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What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam 2nd Edition

33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199794133
ISBN-10: 0199794138
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What Everyone Needs to Know

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW About This Series

Who it's for:

Busy people with diverse interests, ranging from college students to professionals, who wish to inform themselves in a succinct yet authoritative manner about a particular topic.

What's inside:

An incisive approach to a complex and timely issue, laid out in a straight-forward, question-and-answer format.

Meet Our Authors

Top experts in their given fields, ranging from an Economist correspondent to a director at the Council on Foreign Relations, you can trust our authors’ expertise and guidance.

Popular Topics in the "What Everyone Needs to Know" Series

  • International Politics
  • Environmental Policies
  • World History
  • Sciences & Math
  • Religion & Spirituality

Review

A must read for everyone interested in Islam. Tauseef Ahmad Parray, The Muslim World Book Review. To have a peaceful future demands a more inclusive sense of pluralism and tolerance built upon mutual respect and understanding. But this cannot be achieved without knowledge of what Islam teaches and what Muslims believe. This book is an excellent tool towards that knowledge. Dr. Joe Seferta, Renew

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Product Details

  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (July 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199794138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199794133
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


John L. Esposito is University Professor of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University and Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He is the editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam and The Oxford History of Islam, and author of Unholy War, What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, and many other acclaimed works.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By lmr on October 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Professor Esposito is skilled with words. When I had the opportunity to take a single class under him, I went to the effort of getting this book, and looking it over. I found it extremely informative, easy to read, and a true eye-opener.

Sadly, too many Americans are ignorant about Islam and Muslims. It breeds fear, it breeds hate. If everyone went to an expert like Esposito and said "Teach me!" They could learn a lot more. However, the experts are a little busy. Luckily they write books, and this is the next-best thing to sitting down with the Professor himself.

Get it, read it. It can open your eyes, if you open your mind.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Afroze F. Zaidi-Jivraj on August 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The basic premise of this book is admirable, that is to inform non-Muslims about the essential features of Islam and Muslims of which they might otherwise be unaware. However, from a theological perspective, this approach would have been much more effective if the book was composed of contributions from a variety of specialists on the subject, rather than just being a reflection of Esposito's understanding of Islam. The novice reader will not pick up on the sectarian bias* (subtle as it may be) in Esposito's authorship. Furthermore, using a singular voice and sometimes rudimentary explanations to describe what are often complex religious beliefs or historical events can be a dangerous approach, the result of which is an essentialisation of Islam as a faith which might unwittingly achieve the opposite effect of what this book intends. Islam today reflects diversity of beliefs and views, but unfortunately Esposito's unilateral narrative fails to convey this diversity to those unfamiliar with Islam.

*E.g., Esposito's claim that Shii followed Ali because of a belief that successorship should be hereditary, when in fact the Shii have evidence in terms of ahadith (sayings) of the Prophet stating his decision to appoint Ali as successor, and the original followers of Ali based their allegiance on these ahadith over and above anything else. Moreover, far from having nepotistic origins, the right of Ali to lead is supported by evidence that he possessed greater qualities in terms of piety, good character and leadership than any other companion of the Prophet.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is well-written, informative and answered so many of my "Hmmm, I wonder why Muslims do that?" questions. It is a perfect starting point. I agree with one very-learned reviewer that Professor Esposito does not satisfy my understanding of the schism between Sunni and Shia, but I feel so much better grounded to pursue that area of interest thanks to his book. And, although the 2nd edition is very current (2011), the recent explosive developments in the hijacking of Islam (by ISIL, Boko Haram, etc.) have me wishing for the 3rd edition NOW.

Well-suited to bouncing around in, so feel free to chase the answers to your specific areas of curiosity. After exploring a number of my biggest areas of interest, I settled down to read from cover-to-cover and enjoyed the book immensely. It includes extensive Table of Contents, Glossary and Recommended Reading sections; the ToC is hot-linked to that location in the book. Unlike so many eBooks, this version includes the front cover and approximates holding a hardcover better than many eBooks I've been annoyed enough to return for a refund.
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By Jeremy on July 8, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this to be an informative introduction to the topic. The question-and-answer format resulted in a flowing organization that worked well for many short readings and will work well for quick consultation in the future. My impression, however, was that Islam is really just about the same as Judaism and Christianity (which have some major differences themselves). The distinctiveness or otherness of the religion is downplayed in favor of similarities—especially similarities with Roman Catholic Christianity.
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Format: Hardcover
Formatted as questions and answers, the book is very clear and would be great for someone that knows very little about Islam. I know a fair amount and found a lot of the answers overly simplistic and not detailed enough. There were many areas that I thought could use longer explanations or more details into the nuances. Again, if you don't know very much and just want a general idea, the book is useful and written in a very accessible way.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is for readers who are curious and want to understand the principals of this religion beyond the fog and ploys in today's chaotic world. the book addresses the essence and basic understanding. It cannot answer to practices of the people who use the name of the religion to propagate personal agenda. If you are looking for basic and accurate information about Islam, this is your book.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Diver on January 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover
At the outset, it is worth noting that it would be hard to find any text that gives a fully objective explication of any of the world's religions. The author does a good job of explaining the basics of Islam, and does attempt to grapple with some of the tougher issues, though almost always trying to give a pro-Islam spin. For example, he notes that Islam imposes the death penalty for leaving the faith. He provides some historical context, and quotes some leading Moslems who don't agree with this law. But he does not point out many other Moslem leaders support the law, and he never actually condemns this completely inexcusable rule. He does not go in any detail of Mohammed's military career or the militaristic passages in the Koran. And other than to call Islamic terrorists extremists, he does not explain how they commonly correctly quote the Koran in support of their terrorist acts, or explain the connection between the religion and the terrorists. He completely fails to discuss the fact that Mohammed married a six year old and consumated the marriage when she was nine, a fact used by Moslem men to this day to justify taking child brides. So if you want to learn some basics about Islam, this book is a good start. On the other hand, you will be disappointed if you are hoping to learn how Islam is misused by terrorists.
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