More On My Faith In Islam

I was taken aback by the overwhelming response to my post on Islam here and my cross post on Daily Kos. Most of the comments have been very constructive and have moved the discussion forward.

I hope I have been able to express my views on my religion and what I believe is the true message of Islam. However, the subject of Islam and how it fits into the modern world is an extremely complex question. I am stretching the limits of my knowledge in trying to respond to some of the questions. I think I would do the very worthy discussion disservice if I didn’t at this point suggest some further reading for those who are interested in learning more about the religion of Islam.

I recommend to everyone the excellent new book by Reza Aslan entitled "No god but God". It is a very accessible and readable book on Islam. I am providing a link on the right to the website here for any who want to purchase the book.

You can find other books I recommend in the Reading Room. The list is growing and is not yet complete.

[NOTE: I am a member of the Amazon Associates Program. That means that if you choose to follow this link and eventually purchase this book during the same session, I will receive a referral fee from I point this out in the interest of full disclosure.]


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7 Responses to More On My Faith In Islam

  1. Diganta says:

    I read parts of the discussion. It seems logical. But my point is, why should I put so much importance to religion and religious books? How many Western person/countries consult Bible before deciding anything? The habit of looking at religion for each of every point is really bad.

    For example, when the apostate issue came in front, I found a lot of Islamic scholars tried to defend it saying “wrong interpretation of Islam” etc. etc. But, nobody suggested to root out the entire practice of running a country by religion and law to be crafted on the basis of equality, freedom and humanity.

    My conclusion is, the laws should be humanitarian enough to serve the people, irrespective of whatever is written in religious books. The countries like Afghanistan and Iran should look at Bangladesh, Turkey and Malayasia to decouple their laws from religion.

  2. Tess says:

    Karen Armstrong is a writer on religion and belief systems I thoroughly recommend. I reviewed her autobiography recently on my blog.
    I am currently reading her “A History of God” which follows the development of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the divergences and similarities between them and looks at the need humankind has to express belief in something ‘other’ and the conflicts that can result.
    She has also written “Muhammed, a Biography of the Prophet” and “The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam”, neither of which I have yet read, but they are both on my list. Many others as well – an Amazon search on her name will bring up a treasure-trove.
    Karen Armstrong is from a Christian background but widely respected in the Muslim world for her knowledge, scholarship and constructive appoach. Her writing style is clear and instructive.

  3. Mr. Bill says:

    Mash, what do you think of Albert Hourani’s A History of the Arab Peoples? I found it most enlightening (and yes, I know that not all Moslims are arabs…)in term of explicating the history of at least the Middle East.

  4. Mash says:

    Diganta, it might surprise you how often Christian scripture is quoted in the United States Congress. So, in fact, a lot of people use religion in making decisions. The big fight in this country about abortion is all about religion.

    Like it or not, religion is an important part of every country, whether secular like the United States, or a theocratic monarchy like Saudi Arabia. You might want to pick up a copy of American Theocracy by Kevin Smith for an understanding of the religious undercurrents of American politics.

    The distinction to make, as you do rightly in your comment, is that the state itself should not use religion as the governing doctrine. On that point I couldnt agree with you more.

    On minor point, you say that no one suggested “to root out the entire practice of running a country by religion”. I believe a lot of people did that very thing. Most reasonable people believe that Afghanistan is a society that has yet to modernize and needs to do so if these things are not to be repeated. As for me, I posted a number of posts on the Abdul Rahman issue even before the mainstream US media picked up on the story.

    Finally, thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate the feedback and hope you will keep on reading.

  5. Mash says:

    Tess and Mr. Bill, thanks for the reading recommendations. I have put both books on my list – so I need to stop procrastinating and do some reading. Once I’ve read them, I will likely put them up in the Reading Room with a nod to you guys.

    Bill although I have not read Professor Hourani’s book, I have read many essays on it. It is clearly the definitive work of modern Arab history. Its one of those books that I keep meaning to read, and instead I spend that time watching the Sopranos. Perhaps your comment will spur me into action 🙂

  6. Diganta says:

    “Diganta, it might surprise you how often Christian scripture is quoted in the United States Congress.” – But, that does not ensure that US laws are build upon those Holy scripts. And US forces their citizens to be Christians.

    “You might want to pick up a copy of American Theocracy by Kevin Smith for an understanding of the religious undercurrents of American politics.” – The person who’s written it, wants the religious undercurrent to be eliminated. When can we expect a similar writing from an Islamic scholar from an Islamic Nation like Afghanistan and Saudi?

  7. Mash says:

    Diganta, Kevin Smith is not a christian scholar, he is a political consultant and thinker. You should not expect some Islamic cleric to write a book on why he thinks the state ought to be secular. That would be like Pat Roberton writing about how the rest of us are not going to hell. I am certain there are many secular political scientists who happen to be muslim who have written books like Kevin Smith.

    If you want me to defend Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, I am afraid you will not get much resistance from me. I think the regime in Saudi Arabia is a disgrace and if there was ever a case for regime change Saudi Arabia is it. The majority of muslims live outside the Arab world in secular countries and we happen to like that situation very much 🙂

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