“In my experience as an American Muslim, there was absolutely no emphasis placed on violence….But my experience of Islam is not the only one…For other Muslims, violence is a part of the expression of Islam…”
“What is Islam?”
September 11, 2001.
Words can’t express the horror and terror experienced on that day. What happened in New York was devastating in so many ways. It was equally devastating to the communities of American Muslims, including Nabeel Qureshi. He remembers that day vividly, like all Americans.
But what many Americans may not have known was the reality that was heard in Qureshi’s mosque, “The terrorists who hijacked the planes on September 11 also hijacked Islam.”
That may seem confusing, especially if you have little understanding of Islam and the people that practice this faith. The reality is that there are different thoughts or groups in Islam, or denominations of Islam, to use a Christian phrase. What Qureshi and his family practiced in America as Muslim faith was very different from the Muslim Faith that the hijackers practiced.
While even this little bit of knowledge is power and can change how one interacts with Muslims, there is so much more to this religion. There are history, reformations, and interpretations that can change how Muslims understand their faith and act it out. And in a world that is constantly bombarded with news of jihadi, terrorist acts, and disturbing videos of beheadings, it is important to understand what is going on and what is compelling these actions.
While some would be happy to be completely ignorant to these important difference, Nabeel Qureshi believes that there is a better way forward. While some would be content to hate all Muslims equally, despite how they describe their faith, Qureshi believes that the answer is not to hate, but a Christ-centered love.
Answering Jihad seeks to answer the questions that people all over the world have about Islam and the people that follow it. Is Islam a peaceful religion? Are all Muslims commanded to participate in jihad or holy war and kill all non-believers?
The answers to these questions offer insight as to why things are happening in our world today, as well as in the days of yesteryear. The beliefs of high profile Muslims have shaped the events of the world today in ways that are truly surprising. But while there is this insight to glean, Qureshi doesn’t make Answering Jihad just about Islam. There are questions for Christians to answer as well.
How were the Christian Crusades different than the Islamic jihads? What did Jesus teach about jihad? What role does Jesus play in the Muslim holy war?
Even to these important questions, Qureshi has answers. But most importantly, he shows us a better way forward. He shows the readers of Answering Jihad that there is a way to act and behavior towards our Muslim neighbours, one that reflects the heart of Jesus Christ, one that is based on love, not hatred.
“…one can criticize Islam while affirming and loving Muslims.”
With the news continually discussing the terrorist acts of groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida, and Boko Haram, it is important to know who these groups are and what they are about. But I believe that gaining this knowledge is important, even to engage and interact with our Muslim neighbours. It is a good thing to have a foundation of knowledge about the Islamic faith, even if they have no connection or affiliation to those terrorist organizations.
I came into Answering Jihad with little knowledge about the origins of Islam or the life of Muhammad. I had some idea was to what they believed, what their holy book was called, but not nearly as much as I gleaned from this book. It was the perfect way to gain important insight into this religion and the various groups that are attached to this faith. Because the Muslim Faith is not as cut and dry as we would think; there are nuances and reformations that make this belief system work. While Nabeel Qureshi doesn’t go into all the details and inner workings of the different, he shares enough that you understand why some Muslims preach a jihad gospel, while others preach a peace and tolerance.
This makes for a wonderful introduction to the world and religion of Islam. Qureshi is quick to advise on where more thorough and scholarly information can be found. Anyone that has Muslim neighbours, or anyone that is pursuing evangelism to this group of people would be wise to read Answering Jihad. Not only for the great information, but also for the insight when comparing Christianity and Islam. Qureshi may not have been the first to offer this information, but he does so in a powerful way.
Simple, informative, and very fair in respect to the history of Islam and Muhammad, Answering Jihad shares important truths about the followers of the Muslim faith. But maybe most importantly, Qureshi reminds that we are called to love our neighbours, even to love our “enemies”.
Answering Jihad easily earns the 5 out of 5-star rating that I’m giving it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”