cover image Two Billion Caliphs: A Vision of a Muslim Future

Two Billion Caliphs: A Vision of a Muslim Future

Haroon Moghul. Beacon, $25.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-8070-2465-2

In this forthright and entertaining treatise, essayist Moghul (How to Be a Muslim) provides a personal account of Islam’s past and present while musing on its future. The author explains the tenets of Islam, covering the unified nature of God, the origin of the devil, and the lives of prophets from Adam to Muhammad, in addition to exploring social issues such as Muslim approaches to marriage and politics. Moghul illustrates his relationship with Islam through personal anecdotes about watching Star Trek with his mother and suffering a major health crisis that forced him to abandon his career in academia. The author doesn’t shy away from critiquing Islam, finding fault with Muhammad’s opposition to homosexuality and mounting a nuanced take on Muhammad’s polygyny. Moghul also offers prescriptions for the future of Islam, advocating for “empowering Muslims locally” and developing “deeply compassionate” Muslim communities. Though Moghul’s presentation occasionally feels disorganized, jumping from religious textual analysis to personal stories, the blend of sacred and secular has its charms, as does Moghul’s straightforwardness and optimism for Islam’s future. Moghul’s candid mix of devotional and memoir make this a solid primer on Islam. (Apr.)