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The Trouble with Islam [Paperback]

Irshad Manji
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House (2004)
  • ISBN-10: 1740512928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1740512923
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,931,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An uncompromising critique of our faith 26 July 2004
Format:Hardcover
As a British Muslim I wanted to hate this book. It isn't easy to take criticism of one's own faith, especially if one has been brought into that faith from childhood. Too often our peers describe the extremists as something other than the mainstream; well it's up to us to show the world that this is true.
Manji's book isn't perfectly written, in fact it's rather disjointed in places, but her knowledge and erudition cannot be questioned and I scoff at the one-star ratings given in some reviews; obviously her incisive analyses have raised some heckles.
I advise Muslims to read this book with as open a mind as they can. She advocates a reformation in Islam and makes an excellent case for change. For her courage I commend her, hers is a voice that has been lacking for too long.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The reality of islam 15 July 2004
Format:Hardcover
The book sets out some excellent arguments about islam and supports these arguments with solid evidence.
The writer identifies many of the problems islam faces today and highlights changes needed to bring islam into line with western society.
Through out the book are case studies of how backward islam can become if led my an individual with a poor understanding and incorrect interpretation of the Koran, but the book highlights valuable experiences that the writter has experienced following this faith.
It is a shame to see that many of the people that have rated this book with a low rating fail to draw attention to what the writer is arguing about.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Open Minded and Courageous 3 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is refreshing to see a Muslim who can not only view her own faith as outsiders see it, but also have the unmitigated courage to go into print and say what most non-Muslims would love to say but are afraid to in case they incur the wrath of the Mullahs ! (You'll note I use my anonymous mode for writing this !!!). This book should be read, and re-read, by the said Mullahs and perhaps they will then see why there is so little public respect for Islam amongst non-Muslims. I truly wish it were not this way, for Islam, Judaism and Christianity all come from the same roots, worship the same God, and should be partners rather than antagonists. What impresses me about Irshad Manji is the fact that she not only criticises, but gives positive pointers to how the situation can be healed. The reviewers who panned the book clearly are still in the mediaeval period mentally, and are not yet ready to see impartially.

This is a book that only a Muslim could have written with credibility. Anyone else would have been immediately accused of "Racism", "Islamophobia" or worse.
Given past history, it must have taken incredible courage for Irshad Manji to write this book. Not only has she aimed legitimate criticism at Islam, but she is a WOMAN criticising Islam. Even worse ..... she is a LESBIAN WOMAN criticising Islam. In today's Islamic climate it doesn't get much worse than that !
Because of the above, I have to say that this is a book that all Muslims should read, as it gives voice to most of the criticisms that non-Muslims feel should be voiced, but we cannot, as we would be demonised as Islamophobic. Open minded Muslims can see why they are perceived to be insular and anti anybody not of their faith.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake up call for West and East 26 July 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The book's great strength is the author's personal experience as a Muslim. She is a talented observer and is determined to ask the right questions however politically awkward and whatever the circumstances. "Dare to ruin the moment" is her philosophy.
She reports encounters and conversations with fellow Muslims from across the spectrum of Islamic views. She highlights the startling contradictions in the Koran, of which there are many. She points out the ambiguities. The injunction not to kill leaves ample "wiggle room" so extremists can justify murder.
She challenges the Muslim view that what Islam taught in the past is perfect today. Muslims are "routinely taught that the Koran is not to be questioned, analysed, or even interpreted". The same is true of the hadiths, reports of what the Prophet said and did throughout his life. The gates of Ijtihad - an Islamic tradition of independent reasoning that allows Muslims to update their religious practice in light of contemporary circumstances - were closed centuries ago. She wants them opened again.
The prevalent Muslim attitudes to women and religious minorities are unjust and wicked. She quotes examples of the inferior status of women in Islam and of their ill treatment. The Koran is ambiguous and contradictory. "Those who wish to flog women on the flimsiest of charges", she says, "can get the necessary back-up from the Koran. Then again those who seek equality can find succour as well".
The French are expelling an imam who advocated the beating and stoning of adulterous women. He has lived in France for 25 years and has two wives and 16 children. He told a magazine that the Koran permitted the stoning of adulterers and wife beating. He later said he was stating a fact and not giving his opinion.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual perspective 1 July 2004
Format:Hardcover
Reviews of this book tend to be extremely polarised: readers either love it or hate it. The reality is (of course) somewhere inbetween, but on the whole the book is well worth reading.
This is not a detailed academic text, but it is not meant as such. Rather it is an open letter, adressed both to the Muslim community and to the wider world, drawing deeply on personal experience. The text is impassioned, but it is not a diatribe: given the author's background it is remarkably calm. Ultimately it calls not for an end to Islam, but rather for a reformation. The facts about Islam will be well known to anyone with a passing familiarity (such as could be obtained by reading a book by Karen Armstrong): what is unusual is the perspective and the determination of the author.
Manji begins with her personal experiences, growing up in a subculture filled with conformity and misogyny, and these themes run through the book. She documents the depressing features of many Islamic societies, both historic and present day: the opression of women; the vicious persecution of homosexuals; racism and the virulent hatred of Jews; slavery; political paranoia; ignorance and conformity; the forcible suppression of dissent. She explodes traditional myths, most notably the myth of medieval Islamic tolerance of Christians and Jews (while the record compares favourably with that of medieval Christendom, it does not look good by any other measure). Her first main theme is to trace these faults back to a fundamentalism which she claims is inherent in mainstream Islam.
Many Muslims would claim that Manji confuses religion and culture. Manji is well aware of this distinction but refuses to accept it. To her Islam is as Islam does, and the distinction is little more than an excuse.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!
A very self-critical author who has the guts to address the dilemmas faced by the Muslim community and mustering the courage to encourage self-criticism and the spirit to question... Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Ananth
1.0 out of 5 stars The trouble with, The trouble with Islam
As a british muslim I read the book with an open mind. I wanted to believe that Irshad had a view that i could accept and that she would be able to give muslims in the west a "Wake... Read more
Published on 17 May 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars An uncompromising critique of our faith
As a life-long British Muslim I wanted to hate this book. It isn't easy to take criticism of one's own faith, especially if one has been brought into that faith from childhood. Read more
Published on 26 July 2004 by L. Salisbury
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Hilarious !!!
Aside from the fact that Manji has no obvious credentials for interpreting Quranic text (yes, it generally does require an educational grounding), I find it difficult to take such... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2004 by Nat Ball
1.0 out of 5 stars Highly emotional diatribe
To critique a subject adequately a rudimentary knowledge of that subject is a pre-requisite. This highly emotional diatribe shows that Manji has a lot of personal scores to settle... Read more
Published on 17 May 2004 by M A Chaudry
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must-read
This is a book brimming with wisdom, constructive ideas, hope and if that isn't enough; accurate information about the history of Israel. Read more
Published on 10 May 2004 by Ellen Goudsmit
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