A sober, probing exploration of the relationship among the three Abrahamic faiths—Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
Virginia Woolf once asked, “Ought not education to bring out and fortify the differences rather than the similarities?” Modern discussions of Islam tend to do just that, hastily pegging the youngest of the major monotheisms as different, foreign and far-off. In his accessible new contribution to the field of comparative religion, Naqvi tries to bridge the gaps that have too long separated Islam from Christianity and Judaism, arguing in essence that the three faiths are more alike than most people suspect. To do so, he engages in a “topic-by-topic review” that compares Muslim beliefs on a variety of themes—e.g., God, Scripture, science, ethics—to their Judeo-Christian counterparts. His review leads him to a number of basic insights that are nonetheless crucial reminders that what unites believers is often greater than what divides. Jews, Christians and Muslims all revere the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Islam venerates Jesus, a man who is, for Muslims, a prophet and teacher of the highest regard. Naqvi also argues that Muslim ethics—outlined in the Five Pillars of Islam—are quite similar to Judeo-Christian moral teachings. But while the author gravitates toward likeness, he doesn’t ignore differences; he honestly and objectively explains how the three religions sometimes diverge, and he ends each chapter with a set of provocative discussion questions that challenge readers to ponder these weighty topics. Naqvi does it all with an intelligence, grace and evenhandedness that make his project appealing for believers and nonbelievers alike.
A superb comparative look at Islam and its sister faiths, perfect for promoting a spiritual dialogue.