Saturday, May 07, 2016

book review: Answering Jihad

Title: Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward
Author: Nabeel Qureshi
Publisher: Zondervan 
Date: 2016

Nabeel Qureshi, in his recent book, Answering Jihad, says that there is a better way forward to address the Jihadi movements of ISIS, Al Qaida, Boko Haram, Paris and others – a way that must uphold both truth and compassion.

Qureshi is a former devout Muslim and thoroughly versed in Islam, the Quran, Hadiths and the reigning worldview of Muslims. His previous book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus (Zondervan, 2014), is his story of coming to faith in Jesus.

In Answering Jihad, he traces the seemingly recent rise of Jihadi movements as a radical return to the roots of Islam. He argues that the historical foundation of Islam is terroristic. He argues that Islam is not a religion of peace.

Answering Jihad is essentially Qureshi’s answers to eighteen (18) common questions:
Question 1: What Is Islam?
Question 2: Is Islam “a Religion of Peace”?
Question 3: What Is Jihad?
Question 4: Is Jihad in the Quran and the Life of Muhammad?
Question 5: What Is Sharia?
Question 6: Was Islam Spread by the Sword?
Question 7: What Is Radical Islam?
Question 8: Does Islam Need a Reformation?
Question 9: Who Are Al-Qaida, ISIS, and Boko Haram?
Question 10: Who Are the True Muslims—Violent or Peaceful Muslims?
Question 11: Why Are Muslims Being Radicalized?
Question 12: Are Muslims Trying to Take Over the West with Sharia? 
Question 13: Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
Question 14: Why Do Some Christians Call God “Allah”?
Question 15: How Does Jihad Compare with Old Testament Warfare?
Question 16: What Does Jesus Teach about Violence?
Question 17: How Does Jihad Compare with the Crusades?
Question 18: What Does Jesus Have to Do with Jihad?

Qureshi argues that Islam is not Muslims, and Muslims are not Islam. Although Muslims are adherents of Islam, and Islam is the worldview of Muslims, the two are not the same. He says that we in the West often misunderstand Islam. At one end of the spectrum, many assume that if the Quran teaches something then all Muslims believe it. That is false. Many Muslims have not heard of a given teaching; some might interpret it differently; and, others do their best to ignore it.

Qureshi points out that although the average American Muslim agrees that the Quran and hadith are the ultimate basis of their faith, many have not critically read either and would be surprised to find violent, offensive jihad shot through the foundations of Islam. The Quranic revelations reflect the development in Muhammad’s life as he moved from a peaceful trajectory to a violent one, culminating in surah 9 of the Quran, chronologically the last major chapter of the Quran and its most expansively violent teaching. Surah 9 is a command to disavow all treaties with polytheists and to subjugate Jews and Christians so that Islam may “prevail over every faith.” The scope of this violence has no clear limits, so it’s fair to wonder whether any non-Muslims in the world are immune from being attacked, subdued, or assimilated under this command. Muslims must fight, according to this final surah of the Quran, and if they do not, then their faith is called into question and they are counted among the hypocrites. If they do fight, they are promised one of two rewards, either spoils of war or heaven through martyrdom. Allah has made a bargain with the mujahid who obeys: Kill or be killed in battle, and paradise awaits.

And so many western politicians, pundits and academics, fail to comprehend what pure or radical Islam is about.

While making it clear what the truth of Islam is and that it must be acknowledged in order to prepare for ongoing radicalization, Qureshi pleads for proactive love, friendship and compassion. “Fear and fighting fuel radical fires… we need something that breaks the cycle, and I think that can only be love” (p146). This is not the final step in answering jihad, but it is the correct first step, and it offers a better way forward.

This book is a clear, concise, maybe a little too concise at points, summary an response to Jihad from a Christian perspective. Well worth reading.

DisclosureI received this book free from the publisher
through the BookLook Bloggers book review program.
I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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