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Why I Am Not a Muslim [Kindle Edition]

Ibn Warraq
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Those who practice the Muslim faith have resisted examinations of their religion. They are extremely guarded about their religion, and what they consider blasphemous acts by skeptical Muslims and non-Muslims alike has only served to pique the world's curiosity. This critical examination reveals an unflattering picture of the faith and its practitioners. Nevertheless, it is the truth, something that has either been deliberately concealed by modern scholars or buried in obscure journals accessible only to a select few.


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Review

"My favorite book on Islam is the rationalist critique Why I Am Not a Muslim."
- Christopher Hitchens in The Atlantic Monthly

." . . a courageous and prophethic call to value and protect human rights, especially the rights of women."
- National Catholic Reporter

"The problem with a book such as this is that it will most likely never reach those most in need of it. How many libraries will stock it, or dare stock it if they knew its contents?"
-The New Humanist

." . . transcends The Satanic Verses in terms of sacrilege. Where Rushdie offered an elusive critique of Islam in an airy tale of magical realism, Ibn Warraq brings a scholarly sledgehammer to the task of demolishing Islam. Such an act, especially for an author of Muslim birth, is so incendiary that the author must write under a pseudonym; not to do so would be an act of suicide"
- The Weekly Standard

" . . . a completely compelling case for the conclusion that Islam is flatly incompatible with the establishment and maintenance of the equal individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state."
- Salisbury Review

"Ibn Warraq has done for Islam what Bertrand Russell did for Christianity, but at much greater personal risk. . . . His [fate] would be that of Salman Rushdie's were he to reveal his true name rather than the pseudonym he uses. This book is must reading for all who would understand the possibilities and the dangers of affirming multi-culturalism in today's world."
-The Human Quest

"At long last a writer has risen to the challenge posed by this religion of compulsion. He has put together in one book all the objectionable rules of Islam, and has made it into one of the best books about Islam that I have seen in many years. We must be extremely grateful to Ibn Warraq for his revealing book."
- Humanist in Canada

About the Author

Ibn Warraq is the highly acclaimed author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, Virgins? What Virgins?, and Defending the West. He is also the editor of The Origins of the Koran, What the Koran Really Says, Leaving Islam, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and Which Koran?.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Bertrand Russell's "Why I'm not a Christian" was a short set of essays, starting with a rather civilized debate about proving the existence of God. Though taken from that title, Warraq's book is an altogether larger exposition that is hardly a tea time discussion given that thousands of people have been killed and continue to be killed in the name of Islam, and that there are serious issues to explore including layers of history and the growth of learning and the intellect in the Islamic world, up until today. The book describes several historical schools of the faith and also chronicles the lives of several poets, free thinkers and philosophers from the Islamic world. It culminates in the thorny issue of what Islam represents in the West as well as in its heartlands such as Pakistan, where a woman is raped every three hours. Warraq himself originated in Pakistan and has had enough exposure to an Islamic education to tease out what is effectively a polemic against dogmatic religion of any form, monotheism in particular, with his ire focussed against Islam. The book is often a literature review with passages from several authors, mostly from sources that are out of copyright. Not all the sources are unimpeachable, though there is enough material to create a body of evidence to make his points. The book indicates that the word Islam is complex and one ought to distinguish between what Muslims are and do as against the set of teachings they are expected to practice. This book is not an attack on Muslims but a treatise that investigates the origins of Islam, the creation of a politicized empire building creed and its consequences in history.

This book is suitable for Muslims to understand their history and faith and non-Muslims alike. So long and comprehensive was the book (c.
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely thorough 20 Aug. 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a long and detailed book. It goes through everything from the origins of the Qur'an to the life of Mohammed to the effect of Islam on other conquered countries. He is not a polemicist; unlike Ali Sina, Robert Spencer or Salman Rushdie, Warraq does not ridicule people or their beliefs. Warraq admits that there are differing opinions on wife-beating; whilst Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes out that Islam always allows it, Warraq points out a contradiction between the Qur'an and the Hadith, which has been resolved in various ways. The worst that he says about Mohammed is that he finds the heroes of other religions to be better role models. The book could do with a bit of humour sometimes; the only bit that I picked up on was when he said that Muslim countries are probably better off without Winnie the Pooh. [No argument was giving for this anti-Pooh stance]. The final words in the book state that the next battle is more likely to be between those who favour freedom and those who do not rather than between Islam and the West. This illustrates that his aim was to safeguard free enquiry and liberty against fundamentalists rather than to simply insult religious faith.

This was written almost fifteen years ago now, but is enjoying a revivial due to its being quoted by lots of atheists. His argument may even have been vindicated by the actions of those last fifteen years.

Some of the other reviews in this section appear to be by people who have not read the book. This can be shown by how they just pick insults out of the sky.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brave, learned, interesting, surprisingly calm and objective and wide ranging book, if more intellectual than populist.

To develop only a few points amongst many in this book:

Some Muslim countries ban The Muppet Show, Winnie the Pooh and Orwell's Animal Farm because they contain fictional characters who are pigs, an unclean animal in Islam.

The author differentiates (as western commentators often fail to do) between on the one hand the religion itself and on the other hand the achievements of "Islamic" Art, Architecture, Calligraphy and (in former centuries) Science and Philosophy. These cultural achievements were not necessarily the result of Islam or to its credit. They developed after Mohammed's day and we do not know if he would have approved of them. They may owe as much to the heritage of the previous civilizations conquered by the Arabs as to Islam itself. Many of the leading "Muslim" poets, scientists and philosophers of the period were open or suspected heretics, unbelievers or Arabic speaking Christians living a sometimes only precariously tolerated existance within Muslim societies.

Although some would have us believe that Wahhabisim, the austere and intolerant form of Islam that forcibly conquered what is now Saudi Arabia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and and still dominates Saudi society, is an extreme aberration, compared to the milder forms of Islam such as Ismailis and Sufis, I am left believing that the opposite is the case. Mohammed himself and his armed followers in Medina had much more in common with the Saudi Wahhabis.

Yes, more desirable things such as charity and desire for peace have always had their place in Islam, and no, most Muslims do not go around planting bombs or beheading people.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars As an apostate of Islam it gives a great artillery of arguments to use
This book has greatly increased my knowledge of the negatives of Islam. As an apostate of Islam it gives a great artillery of arguments to use. The best book on Islam there is.
Published 2 months ago by Lennox Zack
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that will not be read by those who need to most
Very well-researched! Hats off to an amazing piece of work (as a former member of the archaic tribe of whom the author speaks, I can vouch for a great deal of his conclusions)
Published 2 months ago by micah
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative book on the untold history of Islam, ...
An informative book on the untold history of Islam, especially for them who wants to know the dark side of Islam, though no religion is more or less free from flaws.
Published 7 months ago by Sujan Chowdhury
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, brave author!
Published 7 months ago by Harris Totle
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening!
A MUST READ in this time and age to get rid of the politically correct untruths we get told. It should be compulsory reading for everybody, especially our politicians.
Published 9 months ago by The Introcentric
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and open
Also this book I very much liked to read, because it was a personal story with ups and downs and change.
Published 9 months ago by BSL
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
This was a very engaging read. I do agree that a lot of the writing comes across as polemical and agitated, but then considering the writer's ontology and belief in human rights,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by MR M O JONES
3.0 out of 5 stars A well-argued book, but...
Ibn Warraq has clearly put a lot of effort into this closely-argued book. Having bought the book, I turned to the section on the Qur'an, which is part of the scripture of my faith,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr. Francis A. King
4.0 out of 5 stars a must read
The content is excellent but the writing style drags a little. Overalk very good but is a little long-winded in places.
Published 13 months ago by PaulDC
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be part of RE at school.
Having just recently read Bertrand Russell’s 'Why I am not a Christian’, I thought it might be appropriate to continue my exploration into religion by reading this one. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Biro
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