A Turkish journalist recounts the history and fluctuations of Islam with grace and style.
Akyol charts the course of the early tribes of Islam, fixed and unevolving, to the strict regimes and terrorist struggles of modern times. Laying the foundation with Muhammad’s vision of the Qur’an and the subsequent battles it has inspired between traditionalists and rationalists, the author investigates a religion rooted deeply in individual freedoms and pragmatism. Islam, as espoused by the Qur’an, granted rights to women and slaves and was once anachronistically progressive; however unorthodox his views, Muhammad struggled and persevered for the expansion of the Islamic faith. As centuries passed, the Qur'an and its core message of intellectualism and individualism gave way to political interests—as is the case in most faiths. Akyol's account of the permutations and adaptations of Islam exhibit the strength of the message at its heart and the strong force conspiring to oppress and rewrite its fundamental message. Informative at every turn, the author lifts the veil on the beautiful truths and harsh realities of a faith at war with itself, and ever-evolving in its interpretations and executions. Akyol ends with a call for a more secularized Arab world (perhaps underway now as revolutions spring through the region) as a way to preserve the true legacy of Muhammad's teachings and propel Islam out from the shadows.
A full-color view of the spectrum of Islam, a religion too often regarded in black-and-white terms.