Islam is Complex

what would a muslim sayI was provided with a free copy of “What a Muslim Would Say Book 2”, and “Interfaith Dialogue and Debates” in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by verifying that I am not a Muslim. However, since writing a novel (Forbidden, by F. Stone) wherein the setting is the Middle East and most of the characters are Muslim, I have studied the religion of Islam, though I don’t consider myself an authority on the subject. Far from it!

During my studies, many Muslims have been overwhelming generous in their time, kindness, and eager to help me grasp not only the teachings of the prophet Mohammad, but to also understand the culture of Muslims – which varies depending upon many factors (history, country, government).

Understanding Islam can be challenging. Ahmed Lofty Rashed has been inspired to assist both Muslim and non-Muslims understanding of Islam by inviting the public to send questions to https://www.whyislam.org/. He responds to each question providing answers in clear language and refers to corresponding passages in the Koran. His answers are articulate, honest, non-confrontational, and comprehensive. What a Muslim Would Say Book 2 and Interfaith Dialogues and Debates (follow-up to Book 1) are a compilation of this email communication.

Ahmed Lofty Rashed’s intent is to encourage understanding of Islam’s fundamental goal – to promote peace. The difficulty in understanding Islam is due to, in part, criminals who promote themselves as Muslim even while committing terrorism and atrocities which are in contradiction to the teachings of the Koran. The challenge is compounded by the media and political agents’ desire to sway public opinion in a direction that promotes profit and votes – not peace.

After reading Ahmed Rashed’s three books, it occurred to me that to fully understand Islam, one needs to be almost immersed in the faith from birth AND to have a comprehensive knowledge of the historical events during the time of Mohammad. For non-Muslims, it can be a life long study. Scholars of all religions still debate on many of the nuances, the obscure meanings, and wonder at the sacred wisdom declared centuries ago. Much of the text in our holy books are directly connected to the historical events, and to the level of understanding of human behavior and other sciences. For example, the explanation for the Islam’s law against homosexuality was believed that behavior was a choice. We now finally understand it is not a choice. I wonder, would Mohammad receive the same ‘laws’ today from God given our greater understanding of biology, neuroscience, etc.?

For years, many of my friends, my husband, and others have lamented that Muslims seem to be overly passive in expressing outrage with the atrocities wielded by extremist so-called Muslims. In a way, I understood their quiet display, offering only peaceful reflection away from the crowds of frightened non-Muslims. It is with great relief the dialogue has begun between the scholars, between the followers of the religions, and within the faithful in each community. Thank you, Ahmed Lofty Rashed for being brave, wise, and dedicated to peace. Blessings.

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Book Review: What Would a Muslim Say?

what would a muslim sayI was provided with a free copy of What a Muslim Would Say in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by verifying that I am not a Muslim. However, since writing a novel (Forbidden, by F. Stone) wherein the setting is the Middle East and most of the characters are Muslim, I have studied the religion of Islam, though I don’t consider myself an authority on the subject.

One of the best sources of information was from a book by Sumbul Ali-Karamali, The Muslim Next Door; and a book by Mustafa Akyol who wrote Islam Without Extremes. I also read The Fault Lines of the Middle East: The history of the religious and political issues affecting the region, by Charles River Editors.

Understanding Islam is both difficult and enlightening. Ahmed Lofty Rashed has been inspired to present answers to challenging and controversial subjects with respect to Muslims’ beliefs and culture by inviting the public to send questions to him via email. He responds to each question providing answers in simple language and refers to passages in the Koran. His answers are articulate, honest, non-judgemental, and comprehensive. What a Muslim Would Say is a compilation of this email communication.

Ahmed Lofty Rashed’s intent is to encourage understanding of Islam’s fundamental goal – to promote peace. The difficulty in understanding Islam is due to, in part, criminals who promote themselves as Muslim even while committing terrorism and atrocities which are in contradiction to the teachings of the Koran. The challenge is compounded by the media and political agenda to sway public opinion in a direction that promotes profit and votes – not peace.

Ahmed Lofty Rashed covers many subjects that were initiated by people’s email inquiries. Included are:

Faith, sex, and marriage

Muslim response to criticism

Jihad and freedom in the modern world

The Quran and how it informs a Muslim’s faith

Islamic worship, prayer, charity and pilgrimage

Salvation and tolerance in Islam

Muslim culture and modernity

Understanding Islamic law

Etiquettes of visiting a mosque

Gods’ grace and free will

How can Islam be called a religion of peace?

Can Muslims and Christians ever live in harmony?

Even though some of the email messages to Ahmed Lofty Rashed were written in a hostile tone, his response remained respectful and non-judgemental. Several messages continued on, response followed by more responses, until the inquiry was fully addressed.

Anyone who is seeking clarification about the truth of Islam is encouraged to read books from many sources, including What Would a Muslim Say. Many Muslims I have met over the years are most welcoming in their mosque, and so delighted to talk about Islam and their culture. I look forward to another book from Ahmed Lofty Rashed who plans to write a follow-up book.

I’m Getting Annoyed, Really Ticked Actually With Reviewers.

Reviewers Beware! Some readers have been quite harsh in commenting on Forbidden’s seer – Eliza MacKay.

I should be a bit more blase when it comes to being annoyed with people who believe being a seer is someone with a crystal ball, using super natural paranormal talents.

In fact, we are all seers. To some extent, we all use this ‘gateway’ to a higher awareness but mostly, and often embarrassingly refer to it as ‘my gut, or ‘my intuition.’ I don’t know of anyone of my associates who haven’t experienced an illogical reaction to being in a particular location, attending an event, or making a purchase, etc. etc. You instinctively ‘see’ a consequence, a condition, a reward or threat associated with the idea, plan or action.

The seer is one who has flexed those intuition muscles and has become more adept at discerning what is fact and what is fantasy. Eliza MacKay in Forbidden is a character who has proven she has had success in finding lost dogs, being able to see where they are (if they aren’t running). She doesn’t portray herself having some supernatural gift bestowed upon her by a deity. She’s no goddess, and certainly no saint.

young woman in the dark

My ire with a few reviewers is justified. The first chapter, in fact first few paragraphs, she’s struggling with a strong intuition (seer) that she should get out of RIPT. She’s torn. She’s promised to meet a Habitat for Humanity group to be their interpreter. She can’t abandon them. As the chapter progresses, it is clear that she is truly in great danger.

Reviewers seem to get rankled when, much later in the story, she offers to help Captain Sharif find his children through touching the child’s coat or gazing into a map. The reviewers state that ‘suddenly’ she became a seer. No, that characteristic was introduced in chapter one, paragraph one. Damn! Sometime I wonder if reviewers read the bloody story or if they simply skim, reading every other sentence. Is there a trend to see how fast a reader can finish the book? How many books can they read in a year?

This assessment is from reading each review and discovering some readers did not grasp the plot, the motives, the chain of events, etc. Now, if every reader had the same difficulty, obviously the fault is with me, the author, in not writing a clear and well though out story. However, since most did fully understand the story, I wonder why other readers were confused. If they were required to write an exam on what they just read, they’d flunk.

There’s one more point I want to make clear. Some readers believe that what was forbidden is that Captain Sharif was not allowed to have a relationship with a non-Muslim. That is not true. The reader’s personal beliefs and misconceptions tainted their experience with Forbidden. What happened to having an open mind?

Fact: What is true for a devout Muslim, is that he or she should not be intimate before marriage. A Muslim man can marry any woman he chooses, regardless of her religion. Sadly, the reverse is different. A devout Muslim woman must marry only a Muslim man (to ensure the children are raised as Muslims). However, in a moderate Muslim community, there is more flexibility.

I’m done with my rant. Thanks.

Partners In Crime Book Tour – FORBIDDEN, Better Wear Your Flak Jacket, Honey

Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket

by F. Stone

on Tour June 19 – July 7, 2017

June 30th Book Tour Stops: Interview with Deal Sharing Aunt

and

Review by Blogging Wtih A

Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket by F. StoneGunfire echoes within the walls of a Middle East police compound. Screams of terror are brutally silenced. Police captain Hashim Sharif captures one survivor. Soon Eliza MacKay will wish she had died with her companions.

The vile act of terrorism is covered-up. Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, MacKay. His corrupt superiors have a gun rammed against his skull. Disloyalty to the mayor will be rewarded with being buried alive.

Whatever the cost, his government’s honor must be restored. Secretly, Sharif hunts forensic evidence. Who is responsible for the murder of fifteen American volunteers? And, why did MacKay lie about her identity? He can’t trust her. Her mental illness is going to get both of them killed.

When he receives orders to dispose of MacKay, his Muslim faith is tested. Murder an innocent in cold blood? He will suffer Allah’s eternal wrath.

CIA Agent Hutchinson has the lying Sharif in his cross hairs. Sharif dodges the agent’s traps almost as easily as the hit man on his tail. When Sharif discovers the shocking truth, he loses all hope of survival.

What is worth dying for? Perhaps it’s not bringing a madman to justice. Could it be saving the life of a woman who kick-started his numb heart? On the knife edge of risk, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Romance, International Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: December 2016
Number of Pages: 363
ISBN: 0995150907 (ISBN13: 9780995150904)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Tour Info:

Book Formats: ePub, mobi, Print (US Only)
Hosting Options: Review, Interview, Guest Post, Showcase
Giveaway: PICT Rafflecopter & Individual Host Giveaways
More: According to the author Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket does include: Graphic Violence and other trigger situations but it does not include: Excessive Strong Language, Explicit Sexual Scenes, or Rape. Both Wendy and Cheryl have read this book, however and can give additional information if you have questions.

Tour Participants:


List of tour stops:

Partners In Crime Book Tour – FORBIDDEN, Interview

Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket

by F. Stone

on Tour June 19 – July 7, 2017

Today’s Book Tour Stops: 6/28 Interview @ Nicki Elsons Not-so-deep Thoughts

Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket by F. StoneGunfire echoes within the walls of a Middle East police compound. Screams of terror are brutally silenced. Police captain Hashim Sharif captures one survivor. Soon Eliza MacKay will wish she had died with her companions.

The vile act of terrorism is covered-up. Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, MacKay. His corrupt superiors have a gun rammed against his skull. Disloyalty to the mayor will be rewarded with being buried alive.

Whatever the cost, his government’s honor must be restored. Secretly, Sharif hunts forensic evidence. Who is responsible for the murder of fifteen American volunteers? And, why did MacKay lie about her identity? He can’t trust her. Her mental illness is going to get both of them killed.

When he receives orders to dispose of MacKay, his Muslim faith is tested. Murder an innocent in cold blood? He will suffer Allah’s eternal wrath.

CIA Agent Hutchinson has the lying Sharif in his cross hairs. Sharif dodges the agent’s traps almost as easily as the hit man on his tail. When Sharif discovers the shocking truth, he loses all hope of survival.

What is worth dying for? Perhaps it’s not bringing a madman to justice. Could it be saving the life of a woman who kick-started his numb heart? On the knife edge of risk, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Romance, International Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: December 2016
Number of Pages: 363
ISBN: 0995150907 (ISBN13: 9780995150904)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Tour Info:

Book Formats: ePub, mobi, Print (US Only)
Hosting Options: Review, Interview, Guest Post, Showcase
Giveaway: PICT Rafflecopter & Individual Host Giveaways
More: According to the author Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket does include: Graphic Violence and other trigger situations but it does not include: Excessive Strong Language, Explicit Sexual Scenes, or Rape. Both Wendy and Cheryl have read this book, however and can give additional information if you have questions.

Tour Participants:


List of tour stops: