Answering Jihad: A Review

The word “jihad” evokes various ideas, emotions, and opinions.  Questions come up: What is jihad?  Is jihad in the Quran?  Is it in the life of Muhammad?  What about Christianity and jihad?  What should Christians think about jihad?  Nabeel Qureshi answers these and other related questions in his new book, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016).  Some of you may recognize Qureshi’s name; he wrote an earlier outstanding book called, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus (which I’ve mentioned here before).

Answering Jihad has three main parts which asks and answers various questions on the topic.  Here’s a summary/sample:

Part 1: The Origins of Jihad. What is Jihad? What is Sharia? Was Islam Spread by the Sword?
Part 2: Jihad Today: What is Radical Islam? Who are Al-Qaida, ISIS, and Boko Haram? Why are Muslims Being Radicalized?
Part 3: Jihad in Judeo-Christian Context: Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God? What Does Jesus Teach About Violence?

I appreciated this book very much for several reasons.  It is well written and though the topic is somewhat complex, the chapters are short and not overwhelming.  I also appreciated the fact that Qureshi is a level-headed thinker who knows the information (since he used to be a Muslim).  He writes with accuracy and compassion.  Though he doesn’t shy away from the truth or mince words, the book was written with a loving attitude so you won’t find any name calling, hate-mongering, or anger.  One of his big points as a Christian writing such a book is this: “…That we engage Muslims proactively with love and friendship while simultaneously acknowledging the truth about Islam” (p. 148).

Another thing about this book that stuck out is how quickly it was published – meaning the material is very up to date.  Though it was edited and published quickly, it doesn’t seem like it.  I didn’t find any mistakes or goofs in editing.  So when you read this book, you’ll not only get up-to-date information, you’ll also get a lesson in careful, truthful, and loving Christian interaction with Islam.  Politicians and the media don’t help us think about jihad in a good, helpful way.  But this book, Answering Jihad, does!  Highly recommended!

I received this book for the purposes of review, and was not compelled to write a positive one.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI