Bruce B. Lawrence
Who is Allah?
University of North Carolina Press 2015
In his lyrical and brilliant new book Who is Allah? (UNC Press, 2015), the legendary scholar of Islam Bruce B. Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University, wrestles with the question of Who is Allah? through a dazzling range of textual, aesthetic, and performative registers. Who is Allah? treats readers to a delectable buffet of the breadth and depth of Muslim spirituality. How do Muslims invoke, remember, define, and debate Allah, while seeking to live a life that accords with His norms and template of piety? That is the central question addressed in this book as Lawrence introduces readers to major facets of Muslim ritual life and intellectual traditions-both past and present. In our conversation, we talked about the idea of “performing Allah,” the intellectual history of the idea of Allah, Allah in the thought of the Muslim mystics Ibn ‘Arabi and Bawa Muhaiyuddin, the mobilization of Allah by Sayyid Qutb and Usama bin Laden, Allah online, and the Indian artist M.F Husain. Who is Allah? is a fascinating page turner that will make a great gift to family, friends, acquaintances and indeed strangers, and that should work splendidly in the context of classroom discussions on Muslim theology, Sufism, ritual practice, performance studies, and the fine arts.