I have this a 5 star review as I appreciate the great work of Imam Tawhidi. I found it hard to read as a non Arab and non Muslim. My difficulties were simply with the familiarity of the Arab and Islam culture and names. I also dislike all religions and again found it hard to read due to that. In saying this I must say that reading this book that I was sufficiently educated in the history of Islam and found that I was able to form an accurate view on the various aspects of Islam particularly the difference between Sunni and Shia. Overall it pained me to read this as religion is a topic that I despise but I must say that it is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the basics and history of Islam and to help you to form a view of the problems and possible solutions to problems caused by the gross incompatibility of Islam as it relates to other religions and the great western cultures.
This is an excellent book, although at times Ifound it difficult to follow the who is who of Islam. One thing is sure if you are a Muslim there are going to be parts in this that you wont like. If you are a non Muslim you will find things in this book that are quite frankly ridiculous. I often wondered as to why anyone would follow Islam, while reading things that make no sense whatsoever. Example fatwas about woman and chairs. However it is often said that the truth hurts. The good news is that the truth will also set you free. So while as a Muslim you might find some of the things in this book, inflammatory, put your fragile ego on hold for a second and understand that this book is written to make things better for all. For a non Muslim I can say the same thing, sit up and listen, this book is not about you or your sense of political correctness. We are dealing with difficult and sensitive subjects, but unless we are willing to take a hard look and take decisive actions. We will be struggling against extremism till the end of time.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone interested in the problem that is Islam. Imam Tawhidi is erudite, learned, intelligent, totally honest, objective and devoid of sectarian bias in this remarkable account of the miserable state in which Islam finds itself and the violence and deception that had been its hallmark down the ages. He touches on possible ways forward and promises a second volume which will expand on this subject. A wonderful book by a wonderful human being
This book provided excellent educational information about the formation of Islam, including the historical actions of Caliphs. It also gives much information that Muslims as well as Non-Muslims can use to aid the community.