Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Review: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

From Goodreads: 
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi's inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike. Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man's heart---and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.
Writing
As far as the content is concerned, I feel like Qureshi does a great job of presenting information in a way that makes sense and is easy to understand.  Unfortunately, I felt like he chose the wrong way to present that information stylistically.  The book seems to be a memoir, beginning with Qureshi's early life and progressing to the here and now.  However, most of his early experiences are presented in a way that is a thin veil for explaining Islam.  I'm not complaining about the content.  I'm interested in Islam and loved reading about the beliefs from an Islamic point of view.  But I felt like trying to disguise the factual information that Qureshi needed to present with a somewhat half-hearted storyline was a mistake.  I was not at all intrigued by the mundane happenings of his early life and I felt like they didn't serve much of a purpose.  I'd have preferred to read just the description of the underlying beliefs of Islam without the life story details.

Once Qureshi gets to college, however, the story picks up and becomes more interesting.  I'm not sure exactly how I would have worked his early life into the story, but it seemed to be an afterthought compared to the real meat of the story - Qureshi's conversion experiences.  I very much appreciated the use of Christian and Muslim apologetics throughout the story and the fact that Qureshi provided so many sources to readers for further study.

Entertainment Value
As I mentioned above, I found the subject matter and the depth of exploration of both Islam and Christianity to be very compelling.  I like feeling like I've come away from a book with new knowledge, and I certainly gained that from this one.  I wasn't necessarily a fan of the way the information was presented in the first half of the book, though, and I feel like the disconnect I felt from the story hampered my enjoyment.

Overall
Because the book is so detailed regarding both religions, I came away happy with what I had learned.  I liked Qureshi and I felt like I really identified with his hunger for knowledge.  It's also a great overview of Islam and Christianity from an apologetics view point.  I might have enjoyed it more if it were presented in a different way, but the quality of information earns no complaints.  I'd recommend this to Christians who have a particular interest in Islam or apologetics and to those who are looking to understand the basics of the Islamic faith.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy for me to review!

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