Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: Answering Jihad ~ A Better Way Forward by Nabeel Qureshi

1 Peter 3:15(MSG) 
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.


This book provides a look into the Islamic
religion and lends valuable insight
into some very perplexing questions. 
From New York Times bestselling author and former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi comes this personal, challenging, and respectful answer to the many questions surrounding jihad, the rise of ISIS, and Islamic terrorism.

San Bernardino was the most lethal terror attack on American soil since 9/11, and it came on the heels of a coordinated assault on Paris. There is no question that innocents were slaughtered in the name of Allah and in the way of jihad, but do the terrorists’ actions actually reflect the religion of Islam? The answer to this question is more pressing than ever, as waves of Muslim refugees arrive in the West seeking shelter from the violent ideology of ISIS.

Setting aside speculations and competing voices, what really is jihad? How are we to understand jihad in relation to our Muslim neighbors and friends? Why is there such a surge of Islamist terrorism in the world today, and how are we to respond?

In Answering Jihad, bestselling author Nabeel Qureshi (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus) answers these questions from the perspective of a former Muslim who is deeply concerned for both his Muslim family and his American homeland.


I chose to read, Answering Jihad A Better Way Forward by Nabeel Qureshi to gain insight and understanding into the Islamic religion and how it affects the citizens of the United States of America. I was not disappointed. This book is written for a very broad audience, as the author clearly states, and as such it is not meant to be a comprehensive study into the complexities of the Islamic religion, but rather to provide the reader with a sketch of the current climate within our nation as it relates to Muslims. This book falls within the Christian genre, but it is an important read for Christians and non-Christians alike.   

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi manages to deliver a courteously thoughtful work on a very intense and highly charged subject. As I pondered how to review this book, I immediately thought of the words in 1 Peter 3:15 : "Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy." Throughout the book, the author delivers answers for his choice to leave the Islamic religion and convert to Christianity. He communicates these answers so eloquently and also reveals a deep level of unquestionable authenticity. 

Answering Jihad provides a broad outline of the fundamental teachings of the Islamic religion according to the Quran. In a concise question and answer format, the flow of this book could not be any better. It uncovers that the "average American Muslim agrees that the Quran and hadith are the ultimate basis of their faith," but that "many have not critically read the traditions." The author, who was raised as a devout Muslim in the United States asserts that many Muslims throughout the world "would be surprised to find violent, offensive jihad shot through the foundations of Islam." The important fact that there are an expansive number of Islamic fundamental teachings and therefore wide variances of how Islam is practiced is a significant point to absorb as you digest the book.

Dr. Qureshi expresses his opinion that we should not be defining Islam as the "practice of Muslims", but rather Islam should be defined as the "teachings of Muhammad". This simple statement alone brings a lot of clarity to the confusion and chaos of terminology and generalizations that are thrown around on a daily basis within the varied media outlets. Keeping that in mind, he goes a step farther to explain that the personal and peaceful practice of some Muslims, does not mean that Islam is a religion of peace. In fact, those that are concerned by the "increasing frequency and scale of Islamist terrorism" need to comprehend that there is an Islamic reformation currently taking place and it is built upon the life of Muhammad (the named prophet of Islam) who was born in 570AD. It is an "attempt to raze centuries of traditions of various schools of Islamic thought and return to the canonical texts of the Quran and Muhammad's life." He shares that radical Muslim organizations are very clear that their goal is to reform Islam. Islam follows the Quran and the final chapter is the "the Disavowal", which deny any treaties of peace that came before it. It is also the final and most violent chapter "commanding Muslims to fight and subdue non-Muslims." 

Each chapter within this book, Answering Jihad ~A Better Way Forward provides so much information to the casual learner of this subject, that after reading it, I find myself with a plan to reread it. While Dr. Qureshi has written it for the "wider audience" (not history, theology and political other words), I still found myself feeling quite ignorant. His vast array of knowledge and references leaves my head spinning, but definitely in a good way....if that's possible.

This book is eye opening. The level of transparency and the potential for open dialogue that may be generated is immeasurable. His call to learn the truth about Islam and maintain compassion for Muslims through a life lived proactively rather than in a reactionary stance is clearly presented. This is one man's perspective, however the collection of data to support his stand is quite persuasive. At the very least Qureshi's invitation may pave the way for an increased awareness into our world's present state of affairs. Whether you agree or disagree with Nabeel Qureshi's conclusions, I can assure you that after reading this book, you will have a greater level of insight into the growing concerns surrounding terrorism in our time.

Dr. Qureshi is the author of three books: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Zondervan, February 2014), Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward (Zondervan, March 2016), and No God But One—Allah or Jesus (Zondervan, August 2016).

I would like to thank ZONDERVAN publishing through the BookLook Blogging program for this free review copy of Answering Jihad by Nabeel Qureshi. It was a privilege to read this book and provide an honest summary of my reading experience. I was not required to write a favorable review, but simply to give a genuine opinion.