“god is not Great,” according to the late Christopher Hitchens, and to even question Islam is to be labeled a heretic, according to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but beyond the titles of their bestselling books, there is the everyday experience of millions of Muslims.
While Allah does not belong to Muslims, Allah is supreme in the Islamic tradition. Allah creates, motivates, and sustains the universe as well as humankind. Allah is a name invoked over 2500 times in the Holy Qur’an. Allah is the basis of the ‘witness’ (or shahada), a creed as foundational for Islam as is the Shema for Jews or baptism to Christians.
In Who is Allah? Bruce B. Lawrence aims to look at Islam with fresh eyes, and to understand Allah with dispassionate insight. The alternative is to settle for journalistic sloganeering, too often sensationalist even when it is highbrow, as with Hitchens or Hirsi Ali.
Professor Lawrence will discuss his newest book on Thursday, September 24th, with interlocutor Katherine Ewing. He will also be a part of “Rethinking Islam, Democracy, and Identity in Pakistan and India: The Role of Sufism” on September 25 -26, 2015. More information about that conference is available here.
Bruce B. Lawrence, a leading scholar of Islam, is the author or editor of many books, including The Qur’an: A Biography and Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden. He is Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Islamic Studies Emeritus at Duke University.