Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice
The Koran by topic, explained in a way we can all understand
Paperback, 828 pages, comprehensive index
If what you are looking for is a quick and complete reference to what Allah
revealed to Muhammad in His Koran, or a coffee table book that is
bound to spark a spirited discussion about a timely topic, look no
further than Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice.
I’ve just finished reading Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice by the Canadian scholar (sic) Bernard Payeur
[and Lucette Carpentier], and the book is exactly what it’s touted to
be: “Everything you’ve always known about the Koran, and more, explained in a way we can all understand”.
Mr. Payeur’s original field is not Islamic studies, so he approaches his task as an intelligent outsider. The result is
a thorough and comprehensive view of what the Koran actually says.
In addition to the Koran itself, the author has read the hadiths and various commentaries by Muslim theologians, so the book
reflects the established Islamic institutional understanding of what Islam’s holy book means.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book for me was putting it in a historical context when describing the life of Mohammed and how this could
have affected the writing of the Koran.
Brings order to chaos.
Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice may be too cumbersome or expensive for some, even as a paperback,
which is why it has been broken up into
six smaller books, all priced under $18.00.
Let Me Rephrase That!
Your Layman's Guide to Abrogations
Paperback, 204 pages
16:101 And if We replace a verse by another – and Allah knows best what He reveals – they say: “You [Muhammad] are only a
forger.” Surely, most of them do not know.
Knowing what more than 200 revealed truths (immutable facts communicated to a mortal by a god) an assumed omniscient deity
replaced or abolished, i.e., abrogated, as inconceivable as that may seem, is essential to understanding the ultimate Message of the Koran.
Cover art is a rendition of a picture of George Burns from a poster for the 1977 Warner Bros. film, "Oh, God!" Like the movie, I
hope you will consider Let Me Rephrase That! a mildly
irreverent but never gratuitous treatment of a reverential figure.
Kids and The Koran
Children and The Koran
The End of Empathy
Paperback, 186 pages
A lack of empathy, whether it be an instilled pathology or a manifestation of
loyalty to one’s tribe — which successive governments and our courts have
encouraged by favouring religious distinctiveness over shared secular values —
means we can no longer count that love of country or respect for Western
civilization and what it stands for will see us through.
The threat that an absence of empathy and tribalism poses could be
significantly reduced if we made the Koran for adults only, thereby limiting
the corruption of innocence that is a god’s pathological loathing for those
who refuse to submit to His Will.
By having you read what children who should be enjoying Babar the
Elephant or Cinderella are reading, I hope to convince you to try to do just
that—for their sake, and ours.
Teach Your Children Well
The future as a truism and a cliché
Paperback, 82 pages
It is both a truism and a cliché that children are the
future. Where that future will be shaped is in the classroom.
In Canada, with the Province of Québec leading the way, a secular public
school education is being sacrificed to accommodate a religion which considers
schooling where its revealed scriptures are not given precedence as blasphemous.
Bill 21, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State” could be considered
an attempt by the government of François Legault to curtail the damage done
by the Liberal government of Jean Charest when it reintroduced, in 2008, the
teaching of religion in the public school system in response to the
Bouchard-Taylor Commission’s report on so-called reasonable accommodations.
Almost a decade after the introduction of a mandatory religious study course,
the so-called Ethics and Religious Culture Program, in the primary and
secondary grades, alarms are being raised about its deleterious impact on
students' intellectual development.
This alone would warrant revisiting Teach Your Children Well even without
throwing Bill 21 into the mix.
Introduction to the Bill 21 Edition
1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet Muhammad
Paperback, 440 pages
Islam is not so much a religion as a way of life with thousands of indelible
rules which instruct every waking moment of a believer’s existence.
First, there are God's revealed rules, those of the Koran which we have
talked about in Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice; and then
there are the hadiths (or Hadith; in English academic usage hadith is often
both singular and plural), the sayings and example, i.e., deeds of the Prophet
The Koran and the hadiths are the basis the Sharia, i.e., God's Law, and
are pretty much all
you need to know to lead a
God-fearing life and gain access to Paradise.
In learning about the hadiths, you will also become acquainted with the real
Muhammad as his closest friends and his child-bride, Aisha,
To be replaced by a second edition (improved presentation, contents
cross-referenced to Boreal Books on the Koran, appendices, additional
footnotes, etc.) in March 2020.
If Islam was explained to me in a pub
Paperback, 452 pages
Remembering Uzza is meant to make learning about Islam a mostly pleasant experience while not sugar-coating or
leaving out the nasty bits. And, is there a better place to get acquainted with a religion that has everyone talking than in the relaxed
atmosphere of a favourite pub, in the company of friends and a troubled but engaging young woman to give you an insider's perspective?
The name Uzza is from al-Uzza ("al" before the name means "the"), the
Arab Venus and the most revered of all their goddesses. Pre-Islamic Arabs
worshipped al-Uzza, along with al-Lat and Manat who they believed to be the
daughters of Allah.
Uzza is a story for our time that has the potential to change the course
of things to come. Except for Uzza, and a short appearance by a couple from
a neighbouring municipality, all other characters, including Archie the
bartender, are modeled on real patrons of a once-popular Ottawa nightspot.
To keep the conversation between Uzza, Johnny, Gerry, Bob and Archie as
unaffected as possible, implicit and explicit references to verses of the
Koran and the sayings and actions of the Prophet are explained in a
substantial supplement of endnotes.
Alice Visits a Mosque to Learn About Judgment Day
Paperback, 80 pages
The dialogue is made up, but the revelations are real, as are the sayings of
the Prophet Muhammad. The character of Alice only bears a remote resemblance to
the heroine of Lewis Carroll's tale of a young girl "who falls down a rabbit
hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures."
Alice Visits a Mosque to Learn About Judgement Day is a short, often
brutal play/script (it could not be otherwise) about an important concept in
Islam on which the Koran expounds at length.
Alice is not meant to offend but to enlighten. It is both a play and an
invitation to learn more about the Koran and the Prophet. We hope you will
read it (or see it, if it ever makes it to the stage or the screen) in the
spirit in which it was written.
Canada - The Fractured Nation Interviews
An Inquiry Into The Breakup
Paperback, 228 pages
2006 nominee for The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.
The Fractured Nation Interviews imagines a world where Canada
has been broken up for almost 10 years. The book uses a series of five
speculative television interviews to trace the root causes of the breakup.
An excerpt from the interview with the
Between a Pillar and a Hard Place
Paperback, 274 pages
"We in the West find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still inflame
the minds of men, stirring up messianic passions that can leave societies in
ruin. We had assumed that this was no longer possible, that human beings had
learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that political
theology died in 16th-century Europe. We were wrong.
"After centuries of strife, the West has learned to separate religion and
politics – to establish the legitimacy of its leaders without referring to
divine command. There is little reason to expect the rest of the world – the
Islamic world in particular – will follow."
Mark Lilla, professor of the humanities at Columbia University in The
Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West (2007)
If you are going to read one book on Islam, make it Between a
Pillar and a Hard Place. In mostly short,
easy-to-read, to-the-point essays, I touch upon everything you need to know about
the implications of being wrong.
Paperback, 432 pages
A commemorative recreation of comments, articles and extracts from a watershed year when headlines
and scriptures came together like at no other time since boreal.ca went live in April of 2003.
Boreal Books® is a registered trademark of Bernard Payeur