Category Archives: Book Review

Observations on Chapter 1 of Karen Armstrong’s book “Islam: A Short History”

This review has opened my eyes.

Waqar Akbar Cheema

Islam A Short History
The following is a reproduction of some observations I made while reading the first chapter of Karen Armstrong’s book “Islam: A Short History” well over a year ago.
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All quotes and page numbers are from the e-book here
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She writes;

” … the opposition grew, led by Abu al-Hakam (who is called Abu Jahl, “Father of Lies,” in the Quran), …” (p.12)

The Qur’an no where mentions Abu Jahl explicitly, what to say of giving him this title.

Islamic tradition would later assert that there had been 124,000 such prophets, a symbolic number suggesting infinity.” (p.8)

Clear reflection of the mythological orientalist belief that Hadith is a later “invention”

“On one occasion his most intelligent wife,Umm Salamah, helped to prevent a mutiny.” (p.16)
This is a reference to short lived reluctance of the companions to put off ihram at the eve of Hudaybiya. Giving it…

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Review: “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter”

Published in 2006, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wrote about the history of the attempts of peace negotiations between the State of Israel and its Arab neighbors, including the issue of a Palestinian State. Jimmy Carter has been actively involved in the peace process through out his life.

Mr. Carter included a brief historical chronology of the Palestine/Israel region, starting from 1900 B.C. when “Abraham journeys from Ur to Canaan” to the August of 2006 when “the United Nations approves its  Resolution 1701, establishing a fragile cease-fire.

Taken Back:

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How to Win a Cosmic War by Reza Aslan

“How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror” by Reza Aslan, is one of the best books I read on current events lately. It talks about the War on Terror and the Radicals and Extremists ideology/movements among Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Cosmic War?

I was asked what is this Cosmic War, and while I was writing this my friend asked me the same question. So what is Cosmic War, the author describes it in detail through out his book and I will try to summarize it in a paragraph or two:

A cosmic war is a religious war. It is a conflict in which God is believed to be directly engaged on one side over the other. Unlike a holy war–an earthly battle between rival religious groups–a cosmic war is like a ritual drama in which participants act out on earth a battle they believe is actually taking place in the heavens…

A cosmic war transforms those who should be considered butchers and thugs into soldiers sanctioned by God. It turns victims into sacrifices and justifies the most depraved acts of destruction because it does not abide by human conceptions of morality…

A cosmic war partitions the world into black and white, good and evil, us and them. In such a war, there is no middle ground; everyone must choose a side. Soldier and civilian, combatant and noncombatant, aggressor and bystander–all the traditional divisions that serve as markers in a real war break down in cosmic wars. It is a simple equations: if you are not us, you must be them. If you are them, you are the enemy and must be destroyed.

[Introduction, Page 5.]

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Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian by Iain Adamson

Today I finished reading the book by Iain Adamson “Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian” published by Elite International Publications in 1989.  Before I dive into my thoughts on this book, I would like to present here brief info regarding who Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani was.

Brief Intro:

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani

Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani was born in Qadian, India on February 13th, 1835 (Iain Adamson) or in 1839 or 1840 (Qadianism by Hasan Ali Nadwi).  He was a public debator, preacher, and spent most of his youth in debating Christian missionaries and Hindu group Arya Samaj.  He defended Islam, became famous in those bad times when Muslims had lost the War of Independence of 1857.  Many Islamic Scholars and leaders who participated in the freedom struggle were hanged by the imperial British governemnt and series of political, social and cultural crackdown was undertaken in order to minimze the possible uprising by Indians, especially by Indian Muslims.

In this era of despair, Mirza called himself a reformer (Mujaddid) and then called himself a Promised Messiah.  He started preaching that Isa ibn Maryam, Jesus Christ (Peace and Blessing be upon him) had died and that God had sent him as a Promised Messiah to unite all the religions and bring peace to this world.  This angered Christians and Muslims both, because both hold the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

When he had enough supporters and financial stability, he declared that instead of inspirations from God, he started receiving revelations from God and that in those revelations God revealed to him that he was a Prophet in Islam.  Mirza declared that although Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was the last Messenger of Allah (God) with the final Shar’iah (code/way of life), he is the chosen one- a prophet, a Promised Messiah-  and he claimed to affirming to the Sharia of Muhammad without abrogating any thing from the teachings of Muhammad!

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Taqwiat-ul-Imaan by Shah Ismael Shaheed available in PDF format

The book Taqwiyat-ul-Imaan (Streghtening of the Faith) by Shah Ismael Shaheed is here online in a PDF format.

TaqwiyatulImaanStrengthening_of_the_Faith-by-Shah-Ismail-Shaheed

I don’t own the file. The owner of the PDF has a link in that file and so just for the record I don’t own this!

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Taqwiyat-ul-Iman by Shah Ismail Shaheed: A Must Read Book for every Muslim

By Umer Sultan

Tawheed, which can be loosley translated as Monotheism or specifically as Islamic Monotheism is the concrete base of the Building of Islam. It is the first article of Faith in Islam, and it is this message that Allah sent the chain of Prophets from Adam to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon all of them.

Today, associating partners with God has become a normal practise, a culture established by traditions. The very message that the Seal of the Prophethood, Muhammad ibn Abdullah was sent by God, seems to be lost in practise. A lot has been written on this after the era of Great Imams. For before that it was common sense, but now the common sense is Shirk- unfortunately. People are labeled with innovative or derogatory words to people who defend the first pillar of Islam- Tawheed.  Unfortunately, these accusers and label stampers are Muslims themselves.

Taqwiyat-ul-Iman (Strenghtening of the Faith) was written by one of the great scholars of Indian Subcontinent- Shah Ismail Shaheed.  Shah Ismail was a grandson of Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Ad-Dehlavi.  After Sheikh-ul-Islam Imam Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, Shah Ismail’s Taqwiyat-ul-Iman is a MUST READ for every Muslim Lay men and women. After I read this book, I came to find out some faults in my own belief. Shirk that are so common because of the custom and tradition and lack of knowledge, one never gives a second thought about one’s own believes and practices.

Ignorance will not be an excuse in front of Allah, and understanding the basics of Islam is an obligation upon every Muslim- male or female, young or old. Tawheed is the base of the Shahadah– the first Pillar of Islam, and if that is lacking in a Muslim, then prayers and fasting, Zakah and Hajj is all useless.  Moreover, how can anyone claim to believe in something about which one has no knowledge about! This is a very serious issue, that is largely ignored!

In this book you will find evidences from the Holy Quran and Ahadith-e-Nabwi for every claim. Refusing to believe in Tawheed and by bogus labeling Shah Ismail Shaheed as a “Deobandi” “Wahabi” or “Salafi” is a grave injustice to Islam.

Taqwiyat-ul-Iman can be read online here in English. It can be bought online in USA here and in Europe or Britain here.

May Allah giver guidance to every one and show us Siratul Mustaqeen. Ameen.

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