Muhammad: Forty Introductions


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Soft Skull
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.1 X 1.1 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Michael Muhammad Knight is a novelist, essayist, journalist, and scholar. He converted to Islam at sixteen and traveled to Islamabad at seventeen to study at a madrasa. His books include The Taqwacores, Blue-Eyed Devil, Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing, and Why I Am a Salafi. He is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.



"The Hunter S. Thompson of Islamic literature." --The Guardian

"A prolific writer, he often satirizes his fellow Muslims, pricking the traditionalists. He is a court jester to the Islamic world, a provocateur in a kufi." --The New York Times

"Islam's gonzo experimentalist." --Publishers Weekly

"He's a writer only America could have produced, one whom contemporary American readers should be primed to appreciate - and maybe even learn from." --SF Gate

Praise for Why I Am a Salafi

"Knight (The Taqwacores) invites readers into "the desert of the real Islam," offering a deconstructionist take on Islamic texts, tradition, transmission, and theology....Knight's ambitious scope and captivating voice make Why I Am a Salafi a must-read for those interested in an alternative side of Islam."--Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

"Knight traverses the scenic highways of Islamic history...Erudite, introspective, and relentlessly provocative, the author interrogates the traditions of Islamic historiography, Quranic exegesis, and hadith verification, elucidating how participating in the life of the Muslim community inevitably shapes, alters, and re-creates that community....The author's humor and generosity of spirit shine through... A vigorous treatment of how the sacred, in all its multifarious forms, continues to exercise power."--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing

"Framed as a kind of memoir-as-road-novel, Knight's account is ostensibly about his journey to drinking ayahuasca, a psychedelic tea popular in South America. Yet, as with any good journey, the path includes numerous detours, and Knight's side trips add depth and complexity far beyond what one might expect from the story of some guy looking to trip out. . . . Knight . . . never loses his authenticity, whether he is discussing religion, sex, or drug use. -Booklist

Praise for Journey to the End of Islam

"Knight's storytelling allows for a memorable arrival at the destination." --Publishers Weekly

"Does Knight succeed in melding ayahuasca and Islam? It's most certainly worth reading this intelligent book to find out, for it has, beg pardon, a higher purpose than its surface gonzoism might suggest at first, with its smart meditations on consciousness and the passage of time. William James, suffice it to say, would probably be appalled at first, and then fascinated." --Kirkus Reviews

"What's best about the Knight oeuvre is not just that he gets progressively more sophisticated in his readings of religion and the inherent tension between tradition and innovation, institutionalization and anarchy, but that his rage against hypocrisy is aimed at himself as well; he is critically wary of his own privilege, his own flaws--including, notably, that sin of thinking that one's thinking makes one superior or that self-reflection insulates oneself from the flaws of others." --Rain Taxi

Praise for Blue-Eyed Devil

"In the end you realize Knight has grown dramatically during his odyssey, and this is what makes this tale so fascinating. Rarely does a reader get to share an author's actual personal transformation page by page--it is an intimate experience." --Lonely Planet

Praise for The Taqwacores

"Compels the reader instantly... This is [...] a true brother to Howl and On the Road with Jehangir Tabari as Dean Moriarty and Yusef Ali as Sal Paradise... Knight has given us something wonderful: Introductory Islam, (a dictionary and Islam reference are essential companions for readers unfamiliar with Islamic terminology) a head-on clash of punk and the Quran." --Bookslut

"Knight's talent lies in his ability to create this incredibly diverse group of characters who not only spring off the page because they are so vividly described, but also represent a variety of viewpoints when it comes to what constitutes being Muslim. What's even more realistic is how he shows that doubts can cut both ways; for while the liberal punks might doubt themselves on occasion, the hardline character has cracks through which his doubts about strict adherence to the scripture comes through." --Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Not many people can say they created a music movement out of thin air, but one of the few who can is Michael Muhammad Knight, a writer whose 2004 novel, The Taqwacores, introduced the world to Muslim punk before Muslim punk was a thing that actually existed." --The Austin Chronicle

"A manifesto for the Muslim punk movement." --Newsweek

Praise for Muhammad: Forty Introductions

"Scholarly, hip, and digressive . . . By idiosyncratic means, Knight propounds a view of religious tradition not as rigid but as subjectively experienced in relation to 'changing values and attitudes.'" --The New Yorker

"As intellectually diverse as a book can get . . . When Knight is in professor mode, Muhammad is perfect. He is scholarly but never dry, learned but never a show-off . . . Muhammad: Forty Introductions is a book designed to seduce, educate, and irritate its audience into curiosity about Islam and Muhammad, and on all three fronts it succeeds." --Lily Meyer, NPR Books

"Part gonzo devotional, part Muslim primer, and, ultimately, a soul-stirring portal into a personal vision of Muhammad . . . Knight's intellectually charged collection of fragments makes for a multi-textured, many hued mosaic . . . Knight, by way of his 40 Muhammadan introductions, illuminates the way." --Barbara Mahaney, Chicago Tribune

"More than a survey of the prophet's life and times, this book is an introduction to the stunning diversity of Islam and the ways in which Muslims think, dream, and make Muhammad into their very own prophet." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The author's portrait of Muhammad is progressive, sometimes controversial, and he aims to be inclusive of a variety of Muslim voices. . . . A worthwhile and sometimes challenging read for Muslims and non-Muslims alike." --Kirkus Reviews

"Libraries looking to add to their Islamic collections will find it of interest." --Booklist

"Knight gives the Prophet new life . . . Muhammad is not just a good book of religious scholarship, but a strange, delightful memoir." --Shiv Kotecha, Frieze

"A remarkable balance between the calm objective nature required by scholarship and the human touch that makes his writing accessible to a wider audience. If you're serious about wanting to learn more about Islam and Muhammad, then Muhammad: Forty Introductions by Michael Muhammad Knight is a great place to start." --Richard Marcus,

"Knight's collection includes hadith that invite explorations of Muhammad's appearance, family life, infallibility, mystical nature and more. Each chapter is a fresh reminder that for nearly every accepted fact of Islam, there exists another element within the expansive Islamic tradition that competes with, complicates or questions it." --Aysha Khan, Religion News Service

"In each chapter here, Knight selects a hadith that describes a specific aspect of the prophet's life and character. He then elaborates on each in his own unique way with the purpose of expressing his personal walk with Muhammad . . . A compelling work." --Dave Pugl, Library Journal

"Muhammad: Forty Introductions is a biography utterly unique, a performance and pairing of form and function like I've never seen before, an entirely novel take on one of history's most important figures. It's a revelation." --Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles