Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Must read for Islamic studies

The author's style is engaging and fluid. His method of writing history as interconected and interrelated stories brings to life hisorical characters,places and episodes, and helps the reader to enter into their reality. His ability to explain clearly concepts and pract...
The author's style is engaging and fluid. His method of writing history as interconected and interrelated stories brings to life hisorical characters,places and episodes, and helps the reader to enter into their reality. His ability to explain clearly concepts and practices that may be unfamiliar to those outside of Islam, especially "westerners" helps them enter more fully into this "new" world. Through his sympathetic acquaintance with the other major world religions he draws helpful cultural, hisorical, cultic and even linguistic parallels that move the reader from sideline spectator tor fellow traveler and participant. Dr. Aslan appears to have researched thoroughly the primary documents and secondary sources. When he must present inferences rather than documented data, and when he draws conclusions of his own, they always seem reasonable, unbiased and defensible. The authors clear, succinct explanation of his own religious and spiritual journey, made at the outset, his recounting of his extensive engagement in academia, and his gentlee, non-polemical treatment of thorny issues of the past and presnt created a bond with this reader, who always felt he was being led along a road to discovery and understanding rather then sujected to proselytizing.

posted by 4091948 on August 27, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Well written and full of lies

There is no shortage of Islam apologists who use perfumed pleasantries to cover the ugly truth of the world's most intolerant religion, but they aren't as intelligent, affable and widely read as Aslan. On pages 64-65 he makes the wild and totally unsubstantiated clai...
There is no shortage of Islam apologists who use perfumed pleasantries to cover the ugly truth of the world's most intolerant religion, but they aren't as intelligent, affable and widely read as Aslan. On pages 64-65 he makes the wild and totally unsubstantiated claim that Muhammad was only betrothed to his child bride, Aisha, when she was nine, but consummated with her after she hit puberty. Unfortunately for Aslan, every Muslim source says clearly that they were married when she was six and consummated when she was nine. Either Aslan has not read Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim, or he's baldly lying. Since he doesn't cite his sources, we must assume the latter. Likewise he soft peddles life in the dhimma on pages 94-95. He gives the definition of dhimmi as 'protected' but conveniently leaves out that it simultaneously means 'guilty,' then goes on to suggest that dhimmitude is not an example of Islamic subjugation of other faiths, but is in fact an example of Islam's high degree of tolerance! He excuses out of hand the wholesale slaughter and mass beheading of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe by saying it was not at all unusual for the time and offers as proof the fact that no other local Jewish tribes complained about it. This is a terrible book, with no citations for wild and fictional claims. But look at the reviews from the NY Times, LA Times, London Independent, and so on: 'wise, passionate, insightful' -- with vetting like that, readers would be forgiven for not knowing they are being lied to. Beware.

posted by Anonymous on November 16, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    Must read for Islamic studies

    The author's style is engaging and fluid. His method of writing history as interconected and interrelated stories brings to life hisorical characters,places and episodes, and helps the reader to enter into their reality. His ability to explain clearly concepts and practices that may be unfamiliar to those outside of Islam, especially "westerners" helps them enter more fully into this "new" world. Through his sympathetic acquaintance with the other major world religions he draws helpful cultural, hisorical, cultic and even linguistic parallels that move the reader from sideline spectator tor fellow traveler and participant. Dr. Aslan appears to have researched thoroughly the primary documents and secondary sources. When he must present inferences rather than documented data, and when he draws conclusions of his own, they always seem reasonable, unbiased and defensible. The authors clear, succinct explanation of his own religious and spiritual journey, made at the outset, his recounting of his extensive engagement in academia, and his gentlee, non-polemical treatment of thorny issues of the past and presnt created a bond with this reader, who always felt he was being led along a road to discovery and understanding rather then sujected to proselytizing.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2006

    Well written and full of lies

    There is no shortage of Islam apologists who use perfumed pleasantries to cover the ugly truth of the world's most intolerant religion, but they aren't as intelligent, affable and widely read as Aslan. On pages 64-65 he makes the wild and totally unsubstantiated claim that Muhammad was only betrothed to his child bride, Aisha, when she was nine, but consummated with her after she hit puberty. Unfortunately for Aslan, every Muslim source says clearly that they were married when she was six and consummated when she was nine. Either Aslan has not read Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim, or he's baldly lying. Since he doesn't cite his sources, we must assume the latter. Likewise he soft peddles life in the dhimma on pages 94-95. He gives the definition of dhimmi as 'protected' but conveniently leaves out that it simultaneously means 'guilty,' then goes on to suggest that dhimmitude is not an example of Islamic subjugation of other faiths, but is in fact an example of Islam's high degree of tolerance! He excuses out of hand the wholesale slaughter and mass beheading of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe by saying it was not at all unusual for the time and offers as proof the fact that no other local Jewish tribes complained about it. This is a terrible book, with no citations for wild and fictional claims. But look at the reviews from the NY Times, LA Times, London Independent, and so on: 'wise, passionate, insightful' -- with vetting like that, readers would be forgiven for not knowing they are being lied to. Beware.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2006

    Informative, intriguing, and eminently readable!

    Up to now frustrated trying to understand Islam, Reza Aslan's work has solved my problem. He has respected me as a reader with an expository writing style that serves up the history, theology, philosophy, and sociology of the development, spread, and potential of this important faith by means of a complete and fascinating stringing together of myriad mini-epics and sub dramas spiced with awe, humor, honesty, and literary pinache. I feared undertaking the reading of this book but looked on it as the duty of an informed citizen of the planet. Unexpectedly, I was sucked into a master story teller's beguiling trap. Informative and well researched, I no longer viewed the book as an educational 'must do'. Rather, it is an amazing mystery / epic tale which I could not put down. I appreciated the author's clearly identified personal interpretations of the past and speculations on the probable trajectory of as yet unwritten chapters to come. He has a stake in that future now.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    An informative history of Islam. Starting in the beginning to modern times, it protrays both the good and dark periods of Islamic History. It is a much more honest assessment of religous history than most Christian books portray.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2013

    A very well researched and wonderfully written book about Islam

    A very well researched and wonderfully written book about Islam from it beginnings to the various "sects" of today. I agree that this should be a "Must Read" for people in Islamic studies. It has placed into context the writings of the Holy Quran based upon the sitution at the time and helps one understand how extremists and fundamentalists have hijacked the writings to support their own beliefs and bias. This is not unusual for a religion and Islam is definitely not unique in this aspect. Power is a drug that can impact the best of people and those with "authority" in religion appear to be the most intoxicated. I have read other books by Asian and value his knowledge not only as a scholar, but as a writer. Definitely recommend this book for those truly interested in the real Islam and not the one typically protrayed by most in our country. Islam is going through an evolutioin at this moment and the end will only be better for not only Muslims, but society as a whole. Worth the money.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    People that pick up this book are making the first step toward having an open mind. It shows they actually want to understand why there is so much controversy surrounding one particular religion. Even still, people are ignorant enough to make wild accusations because of what someone else told them or what they believe should be correct. I am majoring in International Affairs with a minor in Arabic studies and I like the way Aslan broke every word down to the most minute detail. Its very well written, researched, and explained.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2006

    Great, understandable book

    After reading the newspapers about what's happening in the in Middle East, I wanted to be aware of what Islam really is, without the shroud of the terrorist organizations justifying the violence they've caused on their religion. This book makes the complexity of Islam very understandable, and really is a page-turner. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Tape on this message!!!!!!!!!!$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love this book beacuse it gives a good message . A message that i needed to hear . There is ONLY one God and that is our father . Sometimes you think the whole God thing works for some poeple just not you , right? But you need to come to him and except him as your lord and savuer . He is always there but you just need to let him and let him show you what he can do in your life . When you do tt you automattically feel love , peace and joy beacuse will start moving in you and make impossible mirciles in your . Because he is God the one and only.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2007

    Islam is a pagan religion

    Islam is a pagan religion-state system which reflects a pagan Arabic culture of Arabia of the seventh century. The author of the Book is not an Arab but an Iranian. His ancestor land was an ancient empire that was concord by the Islamic and Arabic tribes. The roots of Islam are from pagan Arabic religions mixed with some artificial barrowing from Jewish tradition and oracles. It¿s ¿interpretation¿ of Christianity is totally off mark. He did not got Jesus¿s name right (Isa which is a mocking Jewish name used by the Jewish tribes of this area) nor he understood the concept of the Christian trinity. Mohamed and Allah thought that the god of the Christians was ¿Father¿ marrying ¿Mary or Miram¿ and begot ¿Isa, the Son¿. The problem with Islam is not the religion such as in its rituals which was borrowed straight from Pagan worships in Mekka, but from its totalitarianism governmental ¿Shari¿ laws which forbids its people from questioning the founder of the faith. You might ask, if Mohamed was ¿more¿ than a prophet by being a political leader, does any one have the right to argue his style of governing?. The answer to that question is the key predictor of the future of Islam and humanity. If Muslims could not answer that question, then the world has to do that for them. And the world that rejected previous totalitarianism systems such as Communism and Nazism of the past should also reject that system of government too

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2006

    One of the Best

    This book is one of the best that I have had the chance to read. As an outsider to the Muslim faith there was much that I did not know or understand. While simply written, this book should be a must read for any college student with an interest in history or current affairs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    Highly Recommended

    I highly highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those people who see no good in Islam at all. Mr. Aslan brings up some very valid and thought provoking ideas, and better still, makes sense of them consistently. As a Muslim, I appreciate his honest and unapologetic presentation of my faith and beliefs. As an American college student, I applaud his scholarly analysis, reflective approach, and attempt to be unbiased and fair. This is a great introductory piece for anyone who is curious, unsure, or misinformed about Islam. The book puts Islam into a historical, social, political, and cultural context wonderfully. Suprisingly, the language is easy to read as well, and not put-off ish at all. Pick it up!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2014

    Deep insight into fundamental problems in islam.

    I have gone through only a few pages and carried a perusal of some other chapters.I am finding answers to many long sought questions on islamic practices and theology. Great work Reza Aslan.Bravo.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    Very informative

    Very informative book. Its help to understand history of Islam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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