The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith

The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith

by Irshad Manji
2.8 18

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Overview

The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith by Irshad Manji

"I have to be honest with you. Islam is on very thin ice with me....Through our screaming self-pity and our conspicuous silences, we Muslims are conspiring against ourselves. We're in crisis and we're dragging the rest of the world with us. If ever there was a moment for an Islamic reformation, it's now. For the love of God, what are we doing about it?"

In blunt, provocative, and deeply personal terms, Irshad Manji unearths the troubling cornerstones of mainstream Islam today: tribal insularity, deep-seated anti-Semitism, and an uncritical acceptance of the Koran as the final, and therefore superior, manifesto of God. In this open letter to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Manji asks arresting questions. "Who is the real colonizer of Muslims - America or Arabia? Why are we all being held hostage by what's happening between the Palestinians and the Israelis? Why are we squandering the talents of women, fully half of God's creation? What's our excuse for reading the Koran literally when it's so contradictory and ambiguous? Is that a heart attack you're having? Make it fast. Because if more of us don't speak out against the imperialists within Islam, these guys will walk away with the show."

Manji offers a practical vision of how the United States and its allies can help Muslims undertake a reformation that empowers women, promotes respect for religious minorities, and fosters a competition of ideas. Her vision revives Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. This book will inspire struggling Muslims worldwide to revisit the foundations of their faith. It will also compel non-Muslims to start posing the important questions without fear of being deemed "racists." In more ways than one, The Trouble with Islam is a clarion call for a fatwa-free future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429906937
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 460 KB

About the Author

Irshad Manji is a journalist, television personality, and writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto.


Irshad Manji is an acclaimed journalist, lecturer, and human rights advocate based in Toronto. Recognizing Irshad's leadership, Oprah Winfrey honored her with a Chutzpah Award for "audacity, nerve, boldness, and conviction." Ms. magazine has named Irshad a "Feminist for the 21st Century." She is also a recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Award for Valor. She is the author of The Trouble with Islam and The Trouble with Islam Today.

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The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely a waste of time and faith, it's a self twisted personal ideas of Islam hatred that pulls out questions to explain the dark side of the author's soul, caused by the circumstances of her childhood. The book has nothing to do with the real Islam, which is far away from what's happening globally nowadays .. It's the untruth about Islam, built on what the press shows, not on reality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All I can say regarding this book is it was very well written for someone who already has a deep embedded bias against Islam. It is the perfect guide for the traditional Islamaphobic. It is filled with several unfortunate mistakes and lacks much academic substance. I bought this book thinking it would be at least thought provoking, unfortunately it just rehashed many cultural tendencies in certain muslim societies but in no way reflected authentic Islamic beliefs or widespread practices. It is very unfortunate because I know that this book will impress much of the general public who have not studied Islam in any academic way. I read much of the others peoples reviews and I was very disappointed to see someone actually in the world still can read a book filled with blatant racism and bias and still think a book like this is good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author questions/quarrels with her faith and is condemned for her 'audacity' if not threatened of physical consequences. Most of us in the western world are encouraged to ask questions and explore the faiths of our forebears. Some of us find our faith deepened and revitalized, some find its relevance to 'real life' to be marginalized, but the choice exists for most of us in the US and Canada. The faith with which the author quarrels is the one she was taught, which allowed for no questioning and no criticism - particularly by a female. Other religions take the same position, but as she points out, Christians, Buddhists, and Jews may accept the philosophy of any branch of their religions that resounds in them. The biggest difference between Islam and the rest of us seems to lie in that fact. Not only is it her truth based on the only option available but it is the one accepted by millions of her co-religionists. Of what value is the opinion of a scholar in an ivory-tower when it is unlikely to be disseminated. When those who question their religion publicly risk their lives, how can inquiry flourish? Until room is made for other streams of thought within the Moslem community we will continue to applaud Manji and those who, emboldened by her courage, follow suit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though she insists 'on giving Islam a fair shake ' her arguments about the Koran come with numerous flaws. Overlooking centuries of vigorous interpretive discussion diversity and dialogue on the Koran (there are no references to any such scholarship; reading Manji you would think it non-existent) Manji seems to shop selectively for verses divorcing them from both their context and mainstream interpretations. Without it appears any knowledge of Koranic hermeneutical criticism she creates a caricature of Islam projecting her own conclusions on the text much like ironically the literalism of Bin Laden. Regarding Islam's alleged dark side ¿ anti-Jewish sentiment oppression of women violence and slavery - Manji violates the premier rule of Koranic textual interpretation: that all verses on a subject are to be read together contextually and coherently. One verse revealed in one circumstance might comment on a particular situation and should not be universalized. In many instances the Koranic critique of the Jewish community falls into this category: many Koranic passages address conflicts between the early Muslim and Jewish communities that were primarily political. But God is in Arabic al-'Adl the Just and numerous Islamic texts lay down moral absolutes like justice and equity in dealing with all people. As well historical examples of symbiosis and harmony are too numerous to premise Islam being anti-Jewish. Manji makes similar mistakes when discussing women (Her interpretations are certainly not those shared by the ever-increasing number of educated Western women converting to Islam.) And certainly most mainstream Islamic scholars would differ with her portrayal of Koranic passages dealing with physical Jihad (as opposed to Jihad as a spiritual struggle) as providing a licence for violent acts against non-Muslims. An oddity of the work is that although Manji accuses Muslims of using Israel as a lightening rod for their own malaise much of the book is a sentimentalized apologetic for Israel. Sounding more like a publicist than a critical thinker when discussing Israel the self-proclaimed I-pull-no-punches Manji is not recognizable. Critical projects are best when infused with realism refined analysis and love. Tareq Ramadan's To Be a European Muslim and Noah Feldman's After Jihad are two fine examples. By contrast Manji's work seemingly interested primarily in hamstringing traditional Islam cripples itself by its profound failure to consider both centuries of Islamic scholarship and the many secular influences both political and social that have had a hand in shaping the Muslim world. Justifies Manji: 'I know I'm oversimplifying but oversimplification runs rampant in the development of God-awful laws.¿ Unfortunately her book suffers from the same flaw. Better had she heeded the words of Gandhi: Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A clear concise analysis of the problems. Which is not religion but politics. This book will help anyone of any faith understand why the problems exist and offers clear solutions to help resolve them. Easy to read. Highly recommened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Manji states that Muslims do not dare to question the validity of the Qur'an. The Qur'an has always challenged people to question its validity. Muslims and non-Muslims have done just that. Among them is Jerald Dirks, graduate of Harvard Divinity School and an ordained minister, who after questioning the validity of the Qur'an came to accept it as a revelation and became a Muslim. He is the author of The Cross and The Crescent, in which he clearly demonstrates the validity of the Qur'an. You may read his fascinating life story as well as others at www.welcome-back.org. It is also important to keep in mind the purpose of the Qur'an: it is to guide humanity to live based on the knowledge of the One who created them and knows their nature. 'This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are conscious of God (pious, concerned about right and wrong). (Qur'an 2:1) 'O mankind! There has come to you a counsel from your Lord and a healing for your hearts; and for those who believe, a guidance and a mercy.'(Qur'an 10:57) After extensive study of the Qur'an, French medical scientist Dr. Maurice Bucaille concluded in his book The Bible, The Qur'an, and Science, 'In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad's day, it is inconceivable that many of the statements in the Qur'an which are connected with science could have been the work of a man. It is, moreover, perfectly legitimate, not only to regard the Qur'an as the expression of a Revelation, but also to award it a very special place, on the account of the guarantee of the authenticity it provides and the presence in it of scientific statements which, when studied today, appear as a challenge to explanation in human terms.' Dr. Keith Moore of the University of Toronto and author of The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, used at medical schools around the world, has an amazing analysis of the detailed description of the growth and development of human embryo as mentioned in the Qur'an. He considers the presence of such scientific facts discovered only a few decades ago proof that the Qur'an is a revelation from God. You can read and watch his analysis and those of other scientists at the following websites: www.islam-guide.com. Don't rely on Maji or the media, Read the Quran online and judge for yourself. Just copy and paste http://www.islam101.com/quran/yusufAli/index.htm. Recommended short chapters: 1, 13, 16, 19, 30, 39, 50, 67, 75-end
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am gleeful and happy that theres one muslim who will admit some muslims are making bad mistakes on behalf of there religion,they ultimately will loose in a very big way they should listen to this auther more and kill less Vinny
Guest More than 1 year ago
Islam is a way of life, a beautiful way of life , I cannot believe that one who has known Islam and thrived in it's beauty would so utterly insult this light in a dark night, a rose in a field of weeds, a hope in a field of despair, if you could say this to slam, to Allah, to the truth then you have never truly known Islam and I can only feel sympathy for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a startling reminder of the atrocies committed by Muslims. I love my faith, love my brethren and sistren, but hate what is often done to, for and by them. There are few new ideas in the book, and they mainly apply to what to do about this sad state of affairs. If you believe that the world is fine as is, think that it's OK for people to justify their crimes with faith, then this book is not for you. If you need your eyes opened, or are still trying to adjust to the glare of the ugly deeds committed by bigots and hypocrites in thobes and jilbabs, then this book is for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want facts, figures and tables to indicate the severity of the crisis in which Arab civilization finds itself today, you may freely download the United Nations Arab Human Development Report 2003. Illiteracy is high, basic human rights are lacking, publishing and scientific research are moribund, and oil-rich nations lag industrially behind the once poor ¿economic tigers¿ of Southeast Asia. If, however, you want a believer's perspective on the desperate need for reform in Islam, read Irshad Manji's, 'The Trouble with Islam.' The two topics aren't identical, but they are intimately intertwined. And the authors of the UN report, themselves prominent Arab scholars, business leaders and professionals, reach a substantially parallel conclusion: the difficulties facing Arabs today (or Islam, in the case of Manji¿s book) can only be resolved through profound internal reform ¿ not by blaming others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Breaks the rules. The picture on the cover says it all. There is a degree of muzzling of all Muslim speech and repression of thought, but this book breaks the mold. There can be no constructive dialogue until people can speak their minds and Manji certainly speaks hers. Hurrah for honesty! She may not be right about every last detail but how can we advance if we can't get issues out on the table. Now, the issues are out. Read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book offers readers what they are looking for; there is plenty of material to inflate stereotypes about Islam and Muslims for those who are already predisposed to disliking them, as well as plenty to offend those who practice the faith. For those somewhere in between, Manji offers up anecdotes, clips and quotes without a great deal of context, along with heaping dose of anger. I walked away feeling like I had gained no new insights, save the ranting of someone who is clearly upset with her perception of the religion she was born into. Despite claiming to be espousing new ideas, Manji brings little to the table that hasn't been said before, although she tends to do it in a less than elegant manner. She does kick up a lot of dust, but to anyone who knows the first thing about Islam, and the debates going on within the Muslim world (I am not sure if Manji would be included as one of these), it is clear that she has little to offer. Authours such as Esposito, Said, Ramadan or Fisk are a much better starting point. A very poor effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If your looking for a good book on Islam, save your money and time; look somewhere else, because this Manji's book is well, troublesome. This book presents half-baked, acedemically discredited theories on Islam as the norm. She points to Professor Luxemberg who believes the Qu'ran had it's roots in Aramaic and so the word 'huurs' has been mistranslated for over 14 centuries as virgins instead of 'white raisins.' Manji then asserts that if the Sept. 11 terrorists only sought to question the 'original' meaning of hur then perhaps they wouldn't have followed through on their mass murder. Ok right... First the readers we have to assume that the Koran was not an Arabic literature going against the predominat acedemic, intellectual and historical findings; but somehow believe that convincing martyr wannabies that white raisins instead of virgins await them in heaven and PRESTO, no more suicide bombings. The rest of the book contains similar shallow anectodes that it makes the reader hold their laugh. So if one is looking for a good laugh (though not in a comical way, but rather sad and puzzling way), then this is your book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It¿s sad that so many Muslims are attacking this book and its author. Many have criticized Manji for not truly understanding her religion, as if they somehow have great knowledge and understanding themselves. I'm sure she has studied and questioned more than many of her critics. While I don't agree with everything she says I don't arrogantly dismiss it believing that I somehow know better. The inability to self-critique Islam is a major problem with Muslims today. Too many Muslims avoid difficult issues and valid criticisms with nonsensical justifications. How many times have you heard Muslim men justify polygamy by claiming it protects women? Yes, Islam is in bad need of reform. Yes, Islamic thought has become dominated by the ultra-conservative, Arab states who use petro-dollars to spread what is really Arabic customs and traditions disguised as religion. The separation of men and women, forbidding men and women from shaking hands and socializing, and requiring women to cover are not Islamic. They are tribal and cultural. Manji insists that Muslims must separate tribalism from their faith. She insists that the Koran must be reinterpreted to account for the changing times (Ijtihad). She insists that the Hadiths should have less influence on the interpretation of the Koran (many were made up and are therefore not reliable). She insists that women must be treated as equals and not be judged by how much cloth they walk around covered in. It¿s an injustice that Muslim men can look like everyone else but Muslim women must stick out like a sore thumb to prove their religiosity. This is a good book. Read it with an open mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She doesn't know her faith. But she does know a little about what is wrong with Muslims, not Islam. They ONLY thing I did agree with what she claims is the sayings of the prophet Muhammad(pbuh). I too agree the Hadiths(not to be mistaken with the Quran) that they should be reviewed as I have doubts to whether a prophet like Muhammad would say such things that seem a little 'peculiar'. If we look at prophet Muhammad's(pbuh) life, we see him fighting for women's rights, minority rights, etc. He struggled for the poor. Most importantly, the Quran was brought to the entire world from God to give us guidance. A guidance which Arabs after the invasion of the Mongols failed to live up to. Both books, Sahih Muslim and Sahih Al-Bukhari do need revision. The Quran has brought millions upon millions of people closer to Islam, whereas the Hadith has thrown some people away from Islam. Other than that, the rest of her claims are jebbrish. Unlike Ibn Warraq, who took advantage of Islam's situation today by writing books that would interest anti-islam bashers for his own financial gain, this women at least has ONE reasonable point. One more thing I need to mention, at times in this books it gets confusing. This book is not well-written at all. Consider revising before publishing next time.