Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Read an overview of Commander of the Faithful here.
"John Kiser weaves the intricate tale of Abd el-Kader's heroic life and spirit as deftly as the emir maneuvered his armies on the battlefield. With engaging history and stylistic flare, Kiser brings to life the inspiring story of a great world leader that many Western readers will not have heard of before. Importantly, Kiser's work skillfully reveals that Abd el-Kader's legacy transcends the bounds of both time and age, discovering the 19th Century scholar-priest-warrior as the perfect elixir for the contemporary West's chronic difficulties understanding the East."
—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Author of What is Right about Islam
"Today more than ever, Muslims and non-Muslims alike need to be reminded of the courage, compassion and intellect of Emir Abd el-Kader. Kiser beautifully tells the dramatic story of how the moral compass provided by Abd el-Kader's faith and learning propelled him to become one of 19th century's most admired figures. His conduct in war, in prison and in exile represent the true concept of jihad. Abd el-Kader's jihad provides Muslims with a much-needed antidote to the toxic false jihads of today, dominated by anger, violence and politics. Thank you John Kiser for the great service of bringing him back to life. Abd el-Kader is truly a treasure for the world."
—His Royal Highness, Prince Hassan bin-Talal of Jordan
"In Abd el-Kader, Kiser gives us a lens to understand the highest traditions of the Arab Muslim culture...Explaining the importance of Abd el-Kader's voluntary surrender, a French general tells his parliament: "Abd el-Kader is the embodiment of a principle-that of great religious affection...this man has become the living symbol of an idea that moves the masses deeply.' The emir's real value for interfaith dialogue is that he is a devoutly conservative Muslim. In a way, this is who we should be negotiating with."
—David Mc Allister-Wilson, President, John Wesley Seminary
"The life and times of Emir Abd-el-Kader is one of those dazzling biographies that informs our modern life. A fascinating figure, Abd-el-Kader was a man of God, who put his Muslim religion into practice and who served as a bridge between the European and Islamic worlds. We have much to learn from his life and from this book, which offers us a vivid glimpse of some of the most important events of the 19th century."
—Susan Eisenhower, Chairman of the Eisenhower Group, author of Mrs. Ike .
"Abd el-Kader lived by a chivalric code steeped in the Arab concept of honor. When, in our own day al-Qaeda terrorists claim the title of "knight," it's worth recalling a time when Arab warriors embodied the noblest attributes of knighthood: courage, compassion and restraint. John Kiser brings both the man and his world brilliantly to life."
—Steve Simon, Sabbagh Senior Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
"Mr. Kiser insists on the religious dimension of what might otherwise be read as a story of military and political maneuvering. But "Commander of the Faithful" is hardly a theological study. It is a dramatic story of quarreling tribes, of Sufi sects and brotherhoods, of treacherous Ottoman officials, rival French generals, secret negotiations, broken truces, terrible atrocities and new forms of insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare."
—Peter Steinfels, New York Times, November 22, 2008
This is an important book on an important subject. I hope it will reach a wide audience. I will introduce it to my fellow scholars and students."
—Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies,
George Washington University.
"Kiser writes with much affection and as a humanitarian observer of human strengths and weaknesses. It is truly a relevant book."
—A. A. Sachedina, Professor of Religious Studies University of VA
"Abd el-Kader teaches the French and the world that to achieve success, moral authority is necessary, not simply military might...This fascinating revival of a 19th century world hero's story holds valuable lessons for today's Middle East Warrior. It would be a worthwhile addition to any reading list."
—Col. Jon Smythe, USMC ( ret.)