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Why I am Not a Muslim [Hardcover]

Ibn Warraq
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Aug 1995
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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (19 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879759844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879759841
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.7 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 534,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
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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80 of 84 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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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it with open mind 17 Jun 2006
I have studied most of the work by Ibn Warraq and his effort must be admired though it is impossible for muslims to do so. He is bluntly honest with facts and knows well what he writes. There is a feeling of repetition which could be forgiven due to the reason that originally all the stuff was in the form of articles. I wish if i could sit with him and talk about some points where i have difference of opinion. I would recommend this book to every muslim, if they could digest truth.
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start, but not flawless 3 May 1998
By A Customer
I have, like Warraq, undertaken the odyssey past the "sea of faith"- from being a believing and religious Muslim to giving up Islam in my early adulthood. People like us can resonate the most with Warraq's thoughts. It's the first book I have seen, that goes beyond the shallow criticism of Islam that one sees in the media every day. It is also good to see that Islam is not presented as the evil threat to the Christian world in an inevitable clash of civilization. All superstition stands indicted as something that opposes and stunts reason.
The author is quite candid about his distaste for Islam. That's understandable. But on occasion, he tries to present Islam in the worst possible way. For example, he chooses the most damning translations of the Qur'an. Being a little generous wouldn't have hurt. There's still plenty that can be and should be critiqued.
I salute Mr.Warraq's courage and hard work in writing this book and giving vent to thoughts shared by many other silent apostates. He is not alone.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it.

It is a very well structured survey, of the origin and rise of the Islamic faith. It contains a wealth of insight into its development as a social, political and legal system and I really appreciated its discussion of pre-Islamic Arabian culture and the impact that Islamic expansion had, on the cultural heritage of its conquests.

If you're at all interested in a candid account of Islam, from an insiders point of view, (he's an ex-Muslim), then buy this book with confidence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 25 days 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 1 month 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 2 months ago by Biro
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing autobiographical here
With a title like "Why I am not a Muslim" its reasonable to expect a fair bit of autobiography. Maybe one's personal journey or just one's personal opinons. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John F Smyth Australia
4.0 out of 5 stars More than I expected
Have read Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris but this one is different: I expected a bit of a rant but this bloke has researched until he must have been blue in the face; it's crammed... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Willd
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard on Islam.
Demolishing analysis of Islam. I am not afraid of voicing my concerns over this dogma now. This is very informative and with plenty of sources.
Really enjoyed reading it.
Published 4 months ago by J. L. Testa
5.0 out of 5 stars Razor-sharp analysis from a scholar who knows Islam from within
Despite the fact it was written in the 1990s, this books is still very actual; in fact I think it has become even more relevant and more essential today, where the freedom of... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Henry
2.0 out of 5 stars mostly tedious
much of the book was quotations of early writings, with too much explanation of past ideas and situations,
requiring a deep knowledge of islam.
Published 16 months ago by Gordon Gillardg h gillard
1.0 out of 5 stars A total joke, written by a liar.
Why is it that that non muslims always end up reading books on Islam written by racists and liars?. If you want to read a book on Islam, then why dont you read books written by... Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by Canopus72
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, learned, interesting, surprisingly calm and objective
Brave, learned, interesting, surprisingly calm and objective and wide ranging book, if more intellectual than populist. Read more
Published on 19 July 2010 by Legal Vampire
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