… and Reza Aslan is the Author.
Tight composition, fast pacing, authoritative tone: it’s no surprise it was a bestseller. Of politics and history it is a good introduction for the non-muslim. But if the intent was to present a vision of how muslims should understand their faith under the challenge of modernity, it falls way short. Even presuming the raft of hostile orientalists he draws from represented the most neutral and authoritative of western scholarship on Islam, the author’s own tone and framing make it needlessly more odious. We are informed the Prophet was “indecisive”, an “empty vessel”, a “hooked nose” Arab, that the Quran *was dictated by* its environment, that the 5 daily prayers are apocryphal, and for that matter the entire hadith corpus should be thrown out the window, etc. I’m not reverse Fox-News-ing him and saying he must be a staunch muslim to write a book on Islam. I’m just saying this book is speaking to and from a position so far removed from the Islamic scholarly tradition that I can make no use of it.