Tuesday, December 4

Book: The Fundamentals of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism), Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips Click for more info

This bite-sized volume of 190 odd pages aims to explain the concept of Tawheed in simple and accessible terms; the author claims that until now the ideas involved with Islamic Monotheism had been presented in convoluted and confusing ways, and so it may not be appreciated to the fullest by many Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

It's an odd claim given that a good 90% of this book seems to just literally describe what a Muslim can and cannot do or think (and that in a pretty absolutist way; don't expect any grey areas here folks). In some places it appears to confuse the issues regarding Tawheed with that of Sharia or law, and for me some of the rulings the book highlights seem a little out of context and almost... angry.

The remaining 10% is much more interesting since it covers the more abstract notion of Tawheed and its consequences. I found myself disagreeing with some bits (for example at one point the book implies that to predict the weather or the date on which a pregnant woman will give birth is a form of shirk unless you qualify it with an acknowledging insha-Allah), but in terms of explaining a non-obvious yet fundamental concept the author does well enough in order to allow the reader to make up their own minds.

Well written, nicely presented and concise, The Fundamentals of Tawheed is worth a read if only to formalise what you probably already know, albeit on a trivial level; that you may not completely agree with the exact conclusions the book presents is beside the fact that it helps you to find your own - just like a good book should in fact.