HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, Updated and Revised
Authors: Norman L. Geisler, Abdul Saleeb
Publisher: Baker Books, 2nd edition 2002
Related website(s): http://www.bakerbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Geisler, Norman L., and Saleeb, Abdul. Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, Updated and Revised (Originally published in 1993 and updated and revised in 2002 by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, P. O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516). Islam is certainly something that is constantly in the news. This book, which was a recent gift to me, was originally published in 1993 and was updated and revised after 9/11/2001. This second edition contains two new appendices, a new preface written in light of September 11, 2001, and updated information throughout. Part One states as clearly as possible the fundamental beliefs of Islam. Part Two responds to basic Muslim beliefs in God, Muhammad, and the Qu’ran. Part Three examines the evidence for the Christian counterclaim. The appendices deal with Muslim sects, Islamic religious practices, the Gospel of Barnabas, modern critical accusations against the New Testament, jihadist violence, and Black Islam. Also, the back contains a glossary, bibliography, suggested reading, a Qu’ranic index, and indices of both persons and subjects. The authors are Normal Geisler, a well-known Evangelical apologist, and Abdul Saleeb, a former Muslim using a pseudonym. A few references to Calvinism (especially original sin) and Premillennialism occur, but otherwise Answering Islam is a treasure trove of helpful information that is especially relevant in our time.
Muslims will not like this book. One reviewer wrote, “I’m muslim. And I promise I’ll be fair.” But all this person really did was to call it “a rare non-fiction sub-genre/category that modern collective intellect has gradually eliminated – ‘ideological attack’ books” and say, “If Islam is wrong and Christianity is right and the book intends to guide to the truth, why didn’t Mr. Saleeb et. al. write about Christianity in itself? However, if you’re here to buy this book as a scientific research tool or as a comparative study, you should know by now that it does not qualify for any intellectual respect. It’s about Christianity and Islam but it’s written by Christians.” To begin, Islam has attacked Christianity; we’re just giving an answer for our faith. Furthermore, there is a whole section of the book with a positive defense of the Christian perspective. Also, it is not intended merely as “a comparative study,” but a comprehensive analysis and critique of Islam from a Biblical perspective. And “does not qualify for any intellectual respect”? The authors use only the most ancient, authoritative, and original Islamic writings and heavily document everything that they say with copious footnotes. It is indeed scholarly.
The other criticism that I saw was an acceptance that the Christian God and Allah are the same God, with which not everyone agrees, resulting in the feeling, as another reviewer wrote, that “most of the really damaging places were downplayed…and… while a lot of the information which is damaging to Mohammad is mentioned, it is soft pedaled.” To be fair, the authors do go on to say that the Christian and Muslim concepts are radically different. That reviewer did admit that “while the authors did bend over backwards in a strange attempt to not make Muslims mad, most of the time they did get around to admitting various places and things that differed a lot.” I do appreciate what they wrote about Islam and violence. “While many Muslims are peace-loving, nonetheless, those who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of God can find ample justification for their actions, based on the teachings of the Qu’ran and the sayings and examples from prophet Muhammad himself!…The minority groups in Islam who resort to violence are not an aberration to Islam but in fact can legitimately claim to be working within the basic parameters of Islamic Jihad.” This excellent study will help all thinking people to understand the issues and make informed decisions concerning this topic.