes alive. No god but God is an engaging, creative, insightful, and provocative book. It is a reminder that beyond the terrorism headlines, Islam, like its Abrahamic cousins, has been and remains a rich, dynamic spiritual path for the vast majority of Muslims.”
–John L. Esposito, university professor and founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, and author of Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam and What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam
“A fascinating account of Islams evolution. Aslans book should be required reading for all analysts and policymakers interested in the Muslim world. Its a terrific read–no easy feat for such a difficult subject.”
–Steven Cook, Next Generation Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
“Reza Aslan counters superficial notions of a clash of civilizations with a deep and exhilarating exploration of the fifteen-hundred-year-old clash within the civilization of Islam. Distinguishing concepts like faith and religion, Islamism and Islamic fundamentalism, in ways that shed vital new light on the mornings headlines, No god but God is a passionate argument for the shared history of the worlds religions. An essential contribution to the most important issue of our time.”
–Tom Reiss, author of The Orientalist
From the Hardcover edition.