Sunday, January 29, 2006

Books read in January 2006 (3)

1. The Complete Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss

It was a delight to sit with my eldest granddaughter after lunch and read to her both The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. Both are in this centenary volume. One can see why with over 200,00,000 volumes sold, Dr. Seuss is the biggest selling author of children's books. A pleasure to read out loud.

2.Understanding Jihad - David Cook

David Cook gives a comprehensive academic survey of the origins,
meaning and history of jihad. Quranic and hadith sources are examined
as are historic and contemporary Islamic writings.

He is strongly of the opinion that present day attempts to
spiritualise the meaning of jihad are wrong.

"In reading Muslim literature - both contemporary and classical - one
can see that the evidence for the primacy of spiritual jihad is
negligible. Today it is certain that no Muslim, writing in a
non-Western language (such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu), would ever make
claims that jihad is primarily nonviolent or has been superceded by
the spiritual jihad. Such claims are made solely by Western scholars,
primarily those who study Sufism and/or work in interfaith dialogue,
and by Muslim apologists who are trying to present Islam in the most
innocuous manner possible. Presentations along these lines are
ideological in tone and should be discounted for their bias and
deliberate ignorance of the Muslim sources and attitudes toward the
subject." p165-166.

His historic survey is fascinating for it deals with Muslim debate
concerning the ethics of war which parallel to some extent the
Christian just war debate. His historic survey shows how from early
triumph, the spread of Islam was halted. He looks at the effects of
crusades and colonialism and how we have come to the suicide bombings
and terrorism of today's extremists.

Read and learn.

3. War and Grace - Don Stephens

Thirteen brief biographies of people, all but one of whom lived through the second World War. Six became Christians during the war in the most adverse of circumstances. Three Americans, two Germans, two Japanese, one Dutch and five Britons are featured. In all the stories, what comes through most strongly is that the grace of God can reach into the most extreme situations and to the greatest sinners, even war criminals facing death

This is a book that is very hard to put down. Well written, easily read, it moves ones heart to read of how God's grace changes and sustaines lives. A thrilling book I cannot commend too highly.

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