From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography, an informative portrait of the God of Islam, the world's second largest, fastest-growing, and perhaps most tragically misunderstood religion.
Itis a highly readable, unbiasedly comparative and elegantly insightful study of the Quran ... Through...scriptural comparisons, Miles gets to the core of the Abrahamic matrix: The monotheism that the Jewish people developed over the centuries was inherited by Islam and was turned into a global creed ... In observing such nuances, Miles, a Christian, is as objective, fair and gracious as one can get.
[Miles takes] a novel and rather startling approach to scripture, but in Mr. Miles’s hands it allows a kind of openness to a text that, to non-Muslim readers, can seem puzzling and alien ... Mr. Miles’s account stands alone, both in its generous openness of mind and in its scrupulous yet lively scholarship ... In his treatment of the Allah of the Quran, suspension of disbelief is finely balanced by a generous suspension of his own personal beliefs, and his book is all the stronger for this equipoise.
Adopting an us-versus-them tone, [Miles] creates the effect of a book written in wartime, calling for peace ... If Miles’s goal is to show non-Muslim readers how much common ground there is between the three Abrahamic faiths, it is a perplexing decision to insist on comparing 'Yahweh' and 'Allah.' Leaving the names untranslated transforms the one Almighty into two exotic literary characters ... It is an attempt to humanize what some might see as the enemy, yet by doing so it hardens the stereotypes on which demonization thrives. Part of the problem here is the absence of Muslim voices ... The larger issue is a flawed assumption that seeps into the book and paralyzes it: that the Qur’an cannot be read as literature ... It is our loss that Miles felt he couldn’t treat the Qur’an more trenchantly as a work of art, as Muslims have done for centuries ... with the conclusion of his trilogy, Miles has shown us, perhaps inadvertently, how—ever since God switched on the lights and created his combative human interlocutors—human politics, from the archaic to the present, fills many chapters of the divine memoir.