Thursday, October 30, 2008


I have read the book twice. I found it completely interesting, and easy to read. I suspect the book stores may shelve it under "religion" though in my view, it could very well be shelved under "logical thinking" or "current issues". From the outset, I must state that it is a challenging book. It challenges the mind of the reader to go beyond the "accepted" and to look at the evidence. You will certainly have to put aside whatever pre-conceived notions, prejudices, and purely faith-based world views to appreciate and enjoy the book.

Largely the book discusses perceptions people hold about religion in general and Islam in particular. He then compares the perceptions with scriptural evidence that is, the Quran and the Bible. He freely quotes both the verses from the Quran and the Bible and leaves the reader to form his own conclusions. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you cannot avoid the fact that much thought and research has gone into what he has written. And he presents such complex arguments in a very simple, non-academic, readable manner..and in many occasion, true to Akbar Ali's style, with wit and humour.

People have generally underestimated the role of religion in society in some aspects and in other aspects, they have overestimated its influence. This books has succeeded in demonstrating and in inviting the thinking reader to understand instances where the presence of religion in life can be unsuspectingly pervasive. If you agree with this possible inference from his book, it may frighten you. Hence this book has the potential of causing a paradigm shift in the reader's minds.

He has organized the book into short chapters making it easy for the reader to select the topics he wants to read first. This, to me is Syed's best book so far.

I would also describe this book as paving the way for more "thinking books" in this land of ours where there is a dearth of good local books. If we truly want to achieve a civilized and knowledge based society, more such books should be encouraged. I would recommend this book, apart from the general readers, to those in political office, the academics and all those who are in the "business of religion".

Once you finish reading it and assuming you take the effort to understand it, you may realize that it has less to do with religion! It has more to do with us as Malaysians and us as human beings on the Grand Designer's beautiful earth.

The book will be available at all major bookshops from Monday and it is priced at RM39.90. Happy reading.


A. Ali said...

I suspect that this book will be banned soon enough when the authorities in Malaysia know whats writen inside. Nevertheless, lets look and see.

Mohd Irwan said...


why do you think that the authorities will be banned theis book?

or else our Brother Jahaberdeen will not promote this book with details of price and location.

I thought Jaha has the "golden mind" about this book.What do you say Bro Jahaberdeen?

Lastly, the authorities may bann this book but they cannot bann people desire to know and appreciate the content of this book.


A. Ali said...

Salam bro Irwan,

No doubt the book is interesting to read as i have glance through it. The things is that the book try to relate the tradition of "muslims" around the world with some other religion,

Looking at the cover of the book itself, a common tom,dick and harry in malaysia will relate them to muslims(except the obvious GW Bush) due to their image. Next thing after opening up the book mentioned non of the image shown in the cover is a muslim.

i might be wrong about the book being banned, however lets look and see


walski69 said...

Good review, and in fact, this is the exact same book I'm in the midst of reading.

I may not have finished the book, but I do agree that this is his best so far, out of the three.

Many beliefs and practices in "Islam" today are taken for granted to have been ordained in the holy Quran. Not to be a spoiler, but this assumption, as stated in the book is not as it seems. The surprise to many, I suspect, will be just how much of the accepted practices.

I'll be doing my own review once I'm done, and will share the link with you here.

Jahamy said...

thank you and look forward to your link.