Introduction to Islam

Islam Today: A short introduction to the Muslim World By Akbar S. Ahmed, 1999.

  • Although there are over one billion Muslims in the world, and over ten million in the West, most discussions of Islam are based on clichés or outright prejudice. This lively and compelling book sets out to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding. Islam, argues Akbar Ahmed, does not mean the subordination of women, contempt for other religions, opposition to the modern world, or barbaric punishments for petty crimes. One cannot fully come to terms with modern Islam without understanding its sources and traditions.

Being Muslim: By Haroon Siddiqui, 2006

  • Being Muslimpresents an up-front and readable explanation of the most complex and emotion-laden issues of our troubled times. The varying branches of Islam are analyzed and their history outlined — but the focus is on the present. In speaking about and crossing political, cultural and religious divisions, this book offers a unique perspective, forged in Canada, a country where people from everywhere on earth have found a way to live in peace. Terrorism. Wars. Jihad. Hijab. Polygamy. Muhammad’s many wives. Muslim prayer. Female circumcision. Honor killings. Sharia. Stoning. Status of Muslim women. All these topics and more are tackled in this fascinating and informative book.

Islam: The straight Path By John Esposito, 2004

  • Now in a new edition, this exceptionally successful survey text introduces the faith, belief, and practice of Islam from its earliest origins up to its contemporary resurgence. John L. Esposito, an internationally renowned expert on Islam, traces the development of this dynamic faith and its
    impact on world history and politics. Lucidly written and expansive in scope, Islam: The Straight Path, Fourth Edition, provides keen insight into one of the world’s least understood religions. It is ideally suited for use in courses on Islam, comparative religions, and Middle Eastern history

What everyone needs to know about Islam By John Esposito, 2002.

  • Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, there has been an overwhelming demand for information about Islam, and recent events – the war in Iraq, terrorist attacks both failed and successful, debates throughout Europe over Islamic dress, and many others – have raised new questions in the minds of policymakers and the general public. This newly updated editionof What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam is the best single source for clearly presented, objective information about these new developments, and for answers to questions about the origin and traditions of Islam. Editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam and The Oxford History of Islam, and author of The Future of Islam and many other acclaimed works, John L. Esposito is one of America’s leading authorities on Islam. This brief and readable book remains the first place to look for up-to-date information on the faith, customs, and political beliefs of the more than one billion people who call themselves Muslims.

Islam: A short History, By Karen Armstrong, 2002

  • No religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular imagination as an extreme faith that promotes terrorism, authoritarian government, female oppression, and civil war. In a vital revision of this narrow view of Islam and a distillation of years of thinking and writing about the subject, Karen Armstrong’s short history demonstrates that the world’s fastest-growing faith is a much more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest.

The principles of state and government in Islam, By Muhammad Asad, 1961.

  • Although the Muslims are for the most part imbued with enthusiasm for the idea of a truly Islamic state – that is, a state based not on the concepts of nationality and race but solely on the ideology of the Qur’an and Sunnah, they have as yet not realized a concrete vision of this form of government embodying a distinctly Islamic character. The very fact that none of the existing Muslim countries has so far achieved a form of government that could be termed genuinely Islamic, makes a discussion of the principle which ought to underlie the constitution of Islamic state imperative. By surveying nearly fourteen hundred years-beginning with the “Hijra,” the formal origin of the Islamic calendar-this book demonstrates how manifold forms of the Islamic state may emerge from Islamic foundations, and how, essentially, any state that emerges, to be truly Islamic, must incorporate the doctrine of government by consent and counsel.

Inner dimensions of Islamic worship, By Al-Ghazali and translated by Muhtar Holland, 1983.

  • In this book readers are led on a powerful and inspiring journey through the inner dimensions of a range of Islamic acts, including prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and pilgrimage.Consisting of a selection of writings by a great figure in Islamic history, Imam al-Ghazali, this book helps readers realize the benefits of the upliftment of their spiritual, social, and moral qualities.

Mystical Dimensions of Islam, By Anne Marie Scimmel. 1978.

  • Thirty-five years after its original publication, Mystical Dimensions of Islamstill stands as the most valuable introduction to Sufism, the main form of Islamic mysticism. This edition brings to a new generation of readers Annemarie Schimmel’s historical treatment of the transnational phenomenon of Sufism, from its beginnings through the nineteenth century. Schimmel’s sensitivity and deep understanding of Sufism–its origins, development, and historical context–as well as her erudite examination of Sufism as reflected in Islamic poetry, draw readers into the mood, the vision, and the way of the Sufi. In the foreword, distinguished Islam scholar Carl W. Ernst comments on the continuing vitality of Schimmel’s book and the advances in the study of Sufism that have occurred since the work first appeared.

The vision of Islam, By Sachiko Murata and William Chittick, 1996.

  • An exploration of the fundamental beliefs of Islam which covers the faith’s four dimensions: practice, faith, spirituality and the Islamic view of history, as outlined in the Hadith of Gabriel. Interweaves teachings from the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet and the great authorities of Islam.

101- Questions and answers on Islam, By John Renard,( a Catholic Priest), 2004.

  • This informative, clear, and accessible guide offers information and knowledge about the Islamic religion. Organized in a question and answer format, this book gives the reader a better understanding of Islam through education. Where and when did Islam come into being? What sort of book is the Koran? What basic views do Muslims hold on human rights?

The Heart of Islam: enduring values for humanity By Seyyed Hossain Nasr, 2004.

  • In The Heart of Islamone of the great intellectual figures in Islamic history offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to “open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding.” Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.

Even Angels Ask: A journey to Islam in America By Jeffrey Lang, 1997.

  • Drawing on his personal experiences as a Muslim, Professor Lang discusses conflicts between faith and reason, obstacles in converting to Islam, extremism within some Muslim communities and future outlook for American Muslims.

A world without Islam, By, Graham E. Fuller, 2010

  • In A WORLD WITHOUT ISLAM, Graham E. Fuller guides us along an illuminating journey through history, geopolitics, and religion to investigate whether or not Islam is indeed the cause of some of today’s most emotional and important international crises. Fuller takes us from the birth of Islam to the fall of Rome to the rise and collapse of the Ottoman Empire. He examines and analyzes the roots of terrorism, the conflict in Israel, and the role of Islam in supporting and energizing the anti-imperial struggle. Provocatively, he finds that contrary to the claims of many politicians, thinkers, theologians, and soldiers, a world without Islam might not look vastly different from what we know today. Filled with fascinating details and counterintuitive conclusions, A WORLD WITHOUT ISLAM is certain to inspire debate and reshape the way we think about Islam’s relationship with the West.

Who speaks for Islam: What a billion Muslims really think, By John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, 2008

  • Who Speaks for Islam? Listening to the Voices of a Billion Muslimsis about this silenced majority. It is the product of a mammoth Gallup research study over the last six years. Gallup conducted tens of thousands of face-to-face interviews with residents of more than 35 predominantly Muslim nations. Gallup’s sample represents urban and rural, young and old, educated and illiterate, women and men. In total, we surveyed a sample representing over 90% of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, including Muslims in the West, making this the largest, most comprehensive study of contemporary Muslims ever. The concept of this book is simple. After collecting vast amounts of data representing the views of the world’s Muslims, we asked the questions everyone wants answers to: What is at the root of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists? Is democracy a desired construct among Muslims, and if so, what might it look like? What do Muslim women really want? With questions in hand, we let the empirical evidence — the voices of a billion Muslims, not individual “experts” or “extremists,” dictate the answer.

The Inner Journey: Views from the Islamic Tradition, Ed. William C. Chittick, Parabola Anthology Series, Morning Light Press, 2007.

  • This book of essays, poems, and interviews by Islamic and Sufi poets, scholars, and storytellers is a much-needed compendium of works from a complex tradition that holds timeless messages for contemporary readers. Contributors range from Rumi to Seyyed Hossei Nasr to Emma Clark — together they create a mosaic of the Muslim view of the world and the cosmos, as well as of Sufi rhythms and rituals. Contributions like “Out of the Hidden Root” and “Slumber Seizes Him Not” promote a deeper understanding of one of the world’s great, and most misunderstood, spiritual traditions.

Destiny Disrupted: a history of the world through Islamic eyes, By Tamim Ansary, BBS Public affairs, NY, 2009.

  • In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe—a place it long perceived as primitive and disorganized—had somehow hijacked destiny.