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Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World, Third Edition Paperback – September 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: A Meridian Book; 3rd revised edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452011604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452011601
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent overview of the world's youngest major religion." —Los Angeles Times

About the Author

THOMAS W. LIPPMAN, a former Middle East bureau chief for the Washington Post, is an award-winning journalist who has written about Middle Eastern affairs and American foreign policy for more than three decades. He is a former adjunct senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington. The author of five other books on the Middle East and diplomacy, Lippman has appeared frequently on national television, news, and radio. He lives in Washington, DC. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Thomas W. Lippman is a Washington-based author and journalist who has specialized in Middle Eastern affairs and American foreign policy for more than three decades, and is an experienced analyst of Saudi Arabian affairs, U.S.- Saudi relations, and relations between the West and Islam. He is a former Middle East bureau chief of the Washington Post, and also served as that newspaper's oil and energy reporter. Throughout the 1990s, he covered foreign policy and national security for the Post, traveling frequently to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East. As an independent writer, he has visited Saudi Arabia every year but one in the past decade.

Lippman is the author of numerous magazine articles, book reviews and op-ed columns about Mideast affairs, and of five books: Understanding Islam (1982, 3d revised edition 2002); Egypt After Nasser (1989); Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy (2000); Inside the Mirage: America's Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia (2004) , and Arabian Knight: Colonel Bill Eddy USMC and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East, honored as the best biography of 2008 by the Independent Publishers Association. He is also the author of the essay on Saudi Arabia's defense strategy and nuclear weapons policy published in 2004 by the Brookings Institution Press in The Nuclear Tipping Point, a book on global nuclear proliferation. His latest book, Saudi Arabia on the Edge, was published in January 2012.

A frequent television and radio commentator on Mideast developments, Lippman has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, the BBC, CNBC, ABC and Fox News, and on radio stations in New York, Boston, Phoenix and San Francisco, as well as on television stations overseas. Several of his lectures on Saudi Arabia have been televised nationally by C-SPAN. He has also been a consultant on Middle East affairs to several U.S. government agencies, including the Air Force.

He is currently an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, where he serves as the principal media contact on Saudi Arabia and U.S. - Saudi relations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was formerly an adjunct senior fellow there.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Brian Pacific on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
"A MUSLIM is one who believes that `there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.' A Muslim worships one all-powerful and eternal deity, called Allah in Arabic, who revealed His will and His commandments to the prophet Muhammad of Mecca in the seventh century A.D. Those revelations are recorded in the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam."
Thomas Lippman provides an excellent introduction into the Islamic world. Lippman is neither a historian nor a religious expert, but a journalist. As a journalist, he is able to easily explain Islamic Culture, practices, and history to an audience completely unfamiliar to this subject. Lippman spent a great deal of time in various Islamic countries as a journalist, and gives an easy to understand introduction into various aspects of Islam: (1) Basic Beliefs and Practices, (2) The Prophet Muhammad (3) The Koran, (4) Law and Government in Islamic Countries, (5) The Advance of Islam, (6) Schism and Mysticism, and (7) The Islamic Community Today. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Islamic beliefs and or history.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James Tetazoo on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this to be a very good and complete (not to mention enlightening) introduction to Islam, a monotheistic faith surprisingly similar to Judaism and Christianity in that the same god is worshipped, quite different from the polytheism of the Hindus where many gods are worshipped. Muslims only worship God and no other deities, saints, idols, or prophets. The Arabic name for God is "Allah" and the two are used interchangeably in this book, but it is explained that the proper English translation is "God," which would avoid the common misperception that Muslims worship a different god than Christians. The Holy Quran (or Koran) contains the word of God as transmitted through the 7th century prophet Muhammad (who is not worshipped as Christ is worshipped by Christians). The Quran is in many ways a continuation of the Old Testament and acknowledges many of the same events and stories (Adam/Eve, Abraham, Moses, Noah, etc.) although there are a few discrepancies such as whether Ismail or Isaac was to be sacrificed to God by Abraham. The concept of "separation of church and state" is, in theory at least, foreign to Muslims, where there is only the law of God. Muslims believe that God will judge us in the end and decide whether each of us will be granted a world of paradise or one of hell fire.Read more ›
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jim Vanderveen on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
...I have been trying to understand the Islamic religion. I've read about half a dozen books on Islam over the last two weeks and discussed them with a friend who grew up in the Middle East. Lippman's book agreed almost 100% with my friend's experiences. The only differences stem from perspective: Lippman covers the entire Muslim world, while my friend's outlook was limited to one corner of that world.
It's been refreshing to verify that Islam is not a "terrorist relgion" as many people have once again been claiming, that in fact terrorist leaders have been perverting Islam to further their own agendas. (In this respect and many others, Islam is not so very different from Christianity or Judaism.)
This is the single most informative book on Islam that I have found. I beg all my fellow Americans to read this book and make themselves better informed before jumping on the "bomb-them-into-the-stone-age" bandwagon.
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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Thomas OBrien on February 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an American Christian, I am perplexed by the behavior of people in other parts of the world; especially when they justify atrocities by quoting religious dogma. The terrorism coming out of the Middle East, where hundreds of innocent people may be murdered in the name of God, is incomprehensible to me.
At the same time, I am aware of my own history. There have been times when Christians burned heretics, hanged witches, and massacred whole populations in the name of the Lord. Christian nations have often enslaved people, persecuted unbelievers, and at times, engaged in genocide on a scale unheard of in any part of the non-Christian world.
These are my own observations. The author does not belabor the historical failings of Christian nations; but he does allude to the probability that the history of Islam is in many respects not very different from that of any other major religion. Religious teachings are often cited as justifications for acts that any right-minded person would recognize as self serving and despicable. This is true whether the person involved is Christian, Muslim, or Jew. When these things happen, they are the acts of individuals, groups of fanatics, and political leaders.
Judge the people who do these things, not their religion. The true message of Islam, like Christianity, is one of tolerance and compassion.
The author attempts to explain Islam, its history, its basic beliefs, how it has spread around the world, and what directions it might be taking in the future. His style is factual and objective. He does not condone or condemn Islam; he merely describes it.
Islam has about a billion followers. Despite the stereotypes, most of them are not Arabic.
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