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Light in the Shadow of Jihad [Hardcover]

Ravi Zacharias
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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About the Author

Ravi Zacharias was born in India, immigrating to Canada at twenty. After earning a Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he began a speaking ministry that has taken him worldwide as a recognized authority on comparative religions, cults, and philosophy. Zacharias's books include the Gold Medallion winner Can Man Live without God, Deliver Us from Evil, Cries of the Heart, and Jesus Among Other Gods. He also teaches an international radio program weekly entitled Let My People Think. Ravi lives with his wife, Margaret, in Atlanta. They have three grown children.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating and comforting July 16 2006
This engaging book looks at 9/11 from a Christian perspective, seeking to make sense of the tragedy while placing world events in historical context. In chapter one: Hand From The Rubble, the author lays out the questions relating to 9/11 by analogy with Genelle Guzman who was the last person rescued from the rubble of Ground Zero. He discusses religion in public life, the categories of good and evil, mentions author Peggy Noonan and comes to the conclusion that America's moral strength and spiritual commitment will determine the future of the nation in the war on terror and the unfolding of history.

Chapter 2: The Struggle Between Good & Evil investigates relativism with reference to Alan Dershowitz amongst others. The author looks at the arguments of atheists like Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell and Kai Nielsen and shows from their own words that reason alone cannot lead to morality. America functions within the moral framework of Judeo-Christian assumptions: Life is intrinsically sacred because God created and sustains it. He discusses George Washington's farewell address and two major points in it: morality cannot be maintained without religion and if religion is excluded, reason and experience forbid us to expect morality to prevail.

In Chapter 3: The Struggle Between Truth & Falsehood, he looks at the history of Islam including the Sunni/Shia split, the sources of authority in Islam like the Qur'an, the Hadith, Sira and Tafsir, the doctrine of abrogation and the persecution of Islamic scholars questioning the primary sources. Recent history of the religion is explored with reference to Hasan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Farag and his book The Missing Religious Precept, and intolerance in Muslim countries.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A problematic response to 9-11 April 16 2003
"Light in the Shadow of Jihad: The Struggle for Truth," by Ravi Zacharias, is a short book, written from the evangelical Christian perspective, that attempts to place the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in a greater theological and social perspective. The author discusses the origins of Islam, ethical relativism, biblical texts, the debate over "the hiddenness of God," intolerance in Islamic countries, and United States national values.
There are some interesting and effective parts of the book. I was moved by his account of returning home to the U.S. after the tragedy. He also partially reproduces an article written by Muslim scholar Muqtedar Khan, in which Khan challenges the Islamic world to do some soul-searching in the post 9-11 context. Zacharias himself challenges moderate Muslims to speak out against violence done in the name of Islam.
I found the most problematic part of the book to be the author's attitude towards Islam. There is a subtle vein of hostility towards Islam running throughout the book, such as when he claims that Islam can be "demanding [. . .] of the American culture to provide it unlimited freedom." An unqualified statement like that hurts Zacharias' credibility in my mind. At times it seems like he wants to criticize Islam more pointedly but is trying to be politically correct about it. He also presents a naively rosy view of Christendom as a whole.
Ultimately, I found few new insights in this book. But I think it is still worth reading for those seeking more perspectives on 9-11.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended Dec 11 2002
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, Dr. Ravi Zacharias sat down to collect his thoughts, and wrote this book. First off, he looks at good and evil, and calls on America to return to morality. Then he looks at the struggle between truth and falsehood, and asks questions that Muslims must answer. The next chapter of the book looks at prophecy and the modern Middle East. And, the final two chapters ask the questions of where was God, and where do we go from here.
But, don't stop there. Be sure to read the appendix, which is entitled, "Steadying the Soul While the Heart is Breaking." It is a very touching postscript.
In many ways I feel inadequate in writing this review. I wish that I could easily boil down Dr. Zacharias' thoughts, but this book is just not like that. It is a book that came from his soul-searching, and it made me search my soul as well. If, as a Christian, you are willing to peer into your soul, as you prepare for the years ahead, then I would highly recommend that you get this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Preaches to the choir, about the choir. Sept. 21 2002
Light in the Shadow of Jihad is eloquent and seemingly heart-felt sermon, but a little short on substance, it seemed to me. Zacharius' main points are that relativism is unhelpful in meeting the needs of modern man, and unprincipled absolutism -- a la bin Laden -- is no good either. It's also kind of a patriotic crie de couer. All right. Rousing, but not that enlightening. But maybe that's because I've heard the sermon before.
I tend to agree with most of what Zacharius says. But from the title I thought I might learn something about Islam here. I did not. The book is primarily about relativism. Zacharius is from India, but he seems to know more about Western philosophy than about non-Western religions, which is a pity, because Americans do need to learn about other religions from a prophetic, rather than uncritically affirming or denying, perspective. If that is what you are looking for, I recommend Paul Fregosi (Jihad), Maxime Rodinson (Mohammed), Bernard Lewis, V.S. Naipaul, or Peter Partner (God of Battles) for an honest and more informed look at Islam. I also highly recommend the works of Vishal Mangalwadi, another Indian Christian who writes with passion, but also it seems to me broader knowledge of other religions. If you want an eloquent sermon on the errors of relativism, this book may meet your need, however.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A short thought provoking read
This is a good short book that highlights some of the fundamental strengths of Christianity as they relate to September 11th. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2003 by Robert Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This book takes a very interesting look at our current world situation. One might think based on the title that the book is about Islam, but in reality this book is geared toward... Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2003 by Mark Nenadov
5.0 out of 5 stars Enormous wisdom in few words
This is a small book, but it says volumes. I read it in two short settings, there's just so much content that I had to allow it time to digest. Read more
Published on June 9 2002 by Clifton Beasley
5.0 out of 5 stars Decent essays
It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a decent, well structured, set of essays. Having recently waded through a relatively pointless Umberto Eco novel and struggling with the... Read more
Published on March 13 2002 by C. Solomon
5.0 out of 5 stars Decent essays
It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a decent, well structured, set of essays. Having recently waded through a relatively pointless Umberto Eco novel and struggling with the... Read more
Published on March 13 2002 by C. Solomon
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets right to the heart of 9/11
This is finally the book that I have been waiting for that really, REALLY gets to the heart of the matter of 9/11. It is a quick read but is definitely not a light read. Read more
Published on March 12 2002 by David d'Escoto
5.0 out of 5 stars I think this is agood book.
This is a good book about bad things that happened in New York. He says a lot of good things about what we can do to cope with our pain. I made me feel better.
Published on March 1 2002 by Karl Hamm
5.0 out of 5 stars A Discussion of Post-9/11 Reality
This is the first book that I have read that deals specifically with the 9/11 attacks. I always find Dr. Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2002 by Kendal B. Hunter
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