A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the author of the #1 "New York Times "bestseller "Zealot"
Though it is the fastest-growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded in ignorance and fear for much of the West. In No god but God, Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed scholar of religions, explains this faith in all its beauty and complexity. Beginning with a vivid account of the social and religious milieu in which the Prophet Muhammad forged his message, Aslan paints a portrait of the first Muslim community as a radical experiment in religious pluralism and social egalitarianism. He demonstrates how, after the Prophet's death, his successors attempted to interpret his message for future generations-an overwhelming task that fractured the Muslim community into competing sects. Finally, Aslan examines how, in the shadow of European colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile traditional Islamic values with the realities of the modern world, thus launching what Aslan terms the Islamic Reformation. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account of a magnificent yet misunderstood faith.
Nasr examines the life and thought of Mawlana Mawdudi, one of the first and most important Islamic ideological thinkers. Mawdudi was the first to develop a modern political Islamic ideology, and a plan for social action to realize his vision. The prolific writings and indefatigable efforts of Mawdudi's party, the Jamaat-i-Islami, first in India and later in Pakistan, have disseminated his ideas far and wide. His views have informed revivalism from Morocco to Malaysia.Nasr discerns the events that led Mawdudi to a revivalist perspective, and probes the structure of his thought, in order to gain fresh insights into the origins of Islamic revivalism. He argues that Islamic revivalism did not simply develop as a cultural rejection of the West, rather it was closely tied to questions of communal politics and its impact on identity formation, discourse of power in plural societies, and nationalism. Mawdudi's discourse, though aimed at the West, was motivated by Muslim-Hindu competition for power in British India. His aim, according to Nasr, was to put forth a view of Islam whose invigorated, pristine, and uncompromising outlook would galvanize Muslims into an ideologically uniform and hence politically indivisible community. In time, this view developed a life of its own and evolved into an all-encompassing perspective on society and politics, and has been a notable force in South Asia and Muslim life and thought across the Muslim world.
First time in paperback, with a new Introduction and final chapterWorld affairs expert and intrepid travel journalist Robert D. Kaplan braved the dangers of war-ravaged Afghanistan in the 1980s, living among the mujahidin--the "soldiers of god"--whose unwavering devotion to Islam fueled their mission to oust the formidable Soviet invaders. In Soldiers of God we follow Kaplan's extraordinary journey and learn how the thwarted Soviet invasion gave rise to the ruthless Taliban and the defining international conflagration of the twenty-first century. Kaplan returns a decade later and brings to life a lawless frontier. What he reveals is astonishing: teeming refugee camps on the deeply contentious Pakistan-Afghanistan border; a war front that combines primitive fighters with the most technologically advanced weapons known to man; rigorous Islamic indoctrination academies; a land of minefields plagued by drought, fierce tribalism, insurmountable ethnic and religious divisions, an abysmal literacy rate, and legions of war orphans who seek stability in military brotherhood. Traveling alongside Islamic guerrilla fighters, sharing their food, observing their piety in the face of deprivation, and witnessing their determination, Kaplan offers a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of a people and a country that are at the center of world events.
With the current turmoil in the Middle East, there is a growing interest about Islam--the world's second largest religion and one of the fastest growing--and its holy book, the Koran (or Qur'an). Now, with this easy-to-follow, plain-English guide, you can explore the history, structure, and basic tenets of Islam's sacred scripture.
The Koran For Dummies is for non-Muslims interested in the Koran as well as Muslims looking to deepen their understanding. Islamic scholar Sohaib Sultan provides a clear road map, revealing:
- The meaning of Koran and its basic message
- The Koran's place in history and in Islamic spiritual life
- Explanations of its language, structure, and narrative style
- How to live by the Koran's teachings
- The Koran's role in key global issues, such as Jihad vs. terrorism
- Different interpretations of the Koran
No other book provides such a straightforward look at what the Koran says, how it says it, and how believers live according to its guidance. From how the Koran was received by Mohammed and how it was compiled to how it's interpreted by Islam's two main branches, you'll see how to put the Islamic faith in perspective.
Plus, you'll discover:
- What the Koran really says about women and civil law
- How Islam relates to Judaism and Christianity
- The Koran's view of God, prophets, mankind, and the self
- How its teachings are lived and recited every day by devout Muslims
- Common misconceptions of the Koran
- How to raise a family the Koranic way
Complete with lists of important passages, Koranic terminology, famous quotes, and further reading resources, The Koran For Dummies makes it easy and enjoyable for you to grasp the teachings and significance of Islam's holy book.
As the specter of religious extremism has become a fact of life today, the temptation is great to allow the evil actions and perspectives of a minority to represent an entire tradition. In the case of Islam, there has been much recent confusion in the Western world centered on distorted portrayals of its core values. Born of ignorance, such confusion feeds the very problem at hand.
In The Heart of Islam one of the great intellectual figures in Islamic history offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.
Nasr challenges members of the world's civilizations to stop demonizing others while identifying themselves with pure goodness and to turn instead to a deeper understanding of those shared values that can solve the acute problems facing humanity today. "Muslims must ask themselves what went wrong within their own societies," he writes, "but the West must also pose the same question about itself . . . whether we are Muslims, Jews, Christians, or even secularists, whether we live in the Islamic world or in the West, we are in need of meaning in our lives, of ethical norms to guide our actions, of a vision that would allow us to live at peace with each other and with the rest of God's creation." Such help, he believes, lies at the heart of every religion and can lead the followers of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as well as other religious and spiritual traditions to a new future of mutual respect and common global purpose.
The Heart of Islam is a landmark presentation of enduring value that offers hope to humanity, and a compelling portrait of the beauty and appeal of the faith of 1.2 billion people.
No religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular imagination as an extreme faith that promotes terrorism, authoritarian government, female oppression, and civil war. In a vital revision of this narrow view of Islam and a distillation of years of thinking and writing about the subject, Karen Armstrong s short history demonstrates that the world s fastest-growing faith is a much more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest."
Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Hailed as "the world's foremost Islamic scholar" (Wall Street Journal), as "a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world" (Baltimore Sun), and as "the doyen of Middle Eastern studies" (New York Times), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, a trusted voice that politicians, journalists, historians, and the general public have all turned to for insight into the Middle East.
Now, this revered authority has brought together writings and lectures that he has written over four decades, featuring his reflections on Middle Eastern history and foreign affairs, the Iranian Revolution, the state of Israel, the writing of history, and much more. The essays cover such urgent and compelling topics as "What Saddam Wrought," "Deconstructing Osama and His Evil Appeal," "The Middle East, Westernized Despite Itself," "The Enemies of God," and "Can Islam be Secularized?" The collection ranges from two English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, to previously unpublished writings, to his highly regarded essays from publications such as Foreign Affairs and The New York Review of Books. With more than fifty pieces in all, plus a new introduction to the book by Lewis, this is a valuable collection for everyone interested in the Middle East.
Here then is a rich repository of wisdom on one of the key areas of the modern world--a wealth of profound reflections on Middle Eastern history, culture, politics, and current events.