Omaar's Reading List

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This is the reading list of the forum member Omaar Khayaam.


Scepticism - Science - Atheism

  • The Stuff Of Thought – Stephen Pinker
    9/10 – Brilliant book, language the very basis of our communication. One must pick and choose words carefully.
  • The Greatest Show on Earth – Richard Dawkins
    9/10 – Very thorough and detailed. Dawkins does it again by presenting the evidence for evolution in an easy format for the mass audience.
  • Why Darwin Matters? – Michael Shermer
    9/10 – Brilliant, short and thorough. Well reasoned, not in the same style as the four horsemen. Leaves the choice up to the reader. Rather than arguing that theology or religion is false. He argues for the coherence of science and evolution.
  • Sense and goodness without God – Richard Carrier
    9.5/10 – A superb read, thoroughly reasoned and argued. Richard Carrier is probably my favourite modern philosopher. Extremely underrated. It would have got a 10 but was slightly put off by the multiverse argument as a replacement for a first cause. Otherwise it was excellent.
  • The new atheism – Victor Stenger
    7/10 – I'm familiar with most of the arguments in the book so it wasn't a new revelation for me. It was more a rebuttal to people like Dinesh D'Souza and Alliastair McGrath.
  • 50 voices of disbelief – Various
    7.5/10 – A good read. Thought it was much better than "Leaving Islam".
  • How are we to live – Peter Singer
    7/10 – Overall good, but rambles too much about animal rights in every chapter.
  • The Clash of Fundamentalisms Crusades, Jihads and Modernity – Tariq Ali
    8.5/10 – Mainly about American foreign policy and imperialism. I like Tariq Ali and with him being a Pakistani atheist it's easier to get a feel of his thought.
  • In Defence of Atheism: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam – Michel Onfray
    7/10 – Not bad if you are already an atheist. Some ranting and anger. The muslim would probably dismiss it as out of context.
  • The Demon Haunted World – Carl Sagan
    10/10 – It's the demi-god Sagan. What more can I say?
  • What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text and Commentary – Ibn Warraq
    7/10 – A collection of essays by Islamic scholars such as John Wansborough and others. I would only read it if you want a flavour for what western academics have looked into in terms of studying the Islamic sources. The author leans far too much on others and I would like to see some original thought from him.
  • Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    5/10 – The book is so so. I really don't like this woman being one of the people representing frontline muslim apostates. Her knowledge of Islam is poor and very one-sided. Besides Tariq Ramadhan I don't think anyone else would bother debating her. And I wish Sam Harris etc would stop referring to her as a scholar.
  • Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space – Carl Sagan
    9/10 – Do I need to add anything here?
  • Varieties Of Scientific Experience – Carl Sagan
    9/10 – Put together by Carl Sagans wife. A collection of lectures that he gave in Scotland somewhere.
  • Atheism as a Positive Social Force – Raymond W. Converse
    8/10 – Fairly rare and unknown work. Looks at sociological aspects of religion from the dawn of humanity and the impact it has had.
  • Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer – Christopher Hitchens
    8/10 – Contains words and things written by atheists throughout the centuries. Really for someone already an atheist.
  • The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
    10/10 – This was the second book I read and the one that made me an apostate. I used to squint at this in the bookstore during my doubts. For the layman really and not something I would give to a theologian to read!
  • Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris
    9/10 – I like Sam Harris for his blunt attitude and clear response. This is one of them.
  • Atheism: The Case Against God – George H. Smith
    9/10 – A bit old but still hits the mark. Examines the classic arguments and theodicies put forward by the theologians in detail, slightly technical.
  • God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist – Victor J. Stenger
    8/10 – This is one of those books that sets out to try to prove a negative, fairs well. I would recommend it to someone with a science and particularly a physics background.
  • The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion – Robert Spencer
    6/10 – I really don't like people who simply have some sort of agenda that claims one religions superiority over another. Although this guy is using purely Islamic sources and quotes extensively, it's the tone in his argument that lets it down.
  • The Quest for the Historical Muhammad – Ibn Warraq
    9/10 – Again not his own work but good in it's own right. I really want to see some original thought from this guy though.
  • Why I Am Not a Muslim – Ibn Warraq
    9/10 – The works within the book are fine but again no original thought.
  • Why Evolution is True – Jerry A. Coyne
    10/10 – This is the best book I've read on this subject. There is no bashing the opponent, just a simple analysis and laying down of the facts.
  • Your Inner Fish: The Amazing Discovery of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor – Neil Shubin
    10/10 – Lighthearted reading showing the similarities we have with our aquatic cousins, inspires awe.
  • Blind Watchmaker – Richard Dawkins
    9/10 – A classic, I'm sure a review is not needed here.
  • The Origin of Species – Charles Darwin
    9/10 – The book I would give as a present to friends.
  • Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism – David Mills
    9/10 – This is the first book I read on the subject of atheism and was the best seller before TGD. Was the first domino and tipped me over the edge.
  • God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything – Christopher Hitchens
    10/10 – I have this in paperback and as an audiobook. I think I must have listened to the audiobook in my car about twenty times. I made my missus listen to it as well. I feel that he could have gone on longer with his chapter on Islam. He made a crucial point in the book and one which I didn't think of initially. He said that a rebuttal to one in in effect a rebuttal to all. If the foundation stories of the OT are flawed, then why would the Quranic narratives have any validity? This is my personal favourite.
  • Language, Truth and Logic – AJ Ayer
    7/10 – Discusses a philosophical position known as "Logical Positivism" see Something that has fallen out of favour. One of the key thoughts is that discussing metaphysics isn't wrong, but that it doesn't mean anything.
  • 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God – Guy P Harrison
    7/10 – Not really a polemic but more discussions about why people believe in God. Was okay but riddled with strawmen.
  • The Improbability of God – Michael Martin
    8/10 – Very academic and technical. You would really need to be familiar with theology and theodicy big time! Various white papers and refutations to arguments put forward by theologians. Not light reading!
  • Atheism - A Very Short Introduction – Julian Baggini
    9/10 – Brilliant! Very short, but very direct. Takes a more balanced view and shows why naturalism is an objective and default way of looking at the world.
  • Beyond Good and Evil – R J Hollingdale, Friedrich W Nietzsche
    8/10 – When I first read this book, knowing next to nothing about Nietzsche, I gave it 6/10. After listening to a lecture about him and reading it again I have given it a better score. A complete anti-thesis to religious thought. The book discusses ethics and morals and says that the hand me down morals of Christianity should be taken apart and a new set of morals and ethics be put in place.
  • Leaving Islam – Ibn Warraq
    7/10 – You can read most of these accounts online. Again no original thought.
  • The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality – Andre Comte-Sponville
    7/10 – Overall good. Not wishy washy and shows that agnostics and atheists can be spiritual just by being in marvel and awe at the complexities of nature itself.
  • Against All Gods – AC Grayling
    8/10 – Very short. More like a lecture than a book. Takes about an hour to read.
  • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion – David Hume
    9/10 – David Hume is one of my idols. His thought is clear and logical. He discusses two of the arguments put forward by theologians and destroys them. The book takes the format of a dialogue taking place between three friends.
  • The End of Faith – Sam Harris
    8/10 – Direct and well thought out. Muslims really don't like this guy because his primary target is Islam. He quotes from the Quran, but again muslims would dismiss it as out of context.

Islamic Books

  • Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions – Martin Lings
  • The Vision of Islam – Sachiko Murata
  • The Makkan Crucible – Zakaria Bashier
  • Sunshine at Madinah – Zakaria Bashier
  • Scattered Pictures: Reflections Of An American Muslim – Imam Zaid Shakir
  • Way to the Quran – Khurram Murad; Rashid Rahman
  • Milestones – Sayed Qutb
  • Fiqh Al-imam: Key Proofs In Hanafi Fiqh – Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf
  • Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development & Special Features – Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi
  • On Schacht's Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence – Muhammad M. al-Azami
  • The History of The Qur'anic Text. – Muhammad Mustafa Al-Azami.
  • Mecca: From Before Genesis Until Now – Martin Lings
  • The Eleventh Hour: The Spiritual Crisis of the Modern World in the Light of Tradition and Prophecy – Martin Lings
  • What is Sufism? – Martin Lings
  • Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources – Martin Lings
  • Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America – Jeffrey Lang
  • Losing My Religion: A Call For Help – Jeffrey Lang
  • Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam – Jeffrey Lang
  • The Broken Chain – Aftab Ahmad Malik
  • Let Us Be Muslims – Sayyid A. Mawdudi
  • Al-Ghazali on the Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife – Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al- Ghazali
  • Al-Ghazali's Path to Sufism: His Deliverance from Error – Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali
  • Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship – Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al- Ghazali
  • Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart – Hamza Yusuf
  • Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadith – Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi
  • The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an English/Arabic – Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Wish List

  • The Republic – Plato
  • Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion – Dale Mcgowan
  • The Dragons of Eden Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence – Carl Sagan
  • Breaking The Spell – Daniel Dennett
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life – Daniel C. Dennett
  • The Caged Virgin: A Muslim Woman's Cry for Reason – Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
  • Einstein in His Own Words: Science, Religion, Politics, Philosophy – Anne Rooney
  • The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
  • The Venture of Islam Vol 1,2,3 – Marshall Hodgson
  • The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution – Richard Dawkins
  • The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  • Being and Time – Martin Heidegger
  • The Minds I – Douglas Hofstadter
  • The Faith Healers – James Randi
  • The Truth about Uri Geller – James Randi
  • Flim Flam! – James Randi
  • The Science of Good and Evil – Michael Shermer
  • Why People Believe in Weird Things – Michael Shermer
  • With God On Our Side – Aftab Malik
  • Losing Faith In Faith – Dan Barker
  • The Philosophy of Humanism – Corliss Lamont
  • Practical Ethics – Peter Singer
  • The Prince – George Anthony Bull, Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Art Of War – Sun Tsu
  • Science and Nonbelief – Taner Edis
  • An Illusion of Harmony: Science And Religion in Islam – Taner Edis
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
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