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Understanding Islam and the Muslims: The Muslim Family and Islam and World Peace Paperback – January 1, 2002
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About the Author
Head of Islamic Studies, Cambridge University and the editor for the Islamic Texts Society Al-Ghazali series, Dr. Winter is one of the most recognized and respected scholars of Islam today.
Top customer reviews
The book also offers the reader a peek into the incredibly diverse cultures of Muslims -- from Taiwan and China, to Central Asia, to Africa, to Bosnia and Denmark, and to the US (among many others) -- through stunning National Geographic-calibre photographs which by themselves are worth the price of admission. The book also goes beyond the usually boring list of basic by relating colourful anecdotes about Muslim warrior-queens and other leaders, particular mosques, and gorgeous arts & crafts from around the Muslim world.
This book will not be useful to people like the previous reviewer, Mr. Seth Frantzman from Israel, who seek to confirm their stereotypes and demonize an entire faith for their own political purposes. Judging from his review, it is not even clear that he read the book, as it answers virtually all of points he raises even in its slim form. Yes, there are modesty laws for men, and in traditional Muslim societies men cover their heads as well. No, the burka (covering one's face) is not required by law -- it is a cultural phenomenon, and it is not worn by the overwhelmingly vast majority of Muslim women. Covering the face is actually prohibited in Mecca. The Dar al-Islam/Dar Al-Harb distinction is a medieval distinction, and it refers to the places where Muslims may freely practice their faith and where they may not-- meaning that virtually the whole world today is considered Dar al-Islam. I could go on, but you'd be much better off having Cambridge scholars explain it to you... buy this book!
This book should be welcomed by intelligent non-muslims (and uninformed muslims for that matter), who prefer *not* to be informed solely by the loud cries of the violent and misguided minority. (In the same way that an intelligent observer of Chritinianity would not want to form their opinion of it on the basis that Hitler and Mussolini were Catholics and that they were partially supported by the Vatican).
To the reviewer (Seth J. Frantzman) who said that people who really want to understand Islam should read the Quran instead of this book: one can only reply that a) any intelligent and unbiased reader who really manages to deeply read the Quran will at once be understand the beauty of Islam, and b) Mr Frantzman's statement the Quran enjoins people to "beat your wife" is a complete fabrication. It is, however, sadly typical of the detractors of Islam that they attempt to use the force of lies and fear to undermine it. Note that the reviewer did not say which chapter and verse this line can be found (the common practise when quoting from the Quran), simply because the line does not exist in the Quran.
But anyway, this is a very good book. To be read by open-minded individuals who want to understand.
The second major lie is the position of women in the islamic world. This book pretends that women are 100% equal in all muslim countries and that the Koran gives equality to women. If the Quran gives equality then why does Surah 4:34 say "beat your wife". Once again this myth coneveyed in this book can be easily put aside by reading an accurate translation of the Quran or by learning Arabic. If women are equal in Islam then why do they by law have to wear burkas and Abbayas, whereas men have no such modesty laws applied to them? THis book doesnt begin to answer this obviosu question.
Anyone interested in being brainwashed, in getting a lovely rosy and fake picture of Islam should read this book, anyone wanting their children to convert to Islam should definetly pick this up. If you are interested in Islam it is more worthwhile to read the Quran.
Seth J. Frantzman