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No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam

No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam [Kindle Edition]

Reza Aslan

Kindle-Preis: EUR 7,83 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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"'Reza Aslan's No God But God is just the history of Islam I needed, judicious and truly illuminating.' A.S. Byatt" (Guardian Books of the Year 2005)

"' a superb narrator, bringing each century to life with vivid details and present tense narration that make popular history so enthralling... Illuminating... Aslan is superb on the origins and richness of Islam.... A terrific read.' Glasgow Herald"

"A revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried... [Aslan's]...careful scholarship and precise language dismantle...false claims and commands... Aslan is acutely perceptive.' Independent"

"'Aslan is an engaging writer, his strength an observer of contemporary challenges facing Islam... Sensitive and generous' Financial Times"

"'Enthralling. A book of tremendous clarity and generosity of spirit.' Jim Crace"


Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, this remarkable examination of the nature and history of Islam shows how the religion developed and has evolved over time, exploring its central tenets of belief and interpreting its current crisis of modernity.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1042 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 384 Seiten
  • Verlag: Cornerstone Digital (2. Dezember 2008)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0034FJG6W
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #90.586 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen  8 Rezensionen
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3.0 von 5 Sternen The story of Islam viewed by a Western-educated Muslim 3. August 2013
Von Nino Correa - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I have mixed feelings about Reza Aslan's 'No God But God'. I would say this is an easy-to-read account of the origins, evolution and prospects of Islam written from a confessional perspective. (Perhaps for this very reason) Although written by a scholar, it is not particularly scholarly. The author, after making a general caveat in the first pages of the book as to the distinction between reality and mythology, only exceptionally attempts to discern what may be true or false historically in the story of Muhammad, discarding such debates as ultimately "irrelevant". Also, don't expect to find here any critical objective analysis of the Quran. The author obviously considers it to be God's unaltered revelation and makes little attempt to point at its possible inaccuracies, incoherences or contradictions. Interestingly, he shows remarkably less reverence towards Biblical and especially Christian sacred texts.

The book is described not as another book on Islamic history but a book "for a popular audience about Islam as a religion". This description is misleading. This book is essentially about the history of Islam. If you're interested in a book about material issues concerning Islam as a religion (beliefs, practices, morality), look elsewhere.

Faced with the usual criticisms levelled against Islam (violence, women's oppression), quickly labeled as 'stereotypes' or 'clichés', the author would have none and basically puts the blame on Western misinterpretations. In a sentence whose ambiguity is hardly worthy of a scholar, he even propounds that "It would seem, therefore, that the biggest obstacles in the path to creating a genuinely Islamic democracy are not only the Traditionalist Ulama or Jihadist terrorists, but, perhaps more destructively, those in the West who stubbornly refused to recognise that democracy, if it is to be viable and enduring, can never be imported".

Mr Aslan doesn't deal satisfactorily with certain important questions. Whereas he triumphantly states that one of the Quran's most fundamental principles is that there can be "no compulsion in religion", he is happy to blame the severe punishment of apostasy (which can carry the death penalty even up to this day in certain Muslim jurisdictions) on a regrettable historical association between 'apostasy' and 'treason'. He also justifies the appalling treatment of 'pagans' and 'polytheists' by merely alluding to the historical enmity between the Ummah and the Quraysh. Also, I was baffled by the assertion that the Quran does not accept the belief of "Orthodox Trinitarians who argued that Jesus was himself God. These Christians Mohammad did not even consider to be People of the Book". As far as I know, the overwhelming majority of Christians today would qualify as "Orthodox Trinitarians".

The book shows a particularly vicious anti-European bias and an annoying degree of Americocentrism. A whole chapter is dedicated to the evils caused by European colonialism in less than objective terms. For example, in dealing with the Indian rebellion of 1857, the author describes as a fact that the British had greased rifle cartridges with beef and pork fat, which would have been sacrilegious to both Hindu and Muslim troops. As it happens, this was no more than a widespread rumour but there is enough evidence to show that those cartridges were actually greased with a mix of linseed oil and beeswax. The book then goes on to explain that much of the violence found in Muslim countries in modern times is a result of the decolonisation process (involving, of course, European powers).

Mr Aslan, however, doesn't say a word about American economic or cultural neo-colonialism and its ambivalent effects on Islamic identity. Surprisingly, it doesn't even deal with the Israeli-Palestinian problem and what an overwhelming majority of Muslims view as America's unacceptable support for the Zionist cause (to be fair, there is one single mention of the "partitioning of Palestine and the resulting cycle of violence", but here again the blame falls on the European colonial powers). Not much attention is given to the devastating effects on West-Muslim relations of the American-led invasion of Iraq either. However, in a climax of Americocentrism the author proclaims "These days there is a tendency to regard American democracy as the model for all the world's democracies, and in some ways this is true. The seeds of democracy may have been sown in ancient Greece, but it is on American soil that they sprouted and flourished to achieve their full potential." Whereas the existence of such a trend is unsubstantiated (and contrary to my own perception), the pretence that America enjoys the world's most perfect democracy is plainly ludicrous (as, incidentally, is the suggestion that modern democracies have their roots in Ancient Greece).

I was shocked by the blatant assertion that "The fact is that the vast majority of the more than one billion Muslims in the world readily accept the fundamental principles of democracy". The author purports to support this 'fact' by reference to the "massive demonstrations by democracy activists throughout the Islamic world". Mass demonstrations are only that: mass demonstrations. They do not prefigure a representative democratic society. A willingness to respect minorities, abide by the rule of law and observe the democratic game is what is needed. The claim is highly naive, to say the least.

Although I am far from being an expert in the field under examination, I could nevertheless detect a number of obvious errors.

For instance, the author writes that "It is no accident that a few months after Muslim Spain fell to Ferdinand's Christian armies in 1492, most of the Jews were summarily expelled from the realm. The inquisition took care of those who remained." This short statement contains three errors. 1) The kingdom of Granada fell not to Ferdinand's but to the combined forces of Ferdinad and Isabella, with Isabella, not Ferdinand, accounting for the overwhelming bulk of troops and funds. 2) Jews were not summarily expelled. They were given the choice to convert to Christianity or leave the country. As a matter of fact, whether or not sincerely, a majority of Jews chose to convert. Harsh as this measure may seem it is more lenient than Muslim treatment of polytheists who, according to the author, "were given a choice between conversion and death". 3) The Inquisition did not deal with any remaining Jew since it had no jurisdiction over non-Christians. It dealt with crypto-Jews, ie those who had formally become Christians but continued to practice their original faith in private.

Also, the author uses the word 'religious edicts' as a translation for the Arabic 'fatwa' but this is grossly inaccurate. Edicts are proclamations, mostly of a general scope, with a binding effect. They can be qualified as instruments of legislation. 'Fatwas', particularly in the Sunni tradition, are opinions on specific points of law which rarely carry any binding effect. 'Opinions' or, perhaps, 'Rulings' would have been more appropriate translations.

Having said all this, I must admit that I found the chapter on Shiism highly instructive and the one on Sufism downright brilliant. I also enjoyed the author's lucid argumentation as to the prospects for Islam as it faces its own age of reformation. Therefore, all in all I would recommend reading this book but not as your first or only approach to Islam or the story of Muhammad.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Should be required reading 2. Oktober 2013
Von Kathleen Kerin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Most interesting. I have been favorably impressed by Muslims that I have worked with, but, am ashamed to admit, remained basically ignorant of the basic tenants of their faith. This is helpful. I am especially impressed by his efforts to make it easy to grasp by people, like me, who aren't especially well educated.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Story Of Islam 7. Oktober 2006
Von Dave_42 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In his introduction, Reza Aslan defines religion as the "story of faith". By this definition, his book "No God but God" is the story of a story, and that is a good description. Mr. Aslan does a wonderful job of covering the history of the faith, both the mythological one and the historical one. He starts with the history of the region prior to the creation, and the conditions which helped shape Muhammad and the culture. I have read a couple histories of Islam and the Middle East before, but this one was much more accessible than the others, because Mr. Aslan is able to tell the story in a way which brings the story alive.

Another large section of the book is dedicated to talking about the different sects of Islam and what their differences are. This goes along with a history of the regions in which they developed and where they were adopted. This for me was probably the most important section of the book, because it is tremendously useful in understanding the mindset of the Sunni and Shi'ites, Sufis, and Wahhabi. This section is supported with many modern day examples which really help the reader to understand the differences.

There is also a section of the book which talks about what Islam really is. There is a lot of confusion these days over what is a part of the faith and what is not, and that confusion is certainly understandable after reading this book. It is also central to understanding how there can be such diverse interpretations even among Muslims of the same sect. The book closes with Mr. Aslan discussing the difference between secularism and pluralism. He shows how an Islamic state should by its very nature be pluralistic and could easily be a democracy founded on Islamic principals. His very optimistic finish is a declaration that "The Islamic Reformation is already here."

There are two smaller sections in this book where Reza Aslan relates some personal experiences. The first appears at the start of the introduction, where he discusses coming to the aid of two English speaking tourists and a train conductor in Morocco, which turns out to be a minor clash in cultures. The second is about his return to Iran after being taken away by his parents when he was very young. Both of these sections, although very short, really help the reader connect with the author. I would certainly be interested in seeing more of these types of stories included, to help make the text even more accessible than it already is.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Readable and Insightful 26. April 2014
Von Umesh Vyas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Great introduction to Islam, from its beginnings to the current stage of evolution. Most of it is very readable, very well written. A fairly balanced view, a great historical perspective and highly thought provoking.
Recommended for people who wish to understand Islam as well get a perspective on evolution of religions, particularly Islam.
4.0 von 5 Sternen An introduction even for non-believers. 1. Dezember 2013
Von Varied reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A fascinating insight in Islam, and also the various schisms in Islam. Aslan also points out that the Christian religion has plenty of internal schisms as well.
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Beliebte Markierungen

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Religion, it must be understood, is not faith. Religion is the story of faith. &quote;
Markiert von 6 Kindle-Nutzern
After all, religion is, by definition, interpretation; and by definition, all interpretations are valid. However, some interpretations are more reasonable than others. &quote;
Markiert von 4 Kindle-Nutzern
Ever since the Nicene Council in 325 C.E.which declared Jesus to be both fully God and fully manand the Council at Chalcedon in 451 C.E.which entrenched the doctrine of the Trinity into Christian theologyRoman Orthodoxy had &quote;
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