The popular media is a place where many conflicting pictures of Islam appear. We see distinctly different portraits painted by public figures from talk show hosts to presidential candidates. On one end are those who see Islam as a beleaguered religion of peace and tolerance. On the other are those who denounce it as a poisonous faith of violence and murder. It seems that relatively few earnestly try to see Islam objectively.
Hank Hanegraaff—popularly known as the Bible Answer Man—has written a book exploring the faith shared by over a billion Muslims worldwide. This detailed analysis of the Islamic worldview highlights the negative aspects of Islam but is hardly a screed. Hanegraaff takes care to point out that many Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people even if Islam itself is not. He adds that many millions of Muslims do not share the deceptive and violent methods of promoting the faith (a detail often repeated by non-Muslims). Muslim is not intended to demonize but to accurately portray the history of a religion that some have painted erroneously as noble and peaceful.
Hanegraaff helps readers understand that Islam is not a religion in the traditional sense – it is an all-encompassing worldview antagonistic to other cultures and religious systems. Unfortunately, this is what makes Islam so dangerous. Shariah law is not merely another legal code; it is intended to be a replacement for every other political system and philosophy. With Islam ranking as perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world, the prospect of the implementation of Shariah law is a cause for concern. Hanegraaff cites the many problems with Shariah law which makes it offensive to Western sensibilities. Its treatment of women and non-Muslims alone make it a horrific system to live under, as the last 1300 years demonstrate.
Muslim details the litany of problems plaguing Islam. These are not merely due to differences between the mores of Islamic and American cultures. He exposes the Qur’an’s misrepresentation of history, such as Christ’s crucifixion and other details of the Gospel accounts. Other problems include the conveniently-timed divine revelations that conferred benefits upon Muhammad, such as being able to marry however many wives he wished, (including the wife of his son-in-law). He also addresses the alleged literary excellence of the Qur’an as an identifier of its divine origin—in reality, Muslim scholars themselves have criticized the supposed eloquence of the text, with some paying a dear price for their work.
Hanegraaff explodes some of the myths of Islamic history commonly believed by the ill-informed and even promoted by American politicians and other public figures. For instance, he cites Islamic texts which show Muhammad to have been a violent warlord instead of a peaceful religious leader. He likewise shines a spotlight on the “Andalusian paradise” in medieval Spain in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians supposedly lived in harmony. In reality, it was a living horror for those deemed to be infidels. An extremely helpful part of the book is the number of quotes taken from Islamic texts as well as Muslim scholars.
The book does not merely focus on identifying problems within Islam and its sacred texts. It does a helpful service in recounting much of the history of Islam, articulating critical points of Islamic theology, and demonstrating the implications of a hypothetical world governed by Islam. Muslim is an important book—virtually a clarion call—for those who want to know more about one of the most dominant faiths in the world today and how non-Muslims should respond. It is a vital resource that must not be overlooked.
The book hits bookstores and online retailers tomorrow, October 10. Please give it a look. You’ll almost certainly have your eyes opened.
(Disclaimer: This review was written for the publishing launch team, who provided me with an advance copy of the ebook.)