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Vision of Islam (Visions of Reality) 1St Edition Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1557785169
ISBN-10: 1557785163
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Most English-language introductions to Islam (and to Christianity and Judaism as well) scant the intellectual and spiritual; instead, they stress the externals-the things one must do to be saved, to be justified, to be upright before God and one's fellows. Basic doctrine, moral teaching, and ritual obligations are, as Murata and Chittick point out, all that the ordinary Muslim believer, prospective convert, and casually interested non-Muslim observer really need to know. The authors (comparative studies, SUNY at Stonybrook) provide a systematic and thorough handbook of basic Islamic theology on many topics, such as the nature of God and man, revelation and scripture, prayer and the interior life, and mysticism and devotion. For serious students of Islam (and its relationship to Judaism and Christianity) who are undaunted by technical terminology, this work is the book to have. For academic libraries and public libraries with substantial collections in religion.
James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Visions of Reality
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Paragon House; 1St Edition edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557785163
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557785169
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John L Murphy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
A great look at Islam from the "phenomenological" perspective. Not for beginners, more for intermediate students who've already grasped the general "how-to's" and "where-from's" and who, as the authors intend, wish a book that gives the insights of a practicing Muslim imbued with the faith of the heart as well as the facts of the mind. The authors' sympathies seem to be with the former, but as practioners of the latter, they manage to bridge the gap between an inner view and an objective analysis.
You can tell that Chittick and Murata have refined much of this material in classrooms--they frequently provide analogies that Western readers can understand, and anticipate objections and confusions predictable from newcomers. I appreciated their sensibility that can teach both those within Islam and those observing it from the "outside"; they assume that both groups will learn from their fair-minded approach. While a bit soft on the Islamists and their narrow interpetations, they do criticize (pretty late in the book) such limitations, although typically in a gentle, understated manner. It's only fair to notice when this book appeared. My only reason for four stars is because a revised edition would be very appropriate with the renewed interest in Islam and the need for an updated global context.
However, most of the wisdom in this study is timeless. My favorite part was that devoted to the Muslim conception of the afterlife and the intersection of good and evil within the power of the divine. Not the easiest topics, but very worthwhile for the careful, patient reader. The attention devoted to these ideas pays off. Over hours spent thinking about the authors' encounter with the hadith of Gabriel, I came away from this book enriched and invigorated.
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Format: Paperback
I noticed that most of the negative reviews for this book say something like "well this can't be right, or it is biased, because all I have seen of Islam is fundamentalism and terrorism." This book is not a history of Islam, or a sociological evaluation, or a critical comparison of Islam's teachings with the way Islam is practiced in reality. This book is a straight dive into the theology and philosophy of the religion of Islam from the perspective of the scholarly tradition. Almost every Muslim on the face of this planet learns about Islam from a student of the scholarly tradition (ulama) and most of them accept this tradition as the authentic lineage of Islam. This lineage could be understood as the "orthodox" heritage of Islam (as opposed to the fundamentalist and progressive heritages, which are always considered seperate from the original Islamic tradition). Unfortunately, the progressive and fundamentalist Muslims are the ones who make the most noise in the media, so most of us see Islam as a choice between extremism and total rejection of the key teachings of the religion. This is simply not the case. In this book, the key teachings of the Islamic scholars - based on the Qur'an, hadith, and philosophical tradition - are described, examined in-depth, and occasionally questioned for the sake of deeper understanding. I found the philosophy of Islam to be overwhelmingly rich, imaginative, and often convincing. There is no attempt to apologize for or interpret away the aspects of Islam that Westerners might find "barbaric." In the few places that those ideas crop up, they are merely explained as a Muslim scholar would explain them. Whether we see this vision of Islam in our daily lives or not, it is the true tradition of Islam as the majority of Muslims are taught it.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
First let me say that I consider myself a well-informed Muslim with mixed liberal and conservative views, depending on the issue at hand. I only read parts of this book before I recommended it to an American friend of mine who asked me for a book about Islam... and she loved it. The book is both beautiful and illuminating, written in a simple and friendly style, based on a series of lectures. I have read many books about Islam and by far this one is the best (to come from a non-Muslim), although not the most comprehensive. After this I would like to attempt a reply to a confused reader who reviwed the book on August 3rd and attacked Islam and all other world religions as well. To him or her I say that religions are like any other part of our life, they can be ABUSED, and this is no fault of Islam or any other religion. In this Islam, Christianity, Budhism, etc... are not different from, say, nuclear power, or chemistry, or books... confusion, war, rape, murder, etc. are the result of a confused and stupid mind that falls victim to its own sinister desires. For most people, religion provides peace and spiritual guidance and attainment. But that doesn't come through knowing about religion, but through LIVING it. Islam is a lifestyle. Any body can claim they are religious and can commit the most horrendous crimes in the name of relgion or in the name of Marxism or Capitalism or any other creed. Islam can show you how to be a good human being, but it cannot force you to be one. One has to Strive (jihad) to be good in this world by overcoming one's own unwholesome desires. For those who vilify Islam or any other religion, I say you first need to clean your heart and mind of the athiest confused clutter in your heads. Then take a long nice walk to a mosque or a church, and sit in peace with yourself and God...Life is a mystery that we can only guess at through God's signs...And He knows best, the Absolute, the All-Knowing.
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