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In the Name of God بسم الله

Reading A Sacrilegious Book

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Faatima_ki_kaneez

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As'Salaamu'alaikum

I started reading a book called "After the Prophet: the epic story of the Shia Sunni split in Islam. It is written by a westerner, non-Muslim. After the first few pages, I really am not sure I should continue. Everything she's writing sounds very sacrilegious, and demeaning towards the Prophet. While the book itself might take a pro-Shia viewpoint on the history, her Islamic history and facts are very much Sunni based or based on a lacking knowledge of Islam. It might also be my heightened sensitivity towards such things

My question is, if it is sacrilegious and all, is it wrong for me to continue to read it? (that might be a stupid question, but i'm really not sure).

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No, continue to read it. It is important that you gain knowledge and know as many view points as possible to form an opinion on a matter, like with everything. It doesn't mean that you will take sides with the author just because she has a certain view point. Heck, I've read a thousand things that I strongly disagree with, but in doing so - it enriched my knowledge and re-assured me of my opinion. It's always important to read two sides of the story/issue.

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I know a Brother who said he read this book and it was one of the factors that brought him to Shia Islam. Can you give a few examples of what the author has written that you feel is demeaning towards the Prophet (pbuh&hf)

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(salam)

In what way is that bool sacrilegious? I *might* be the brother that Ali is referring to, as this book did play a major role in my decision to learn more about Shia Islam. You said you're at the beginning, am I right? If I remember correctly, that's where she first gets into the issue of the successor. Muhammad (pbuh) "had no illusions about his own immortality" (i.e. he knew that he was a mortal and bound to die) but that his followers could not accept it. After all that he had been through, battles and at least 3 assassination attempts, his followers had a hard time comprehending how a mere illness could take down the beloved prophet (pbuh). But even on his deathbed, what would lead into the split was already taking place. Abu Bakr said, when Muhammad wanted something to write with, that "the Qur'an is enough" for us, and we don't need what you have to say. I find THAT sacrilegious of Abu Bakr, but not of the author of the book. Is it sacrilegious because she as an agnostic Jewish woman? Think what you like about that, I have a lot of respect for her. She has a much better grasp on Islam and the Qur'an than most Muslims.

I guess I'm just wondering what part of the book is sacrilegious? I understand that a lot of what happened was not pleasant, but we do have to face history. And to be completely honest and blunt, if that book is sacrilegious, I might as well disregard Shi'ism completely, as I did before. I picked up that book with the intention of proving that the Shias were just a bunch of nutters that beat themselves and worshiped dead saints and their shrines. Well, I came out of that book a Shia.

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(salam)

In what way is that bool sacrilegious? I *might* be the brother that Ali is referring to, as this book did play a major role in my decision to learn more about Shia Islam. You said you're at the beginning, am I right? If I remember correctly, that's where she first gets into the issue of the successor. Muhammad (pbuh) "had no illusions about his own immortality" (i.e. he knew that he was a mortal and bound to die) but that his followers could not accept it. After all that he had been through, battles and at least 3 assassination attempts, his followers had a hard time comprehending how a mere illness could take down the beloved prophet (pbuh). But even on his deathbed, what would lead into the split was already taking place. Abu Bakr said, when Muhammad wanted something to write with, that "the Qur'an is enough" for us, and we don't need what you have to say. I find THAT sacrilegious of Abu Bakr, but not of the author of the book. Is it sacrilegious because she as an agnostic Jewish woman? Think what you like about that, I have a lot of respect for her. She has a much better grasp on Islam and the Qur'an than most Muslims.

I guess I'm just wondering what part of the book is sacrilegious? I understand that a lot of what happened was not pleasant, but we do have to face history. And to be completely honest and blunt, if that book is sacrilegious, I might as well disregard Shi'ism completely, as I did before. I picked up that book with the intention of proving that the Shias were just a bunch of nutters that beat themselves and worshiped dead saints and their shrines. Well, I came out of that book a Shia.

Sorry I didn't write sooner. I got busy and stopped coming on SC, then came on and noticed people responded. Okay, so the following are examples from the beginning of ht ebook, since I haven't really read very far cause I haven't had a chance. Again, I realize the author is not muslim and therefore, not as sensitive as muslims might be. BTW, i did continue, and am enjoying the book once i look past the "insensitive parts."

p 12: she calls teh Prophet an "illiterate trader"---I understand he wasn't educated wordly, but that's because he had all the knowledge of heavens and earth before hand.

She continuously insinuates that teh Prophet was not knowledgeable about his Prophethood until he was told by Hazrat Gibrael to recite. She continues to say that Bibi Khadijah then soothed the obviously shaken Prophet, saying He is the next messanger of God.

she insinuates that teh Prophet was (God forbid) entrazed by Aisha, to the extent that he favored her over Bibi Fatima (as). She narrated that Bibi Fatima (as) went to the Prophet to express the concern the other wives had about Aisha. Instead of hearing her out, the author narrates that he disregarded her concerns, saying “do you not love who I love” Bibi Fatima then goes home, crying, and Imam Ali comes and confronts the Prophet. In an effort to repent, for lack of a better word, The Prophet goes in front of everyone, takes a big Chador, and takes Bibi Fatima, Imam Ali, Hassan and Hussain into it, saying these are my Ahlul bayt. That is not how this happened. It seems like she is expressing the narration of either Sunnis or another skewed one. She says about Bibi Fatima, “She could not make her father laugh with paternal affection as Aisha did, coult not tease him, could barely even ain his ear unless it was to do with her sons.”

She also says that the hijab was only meant for the wives of the Prophet, but was later adopted by extremist clerics for all women.

There are many instances such as the ones I mentioned above which made me question whether or not I should continue reading. She obviously takes an anti Aisha stance and pro Ali (as) but the narration is still very questionable. I agree with the sister who faults the fact that it is written in a narration style, which could account for the heavy editorializing and descriptions which for the average Muslim might seem a little too much.

Also, this is not to negate the value of the book. It brought you to Islam. which is a BIG plus. I would recommend reading it as well, if you can get past some of her obnoxious assumptions

Edited by Faatima_ki_kaneez
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