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Summary

Sometimes rumor, sometimes based on fact and often misunderstood, the tenets of Islamic law and dogma were not set in the religion's founding moments. They were developed, like in other world religions, over centuries by the clerical class of Muslim scholars.

Misquoting Muhammad takes listeners back in time through Islamic civilization and traces how and why such controversies developed, offering an inside view into how key and controversial aspects of Islam took shape. Misquoting Muhammad lays out how Muslim intellectuals have sought to balance reason and revelation, weigh science and religion, and negotiate the eternal truths of scripture amid shifting values.

©2014 Jonathan A. C. Brown (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Misquoting Muhammad

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Balanced View of Scriptural History

Accurately depicts controversial aspects of scriptural interpretation and its evolutions. Argues that historical interpretation and understanding needs to be upheld even in the modern times insofar that they are set in stone. However, there are a lot of room for new understanding in issues of fiqh which alter with time and situation. Showed that renowned scholars of early Muslims differed on issues respectfully as long as it came from an opinion derived from evidenced scriptural understanding.

Most interestingly showed that early scholars not so critical of hadith that spoke of ample rewards and last days as they promoted better adherence by Muslims. Hadith scholars like Bukhari were not infallible in their Sahih collection but it was important to set it in stone so believers are not confused due to lack of knowledge. Hence Ahmed Ibn Hanbal preferred weak hadith over ones human intellectual opinion which fluctuates with the environment.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Insight

Great content, the only thing I would criticise would be the narrator to have been better on pronunciation of the Arabic other than that very insightful. Jonathan goes into breaking down the usual thrown at misunderstood reasons of peoples perception of Islam.

2 people found this helpful

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Shame the narrator sounds like an automated Robot

I was really eager to listen to this book as I have heard so many good things and the reviews also confirmed this. Sadly, i should’ve listened to the reviews on the narrator as I couldn’t cope, not only was the pronunciation horrendous but he sounds like a male version of Alexa.. I just couldn’t get into it and I just couldn’t get past him - I think what was worse is that you can tell he is trying to pronounce everything correctly but Alexa would have done a better job. I ended up buying the paperback which is why I have given it 2 stars as the book itself is outstanding.

1 person found this helpful

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The use of hadith - a no holds barred journey

A very extensive journey through the use and applicability of the hadith. The book has tried to take an anthropological stance which is its strength and weakness. Strength because the book does not come across as a polemic from a partisan direction, weak because it then attempts to give equal legitimate weight to all sides, at least in their introduction and contending views are either put in the mouths of their historical detractors or voiced by an invisible third party arbiter based on a principle that has arisen out of the debate. I would have liked to have heard the explicit view of the author whether I agreed with it or not. I also felt at times that the content could have been trimmed without losing essential content or impact.
The references to similar debates and events that had taken place in the Christian world was a good mechanism especially as the Ummah had been compared to its sister commuties, the Christian and Jewish worlds. Like another reviewer the strained attempt to pronounce some of the Arabic words or names was at times distracting but not significantly so.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent book, but pronunciation often wrong

The book is a brilliant tour of the Islamic interpretive tradition, examining the various ways scholars through the ages have dealt with the textual sources of Islam.
The only problem with this audio version is that most Arabic words and names are mispronounced.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book.Arabic word narration can be much better

I started reading (more accurately, listening to, on Audible .. Thanks Amazon) this book as I was mainly curious as to what extent would an American academic dive deep into such a severley complicated issue like islamic tradition, Hadeith sciences, Islamic schools of sharia/law, and larger islamic divisions (e. g Sunna vs Shia..).. To what extent would he grasp the foundations over which they differed on their rulings and opinions, and how he would represent such a complicated subject to an uninformed western reader. Also how this chain of tradition manifisted today in some "new" islamic thought schools that try to be as close to western culture and ideologies as possible.
After finishing the book, I can easily say I did enjoy the book, and I would certainly read other books from the same author. There are some sections I didn't find quite accurate, but overall, the great effort and thoroughness the author showed is remarkable.
Still, I would say that the average western reader might find it challenging to grasp all of this in the first read... I mean, I consider myself already familiar with nearly all the ideas/discussions/debates presented in the book to a good extent, and yet listening to those exact same ideas in English feels quite strange and detached... It feels like a big chunck of context is missing.
Overall I recommend this book to people, especially western non-muslims, although even arab muslims could find this quite useful [There is an arabic translation of the book available (not an audio book, though)].

Thanks, Jonathan.

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Outstanding

Jonathan Brown delivers an invaluable insight into the workings of the Muslim tradition. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how Muslim jurisprudence functions.