Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Crisp, attractive copy. FREE SHIPPING w/AMAZON PRIME!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Islam: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – June 15, 2000


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$3.75 $0.01
Audible Audiobook, Abridged
"Please retry"
Cards, Audiobook
"Please retry"

There is a newer edition of this item:


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192853899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192853899
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Malise Ruthven's book answers the urgent need for an introduction to Islam... He addresses major isssues with clarity and directness, engages dispassionately with the disparate stereotypes and polemics on the subjects, and guides the reader surely through the urgent debates about fundamentalism."--Michael Gilsenan, New York University


About the Author


Malise Ruthven is renowned as a commentator on Islam and the Arab world. A former scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Services, his previous publications include Islam in the World and The Divine Supermarket: Shopping for God in America.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

The author isn't a scholar, and has his own particular and peculiar axes to grind.
Amir Hussain
The author begins by complaining that such a short introduction can't adequately present Islam.
J. Anderson
If you are thinking of buying this book in order to get an understanding of Islam, forget it.
Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By J. Anderson on December 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Here's what disappointed me. The author begins by complaining that such a short introduction can't adequately present Islam. Fair enough, but Ruthven then proceeds to waste much time critiquing certain points of view rather than just giving an exposition. Even worse, he often makes offhand allusions to people and historical events and takes an abstract, high-handed tone, so that I feel I would have to already be acquainted with Islam and the history of the Arab world in order to understand what he's talking about. Jeez, this was supposed to be an intro, not a refresher!

On the other hand, after reading the whole thing I really did come away with a decent basic knowledge of Islam's history and beliefs, which came from someone who obviously knows a lot about it. And for that I am grateful.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Blum on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
As I purchased this book b/c I didn't know much about Islam, and wanted a starting point, I found it be very useful to me. I cannot evaluate the accuracy of all the information, as some other reviewers have done. I felt it was a great survey of many subtopics.

Perhaps what disturbed some readers was that the book does not touch only on the "religious" aspects of Islam. However, based on another book I had read, Islam the religion is irreversibly entangled with Islamic politics and society. Indeed, the author of Islam: AVSI states as much with the first three headings in Chapter 1: Islam as Identity, Islam as Political Ideology, and Islam as Faith. This is similar to Jews, who usually identify as Jewish regardless of whether they practice the faith.

I was very pleased with my purchase of this VSI, and highly recommend it. I now go on to further my learning with a trip through a translation of the Quran.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Gypton on December 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
Like other reviewers, I bought this to get the basics of the history, beliefs, and practices of Islam -- I figured the title would mean the book would provide those things. I was wrong. The author spends more time discussing Islam than informing the reader about it. Imagine being an undergrad listening in on the conversation of a few post-doc students who already knew that one another knew the basics, and then some...this is the book you'd write from that. It should have been titled "A Very Short Discussion of the Politics and Historiography of Islam" -- hardly something for beginners. I think I'll go buy a Dummies guide.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Reader on February 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I initially bought this book because I was impressed with another "Very short introduction" entitled "The Koran" by Michael Cook. I thought that "Islam" would be as good, but I was disappointed. Instead of a thoughtful and insightful book, I found "Islam" to be a hodgepodge collection of facts, opinions and speculation that brought me no closer to understanding Islam than I had been before. Ruthven is best in the brief sections when he sticks to comparing religions (which is apparently what he does for a living). However, the author seems to misunderstand many aspects of Islam, and makes several significant factual errors- the greatest of these perhaps is the assertion of the widespread influence of Sufism on Islam and the Muslim world as a whole. If you are thinking of buying this book in order to get an understanding of Islam, forget it. Buy "The Koran" instead, and you will get a much better understanding (and book) at the same price.
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Francis Maes on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent introduction to an understanding of the position and the role of Islam in the contemporary world. The author does not evade the difficult debate about the relationship between the West and the Islamic world, but succeeds in creating a broader perspective on this controversial issue. One can only regret that this is not the most accessible volume in the "Very Short Introduction" series. It requires substantial background knowledge to follow the author in his argumentation. A little more basic information about the facts of Islamic religion and its history would have helped considerably.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hancock on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read "Islam: A Very Short Introduction" for a class I am taking on Islam in Africa. I was really hoping to gain more knowledge on the religion that over 1.6 billion people practice. Also, I wanted to learn about the differences between "true" Islam, and the Islam of the fanatical fundamentalists such as Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

Sadly, this book is not the best place to go for that kind of information. It is a short read, to be sure. But the book packs way too much information into a small volume. In some chapters, it is virtually impossible to discern the information given.

However, there is some good information available here. The chapter on the history of the rise of Mohammad the Prophet, and the beginnings of Islam, is very insightful. Also, the appendix gives great insight into the five pillars of Islam.

Overall, "Islam: A Very Short Introduction," is a disappointing overview of Islam. If you're the kind of reader who can amass a vast amount of knowledge in a shor amount of time, then this is the place to begin. But if you're like me, and it takes a while for it to sink in, then other books might be better places to learn from.

Book Grade: C+
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?