Why I Am Not a Muslim

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Those who practice the Muslim faith have resisted examinations of their religion. They are extremely guarded about their religion, and what they consider blasphemous acts by skeptical Muslims and non-Muslims alike has only served to pique the world's curiosity. This critical examination reveals an unflattering picture of the faith and its practitioners. Nevertheless, it is the truth something that has either been deliberately concealed by modern scholars or buried in obscure journals accessible only to a select ...
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Why I Am Not a Muslim

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Overview

Those who practice the Muslim faith have resisted examinations of their religion. They are extremely guarded about their religion, and what they consider blasphemous acts by skeptical Muslims and non-Muslims alike has only served to pique the world's curiosity. This critical examination reveals an unflattering picture of the faith and its practitioners. Nevertheless, it is the truth something that has either been deliberately concealed by modern scholars or buried in obscure journals accessible only to a select few.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Weekly Standard
...A well-researched and quite briliant...indictment of one of the world's great religions.
National Catholic Reporter
...a courageous and prophetic call to value and protect human rights, especially the rights of women.
Chris Mooney
Why I Am Not a Muslim makes Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses look like bush-league blasphemy. A dense treatise modeled after Bertrand Russell's famous 1927 essay "Why I Am Not a Christian," the work presents a strident historical, moral, and philosophical indictment of Islam and advocates not just a firm separation of mosque and state but outright atheism.... Grappling with a book like Why I Am Not a Muslim may not only make Islam more tolerant—it could make it stronger.
The American Prospect
Booknews
Warraq, a former Muslim who now lives in Ohio, examines the major principles of the world's second largest religion, presenting a less than flattering picture of the faith and its followers. He analyzes factors that influenced the writing of the Koran, chronicles the rise of Islam, and criticizes the dark side of the faith with chapters on the Salman Rushdie affair, the oppression of women in Muslim society, the authoritarian nature of Islamic law, and the suppression of basic rights in many Muslim countries. Contains a glossary. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879759841
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Pages: 402
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The Rushdie Affair 3
2 The Origins of Islam 34
3 The Problem of Sources 66
4 Muhammad and His Message 86
5 The Koran 104
6 The Totalitarian Nature of Islam 163
7 Is Islam Compatible with Democracy and Human Rights? 172
8 Arab Imperialism, Islamic Colonialism 198
9 The Arab Conquests and the Position of Non-Muslim Subjects 214
10 Heretics and Heterodoxy, Atheism and Freethought, Reason and Revelation 241
11 Greek Philosophy and Science and Their Influence on Islam 261
12 Sufism or Islamic Mysticism 276
13 Al-Ma'arri 282
14 Women and Islam 290
15 Taboos: Wine, Pigs, and Homosexuality 328
16 Final Assessment of Muhammad 344
17 Islam in the West 351
Glossary 361
Abbreviations of Journals and Encyclopedias 365
Notes 367
Selected Bibliography 383
Index 391
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2005

    A humanist critiques Islam¿honest and unflinching!

    This book is a rare find¿a scholarly treatment of a controversial topic¿that is balanced, definitive and absolutely riveting. If you read one book on Islam and the West, this should be it. ¿   Ibn Warraq knows his history and can cite his numerous sources in great detail. The sweep of his knowledge¿from North Africa to Malaysia and from prehistory to the present¿is nothing short of breathtaking. ¿ Not surprisingly, his more rabid critics take the low road and launch ad hominem attacks on the man and not his writing. Plainly, a book of this title is not aimed at those who will reject any criticism of Islam as blasphemous and unhelpful. Those who can approach it with an open mind will certainly find it illuminating. ¿ A central thesis of 'Why I Am Not A Muslim' is that the Koran may be¿and indeed rightly should be¿examined and questioned critically as a historical and not a divine document. While such historicist techques have been openly applied and accepted in Christianity for two centuries or more, such is still not the case for Islamic writers, historians and scientists who have ever published at their peril. Writers such as Taslima Nasrin and Salman Rushdie are only among the best known, recent examples, of those who like Ibn Warraq have been forced to flee their homelands, adopt pseudonyms and disguises, or go into hiding to avoid murderous 'fatwas' issued in deadly earnest. Indeed, many publishing houses even in the West have been at one time or another intimidated against publishing any material deemed 'against Islam'. ¿ Such dire threats have not prevented brave souls from speaking out down through the centuries. Ibn Warraq is one such person. He has not been afraid to look frankly at how Muslims have victimized Muslims and non-Muslims alike under the pretext of religion. Just one example¿a reviewer here accuses Ibn Warraq of dishonesty and failing to mention the 'freedom of religion' available under Islam. In fact, Ibn Warraq thoroughly documents the onerous taxation, physical humiliations, and religious restrictions which have kept non-Muslims far from equal whenever and wherever they have fallen under Islamic colonialist domination. It would appear that the willful misrepresentation lies with those who refuse to confront the truth and draw the appropriate conclusions. ¿ Readers interested in further exploring Islamic censorship in the West may wish to browse the Internet for Howard Bloom's article, 'Islamic Censorship: How Allah Has Nipped Your Right To Know' ¿

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2002

    THIS BOOK *IS* WHY I'M NOT A MUSLIM ALSO!!!

    I can't express how significant this book was on my life. I was a convert to Islam until I read Ibn Warraq's wonderfully researched and factual book on the truth behind Islam. He saved my life!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    Brilliant, helped me find my moorings!!

    This book helped me understand the workings of Islam, a religion into which I, like the author, was born. The quotation, ``Muslims are the first victims of Islam...kept into it by terror'' is entirely true. It is works like this that will help liberate Muslims from Islam.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2006

    The bravest man in the Middle East

    Every thinking person who has a genuine interest in the history and the doctrinal underpinnings of Islam should read this book. Having lived many years in Muslim countries and having read dozens of books on Middle Easten history and on Islam, I am astounded at the scholarship the author put into this book. Indeed it is hard to believe that a single author was able to produce this work. After reading this book you will understand why the author wisely wrote the book under the pseudonym Ibn Warraq.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2005

    Review of Why I Am Not A Muslim

    We have all seen thousands of pamphlets and heard from the Imams all about how the poor middle east has been horribly oppressed by the evil crusaders; but we seldom hear about how Islam conquered its way to Spain triggering the Crusades. We have all seen thousands of pamphlets and heard from the Imams all about how ⿿Historical, Peace has only existed under the benevolent rule of Muslims⿝, but we do not often hear the reason for this, that Muslims are not allowed by their religion, to live in peace, unless they have forced dominance over all others. Oppressing others, is required of them, literally, in a book which states quite clearly, that nothing in it can be interpreted in any other way. Books like this are important and rare. These books are significant because their writers would likely be silenced, likely by death, if they were known. That others have been killed for this reason, so frequently, so recently, proves their point, that something is very wrong and has to be addressed. Hundreds died, because they feel someone has ⿿Disrespected the Koran⿝. No one died when that government funded ⿿Bible Art⿝ show in New York featured The Virgin Mary made of Elephant Dung and a bible, in a box, with flies and a maggot infested rotting animal head. The writer has a point. There is a reason that part of the world is in such bad shape. It is better to be honest about the cause, than to look to feed their pride on scapegoating and excuses. This book should be in every library, if only because it is so unpopular with those it criticizes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2003

    Why I am not a muslim

    Islam is more like some kind of a culture than a religion the way people practice it. In every Islamic society it is acceptable to kill a fellow muslims for converting to other religion.One great example in Saudi Arabia and some Arab countries. Lately in Malaysia, where thier parliament past a law to legalized the killing of thier own citizens for converting to other religion. This book is written well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2002

    THE BEST BOOK ON THE REALITY OF ISLAM

    Thsi is the best researched book on Islam out there. It is fair, accurate, and balanced. It should be read by people of all faiths, especially Westerners and Muslims. Both will profit from an understanding of the true reality of Islam, the Koran(s), and Mohammed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2006

    Thought Provoking,

    Builds a carefully thought out case. Leads the reader through a twisted history and carefully examines many dark corners shedding in the benifit of the authors light of knowledge.

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

    Posted November 25, 2005

    Knows Nothing

    This book only exemplifies the ignorance and intolerance we westerners give to eastern cultures. Bad book, very bad.

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2005

    worst ever

    this book is very inaccurate in the details...he says to take a historic look at the quran...well obviously he did not because anyone who has read other divine scriptures can connect them all together to see that the quran is a divine scripture and should not ONLY should be taken as history...wrong info about what islam practices and did not outline that some people/rulers deface the name of islam by opressing and not practiceing islam correctly

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    Very misleading....

    After reading the first 10 pages, I asked myself, 'O Lord, who's going to fall for this?' This book is full of inaccurate details and a completely distorted and foriegn interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. He does make a few valid arguments about how some Muslims wrongfully practise and commit unjust deeds, I'll give you that. But how he attempts to explain why Islam is an invalid and 'violent intolerant' religion is ridiculous. He also completly ignores many important aspects of Islam(such as freedom of religion) His claims can(and has) been refuted. Jeremiah D. McAuliffe has already refuted many statements Ibn Warraq has dishonestly made against Islam. Overall, this is by far the worst book explaining Islam as a religion. Definitely Not worth the money. Instead I would strongly recommend 'Struggling to Surrender' by Jeffrey Lang.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    Very misleading

    After reading the first 10 pages, I asked myself, 'O Lord, who's going to fall for this?' This book is full of inaccurate details and a completely distorted and foriegn interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. He does make a few valid arguments about how some Muslims wrongfully practise and commit unjust deeds, I'll give you that. But how he attempts to explain why Islam is an invalid and 'violent intolerant' religion is ridiculous. He also completly ignores many important aspects of Islam(such as freedom of religion) His claims can(and has) been refuted. Jeremiah D. McAuliffe has already refuted many statements Ibn Warraq has dishonestly made against Islam. Overall, this is by far the worst book explaining Islam as a religion. Definitely Not worth the money. Instead I would strongly recommend 'Struggling to Surrender' by Jeffrey Lang.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2003

    An eye opening, often shocking book.

    From an autobiographical perspective, this book takes what is described as an uncompromising and critical look at almost all the fundamental tenets of Islam. A critique of Islam which is also described as a plea for freedom of expression in Muslim society and the right to pursue such a discussion without fear of personal death threats and terrorism. For the purposes of understanding the context of this work, the source is described as having been raised as a Muslim with much personal experience of Islam as well as a thorough knowledge of Islamic scholarship. The book is written from what is described as the perspective of a secular humanist and not one who has converted to another religion. The life of Muhammad and the writing of the Quran are thoroughly examined, together with the alleged suppression of human rights in many Muslim countries. Attention is also made to the Salman Rushdie affair and many other issues which are all thoroughly addressed. In the section devoted to the 'Origins of Islam', the reliance of Muhammad upon Judaism in relation to the writing of the Quran is examined and the book describes how Muhammad allegedly had only the 'fuzziest notions of Hebrew chronology'and the study then proceeds to describe in some detail how many Old and New Testament characters are incorporated into the Quran in both an incorrect and chronologically flawed context. The Hadith is also described and it's context in the Islamic World together with how it is revered by Muslims. The Quranic denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ is also described, together with how the Quran denies the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection. The book also describes, in the introduction, that the 'horrendous behaviour' in the treatment of women, non-Muslims, unbelievers, heretics & slaves manifested in Islamic civilisation is as a direct result of the principles laid down in the Quran and developed by Islamic jurists. One of the issues also examined is the declaration that Islam is allegedly a 'peaceful religion'. The book declaring on page 11 that 'no amount of mental gymnastics or intellectual dishonesty' is going to make the 'unpalatable, unacceptable, and barbaric aspects of Islam disappear'. As a Christian there is much that I do not agree with in this book, but personal opinions might invalidate the review. I therefore encourage interested parties to draw their own conclusions. This is certainly an eye-opening book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    Islam through dark glasses

    I disagree with the book's contention that Islam is a closed religion, resistant to outside observers. The basis of Islam, the Qur'an, is available in every western library, and muslims actually encourage people of other faith to study it. Furthermore, an easily verifiable fact is that Islam has put great emphasis on the rights of people in every strata, including women, orphans and the elderly; and surprisingly even those of animals and the environment, long before those concepts appeared in the West. Islam's 'Baitul Mal' is the earliest known model of a complete social security system.I believe this book should encourage readers to stop, think and give a great religion a decent hearing : not myopically focusing on how some have misused or ignored it's teachings for personal gains; but what the true spirit of Islam has given, and has the potential to give, to humanity.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2001

    Don't confuse culture with the true Islam!

    I found this book to be very hateful and filled with misinformation. The author does write about many of the human righs abuses and degrading of women in Eastern society, but what he conveniently fails to mention is that these backward practices have absolutely nothing to do with Islam. If readers want to really know what Islam is about, I suggest they go to the source of it, and that is the Holy Qur'an. The author has a serious inferiority complex on his hands. For someone wanting to learn bout Islam, I suggest they think about why over a billion Muslims all over the world practice their faith eagerly and with much devotion.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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