Monday, January 11, 2010

Books read in January 2010

1. Towards Islam by Alistair Duncan

Written in 1978 for Christians in contact with the Muslim world these four essays will also be informative for Muslims concerning festivals and art. A balanced non polemical presentation which I would only criticise for stating that the Koranic text has never been altered in 1400 years. This is not in line with modern textual criticism, a subject hidden from public view it seems. Also, not all Islamic art has been averse to the human form. I do not think the Mughals alone permitted it.

2. Escape from Islam by Hass Hirji Walji, Jaryl Strong

I have heard and read and even translated the testimonies of Muslims who have come to faith in Jesus Christ. This is among the best. The story is riveting. A Muslim family, in Uganda for nearly a century, experiences the horror of Amin's lawless brutality. Accepted as immigrants to America they are to their surprise welcomed by a Lutheran church with furnished housing, food and money. The author, a student, was attracted by the lives of Christians and when befriended by them wanted to convert them to Islam. Instead he was challenged by the truth of the gospel. He fought. Pushy Christians were no help but patient friends were and eventually he comes to faith with none of the dreams which are often part of Muslims' testimonies. My only slight criticism would be that there is no mention of repentance and baptism of Jesus as Lord. It is interesting the witness was through friendship and the corporate aspect of a para-church student group.

Once he told his family they threw him out. The carrot of the offer of pilgrimage to mecca did not succeed. Nor did a beating and attempted murder. He was tempted but stood firm and enjoyed a measure of family reconciliation. The gospel is clearly explained and the differences between the faiths. He centers that on Islam as a religion of legal observances while Christians know a personal relationship with the father through his Son and Spirit. A good book to give to a Muslim or a Christian seeking to understand witness to Muslims.

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