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Islam For Dummies Paperback – May 2, 2003

3.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Find out about customs, history, and Islamic law

From faith, prayer, and fasting to charity and pilgrimage, understand Muslim life

You don't have to be Muslim to understand Islam. This friendly guide introduces you to the origins and practices of Islam, including the Five Pillars and life-cycle rituals. You'll discover the significance of Muhammad and the Qur'an and meet the various Islamic sects. You'll also see how Islam has adapted over time and read about current developments in the Islamic world.

THE DUMMIES WAY®

Explanations in plain English
"Get in, get out" information
Icons and other navigational aids
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A dash of humor and fun

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About the Author

Professor Malcolm Clark taught in the Department of Religion at Butler University for 30 years.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (May 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764555030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764555039
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would have given this book 5 stars based on content, but I have to take off a star due to the absolutely horrible editing. The publisher should be ashamed - typos EVERYWHERE ('Google' is mispelled 'Goggle' multiple times), even a couple of garbled/transposed sentences (a section comparing and constrasting Sunnis, Shias, and Sufis is just incomprehensible due to transpositions).

But putting that aside, the author is extremely knowledgable and very fair, and not without a dry sense of humor (check out the section on the possibility of women's sexual pleasure in paradise). He's also a Christian. Personally, I think it's a good idea for these sorts of books to be written by those outside the faith; a believer can never be fully objective, by definition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I eagerly anticipated this book after finishing the delightful Judaism for Dummies. That book, written by two Jewish men, was funny, warm, and informative. It was full of helpful hints and personal anecdotes. I feel like I got not just the facts but also the flavor of certain aspects of Jewish culture.

This is not that book. This book, written by a Christian college professor, is academic and dry. The structure, with its long chapters, begs devoted study, not the kind of "when you can find the time" style that seems more suited to dummies like me. I was disappointed that it was written by a non-Muslim, as I could have grabbed any scholarly text just to learn the facts (my favorite part of Judaism for Dummies is how personal it was, and I really thought I would read stories about growing up Muslim and rites of passage and the little things that matter to a believer that a non-believer wouldn't immediately notice on his own). As this is my first serious study of the history and beliefs of Islam, I can't make any guesses on accuracy, but with this style of writing, I don't know that I'm going to be around to notice any major mistakes in the last third of the book.

I will probably finish the book because I'm stubborn, and I really am interested in knowing what Muslims believe, but I wish I had chosen a different book to start my study. Or maybe that I hadn't read an entertaining Dummies book before falling asleep on top of this one.
6 Comments 60 of 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I've read and own many of the "For Dummies" series, and this one doesn't deserve the title. It's dry, un-entertaining, and the author seems out of touch with his topic, focusing on minority groups and sects, as well as more obscure parts of the religion that don't exactly apply to Muslims as practiced today. I've since gone back and found factual errors or a misleading representation inside it. I wouldn't recommend the book, save your money on someone else.

Instead, I got "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam" by Yahiya Emerick, and found him a much more articulate author, who explained it in plain english; something that this "For Dummies" author didn't do so well.
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Format: Paperback
When you buy these for dummies or idiots guide's books its always a grab bag. Either they presuppose you are a total moron, and fill the book with so much fluff that you end up getting very little actual knowledge of the topic. Or, they present the material in a semi-academic manner and you actually learn something. Thank god this book is the latter of the two. The book is well structured, and presented from a realistic point of view. At no point in the book are Muslims presented as evil or good. They are people, who just happen to view life from a completely different perspective than most Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists Taoists....any religion. Yes the book lacks silly anecdotes and the perspective of a Muslim. However silly anecdotes tend to take the place of concrete information and a Muslim perspective would only provide bias (if you doubt me read The Complete Idiot's Guide To Judaism. It reads like a Children's book with the goal of conversion). For the reviewer that labeled this book dry and lacking humor I recommend a children's book on Islam. They have very little words, a whole lot of silliness, and plenty of pictures. You should probably have time for that
Comment 40 of 50 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Prof. Warren Malcolm Clark did an excent job in explaining many fundamental doctrines, ideas, and rituals of Islam. [...] I have to say that Prof. Clark has created a unique approach to Islamic issues. He tried to avoid typical Western attitude toward Islam and Muslims. And he was quite successful in that. I am looking forward to meet him in person to congratulate him for his remarkable academic and popular contribution in an area of such a great importance.
2 Comments 53 of 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to learn the truth about Islam, you need to read a book written by a Muslim. I bought both this book and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, which is written by a convert to Islam. Reading this book is like reading about evolution from a creationist's point of view or vice versa. The professor who wrote Islam for Dummies is learned, but his learning doesn't ring true. He takes Christian categories and tries to make Islam fit into them. I decided to shred Islam for Dummies rather than re-sell it and give someone else an opportunity to be misled about Islam. Both this book and The Complete Idiot's Guide are covering the basics--you won't be an expert in Islam after you read them. But at least if you read The Complete Idiot's Guide, what you will know will be true.
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