The author of this new book Muhammad Asad (not to be confused with the celebrated, and deceased, Quran translator of the same name) has produced an erudite and well written book.
Asad describes his objective as ‘not to indulge in a polemic against Christianity and the Bible…this is an attempt to explain that Johnston and Evans are engaging in utterly unstably propaganda.’
Unlike many if not most apologetic works written by Muslims these days Asad is clearly at home in two contrasting worlds: that of Western biblical scholarship and the world of the Quran and its interpretation. Asad demonstrates a competent and insightful handling of the exegetical and critical issues.
However, I suspect his polemical tone will put off some readers. He speaks of Evans and Johnston disparagingly, referring to their ‘gross ignorance’, ‘goofy reasoning,’ and ‘silly standards’. This jars with the sober scholarly tone of most of the book.
I particularly liked the deft refutation of the unfounded claim by Evans and Johnston that the Prophet Muhammad would have approved of the so-called ‘Islamic State’. Asad’s citation of Shaykh Muhammad al Yaqoubi’s fatwa Refuting ISIS: A Rebuttal Of Its Religious And Ideological Foundations, is timely and welcome.
I also enjoyed the chapter ‘God’s Love in Islam and the Bible.’ I think many Muslims and Christians will be surprised at what Asad uncovers. However, you will need to purchase the book to find out!
I hope this important work will reach a wide readership. Those fundamentalist believers who have already made their minds up will not benefit from this book, but I hope more discerning souls will ‘treasure all these things, and ponder them in their hearts’ (Luke 2:19).