Amana, a well-traveled and well-spoken layman, demystifies Islam.
In this passionate book, the author views Islam through non-Muslim eyes to debunk myths and cross over racial, religious and cultural stereotypes. He explains the history of Islam, through Muhammad’s revelation, the reception and compiling of the Quran and the spread of Islam while exploring current-day events involving Islam’s interactions with Western ideas, politics and practices. Each chapter begins with a particular misconception—that Islam universally endorses beating women, for instance, or that it is inherently anti-Christian—and unpacks this idea through intellectual, theological, political and personal reflection. While he is essentially a layperson academically and religiously, Amana has clearly done his homework. Numerous authoritative, well-cited sources back up the claims he makes, and he includes a hefty reading list to encourage further study. Several appendices provide an overview of the Quran, English translations of certain passages, a chronology and questions for discussion. His argument is enhanced by his lack of academic affiliation; rather than seeking to further an institutional or intellectual agenda, he is a Muslim who genuinely cares about sharing the beauty of his faith with others. His enthusiasm and thoughtfulness shine through in his lucid, gentle prose; he has no ulterior motives other than bridging a gap in understanding that has been revealed by his world travels. Additionally, a brief but thorough SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of Islam provides an interesting frame for both Muslims and non-Muslims to consider how all sides can address and rectify stereotypes and misunderstandings.
An eye-opening, inspiring read for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.