Provoking book – Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy

Ac Brown is a practising Muslim who can read Arabic. His book is learned and covers many areas and issues that would interest believers and non- believers like how many virgins await the martyr in heaven, the validity of child marriages, death to an apostate who refuses to recant and whether a Muslim woman can lead the Friday prayers. There is also a good description of the 4 schools of thought in the Sunni tradition and the difficulties of relying on hadiths.

It is however a difficult book to read. The organisation of the materials and the topics covered could have been better. The chapters’ headings could have being more descriptive to guide readers.

Perhaps a reader would have also gained a better appreciation of the challenge of interpreting a particular contentious hadith if it was explained whether all 4 schools share the same interpretation and whether all Islamic countries adopt the said interpretation.

That said, I would still recommend this book highly as it is a good primer for anyone who wants to know the difficulties in achieving a common position on how Islamic societies can be ordered to accord with His will due to the plurality that exists in Islamic beliefs.

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