An insightful treatise on the intersection of faith and science for believers and nonbelievers alike.

A Scientific Tafsir of Qur'anic Verses; Interplay of Faith and Science

A timely book on the relationship between religion and science.

Al-Ali, a surgeon, argues that there is no gap between religion and science when they’re seen and studied in the correct light. As a devout Muslim—though that wasn’t always the case—well versed in both fields, he’s ideally positioned to write a treatise on religion and science. There’s a long tradition of both religious authors and laypeople writing tafsirs, or commentaries on the Quran. Al-Ali writes that “classical Tafsirs (commentaries) were written centuries ago and, of course, without the benefit of the scientific discoveries and knowledge that we now have.” His goal in part is to remedy this deficiency, thereby illuminating the close relationship he perceives between scientific discoveries and timeless sacred texts that, he writes, contain scientific truths, some of which have only recently been realized. Consciously approaching his project as a layperson, Al-Ali has different intentions than what some readers might expect from a commentary on the Quran. He aims not to prove Islam but to demonstrate “to all believers that faith is tangible, not visionary or priggish.” While it is common for Christians writing on the same topic to assert that, Al-Ali means to show that faith and science are nonexclusive, overlapping domains that support and reinforce one another. After all, he maintains, science discovers the laws and workings of the creator, and divine books anticipate scientific advances that would have been unthinkable at the time they were written. While quoting extensively from religious texts to make his points, Al-Ali’s engaging, readable commentary is accessible even to readers with little or no knowledge of the Quran.

An insightful treatise on the intersection of faith and science for believers and nonbelievers alike.

Pub Date: April 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1480169968

Page Count: 282

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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