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Islam: Past, Present and Future

  • ISBN13: 9781851686124
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
In books which have inspired millions, Kung has worked tirelessly towards a new dialogue between cultures. Following bestselling volumes on Christianity and Judaism, Kung’s critically acclaimed guide to Islam is now available in paperback. A masterful overview of Islam’s 1,400-year history, Kung examines its fundamental beliefs and practices, outlines the major schools of thought, and surveys the positions of Islam on the urgent questions of the day.

Islam: Past, Present and Future


  1. Appeasement and dhimmitude.

    The basic thesis of this book is that Islam could conceivably be, if you look at it a certain way, a tenable system of government for Europe’s future. It’s pretty naive. It basically says, “If we were to remove this, this, and that from Islam then there would be no conflict with European values.”

    The problem is, there is simply no precedent in 1,400 years of Islamic history of Muslims deleting “this, this, and that” merely because their neighbors find certain beliefs, uh, inconvenient. In fact, Kung makes little effort in this book to take into account the work of Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or, etc.

    The author is a Catholic priest, by the way, whose writings landed him in hot water. The Holy See has not defrocked him, but it has revoked his missio canonica, whereupon he simply switched over to the Protestant faculty (at Regensburg).
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. Hans Kung is Hans Kung and nobody is at all similar to him. His expansive knowledge base and critical thought processing are exceptional to say the least. His scope of Islam is enormous and detailed. He is fair in comparisions, questions and ultimate reasoning. For anyone who would appreciate an in-depth treatment of this topic, this book is the one!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. As a Protestant who has had a long-term interest in the great monotheistic faiths, I found Kung’s work refreshing and stimulating. As a resident of New York City, who works 100 yards away from the World Trade Center, I wanted objectivity in the discussion of one of the world’s fastest growing religions and the U.S.’s largest religious minority. I highly recommend this book as it provides both as well as the seller who delivered the product before I expected it and at an excellent price.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Hans Kung is again very thorough in his analysis of Islam. He relates it’s history in a manner similar to his earlier works on Christianity and Judaism, describing the evolution of the religion in terms of paradigm shifts in which older sometimes stagnant forms persist but are enriched by efforts to relate to changing cultures. He continually compares the similarities in the changes that take place in these three Abrahamic religions. While complex, he still makes a very readable and comprehensive story.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. A Christian theologian has written a 700 page book about Islam and he doesn’t have a completely negative view about the religion. Does that mean he is ignorant or an apologist for Islam. That is most likely what some people will accuse Kung of, but their argument will be obliterated by the book itself. It spends a lot of time on the history of Islam, but it gives the practices and beliefs a good share of thought. The reason why he is not an apologist for Islam is because he himself argues against those who present a soft version of Islam. He says on page 598 that the apologetic argument that jihad is only for self-defense purposes “cannot be maintained.” In other words, jihad is offensive in addition to defensive. I agree with Kung and many Islamic scholars agree, jihad for Muslims is a duty at any time. Now how does that coincide with the theory that Kung believes that Islam was not spread by the sword? He says that early Muslim armies only invaded for territory, not for spreading the religion by the sword and this makes sense as it coincides with the Quranic injunction that there is no compulsion in religion. The answer is that while Muslims may never force anyone to convert, they are obligated by God to ensure that the message of Islam is heard and seen by everyone. In other words, Muslims must do their best to give people a fair choice between Islam and whatever other belief systems that exist. That choice was not there at the time that Mecca was polytheist dominated and to be a Muslim meant to be tortured and threatened with death. Jihad needed to be done to give Islam the room to be practiced which is how it can be offensive, to clear the path for allowing people to freely choose Islam.

    Now as I was reading this book, I was trying to decipher where Kung stood in terms of accepting the Prophethood of Muhammad. He says on page 68 that the Prophet could not have gathered the Quran and put it together because “as it is assumed by Muslims” he could not read or write. He then ends the chapter asking if some people have a special charisma or is the message of the Prophet not his words or the word of God. This is where the dividing line is drawn between believing in Islam and rejecting it. Did the Prophet make up this religion called Islam or was he only a mouthpiece or a bridge for the Creator of the Universe? I am on the side which believes the latter and I assume that Mr. Kung is on the other side or else he would have converted to Islam. Now if we take a close look at the argument that the Prophet made this religion up, we will find that it has holes in it large enough to push a meteor through it. He did not know how to read or write and he was not a philosopher or a scientist or an astronomer or a historian or a theologian yet the Quran presents information that all of these fields would provide. What does that mean? It means that this Quran could not have been compiled by one man in the desert who was illiterate. He needed someone who knew everything already and this was none other than the Supreme Being that we call God. If there is one book I recommend in addition to this one, it would be After Jihad by Noah Feldman. He explains that religion is not the problem in the Islamic world today, but it is politics that has put a straightjacket on the Islamic principles of justice that are inherent in Islam.

    Rating: 4 / 5


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