I decided to read this book not only for my own knowledge, but to help myself to better answer the sometimes challenging questions I get on my blog. This book poses a variety of questions that people generally have about Islam, and answers them directly.
The author of this book, Fethullah Gulen, as some may know is a renowned Turkish Islamic scholar and an activist who calls for global understanding and tolerance. He is a strong proponent of interfaith dialog, and encourages the Muslim community to engage and be a part of the secular world while still maintaining their Islamic values, beliefs, and practices.
I enjoyed reading this book, as it answered some difficult questions elegantly. Overall, I feel that the answers hold a deep understanding of the global environment and modern society, and from this perspective these questions are answered, while still maintaining and explaining the truth of the Quran.
The book is divided into eight different chapters, each discussing a series of related questions: God, Religion, The Qur’an, Prophethood and Prophets, Satan, Destiny and Free Will, and Death. The last chapter discusses a variety of miscellaneous issues.
There were a few subjects in this book that really interested me and which I felt made this book a valuable read. One of these is the discussion in the first chapter of the difference between god, God, and Allah. This issue is something I have heard debated before, so it was nice to hear from a scholarly opinion. Another important subject was the point of worship/ why we worship the way we do — an important questions every Muslim should know the answer to. I personally feel it is very important to not just do something because you are told, but to understand the reasoning behind it (although I realize that with God’s laws, only He can know the reason for certain things, and we are not always informed of the why but just need to listen and trust in Him. But God gave us a brain to use, not to blindly follow others).
Although there were a lot of important points in this book, there were two that were my favorite. The first point was a discussion of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) wives: why he had multiple wives, why ‘A’Isha was so young, and also a brief summary of why he married each of them. Since many people attempt to use the Prophet’s marriages to argue against his prophethood, it is important for Muslims today to have an understanding of this topic.
The second point was about the Prophets. This book underlines the significance in the fact that– as stated in the Qur’an– prophets have been sent to every people, although we have not been told all of their names. The book makes the suggestion that some ancient scholars and significant historical figures may have been prophets, for example Socrates, Confucius, and Buddha. I believe that such a perspective is very important in uniting and making connections with others in the world. And of course, it makes sense– if God is the God for the whole world, then wouldn’t he have made himself known to people throughout the world and not just one group or another? It’s discussions like this that make this an important book for modern Muslims to read, in addition to those who seek a better understanding of Islam.
You can find an online version of this book as well as other books and articles here.
To learn more about Fethullah Gulen and to read more of his works, you can visit his website at fgulen.com.