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The Everything Understanding Islam Book: A Complete and Easy to Read Guide to Muslim Beliefs, Practices, Traditions, and Culture (Everything (Religion)) Paperback – April, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
I consider myself fortunate that I did choose this book. The author delivers everything stated in the title, plus gives the reader a little of the early history of Islam and some brief but concise and very relevant information on the major divisions of Islam today. From this book, I learned that not all Muslims share the same outlook or beliefs, much like Christians, and that deep philosophical and intellectual rifts exist within Islam. In essence, there are progressive and fundamentalist elements within the religion, just as there are in Christianity, and more important, there are sects possessing pseudo-Islamic elements, just as there are in Christianity. After reading this book, I actually came away thinking that both Islam and Christianity are more similar than different, with respect to the fact that the power structures in both are male-dominated and male interpreted, and also that although the religions both have benevolent overtones, their most zealous adherents clearly display malevolent tendencies.
Anyone, from kids to adults, can pick up this book and learn something. The book introduces a lot of terms, most likely in Arabic (romanized of course), but without a phonetic sounding of them I am afraid that I may be butchering the pronunciation of the terms when I say them in conversations with friends about Islam. My only real complaint with the text is that it does not give the reader much of the history of Islam, but then no book can provide one with a whole history of a world religion in a mere 250 pages.Read more ›
Highly recommended for casual readers, for students, and those interested in a thoughtful discussion.
Table of Contents:
1) The Vision of Islam
2) The Diverse Muslim World
3) Origins in Arabia
4) Muhammad the Prophet
5) Expansion of Islamic Civilization
6) Six Articles of Faith
7) The Five Pillars of Practice
8) Islamic Prayer
9) Islamic Guidance and Law
10) Historical Divisions and Deviations
11) Islam and other Faiths
12) The Muslim Perception of Jesus
13) The Muslim view of creation
14) Heaven and Hell
15) Islamic Manners and Morals
16) Dietary Laws, Health Care, and Funeral Services
17) Jihad: The Holy Struggle
18) Shrouded in Mystery: Women and Islam
19) Islamic Married Life
20) Raising Muslim Children
21) The Extended Muslim Family
22) The Islamic Arts
23) A Faith of Exploration and Discovery
24) Islam and the West
For one, she repeats paragraphs repeatedly, usually verbatim. For instance, the paragraph about how the Quran is compatible with evolution is repeated three times in different chapters, always verbatim or very close. Likewise, the same Koranic verses are used repeatedly. She can't have used more than 30 verses total, probably an average of 3 times each. I don't feel there was good scriptural support because of that.
Also, the organization is terrible. Before jumping into what the religion requires, how about you start with its history and who Mohammed is? Instead, those sections are in the back. This is the reason there is so much repetition; she has to explain something when she throws it in randomly, then she has to explain it again when she reaches that chapter.
More annoyingly, the book had repeated attempts to distance Islam from the negative stereotypes of Islam. I assumed she would do that some, but it gets to the point of "I think she doth protest too much." Also, her statements aren't always factually correct. For instance, she says the jizya tax was never more than a nominal amount that was used to protect religious minority communities and that they must be protected once that tax is paid. History does not support that assertion. There are some places where it may have been low and was a real protection, but in the majority of circumstances, the tax was very high and the population still lived in fear of the Muslim majority, having to walk in the gutter or could be beaten without recourse to the law.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was very good to be able to understand this religion. Puts it all in perspective. And it truly is not the religion that the media displays.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
A biased view which glosses over the negative aspects of Islam. Some examples which mislead:
p102, Islamic Law
"Islam is concerned with the well being and security... Read more
Great book with explanations that make sense. Great for understanding and learning about the Islamic way of life.Published 17 months ago by Jackeline
There were a few things that I disagreed with, as a Muslim myself. But overall is a very good book for an introduction to Islam and Muslim culture (which is diverse! Read morePublished 23 months ago by Henry Isa Aldrete
this is a good book, easy read. absolutely love this author and read a lot of her books. a must read.Published 24 months ago by chanda jesri
This book answered almost every question a person could have about the Islamic Faith. I was very happy with the book.Published on August 20, 2013 by Stephanie E. Horn
This was an interesting read. Quite repetitive and did not address any controversy. Dodge is a very good with the basic ideas behind Islam but the book lacked depth.Published on May 20, 2013 by leslie broadribb
This is a really great book to learn about Islam with, it covers many things I would not have even thought about asking. Read morePublished on April 30, 2013 by Chavez