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    1. No god but God : The Origins,
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    20. The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics

    1. No god but God : The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
    by Reza Aslan
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400062136
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 554
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to Islam
    This book is beautifully written and deserves to be the bestseller it has become. Aslan is trying to rescue Islam from the traditionalists who see it as stuck in the time of Mohammed forever. Instead, Aslan says the interpretation of what being a "good Muslim" is has been hijacked by a series of extremists, and now is the time to reclaim the hidden history of tolerance and diversity. I agree with other reviewers that this has a good chance of becoming the standard book on the subject. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars new contender for best introduction to Islam
    The best book I had found that introduces Islam to non-Muslims is Karen Armstrong's ISLAM: A SHORT HISTORY -- until now.Reza Aslan's book is slightly longer (270 pages to 190), but also more thorough and with a more up-to-date and hopeful perspective on the ongoing "evolution and future" of the religion.There are a multitude of prevalent misconceptions about Islam which these books correct, including 1) Islam is monolithic, 2) Islam is inherently violent, and 3) Islam discourages learning and critical thought.There is an entire right-wing fundamentalist christian industry that churns out such lies, and which tirelessly promotes a Holy War against the "Muslim infidels."The Christian fanatics are the mirror image of the Muslim fanatics!

    Aslan is a religious scholar, born in Iran, and a liberal Muslim, now teaching at the University of Iowa.His analysis, which I find quite convincing, is that we are now living through the Islamic Reformation, comparable to the Christian (usually called Protestant) Reformation.Just as many of the early Protestants were militant and intolerant, and engaged in Holy War against what they saw as the corrupt and oppressive Roman church, so today there are similar movements in Islam.And just as those movements eventually led to the Enlightenment and the development of secular liberal societies (which the christian fundamentalists would like to destroy!), so might the militant Islamic movements of our time lead to a similar development in the Islamic world to come.

    Controversial?Yes.Hopeful?Yes.And if you don't find his view of the future convincing, most of the book is invaluable nonetheless for its history of Islam in all its variety.I will very likely adopt this book as a text for either the Sociology of Social Movements and/or the Sociology of Religion next year.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightened Islam?
    The first thing that struck me about this book is how well-written it is. I am a writer with about 5,000 articles in print or online. I'm also an editor, and I am noted for my harsh evaluations of the writing of others--most people simply do not write well.

    Reza Aslan writes well. Extremely well.

    By the time I was into the second page of this book, I felt that if Aslan had written a book about navel lint--I would still want to read it.

    Couple the excellent writing with quality content, and you have a captivating book. When the subject is an authoritative explanation of Islam, the book becomes a must read for two groups of people: Those who are Muslims, and those who are not.

    Aslan takes us on a journey through time. We see Muhammad before he becomes the "messenger of God," and we see his struggles along the way. From this, you can understand how Islam got its start. And then we see the various forces that act upon Islam as a blacksmith's hammer acts upon hot metal, and we watch this religion take shape over centuries.

    Today, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. But, it's also a sharply fragmented religion. Aslan explain the origins of the various factions shaping Islam today. There's a strong parallel to what happened in Christianity. And, Aslan draws on this parallel to explain a core concept of the book--that Islam is far from monolithic. You have to remember that Christianity got a 500 year head start on Islam. Read your history of the West, and you can see Islam along the same trajectory.

    Americans, in the aftershock of September 11, generally felt much of the Islamic world had declared war on the West. In actuality, the war is between Islamic factions--just as there were wars between Christian factions five hundred years ago (and still are, today). The West is, to many of the warring factions, a symbol of power. An attack on the West is a way to demonstrate power to the other factions. Of course, there's also a hatred of the West--but that hatred isn't the core driver it's made out to be.

    Yet, that hatred is a powerful force in itself. Contrary to what many liberals have been spewing, this hatred did not arise from recent actions of any American political leader. Aslan destroys that bit of proganda by addressing the history of colonization--the enslavement, displacement, and impoverishment of millions of Islamic people.

    What about this interfaction rivalry? Islam is beset by three major philosophies. One philosophy seeks to keep the original vision of Islam pure--that is, to not deviate from the teachings of Muhammad. A second philosophy is that Muhammad was not pure enough, and so Islam must become more radical (think of the Taliban, here). The third philosophy is that Islam must change to adapt to the modern world--it must throw off the chains of ignorance and poverty. Aslan explains the thinking behind each of these philosophies, without preaching to the reader.

    Aslan's views come into play at the end of the book, where he ties everything together. But, you don't get the feeling this is the author trying to convince you of his own views. By this point, the reader already trusts Aslan and sees him as an expert. Now, the reader gets the expert's viewpoint on where Islam should head and why.

    The book carries the reader through many spiritually dark places, but emerges into the sunshine of hope. The end is inspiring and encouraging, and it carries a message for people of all religions. It is a message well worth taking to heart.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impeccable narration of Shi'ite Islam
    In arguing the issue of coexistence of Islam and democracy, Aslan presents an overview of 14 centuries of Islamic evolution and demonstrates that Islamic debates had long preceded the American experience with more than a thousand year. Aslan does not only act as an unbiased observer of the history of Islam, but also takes sides, fictionalizes when facts lack, and sticks to his guns when clearly dead wrong, as follows.

    1) The author's young age helped in presenting cohesive, extensive, and rich narration of the overwhelmingly diverse cultures. Yet, it also contributed to his overreaching and imposing his own implausible explanation when matters convoluted.

    2) His deeply ingrained Shiite beliefs contributed to his unconscious misinterpretation of the Quran and historic events for the sake of defending Shiism.

    3) Growing up in America has influenced the author's writing style in many ways. He looks at the prophet critically, sometimes casually, other times even recklessly (welcome to America).

    A brief summary of the book is in order.

    Prologue: "THE CLASH OF MONOTHEISM", accounts for the struggle for reform between Islamization and democratization in the Islamic world that led to 9/11.The author dismisses the historicity of Moses' magic of parting the Red Sea, Jesus' miracle of raising Lazarus from death, and the revelation of Quran.A reasonable person would justify the inspiration of words of wisdom yet rejects magic and miracles, on the basis of breaching of reality.

    Chapter 1, "THE SANCTUARY IN THE DESERT: PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA", describes pre-Islamic Arabia when paganism centered on Mecca as a center of pilgrimage and trade. It covers Muhammad's birth and growing up when "Hanifism" was underway to restore Ibraham's faith and get rid of idolatry.

    Chapter 2, "THE KEEPER OF THE KEYS: MUHAMMAD IN MECCA", Describes the religio-economic system in seventh century Mecca before the revelation of Quran in the form of slavery, which Muhammad would soon fight and change, but not before emigrating to Yathrib and building new alliances.He relies on the English translation of Sura "al-Alaq" 96:2, in page 34, and misquotes the phrase "a clot of blood" for the correct Arabic meaning of "suspension" (clot is a dead material). He elegantly shows the mysterious power of Quran in its poetic vocalization.

    Chapter 3, "THE CITY OF THE PROPHET: THE FIRST MUSLIMS", describes how the first definition of Islamic nation, religion, and constitution had all started in the remote oasis of Yathrib (Medina). It covers the flourishing of egalitarian ideals of Islam. Although the author admits to lack of historic facts, he defends Aisha's marriage before age without even having definitive proof of her birth date or that of Muhammad.On the veil issue, the author overlooks the necessity for covering the face and head in the dry, hot, and sandy desert environment.

    Chapter 4, "FIGHT IN THE WAY OF GOD: THE MEANING OF JIHAD", depicts the clashes with Quraysh in defending Medina and shows the meaning of Islam "just" wars. He attributes stigmatizing Islamic fighters as "worriers" and "holy wars" to the Crusades and likens it with the stigmatizing Muslims as terrorists, in the present. He cites the Quranic verse 2:256 for forbidding compulsion in faith and contends that the Quranic order to kill infidels was meant by the Quraysh aggressors but was used by many for personal reasons other than intended.

    Chapter 5, "THE RIGHTLY GUIDED ONES: THE SUCCESSORS TO MUHAMMAD", contends that after the death of Muhammad, Ali was cheated of Caliphate. Although he credited each Caliph for their great contributions to Islamic growth, his bitterness for Ali's fate is evident, as follows.

    1- He claims, on Page 116, that the Quran itself repeatedly affirms the importance of blood relations (2:177, 215). Yet, the two verses from Surat "al-Baqqara" only deal with spending substance such as charity on kindred among others.

    2- He contends that the great prophets of the Bible were succeeded by their kin. Yet, Islam started by fighting bigotry and judging people on merits and deeds not or race or inheritance See Sura "Al Hujurat", verse 49:13.

    3- He accuses Uthman by claiming to be the "Successor of God" by mistranslating the phrase "Khalifat Allah" which in Arabic means "Caliph in the way of God".

    Chapter 6, "THIS RELIGION IS A SCIENCE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF ISLAMIC THEOLOGY AND LAW" is the most intriguing chapter in the book. It describes the centuries-long debate on the myths and rituals of Islam. It describes the pillars of Islam and how and why Quran has captivated the souls of billions of people. It also describes the struggle between Rationalist and Traditionalist schools of thought in attempting to reconcile popular and divine sovereignty.

    Chapter 7, "IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARTYRS: FORM SHI'ISM TO KHOMEINISM" describes the rise of Shiitu Ali in Kufa after the death of Ali and his sons Husayn and Hasan. It describes the emergence of innovative rituals distinct to Shiites that relate to their grievance. The innovation of "waiting Imams", made from light, infuriates Traditional Muslims. It shows how Khomeini like others manipulated the idea of Mahdi when confronted with real governing.

    Chapter 8, "STAIN YOUR PRAYER RUG WITH WINE: THE SUFI WAY", delves into the mystic life of Sufis and outlines its self-annihilation practice as a method of uniting with God by rejecting reason, law, and religion and indulging is spiritual love.

    Chapter 9, "AN AWAKENING IN THE EAST: THE RESPONSE TO COLONIALISM", discusses the impact of western colonization on the Middle East that ignited the struggle between Islamization and democratization. It outlines the movement of Islamic scholars from Iran, India, and Turkey to Egypt and Arabia that led to a new breed of Islamic organizations, in an evolving reform movement.

    Chapter 10, "SLOUCHING TOWARD MEDINA: THE ISLAMIC REFORMATION" describes the experiment of building a state in Islamic cultures after independence from western colonization. It contends that reformation is underway for human rights, pluralism, and democracy and suggests that violent and aggressive changes might parallel those of the Christian reformation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of Islam
    A few days after I was asked if I'd be willing to review Reza Aslan's new book "No god but God," and before I committed myself to doing so, I happened to catch the author's appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" where he and four other gentlemen were discussing the role of religion in current affairs. The panel included the author, two Protestant leaders, one Roman Catholic theologian, and an editor from a news magazine, and Aslan was by far the youngest participant. I was so impressed with his discussion of the topic, particularly in reference to the impact of Islam on the world today, its historical antecedents, and what is currently going on, that I immediately consented to read and review his book. I'm glad I did.

    Reza Aslan is a brilliant young scholar of Islam and also of comparative religion in general, just the sort that we so dearly need today when there is so much confusion surrounding one of the world's great historical religions and its theological beliefs and political intentions. Born in Iran a few years prior to the overthrow of the Shah and the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, the young boy was whisked out of the country and settled in the United States. Later, he studied religions at Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. At the University of Iowa he received a master's degree in fine arts and served as a visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. In my opinion, one of the advantages he has when speaking and writing about Islam for the American audience is that he is not only knowledgeable about his own heritage, but appears to be thoroughly acquainted with the Western religious tradition and the American culture. This places him in an extremely enviable position for a discussion about the impact of Islam on contemporary geopolitics.

    There is little doubt in my own mind, after listening to many Christian leaders and thinkers expound their views about Islam in the popular press (particularly after the 9/11 tragedy), that an unfamiliarity with the history, tradition, and beliefs of Islam abounds in the United States and, probably, in most of the West as well. (This, by the way, has always struck me as strange since I have always considered Islam to be a "western" religion, along with Judaism and Christianity, as contrasted with the "eastern" religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and so forth.) Anyway, some of the more recent and scurrilous attacks on Islam and its founder -- "Muhammad is a pedophile," for instance -- by some "leaders" of Christian churches, show an abysmal ignorance of Islam and its founder, not to mention a frightening lack of perspective in this age of scandals involving Christian televangelists consorting with prostitutes and perpetrating financial fraud and Catholic priests going to prison for the sexual abuse of minors. I won't discuss the Muhammad-pedophilia issue here as Aslan provides the explanation in his book, but the charge made against the founder of Islam, while groundless and misunderstood, is also very stupid.

    Most of "No god but God" is devoted to a history of Islam. But it must be understood that this is not a singular nor simple chronological presentation. I suspect there's a presumption among most Westerners, and particularly non-Muslim Americans, that Islam is a rather uncomplicated fanatical faith that is deliberately trying to destroy Western civilization and replace it with some sort of theocratic tyranny. Well, Aslan will straighten you about that. Islam is a very complex faith and his history of it is intertwined with accounts of internecine disputes over doctrinal and moral theology, over leadership and hegemony, over traditions as opposed to meeting contemporary necessities, and all sorts of other problems which any movement -- be it political, social, or religious -- is bound to face. These internal conflicts within Islam should not be a surprise to anyone knowledgeable about the history of Christianity. In fact, one of the things that intrigued me most about his account of the "philosophical" history of Islam is how it parallels in many respects the "philosophical" history of Christianity. After all, Christianity is hardly a "unified" movement and hasn't been for over a thousand years (think Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, just to mention three).

    Islam, contrary to the common view of most Americans, is not a unified religious force with a totalitarian script written by theocrats who want to dominate the entire world. There are various factions -- "sects," if you will -- within Islam opposed to each other. This appears to have been the case almost from the beginning. While some factions within Islam have striven to create theocratic states, others have supported the building of democratic, pluralistic societies. Think about the current situation in Iraq with the disputes between the Shi'ites and the Sunni, both religious factions of Islam. Then think about Wahhabism, another faction which arose in Saudi Arabia and is much more "fundamentalistic." Think "Taliban," probably the most extremist of the Islamic factions. Islam is hardly a unified movement, anymore than modern Christianity is. Aslan goes to great lengths in his book to explain all this and does a superb job doing it. And he shows, I think, that Islam can live and thrive in a modern democratic and pluralistic world, without being the "threat" that many have envisioned.

    I highly recommend this book. If there's one thing we need desperately today it is an understanding of other religions and philosophies. Islam is a mysterious faith to many Americans. Fear is most often founded upon ignorance. And there can no longer be a justification for ignorance about a major religion which is so impacting the world's stage today. The world is getting smaller every hour. Isolationism and parochialism are no longer viable options. We either learn to live together or we destroy each other. Read, contemplate, discuss, and understand. Aslan's book is a contribution to that protocol. ... Read more

    2. Assassination Vacation
    by Sarah Vowell
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743260031
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 250
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrumsof American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other -- a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.

    From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue -- it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and -- the author's favorite -- historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wierd but Funny - A Great Way to do History
    This book is just a touch wierd. Who would take a vacation with the specific intent of going to see where the presidents got shot?

    OK, I'll admit having visited the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas. But that was because of the publicity that was high at the time regarding who actually shot him. An aside -- anyone who has ever gone rifle shooting can look out the window he used and will think, "I could have made that shot."

    Still, her dry wit can't help from coming through, "Going to Ford's Theatre to watch the play is like going to Hooters for the food." She makes the study of history come alive much better than the dry history books I remember from school.

    As now the author of five books, television appearances on several shows, and the voice of Teenage superhero Violet Parr in "The Incredibles," Ms. Vowell is a budding great voice in American literature.

    1-0 out of 5 stars For Presidential History Geeks Only
    I like Sarah Vowell's personality and normally enjoy reading her books and listening to her on This American Life.Plus she kicked ass in The Incredibles.

    I found this book really dull reading though. Unless you, like Sarah, are obsessed with the tiny details of President Garfield's presidency (and other subjects equally dry) you may be as bored as I was. She herself keeps saying how the companions she brings along on her research trips are bored to tears by the subject matter.

    I look forward to her next book and a return to more interesting territory.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's No Coincidence...
    This book is great! The wit and humor of Vowell's essays, collected in Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, translate well to this more focused tale of her visits to sites related to presidential assassinations. Filled with Vowell's quirky observations and animated by the rapid-fire connections her mind makes, Assassination Vacation is a page-turner AND a history lesson at the same time. Vowell's deep appreciation of and enthusiasm for her subject matter is infectious. Highly recommended, especially if you're planning a trip that includes visits to historic sites. Vowell's viewpoint will give you a new way of enjoying them that will definitely enhance your experience!

    5-0 out of 5 stars quirky history tour
    Very informative, hilarious and even moving at times. One other reviewer mentioned Vowell's Bush bashing, but they should read or listen to more than a snippet. The "current president" only pops up a couple of times and briefly. The rest of the book is for the most part a quirky nonpartisan journey through American political history. Vowell's narration in the audiobook abridgement is broken up with some interesting guest voices. Stephen King as Abraham Lincoln for instance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Charming, Witty and Funny
    I just, today, discovered Sarah Vowell's work. It is a wonderful treat. She looks at history in an amazingly honest way. Her history is never boring, of course. I was fortunate to see Sarah do an author presentation on C-Span2 BookTV.

    She presents history in a quirky, honest and humorous way. This book is about the history of the people and events surrounding the assassintions of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. You will learn historical details that you never knew or even thought that you wanted to know. You will be very pleased with Sarah's look into history. ... Read more

    3. The Holy Quran: An English Translation
    by Allamah Nooruddin
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $17.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0963206702
    Catlog: Book (1997-07-01)
    Publisher: Noor Foundation-Intl
    Sales Rank: 12059
    Average Customer Review: 4.03 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This translation of the Holy Quran is now available in Leather-like HARD COVER edition.See ISBN #0963206710.A MUST LIBRARY EDITION. Available in BLACK only. also carries a Leather-like economical Edition of this translation without golden page edges.See ISBN# 0963206729. Available in BROWN color ... Read more

    Reviews (40)

    5-0 out of 5 stars For those seeking to understand
    To capture the essence and depth of the Holy Quran in another language is an insurmountable task, yet this translation comes very close to doing just that.

    I am not a religious scholar, just the average muslim who wants to read the Quran and understand the true meaning of God's message and this translation has helped me immensely with that. Simply because it is not merely a literal translation, but a genuine effort to communicate the meaning of God's word and help the reader with comprehending it. The beauty is that this has been achieved without interfering with facts and expressing personal opinions. It presents the Quran in its true spirit and untampered sanctity, in a tone and manner that makes it so easy to understand for the common man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST TRANSLATION to understand the meaning of Al-Quran
    THE Holy Quran is the perfect code for all walks of life and this translation has explained them clearly and comprehensively in a way I have never known before.

    All the standards for the correct interpretation of the Holy Quran has been met by Mrs. Amatul Rahman Omer. This translation is in accordance with - a. testimony of the Quran itself, Sunnah or the act/doing of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Hadith or record of saying of the Prophet of Islam and Arabic lexicons.

    This translation has helped me brings about spiritual awakening. Use of Paranthesis plays a very important role in this translation. Words within parentheses are either explanations or alternative meaning. Many of the words within parentheses may be used without any parentheses at all, for they are really part and parcel of the text.. May Allah accept this effort of Nooruddin, Mr. & Mrs. Omar who helped us (non-Arabic speaking audience) understand the true meaning of the Holy Quran in a clearer English. I look forward to reading the detailed commentary (Tafsir) by these authors.

    In short, I will recommend to all who are Muslims or Not, to get this translation and find out the true peaceful religion of Islam, which is so very well explained by the introduction included in this Quran.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Accurate Translation yet Faithful to the Original Tongue
    Grace and Peace upon whom who follow Guidance, As one who speaks Arabic, I umpire that this translation is faithful to the Original Tongue of the Quran, i.e. Classical Arabic Parlance of the Qureysh in which this Scripture was Divinely Revealed unto The Holy Prophet Muhammad. This translation is not bound by mere literal translation which would obscure the intend and implied meanings of the Holy Book but it is translated in accordance to the patois of Arabic. Translator has succeed to comprehend what the text conveys and succesfully translated several Quranic phrase and idioms which other translators have failed to perceive. It is an accurate and excellent translation which is faithful to the original meaning...without sectarian bias. I suggest this translation to all readers. Congratulation!

    4-0 out of 5 stars One of God's Best!
    Fans have been confused since reading God's latest work, The Quran. Following hot and heavy on the heels of the twin international bestsellers The Torah and the Holy Bible, God seems to change pace here and follow a slightly different path.

    Although all your favorite characters are still here (Abraham is back, and spry as ever), the Quran seems inordinately obsessed with whether or not to kill infidels. Of course, fans of the smiting that seemed to take place every other page in the Torah will most likely welcome this, provided the smiting isn't directed towards them.

    In the end, the infidel question is put aside, we are reminded to be holy, pray bunches, and look forward to getting a lot of virgins to ourselves in heaven. If the Quran is not exactly for all people, perhaps the work of Salman Rushdie might go over better.

    4-0 out of 5 stars translation
    The translation is good except, (often due to its frequently parenthetisized words meant to help, and perhaps steer, the reader) it is sometimes difficult to see the transcendental meanings of some of its verses so important to the Sufi Dervish tradition. The translator clearly emphasizes the moral levels of the text. The real problem in translating a marvelous book such as this from the original is that it is not possible to convey the full range and depth of its meanings. ... Read more

    4. The Trouble with Islam Today : A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith
    by Irshad Manji
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312327005
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-16)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Sales Rank: 6791
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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    This "call for reform" reads like an open letter to the Muslim world. Irshad Manji, a Toronto-based television journalist, was born to Muslim parents in South Africa. Her family eventually fled to Canada when she was two years old. Manji shares her life experiences growing up in a Western Muslim household and ask some compelling questions from her feminist-lesbian-journalist perspective. It is interesting to note that Manji has been lambasted for being too personal and not scholarly enough to have a worthwhile opinion. Yet her lack of pretense and her intimate narrative are the strengths of this book. For Muslims to dismiss her opinions as not worthy to bring to the table is not only elitist; it underscores why she feels compelled to speak out critically. Intolerance for dissent, especially women's dissent, is one of her main complaints about Islam. Clearly, her goal was not to write a scholarly critique, but rather to speak from her heartfelt concern about Islam. To her fellow Muslims she writes:

    I hear from a Saudi friend that his country's religious police arrest women for wearing red on Valentines Day, and I think, Since when does a merciful God outlaw joy—or fun? I read about victims of rape being stoned for "adultery" and I wonder how a critical mass of us can stay stone silent.

    She asks tough questions: "What's with the stubborn streak of anti-Semitism in Islam? Who is the real colonizer of the Muslims—-America or Arabia? Why are we squandering the talents of women, fully half of God's creation?" This is not an anti-Muslim rant. Manji also speaks with passionate love and hope for Islam, believing that democracy is compatible with its purest doctrine. Sure, she's biased and opinionated. But all religions, from Christianity to Buddhism to Islam should be accountable for how their leadership and national allegiances personally affect their followers. One would hope that this honest voice be met with a little more self-scrutiny and a little less anti-personal, anti-feminine, and anti-Western rhetoric. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

    Reviews (142)

    1-0 out of 5 stars truly disappointed
    i was passing by in borders when this book's caught my attention. i grabbed it and in one hour was almost half way done. i'm lebanese and a muslim and to be honest i wasnt the least bit happy with this book. i did read it. i respect her opinions cuase it comes from HER experiences in life but i dont respect that she actually wrote a book about it. everyone has experiences some good some bad but when it comes to writing a book you need to take all experiences and come out with a conclusion espcially about something as important as religion. i've lived in lebanon most of my life. i went to an islamic elemtary school. my teachers were not imams and i had boys is my class. i learned about islam and i had all my questions answered. so maybe Irshad's experience is limited to teachers she had outside the islamic world(i.e the west). did she meets scholars in Al Azhar(highest islamic institution in Egypt) to have her questions answered?!Does she even know there are women in Al Azhar with Phds in islamic studies that have high posts just like men scholars..i doubt. did she really do any valid research? i truly's true every religion needs reform. but the picture she gave is really black and for any educated muslims like myself it's very hurtful to our pride and culture. She doesnt understand the rage against Jews?! Well to begin with Islamis teachings arenot against the Jews. ANY EDUCATED MUSLIM WOULD KNOW THAT.We respect Judaism because it's one of the religions mentioned in the Quran. the rage we have is against Israel. Maybe Irshad should have lived during Lebanons 15 years civil war to understand why? maybe she should have watched the news when the Qana massacre occured in South Lebanon. Maybe seeing those bloody pictures gave her an idea of the arabic rage against Israel.Alot of Maybes. I guess my last thought is going to be maybe she's the one with a closed mind and a closed heart to Islam but she doesnt realize it yet.

    2-0 out of 5 stars People always forget about cultural relativisim
    The premise behind this book is understandable but one must understand that islam is holistic.This book focuses on the cultural aspects of islam, something that varies throughout the world and shouldn't be taken as absolute nor as the majority.Read Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts (found @ to really understand how the oridnary Arab/Muslim feels about their own religion as well as the west.

    1-0 out of 5 stars What I'll Be Thinking About This Year
    This is a nice review, done by Yahiya Emerick.
    I wasn't always a Muslim.There was a time when I prayed in Jesus' name and worried about getting baptized so I could get into heaven.I remember vividly my life as a Christian, though it is so alien to me now.No one but a convert to Islam can appreciate the differences between our way of life and whatever else is out there.Be of good cheer, though, for a `born' Muslim can also experience the same thing in that they can continually renew their faith through acts of piety and Ibadah reinforced with such actions as reflection, increased learning, fasting and in doing works of service to humanity.

    Born Muslims, especially kids, often wonder about other ways of life.I've had so many students ask me about this that it doesn't surprise me anymore.It seems that they want to compare what they have now to what others are doing to either reaffirm in their hearts that what they are doing is right or to see "the other side" and determine if it might not sound better.This phenomenon is a result of the fact that our Muslim youth are thrown into the non-Muslim world completely by unaware parents and its only natural that someone thrown into water will be interested in learning how o swim, even if they weren't really intended to live in the water.It is also not unheard of that a Muslim will convert to Christianity even as it is normal for Christians to become Muslims.I feel pity for those who leave Islam.Not because the size of our Ummah was decreased by one, but because I know that the one who left Islam didn't know anything about it to begin with.I also shake my head sadly for the alternative to Islam is definitely not the intelligent choice.

    We have four kinds of Islam out there: Cultural, Habitual, Invisible and Original.Cultural Islam as a phenomenon is well-known.We all talk about it.We all complain about it.Whenever we hear about some incredibly backward or ignorant custom from Muslim country X, Y, Z, we say, "Oh, that's cultural Islam."But I believe this label is a misnomer and a disservice.How can an ignorant custom ever be equated with Islam?Is it simply because the people perpetrating it happen to have Muslim sounding names?In the Middle East "good" Muslim men murder their daughters for even a whiff of dishonor.In India "good" Muslim families demand that the girl pay a dowry to the man.In Nigeria "good" Muslim women perform circumcision on unwilling young girls.In most of the Muslim world, "good" parents routinely pressure their daughters to marry against their will. I ask you, why do we ever even mention the word "Muslim" when describing these ignorant customs?They're not in the Qur'an.The people may not even be "good" in the authentic Islamic sense, perhaps indulging in alcohol, leaving off prayers, deceiving others, etc.By mislabeling these cultural customs as "Islamic" cultural customs we do ourselves a disservice.We set ourselves up for failure for no reason.It is these kinds of practices that confused Muslims reject when they convert to Christianity, not realizing that they were not Islamic practices to begin with.The sad thing is that they never knew what real Islam was.They never saw the diamond hiding behind their tainted ethnic cultures.

    I recently read a book named, "The Trouble with Islam" by Irshad Manji.It was quite a piece of work.She is basically a self-professed lesbian Muslim "Refusenik".(Whatever that is supposed to mean.)Her premise was that she was questioning the validity of Islam because some Muslims have done bad things, chiefly her parents, but also ordinary Muslims in third world countries.I'm not kidding.This is the entire crux of her argument: some Muslims are bad so Islam must be bad.Try that standard with Christianity and ordinary Christians!It would fare far worse.In chapter after chapter she berated one ignorant cultural custom after another, cited terrorist activities here and there and traced a meandering path through the ideology of the Wahhabis and came away saying that she was "on the brink" of stepping out of Islam and that Islam was darn lucky she was giving it one thread of a last chance.

    Conversely, she had nothing but praise for the Western world.Nothing bad ever happened or happens.Western religions are noble and kind.Everyone is a free thinker and savvy human rights pacifist.Women are well respected and they have complete freedom and equality and the civil liberties and rights of all are sacred.So, in her conclusion, Islam had better shape up or she would leave it.There is a word for arguments such as hers and anyone who has ever taken a course in logic and rhetoric will know it: fallacy.A fallacy is an argument that is not only not proved but ill-conceived at its core.It is contradictory, disingenuous and easily disproved with logic that will uncover where the mistakes in reasoning occurred.Sadly, however, Ms. Manji is not the first to use this odd type of mis-logic.

    If we turned her logic on its head we could make the case for every Christian to leave Christianity and convert to Islam.She, and others like her, point to ignorant customs in the Muslim world as a sign of Islam's invalidity, well then, let's look at the opposite side of the mirror.Let us judge the West in as likewise a shallow fashion.Hmmm.Let's see.Where do we begin?I know, let's start with ignorant superstitious customs.In the modern Western world, a huge percentage of the population believes in astrology.They look for their horoscopes in the newspapers and even call "psychics" to get their future predicted.Each year millions of rabbits lose their feet so Americans can carry "lucky charms" in their pockets.In all American urban centers one can find storefront Tarot card readers, crystal ball gazers and even places to go to get a spell put on someone.Oh my gosh! Westerners are backward, superstitious fools!(Don't even get me started on the billion dollar drug trade or gambling.)

    In 2004 the Catholic Church put out the figure that 3,900 priests (these are "representatives" of the religion) have been convicted of being child molesters.Imagine how many have not been caught in the last thousand years!United States government crime statistics report that a very large number of children are molested by non-priests every year as well.Incest is also widespread.Oh my gosh!Does Christian culture teach, or condone or tacitly support child molestation?Every few minutes a woman is raped in the United States by fellow Christian and Jewish citizens.It is so pervasive that it has been called an epidemic.Are Christian values really that depraved?And let's not forget the thousands of annual beatings, murders and abuses of women and girls by spouses and boyfriends.It is an everyday fact of life.Does Christian culture encourage spousal abuse?The Bible does say that women must submit to their husbands.The Bible also says to kill all the men, women, children and even babies of your captured enemies, (but to save the virgin girls as slaves).It's all there in the Bible, have you looked lately?

    Then we turn to the real shocker: slavery.Christianity (and Judaism) explicitly encourage slavery in their holy books.It was just 150 years ago that slavery was perfectly legal here.But that was the past.What about today?There is still a lively slave trade in America with over 20,000 men, women and children sold yearly as slaves in the United States, according to the United States government.They are mostly involved in the sex trade...what!What kind of trade?Oh, pornography, prostitution, nude art, public sex, nude beaches, vulgar rap music promoting images of violence towards women...Oh the West is quite a depraved place!How else do you explain the conduct of "professional" American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq?And hey, weren't they all Christians, the Germans who killed 6 million Jews just sixty years ago?How about the French killing 1 million Algerian civilians or the Italians killing the Libyans or the British massacring people in India or the Crusaders who killed everyone in Jerusalem in Jesus' name?(I could list many more examples of Christian atrocities and even many where the Bible was used and clergy encouraged violence.Hey, the Catholic priests in Rwanda actually directed massacres!)

    Now, if I were to follow Irshad Manji's kind of reasoning, I would have to say Christian culture is backward, women are oppressed, the Bible is flawed and filled with human rights problems and that Christianity better feel pretty darned lucky that we haven't given up on it yet.We could examine the extremist views of the Christian Right as an example of how the religion was "hijacked" and we could cite the enlightened attitude of Islam on all the above listed issues.Now I know the world is not so simplistic as to say I don't want to stay on the team because a few players are lousy, but a lot of people are just not that aware that they are making that kind of fallacious leap.

    Are Muslim cultures stifling?Yes, but don't call them Muslim cultures.Call them Pakistani culture, Arab culture, Sudanese culture, or whatever, but call a spade a spade.When people from those cultures see another way of thinking, like when an Indian family moves from a traditional village in India to cosmopolitan Toronto or Los Angeles, of course they will begin to make comparisons.A first world country where money and opportunity abound will, of course, offer a better lifestyle than a third world country where poverty restricts opportunity and good government.But to blame their own culture's shortcomings and failings on a religion is ludicrous.I didn't leave Christianity simply because I saw so much drug abuse, alcoholism and immorality all around me.I left it because intellectually it couldn't stand up.

    Sadly, what I've found when a "Muslim" leaves Islam, it is not because Christianity was intellectually better, but because the "Muslim" could not differentiate between what is culture and what is Islam.In other words, the "Muslim" didn't know much about authentic Islam.They just didn't know much about it.It's like asking the average American non-Muslim to explain something about Christianity.Beyond a few items related to Jesus they don't know too much.Most Muslims are in the same condition.The simple fact is that most people, whatever their "born" religion is, they don't really know much about it.I don't feel threatened anymore when I occasionally hear that someone left Islam, for I know now that they were never really a part of the Islam that I learned about and converted to.

    Think well on this premise.People who convert to Islam usually describe it as the culmination of an intellectual and spiritual journey, while people who convert to Christianity usually describe it as a way to escape a stifling or backward way of life, i.e. the backward practices of their home country.In the first case, the person knows his own culture and discovers real Islam, while in the second case, the person knew his own culture but couldn't separate it from Islam.Thankfully, even after all the 9-11 inspired discrimination we innocent Muslim Americans (for not a single Muslim American was involved in that attack) suffer, and even after all the inane ideological assaults we suffer at the hands of the Christian Right, there is no stampede to leave the fold of Islam, rather more Christians are converting now than before and more born Muslims are taking a fresh look at Islam at its core because thoughtful people have discovered their life's journey and have seen through the hype and separated the cultural chaffe from the wheat and thus our community grows and marches from strength to strength.Allahu Akbar! By Yahiya Emerick

    1-0 out of 5 stars revenge personal diary
    The book was indeed funny and entertaining, but it's more of a rage of a woman who only looked at one piece of the puzzle instead of the whole picture. If Irshad's goal was to call for reform then she dialed the wrong number. Her style is not scholary by any means. I recommend the readers to read the following book "Beyond veil and holy war" by Ahmed Saleem. It gives a more accurate understanding of Islam and its image. It is a shame that Irshad wrote such a book about such a great religion that is such misunderstood in such a critical time!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Riding on the Women in Islam wave....
    While Manji's call for reform is compelling, her delivery is alienating.If she was trying to reform her fellow Muslims I can't imagine she had many calling her back.The book was interesting, yes, and often funny, but other times simplistic and even insulting. ... Read more

    5. Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs
    by Ergun Mehmet Caner, Emir Fethi Caner
    list price: $11.99
    our price: $8.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0825424003
    Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
    Publisher: Kregel Publications
    Sales Rank: 16436
    Average Customer Review: 2.79 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Islam is often obscured by a veil of unfamiliar beliefs, customs, and practices. We watch intriguing images of Islamic nations on our televisions.We hear words like Muslim and Jihad defined in conflicting terms.

    What is Islam, truly, when you peek behind the veil? Who can explain this culture with clarity and precision?

    Raised as Sunni Muslims by a leader in the Muslim faith, brothers Ergun and Emir Caner have lived the Muslim life. Now Christians and highly respected theology professors, the Caner brothers are in a unique position to present an unprecedented insider¹s look at Islam.

    Unveiling Islam is a sympathetic yet uncompromising presentation of the entire scope of Islam--its practices, ethics, and beliefs, including the primary differences between Christianity and Islam. With a basic knowledge of Islam in place, the authors then present a practical strategy Christians can use to open a productive dialogue with Muslims. ... Read more

    Reviews (76)

    5-0 out of 5 stars AMERICA WAKE UP - THIS IS ISLAM
    * MY OPINION: I'm an Indonesian who happens to be Christian, which is a minority back home - Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population - and often persecuted though not as bad as Christians in e.g. Saudi Arabia. As I read the book, I can't thank the authors enough for giving light to the world about the real Islam. Maybe in the good 'ol US of A, where there is freedom of religion (thx to the Judeo-Christian influence), Islam is a peaceful religion. But can't you see how many more Christians are being persecuted in Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc, because non-Christians has to "SUBMIT" to the "PEACEFUL" religion? How odd that the effort of Drs Caner is blasted with condemnation. They're just writing about the real deal here, not about bigotry or racism.
    * CONTENT: This book is ideal for those who just started learning about Islam. Some chapters start with real life example based on cultural differences between Muslim and Christian. Like in Ch. 4, Tony (a Christian) has a Muslim roomate Askar, and they shared about their religion. Tony found out that Askar knew some Bible stories, but Askar's version somehow came out "changed". My Muslim friends like to say they've read all the contents of the Bible, but actually they're just making a statement that the Quran is the final revelation from God and it's the most complete Book, and once you've read it, then you've read the whole Bible. Or about the Trinity, how Muslims believe that Christians worship 3 gods, and one of the Trinity is Mary. So you see, Christianity and Islam is NEVER the same. Drs Caner approach to Islam in this book is gentle, but firm in stating the fundamental difference between the two faiths. They're not bashing Islam as some review has overly stated. If I were to write a book on Islam based on how Islamic countries treated its non-Muslim minions, I wouldn't be as compassionate as Drs Caner...
    * OTHER MUST READ: If you want to go deep, read Norman Geisler's "Answering Islam" - it's got all the works; and Bruce McDowell's "Muslims and Christians at the Table.." - good how-to book in befriending Muslims. Don't miss "Torn Veil" by Gulshan Esther, riveting account of a Pakistani woman conversion to follow Christ. This lady literally had to go through all the trials, from being disowned by her rich family to being thrown to jail, but she would not forsake Christ.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very informative someone learning about Islam
    This book is a great place to start for anyone who wants to learn about Islam. I'd especially recommend it since the events of September 11, 2001.

    I suspect the book was somewhat hastily put together to get it out right after 9/11; it could go into a lot more depth on many of the subjects, but it is a great place to start. What makes it somewhat unique is that both of the authors have abandoned Islam to follow Christ.

    Kudos to the Caners, some of the few who have the bravery and honesty to stand up and tell the truth about Islam, a truth that our "popular media" and even our own President don't want to acknowledge: that Islam is not a "religion" of peace, but of war and of "jihad."

    The Caner's don't "slam" Islam in this book; rather they present the subject in a way that urges Christians to pray for and reach out to Muslims with the Truth of the Gospel of Christ. One whole chapter is devoted to offering suggestions how Christians can witness to their Muslim friends and/or neighbors. They quote extensively from the Koran and other Islamic writings, and contrast those writings with the Bible.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Look at Life in Islam by a Former Muslim
    The author is a wonderful speaker and has written equally as well in this book. He is fair and shoots straight from the hip regarding fundamental Islamic beliefs and creeds. He uses the very Koran to back up his writing, which gives this book credibility and makes it a powerful tool for Christians to understand where Muslims are coming from.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad... but no suprises!
    This book is well written and certainly helped me further in my thoughts and curiosity towards religions and a way of life. Having traveled through those regions like Jedda, I certainly can easily say as a white woman with my own life, own opinions, and respect whether male or female, that it is not a 'way of life ' I would certainly CHOOSE to be in. I don't care what people say. The Muslim belief is that women are less than men. Did you all know that public executions take place regularly (actually every week - Friday to be exact) in Jedda. Yep, you can go (if you are a man that is) to watch them! And don't be a woman in a car accident as no matter how badly you are injured, the ambulence drivers will only take the male/males in the car and leave any women. Hard to believe, but true. Nice religion huh!?!

    I'll admit. I'm an atheiest. I have not come on this decision easily, but have yet to be proved of anything I would choose to believe in aside from myself and the goodness around me. The destruction of us as human beings is the crutch we all require, whether Christianity or Muslim, to fall back on in order to not take responsibility for our own lives. Religion and real estate. The two backers of the best wars of this world! Religion is control. With control comes complete power. I get a nervous feeling watches masses of people in a religious state, whether at Church, or at Mecca... in a tent in the USA listening to some second hand car salesman pretending to be the messenger of God... and it scares me how easily we all sercome to a book that some person wrote. These are all just people... people. No better or worse than you or me. Yet we live our lives by their teachings???? I don't get it! I just don't get it!!

    Certainly buy this book. It will fill you in on what you need to know about Islam. But never forget. ANY religion that treats ANYONE less than another, is not a religion... it is a cult. Sad thing is that includes most religions around the world. John Lennon said it best: "Imagine no relgion, it's easy if you try". Yes I do imagine... and smile.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting introduction, but not the whole story
    I seem to be one of the very few reviewers on this page who has mixed feelings about this book. The message it preaches is not an easy one to swallow. Though it claims to be a 'sympathetic' portrayal of Islam, I found it to be far more negative than sympathetic. It is also, I am sad to say, much harsher with individual passages from the Qu'ran than with isolated passages from the Bible - and I say that as a practicing Christian. Consequently it is all-too easy to rush to take an extreme view of the book. Those who have little experience of Islam outside the atrocities of 9/11 will find it an illuminating expose on the true nature of the religion. Those who are Muslim, or are familiar with practitioners of the faith, will probably find that it grossly distorts the true religion in a poor attempt at propaganda. Neither of these views are quite correct.

    Although the Caner brothers ask interesting questions which do need asking (namely: have Islamic terrorists twisted the true message of the Islamic faith...or, alternatively, have peace-loving Muslims deceived themselves into neglecting key tenets of the religion?) the refusal to acknowledge the positive aspects of Islam weakens their argument somewhat. I have numerous Muslim friends in this country, and I can confidently say that much of what the Caner brothers assert comes down to matters of culture, NOT matters of Islam. For example, my best friend informs me that in no way does the Qu'ran advocate the wearing of the Burkha. Women, apparently, are instructed to cover their hair - not the entire face. The Caner brothers imply that the wearing of the Burkha is an instruction of the Qu'ran. Nor do the westernised Islamic men I know beat their wives. Finally, it is usually *much* easier to make friends with an Islamic family than is portrayed in "Unveiling Islam".

    However, I am very surprised by some of comments in the one-star reviews on this page. I am left with the feeling that some reviewers stopped reading the text once they realised it would not conform to their expectations. One reviewer writes: 'One has to only take the Crusades into consideration to realise how much innocent blood was spewed at the sword in the name of Christ, the savior.' Fair point. Unfortunately, this point was addressed several times by the authors in their book. They make it patently clear that the Crusades were bloody and horrible - but contrary to the teachings of Jesus. The point they make throughout the book is that any blood shed in the name of Islam may not necessarily be contrary to the teachings of Muhammed. Another reviewer asserts: 'this book does not use any authentic Hadiths'. Hadiths, however, appear repeatedly in each chapter. Whether they are 'authentic' or not, I don't know - what, exactly, is an unauthentic Hadith? Another reviewer states that: 'The brothers never bother to explain...why their father disowned them.' Yes, they do. They point to the passages in the Qu'ran which advocate the parental rejection of children who turn away from Islam. The brothers also put forward a pretty convincing argument for the interpretation of Jihad as a physical war, not an internal war.

    The best thing about this book is that I put it down thirsting for more information. Because of "Unveiling Islam" I will be reading the Qu'ran, and then comparing it with the Bible. I wish to read the Hadiths. I want to find out more about the Crusades, and more about the different Islamic sects.

    I recommend it as a starting point, because the questions it raises are uncomfortable, yet highly valuable. Unfortunately, though, the biased slant makes this book too unreliable to be regarded as the whole story. ... Read more

    6. The Qur'an Translation
    by Abdullah Yusuf Ali
    list price: $5.95
    our price: $5.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1879402297
    Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
    Publisher: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an
    Sales Rank: 6703
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This English translation of the Qur'an is a compilation of the Muslim faith's Final Revelation from God to mankind through the last Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon Him. The Qur'an has a wealth of information--both worldly wisdom and intellectual concepts--providing a code of life for humankind generally and Muslims in particular. Indeed, the Qur'an's miracle lies in its ability to offer something to non-believers and everything to believers. This edition is fully indexed. ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most Authentic
    This translation is considered the most authentic by Muslim scholars. It is the one that is supported by the government of Saudi Arabia and is most widely read by English-speaking Muslims. A translation of the Qur'an can never fully transmit the meaning or reflect the beauty of the original text. But the reality is that many people who seek to understand the message of the Qur'an will not be able to learn Arabic. It should be kept in mind that though the Arabic word may have multiple meanings, only one of those meanings gets translated to English (imagine what would happen to one of Shakespeare's puns if it was traslated to Arabic). But for English-speakers, this is the best option (though Mohammad Asad's translation is also very respected). The caveat is that to truly understand the Qur'an, it is important to read not only the text itself, but to understand it in context of the time it was revealed. Though Muslims consider the Qur'an to be timeless, many passages relate specifically to events occuring in the prophet's life or in the young Muslim community.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Informative, Necessary to know WHY!
    After the constant ruckus with terrorist I decided to read the Qur'an for the simple reason that Sun Tzu taught in his Art of War writings...that we should "know our enemy," So I jumped into Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an...

    I realized after reading other introductory books that it is likely that Islam would not consider any English translation of the Qur'an a true indication of its original meaning. But it is close and the best we mere mortals can do. After reading this version of the Qur'an, it is clear that the whole world is to come under the purview of God or Allah! In Islamic terminology God is simply called Allah.

    I also believe that the Qur'an actually charges Muslims to fight against any and all who pervert their religion from within, such as Osama Bin Laden and the terrorist of 9-11. Muslims who believe otherwise have been misdirected and mislead due to ignorance, illiteracy and oppressive leadership.

    Yes, the Qur'an teaches not to trust the West but it also condemns without question the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden. As Bernard Lewis says, "there is no precedent or authority in Islam" for 9-11.

    I have been fascinated by the similarities in all religions and I am also equally distressed at the conflicts that develop between various sects, denominations and major beliefs systems in the world. They are all basically saying the same thing. It just gets said in different ways and from a slightly different perspective. Then some jerk says, "my way is the only way and all hell breaks loose."

    Even though they are all trying to achieve the same thing, "oneness with, mercy from...and communion with God." No matter what a religion calls its Deity, the bottom line is that they are all referring to God. Islam and other religions are no different. Allah is God, Jehovah is God, Jesus is God, the great "I Am" is God and on and on...

    In reading this version of the Qur'an as translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. I noticed that you wind up with religious rhetoric similar in speech to almost all other religions. Be good, do no harm, but stand up for your belief, and practice brotherly love, relief and truth in all things.

    Do all that you have promised to do, and do not encroach upon another person or their property. The same basic principles exist in them all. Here are ten common founding principles:

    1. GOD IS, WAS and always WILL BE
    2. God had a hand in creating all things
    3. God controls all things to a certain degree and sent messengers to guide and change us for the better.
    4. God has rules and requires obedience
    5. Human beings are unable to control their worst desires, and like water, will seek the lowest most base activities possible without God's influence
    6. God judges all, the good and the bad
    7. God will ultimately reward the good and punish the wicked
    8. God will forgive a repentant soul, but not a lying hypocrite
    9. We should remain faithful, punish deviance, and provide brotherly love, relief and truth to those who follow his teachings and/or repent.
    10.To sum this all up in all religions "It is best for mankind to believe in and obey God and his messengers and do not turn away from him." All religions that seek God carry these basic tenants, all of them.

    I have not found one that says you cannot have civilization, industry and modernization or that you cannot have healthy and wholesome, movies, parks and skyscrapers, freedoms, liberties and comfort.

    They do not become deviant, greedy or corrupt, gluttonous, decadent, murderous, materialistic, hedonistic, or licentious. In short restraint is the better path and liberal excessiveness and progressive physical self-gratification as practiced today in many quarters in the West, with their sinful nature, is evil and wrong...

    An interesting and informative read, I highly recommend...

    1-0 out of 5 stars Only one god and Allah isnt his name.....
    Allah is the name of the only God in Islam. Allah is a pre-Islamic name coming from the compound Arabic word Al-ilah which means the God, which is derived from al (the) ilah (deity). It was also the name of the chief god among the numerous idols (360) in the Kaaba in Mecca. Today a Muslim is one who submits to the God Allah.

    Islam means submission to (Allah), but originally it meant that strength which characterized a desert warrior who, even when faced with impossible odds, would fight to the death for his tribe. (Dr. M. Baravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1972)

    Many believe the word "Allah" was derived from the mid- eastern word "el" which in Ugaritic, Caananite and Hebrew can mean a true or false God. This is not the case, "The source of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning "God" (or a "god"), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity." (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ed. Hastings), I:326.)

    According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Allah corresponded to the Babylonian god Baal, and Arabs knew of him long before Mohammed worshipped him as the supreme God. Before Islam the Arabs recognized many gods and goddesses, each tribe had their own deity. There were also nature deities. Allah was the god of the local Quarish tribe, which was Mohammed's tribe before he invented Islam to lead his people out of their polytheism. Allah was then known as the Moon God, who had 3 daughters who were viewed as intercessors for the people into Allah. Their names were Al-at, Al-uzza, and Al-Manat, which were three goddesses; the first two daughters of Allah had names which were feminine forms of Allah. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was a statue likeness of a man whose body was made of red precious stones whose arms were made of gold.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My Truth
    The Qur'an brought me closer to the mystical nature of human kind, and Abdullah Yousef Ali did a wonderful job in shedding light on the mystic and poetic nature of Islam. Only those who are natural, who love this Earth and are also willing to believe in miracles will see the true nature of this book.
    Qur'an comes from the Arabic word Iqra'=read(verb). Therefore, Qur'an=that which is read upon you. The texts in the Qur'an carry symbols and signs that fall upon believers everyday to guide them onto righteous and noble paths.
    I was raised a muslim, so thankfully I didn't have to break through all the obsantites that the unbelievers spewed about Islam. I am a firm believer of the Day of Judgement, and a firm believer that Islam has unfolded the true histories of humanity's struggles on Earth from the creation of Adam and Eve up untill the last prophet Muhammed (PBUH). Unfortunately, the Bible's texts aren't accurate because they've been ill-treated after Jesus's ressurection, and they were also changed and handed down from one corrupt authority to the next.
    This case isn't true for the Qura'an because the prophet recited the Qura'an once a year during the month of Ramadan with the Angel Gabriel in order to protect the verses from being distorted, and then he recited them from memory and muslims wrote it down to preserve the symbolic words of Allah. Don't be alarmed, there are thousands of muslim children today who know this book off by heart.
    The Qura'an carries symbolic texts which reveal the true sacrifices and hardships that all the prophets went though to pass on God's message. Jesus is not the son of God he was only his prophet, endowed with the knowledge of healing and magic. God has his own singular nature and owns a kingdom. The Qur'an reveals that every creature on this Earth crawled out from the water except Adam and Eve who decended from the heavens. This was written almost 1400 years ago, and yet it compiles with Darwin's theory. The Qura'an also reveals that this earth will be replaced by another one, after it's purified from evil. It will be replaced by the Lord of the Worlds,Allah,which justifies that Earth is not the only World that God/Allah created. Those who are good will stay and enjoy Earth's nature to its fullest i.e. absolute bliss and happiness. But the unbelievers will be fuel for hell, because the Qura'an defines this case as the harsh reality of nature's truth.
    Moreover, God chose to reveal his true holy scriptures through the Arabic language because the Arabic alphabet represents the rythmic beats of our souls. In the Qura'an God reveals that he made humans out of clay and then gave it a soul from his breath. Therefore, the name Allah came to light because the last letter 'h: haa' represents the giving of breath. The first letter 'A' represents the beginning of life, because it's the first letter in the Arabic alphabet as well as the English one. However, the letter 'L'or'lam' in Arabic remains mysterious but might symbolize pain and the giving of life. In the Qura'an singular letters are often introduced in certain verses and they carry mystical and symbolic meanings that the translator of this book tried his best to explain. Moreover, this book carries both the English translation on one side, and the Arabic on the other so it will also be interesting to admire the beautiful calligraphy of this ancient semitic language.
    One of Islam's major revelations is the return of Jesus. Muslims believe that Jesus was saved by God and wasn't crucifed on the cross. Instead, the Jewish diciple that deceived him was turned by God to look like Jesus in order to deceive his enemies, because The Lord of the Worlds has mercy on his prophets and obediant servants and will never let harm come their way. True Muslims also beleive that Jesus will return soon, because the signs of the revelations have appeared. Metals will fly and speak: radios and planes; arab nomads will build towers in their deserts: the booming of the oil industry in the middle-east.
    The Qura'an made me a strong symbolic interactionist. It made me understand people's thought process, so it offered me the power to catch on swiftly to what others want to say. In other words, it offered me a unique sense of wit and besides, this life is meaningless without signs and symbols. This only became possible after carefully studying the Qura'an by the aid of this translation and I also used additional texts that include the prophets teachings/'ahadith'.
    As a muslim, who lives in the US, I do admit that many muslims today don't recognise the beauty and the truth that this book has to offer. Prime examples are Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. They misinterpreted the term jihad in the Qura'an because they weren't true believers. They were greedy for control and power. There are many arenas of Jihad nowadays such as the media, so they will have no excuses for what they've done.If they were true believers then they would have loved their faith enough to safeguard it from heresay and in return they would have thought of safer and effective options/mediums to make a noble difference in the world. The pen is mightier than the sword, but they weren't patient for that because Allah's love wasn't enough for them.
    If you don't beleive in One God, in his Angels, his Holy Books, in Heaven and in Hell and in the Last Day of Judgement, then don't waste your time reading this book.
    I definitely, most definitely, recommend this translation.
    Just passing on the love,

    3-0 out of 5 stars The best book in the world?
    If you're considering purchase of this book, you are either 1)a Muslim, 2)someone who wants to understand a perceived enemy, or 3)just curious. Well, here it is, the Qur'an: what Muslims will tell you is the best, truest, most lyrical, most inspiring book in the world. It is, we are told by Muslims and by the Qur'an itself, so good that it is an an absolute miracle, and that no person or spiritual entity [Angel or Jinn (Jinn are spirit beings created from a smokeless flame of fire)] could produce even one chapter that was as good as the Qur'an. There are some problems that non-Muslims will have with this claim. For example, one of the chapters (Surah 72) consists (except for the intro sentence) entirely of a conversation among Jinn, the inclusion of which disproves the Qur'an's claim with its own words. Also, the Qur'an thinks the Christian Trinity is made up of Father, Son and Mary. The Qur'an has a Samaritan help Aaron make his golden calf (while Moses is getting the 10 Commandments) 800 years before Samaria even existed. The Qur'an talks about Jesus, but while he is called the Messiah, the Qur'an strips him of his crucifixion and resurrection, and Mohammed declared on several occasions that believing in Jesus divinity is the greatest possible sin.

    I gave it 3 stars because it is what it is, which should account for something, I guess. ... Read more

    7. Essential Rumi
    by Coleman Barks
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0062509594
    Catlog: Book (1997-02-14)
    Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
    Sales Rank: 10206
    Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A comprehensive collection of ecstatic poetry that delights with its energy and passion, The Essential Rumi brings the vibrant, living words of famed thirteenth-century Sufi mystic Jelalludin Rumi to contemporary readers. ... Read more

    Reviews (43)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An American Rumi
    This book may well become an American classic of poetry someday. It is by far the best English collection of Rumi's poetry, done by his most able translator.

    Although Rumi's poetry -- as with most poetry -- is at core untranslatable, Barks has done a fine job in rendering older technical translations of the Maulana into poetic English. What one encounters here is not just Rumi, but Rumi filtered through Barks. If you object to that go learn Persian because no translation will be able to capture the subtle nuances conveyed through the original language.

    Barks should be commended in showing us another face of Islam, and revealing, in the process, the timeless, universal and transreligious teachings of one of Islam's greatest saints.

    For fans of Rumi/Barks, I suggest Winkel's new book: Damascus Steel. Its a work of fiction exploring contemporary political themes through sufi lenses, and was written before (!) September 11th.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Poetic Enlightenment
    Rumi (as he is known in the West), was known as Jelaluddin Balkhi by the Persians and Afghanis, from where he was born in 1207. Rumi means 'from Roman Anatolia', which is where his family fled to avoid the threat of Mongol armies. Being raised in a theological family, Rumi studied extensively in religion and poetry, until encountering Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic, with whom he formed the first of his intense, mystical friendships, so intense that it inspired jealously among Rumi's students and family. Shams eventually disappeared (most likely murdered because of the jealousy); Rumi formed later more mystical friendships, each with a different quality, which seemed essential for Rumi's creative output. Rumi was involved with the mystical tradition that continues to this day of the dervish (whirling dervishes are best known), and used it as a personal practice and as a teaching tool.

    This book has a deliberate task: 'The design of this book is meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories.' Barks and Moyne have endeavoured to put together a unified picture that playfully spans the breadth of Rumi's imagination, without resorting to scholarly pigeon-holes and categorisations.

    'All of which makes the point that these poems are not monumental in the Western sense of memorialising moments; they are not discrete entities but a fluid, continuously self-revising, self-interrupting medium.'

    Rumi created these poems as part of a constant, growing conversation with a dervish learning community. It flows from esoteric to mundane, from ecstatic to banal, incorporating music and movement at some points, and not at others, with the occasional batch of prose.

    'Some go first, and others come long afterward. God blesses both and all in the line, and replaces what has been consumed, and provides for those who work the soil of helpfulness, and blesses Muhammad and Jesus and every other messenger and prophet. Amen, and may the Lord of all created beings bless you.'

    From the lofty sentiments...

    'There's a strange frenzy in my head,
    of birds flying,
    each particle circulating on its own.
    Is the one I love everywhere?' the simple observations...

    'Drunks fear the police,
    but the police are drunks too.
    People in this town love them both
    like different chess pieces.'

    Some poems take very mystic frameworks, such as the Sohbet. There is no easy English translation of Sohbet, save that it comes close to meaning 'mystical conversation on mystical subjects'. These poems become mystically Socratic, by a series of questions and answers, very simple on the surface, yet leading down to the depths of meaning.

    In the middle of the night
    I cried out,
    "Who lives in this love
    I have?"
    You said, "I do, but I'm not here
    alone. Why are these other images
    with me?"

    Rumi also has an elegant series called the Solomon Poems, in which King Solomon is the embodiment of luminous divine wisdom, and the Queen of Sheba is the bodily soul. This sets up a dynamic tension that gets played out in the poetry (in extrapolation from the Biblical stories from which they were first derived)

    Rumi reminds us that, in the face of love and truth, even the wisdom of Plato and Solomon can go blind, but there is vision in this blindness.

    In the conclusion of this volume, Rumi's poetry of The Turn (the dervishes) is presented, as a place of emptiness, where the ego dissolves, and opens a doorway to the divine to enter. The night of Rumi's death in 1273 is considered 'Rumi's Wedding Night', the night he achieved full union with the divine that he had sought so often in poetry and mystical practice.

    There is much to be gained in the contemplation of this frequently overlooked poet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Essential part of the dilettante's library
    "Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing,
    There is a field.
    I will meet you there."

    I have bought no fewer than ten copies of this book, for friends and family. I was lucky to find them remainder at the local book megamart, but I would gladly pay full price.

    This book made Rumi my favorite poet. Rumi is habit forming, but this is by far the most accessible place to start.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Keep going back
    This is one of those books I keep handy, and just open randomly whenever I need a quick reminder that the world runs deeper than we think. It never fails to pull me from the shallow waters... When I want to go.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry, but not well arranged
    I do not understand how Barks organized these poems. They're amazing, every last one but the order that they're in is quite confusing. Nonetheless it should be read by everyone, whether a poetry lover or not. Also, check out the recipes in the back of the book! As the name states, it is ESSENTIAL! ... Read more

    8. The Sword of the Prophet: History, Theology, Impact on the World
    by Srdja Trifkovic, Serge Trifkovic
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1928653111
    Catlog: Book (2002-09-11)
    Publisher: Regina Orthodox Press
    Sales Rank: 3336
    Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (64)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A sobering read
    This book is a real eye opener. It describes Islam's history of violence and intolerance and the West's self imposed blindness to the nature of Islamic culture. In the latter part, the book explains how the U.S. has been supporting radical Muslim governments and terrorists all over the world for several decades to further the economic interests of large American corporations and their interest in globalization. It's well documented and clear-headed. One message of the book is clear: we can no longer afford to suppress Christianity in the U.S. while we promote secularism and Islam in the name of evenhandedness. Forget worrying about after school Bible clubs. If we continue on the road we're on now, our grandchildren may be wearing turbans and burkhas as they study the Koran in school.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Islam is a global, militarized terrorist organization.
    If you believe in freedom, reason, and inalienable human rights, "Islam: The Sword of the Prophet" might be the most important book you will ever read. The sub-title--"A Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam"--is unfortunate, because the book is not a slanted, anti-Islamic polemic. "The Hard and Bitter Truth About Islam" would be more accurate.

    Islam is not merely a religion. As the Muslims proudly boast, Islam is a complete way of life-an all-encompassing social, political and legal system that breeds a worldview peculiar to itself. Islam is a global ideology that insists that the sharia, the revealed will of God, is the only sanction for law. Islam insists that any dissent from the sharia is heresy, and furthermore, that heretics be put to the sword.

    The terrorism of 9/11 is not an accidental by-product of some temporary crisis that Islam is currently undergoing. Violence and terror are central, fundamental and indispensable tenets of the Islamic faith. The terrorist acts of 9/11 were completely in keeping with the commands of Allah's book and the example of Muhammad. In slaying infidels, Bin Laden and his followers were nothing if not pious and devout Muslims-doing exactly what the Koran commands of a good, observant, religious Muslim.

    Women--especially those warmed by the cuddly and fluffy-bunny image of Islam presented by PBS and American intellectual elites-should read this book to learn the Muslim definition of a shameful and disgusting awrat. Hint: "The woman is 'awrat.' When she goes outside the house, the devil welcomes her," and accordingly, women must walk in the middle of the road, cover themselves in black from head to toe, and cannot speak without their husband's permission. As Muhammad's favorite wife, Aisha, said: "You have put us [women] on the same level as a donkey and a dog."

    Beware of Usama bin Laden's fellow-travelers in America's Fifth Column. He who has the gold-rules, and as Dr. Trifkovic points out, Wahhabi money from the House of Saud has paid huge endowments to fund Islamic studies departments at renowned universities such as Harvard, the University of California, the University of London, and many others. As a result, the pro-Islamic "tolerance" of many Western intellectuals is really just moral cowardice trying to pass itself off as principle. Many of today's intellectuals and professors have found a new way to cash in when it comes to tenure, promotion, lecture fees, book offers, social acceptance and psychic reassurance.

    The author-Dr. Serge Trifkovic-has been viciously slandered by a legion of Muslim "holy warriors" and apologists. One of the more prominent character assassins goes by the name of Steven Schwartz-a Muslim whose real name is Suleyman Ahmad. In his book, Trifkovic explains the machinations of poison pens like Ahmad. Under the Islamic concept of Al-Taqiya, which means 'dodging the threat,' Muslims are encouraged "to use subterfuge to defeat the enemy. They [are] ordered to infiltrate the enemy's cities and plant the seeds of discord and sedition. Sometimes they argue that Jihad is not aimed at the people about to be conquered, that they are not targeted. Taqiya is reflected in our own time in the attempts by Muslim activists to present Islam favorably, replete with tolerance and peace, faith and charity, equality and brotherhood. The poor, 'misunderstood Muslims' tell us that Jihad doesn't really mean 'holy war;' Jihad means 'striving for Allah' and 'inner struggle.'"

    In his declaration of Jihad against Americans, bin Laden made it clear that he was not using the word jihad in the sense of "moral striving", but in the classical and traditional Islamic sense of a holy war against infidels. In this proclamation, bin Laden called on his followers "to kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military. . . . By God's leave, we call on every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward to obey God's command to kill the Americans and plunder their possessions wherever he finds them and whenever he can. Likewise we call on the Muslim leaders and youth and soldiers to launch attacks against the armies of the American devils and against those who are allied with them from among the helpers of Satan. . . ."

    Oriana Fallaci was right when she warned: "Islamist terrorism is not, as we are so often told, the perversion of a great faith, [nor] the work of a disillusioned and obscurantist fringe. It was part and parcel of Islam itself, which she referred to as 'this mountain that for 1,400 years has not moved, has not emerged from the abyss of its blindness, has not opened its doors to the conquest of civilization, and has wanted nothing to do with liberty and justice and democracy and progress."

    "Putting an end to Western dominance is an ongoing project for the world's Muslims--even the ones who live among us and may be best understood as an advance guard. 'You do not understand, or you do not wish to understand that if we remain passive, if we do not fight, the jihad will triumph. And it will destroy the world . . . .'"

    Per Dr. Trifkovic: "Marxism, Fascism and Islam have in common the lust for other people's lives and property, and the desire to exercise complete control over their subjects' lives. All three have been justified by a self-referential system of thought and belief that perverts the meanings of words, stunts the sense of moral distinctions, and utterly and completely destroys lives and souls. . . .Islam is a collective psychosis seeking to become global, and any attempt to compromise with such madness is to become part of the madness oneself."

    America's problem is not prejudice against Islam or Muslims, but folly in the face of a militarized and genocidal terrorist regime that seeks to kill us all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a scary book
    this book is so scary, especially since the growing threat of militant islam is dangerous to democracy.

    read this book, please!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A most imortant book
    I can't overemphasize how important this book it.

    Most people in the USA are so pro-Palestinian that they are oblivious to the dangers of Islam.

    What they don't realize, is that after they are done with Israel, the militant Muslims will come after the infidels of the USA.

    The biggest secret is that Islam hates the USA.

    Read this book and see why.

    1-0 out of 5 stars If possible, I would have given this book less than 1 star
    It is not a surprise to read Srdja Trifkovic's racist and bias lies about Islam. Trifkovic's views are about as well documented as is his hatred for the Muslim religion. This book is an obvious attempt to appeal to Americans who because of the political correctness in this society don't reveal their true prejudice of Arabs and Muslims and are happy when someone else does it for them. The only people who can benefit from this reading are those who already hate Islam but afraid to labeled "racist" and therefore relish in Trifkovic's words of hatred. I recommend anyone who does not already hate Islam and Arabs and would like to learn more about the religion read Edward Said's "Covering Islam" or Said Aburish's "A Brutal Friendship". ... Read more

    9. In Search of the Hidden Treasure: A Conference of Sufis
    by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
    list price: $37.50
    our price: $37.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1585421804
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
    Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
    Sales Rank: 477432
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Like no other book, In Search of the Hidden Treasure captures the centuries-old traditions of Sufism. Its pages allow the contemporary reader to become immersed in the words, sights, and wisdom of this powerful mystical wing of Islam. Here is the world of whirling dervishes; of mysterious alleyways where chanting is heard all day long; and of a young poet named Rumi, who writes impassioned love songs to God.

    Constructed as a conference of Sufis who gather in a great hall to answer the questions of a seeker, In Search of the Hidden Treasure is illustrated with more than a hundred previously unpublished works of Islamic art, and portraits of the Sufi Pirs, or enlightened teachers, drawn by the author's wife, Mary Inayat Khan.

    The book also includes an extensive glossary of Sufi terms that pertain to states of consciousness, as well as well-documented biographies of all the Sufi Pirs, members of a long lineage that dates back to the prophet Muhammad.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Priceless Pearl
    This book is charged-- a direct transmission of heart and soul, light and life from Pir Vilayat Khan. Pir Vilayat is the son of the great Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan and pioneer of liberated spirituality within the US and Europe since the 1960's offers his magnum opus. The work, beautifully illustrated with inspired drawings by Mary Inayat Khan along many sacred paintings and images of the East, is a vibrant dialogue among ancient and modern Sufi masters, inquirers and students. It filled my being and will fill yours with the antidote to the delusion of our modern existence and of conventionally defined models of Reality. ... Read more

    10. An Introduction to Islam (2nd Edition)
    by Frederick Mathewson Denny
    list price: $74.33
    our price: $74.33
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0023285192
    Catlog: Book (1993-07-12)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 261620
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The book provides readers with a thorough and unifiedtopical introduction to the global religious community of Islam. KEYTOPICS: The book examines is connections with Judeo-Christian morals. Theintegration of the doctrinal and devotional elements of Islam enables readersto see how Muslims think and live. It also reviews pre-Islamic history soreaders can see how Islam developed historically. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Do you want to learn about Islam?
    Let's say you know nothing about Islam. But you want to learn everything about it that can be learned in one book, and in a readable format. Pick up Denny. He covers the full gamet of psychology, religion, history, sociology, and much more, in a way the layman can easily understand. There are times when he seems to accept a little too much the Muslim version of history without investigating it further, but in general he seems to respect Islamic beliefs and still maintain a historical critical perspective. Especially helpful is the background in Mesopotamian beliefs, Judaism, and Christianity provided before hand. It frames the Islamic movement historically, and also provides an easy etic segway for the typical Western reader. And while Denny goes into great detail on orthodox and folk Islam, he is to be additionally commended for the sections on Sufism, which often get short shrift in scholarly works on Islam.

    The title is apt. After reading this, one will know Islam thorougly at the introductory level. ... Read more

    11. Nine Parts of Desire : The Hidden World of Islamic Women
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385475772
    Catlog: Book (1995-12-01)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 9704
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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    Geraldine Brooks spent two years as a Middle East news correspondent, covering the death of Khomeini and the like. She also learned a lot about what it's like for Islamic women today.Brooks' book is exceedingly well-done--she knows her Islamic lore and traces the origins of today's practices back to Mohammed's time. Personable and very readable, Brooks takes us through the women's back door entrance of the Middle East for an unusual and provocative view. ... Read more

    Reviews (110)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eyes and Minds Need to Be Opened
    This book was an eye-opener for me, as I was woefully ill-informed on the topics Brooks covered in her book. I found her approach to be balanced in her attempt to show the varying ways women are treated in different Islamic countries. She NEVER presents herself as an Islamic scholar but merely as an observer of the various countries which she covered during her years in the Middle East.

    One thing that really shocked me was how the Koran seems to be interpreted by different groups for different reasons. It seems that anyone can rationalize behaviors by finding an interpretation of the Koran to support such actions. And each one believes that he is correct!

    To have a religion based on these varying interpretations is one thing, but to have entire cultures and political movements based on them is very frightening. Cultural practices seem to be intricately tied up with religious interpretation and vice versa.

    I find ANY religious extremism to be anathema, whether it is Islam or some other religion. When one refuses to believe that there are alternate ways to live a good life or to attain eternal happiness, this is very dangerous and leads to violence and wars, as can be seen in the history of civilization. I also am of the opinion that wherever (in the West or the Middle East or anywhere) any kind of religious fundamentalism exists, women suffer.

    I also realize that this is a Western look at women in Islamic countries and that there are many women living happy and contented lives in Muslim societies. The author never says otherwise despite what is written in some reviews.

    I could not understand those who said that Brooks was totally wrong in her reporting and that Muslim women are protected and treasured (and educated) -- when fully documented atrocities toward women are committed in Muslim countries and when women in Afghanistan are not permitted to go to school past the age of 12.

    While I do not think this book should be the only source that one should use to try to understand the Islamic countries and their cultures, it certainly provides a thorough background and basic explanations based on Brook's experience while living in these countries. I read this just after seeing the incredible documentary, "Beneath the Veil" and thus concluded that Brook's reporting was accurate. It certainly opened my eyes and made me want to learn more.

    4-0 out of 5 stars read as a personal account, not factual history
    Once you recognize that Ms. Brooks has her own hang-ups about woman's role in the world of Islam, you get a lot more out of this book of her travels in the early 1990s as an Australian woman to different Muslim countries and the women and men whom she meets. The topics covered are fascinating --- how Muslim women train for battle, their university studies, her own encounters with Queen Noor of Jordan (who spoke at my university graduation during that time, as her adopted daughter was in my class.) I'll admit I skipped the chapter on cliterodectomies --- I was too squeamish.

    Ms. Brooks inserts snippets from the Koran and Prophet Mohammad's life into her text, and I am unsure of their accuracy. Also perturbing is her tone towards Prophet Mohammad --- we know he is human, but she seems to insinuate some of the baser human qualities upon him. I felt this is very disturbing and disrespectful, and was not even necessary in her accounts.

    This is a good book to be read (with a grain of salt) for a snapshot of people in different countries at different moments in time, but by no means should anyone take it as a definitive text on a religion.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great book on Women in Islam
    A very interesting read for anyone interested in the cause of women in Islam. Some might find it biased - the author makes her opinion very clear and her view is not impartial.

    However, she makes some very good parallels between the situation in the Prophet's time and what it is today - and this is not a pretty picture. The testimonials of women is various countries of the Middle East are very enlightening and some make the situation of women in those countries very frightening. It is also interesting to see some of these women's view towards their culture, their society and the progress made by Muslim women.

    It is probably one of the best book, if not the best book I have read on women in Islam and I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Experience of Our Sisters
    This is an exquisitely written book. Brooks has great talent for pulling the reader into the mind of the people she tells about, and especially, I found as a man, pulling you into the minds and lives of women. I found myself empathizing with the women in ways that only real life can provide. It is amazing what Brooks has experienced, but it is far more amazing what the women she tells of have experienced.

    Brooks writes honestly and directly about the good and bad of Islam, and how it influences women. She doesn't pull any punches, but also is not writing to denigrate, as she finds aspects of official and folk Islam that harm women, and aspects that help women. She speaks of the positive attitude Islam has towards sexuality, being largely uncorrupted by the Greek dualism that invaded later Christianity, so that, within marriage, Muslims are encouraged to celebrate the gift of God in sex. Indeed, this provides the title of the book, as Ali, the 4th Khalifa, speaks of how sexual desire is 1/10th the man's, and 9/10ths the womans. Of course, this provides later motive to sequester women, put them in hijab, and restrict them, so that the "ever-devouring vagina", as later writers speak of it, does not overcome the men around them.

    Since Brooks relies primarily on her experiences, with what she's seen with her own eyes and heard with her own ears, she is hard to argue with. This is the plight of many women in the Muslim world. But lest we think these are limited experiences of one Western woman talking with a few Arab and Persian women scattered in a few countries, Brooks has also done extensive research to intersperse between her stories- relying on the Qur'an, Hadith, Ijtihad, and Muslim history. But mostly, on women's experiences- for, let's be honest, the perspective of women is largely missing from the official sources, as it is in most religions- with notable exceptions like the wonderful Hadiths of Aisha. Most of which were discarded by early Islamic jurists, as Brooks points out.

    One regret, is that there is not more here about the countries of North Africa, particularly, Morocco, with the exception of one paragraph paying tribute to that great Moroccan feminist, Fatima Mernissi. But of course, this book is about Brooks' experiences, not a research text, and her journalistic experience was much more centered on the Middle East.

    I found one of Brooks' most powerful arguments to be on issues like FGM, Female Genital Mutilation. She shares how Muslims say it's not authorized or encouraged in the Qur'an. How it's not only Muslims who do it, but some African Christians. I've hear this many times before myself. They're quite right. But Brooks brings up the sapient question- why isn't there more spoken against it from the minbar? Why are 20% of Muslim women in areas where this is practiced? If Islam is a religion that supports women, or if there are at least some aspects of it that are positive towards women (as I believe there are), why isn't there more said publicly about the plight of women, on many issues, to change things, to encourage women's emancipation, using the wealth of resources? Why is Mernissi such a lone worker in the night?

    1-0 out of 5 stars Another book that misleads and adds to hate not understandin
    Brooks officiates herself as an authority on the Arab world and on Islam. Her knowledge is that of a journalist, not a scholar. She is not any different from the extreme muslim fanatics that view the Western world as decedant and corrupt world. They view the West with their own narrow and biased eyes. She and they are in the same camp. They both generate misleading hate and add to confusion by looking on each other's world in extremist disposition.

    Brooks tries to be objective in her review only to discredit herself immediatly with her sanctimoneous rejection of edicts in Islam that are not any different from what exists in Judaism. You do not see any comparative paragraphs on how Judaism treats Jewish women!! Some of her translations of Quran are incorrect as well.

    There is good and bad in any society and in any faith. Satirizing Islam and blurring the lines between the faith and tradition is not acceptable. Also pulling on weak hadiths and selecting exreme cases to say "look ... here what Islam stands for and here is what the Arabs are all bout" is to say the least rediculous.

    If I wrote a book about the West that depicts it as the world of AIDS, wife beaters, prostitution, teenage pregnancies, drugs, rape, and dumping of the elderly in terrible nursing homes and turned ot the world and said ... look this is what the West is all about!!! am I being true to my readers! No ... I would be simply misleading them by officiating myself as a false authority to cover bias and prejudice and that is exactly what Brooks does. We should of course believe that her being a Jewish feminist has nothing to do with her nasty coverage of Islam and of the Arab world ... give me a break! ... Read more

    12. The Complete Idiot's Guide(R) to Understanding Islam
    by Yahiya Emerick, Yahiya John Emerick
    list price: $18.95
    our price: $17.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0028642333
    Catlog: Book (2001-10-05)
    Publisher: Penguin Putnam
    Sales Rank: 75996
    Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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    It may surprise readers to discover that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, according to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam. "However, even more eye-opening is the fact that Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America," writes author Yahiya Emerick (How to Tell Others About Islam). Paradoxically, Islam is also one of the most misunderstood and maligned religions in North America. Fortunately, Emerick has written a viable antidote to the widespread confusion and ignorance. Using the Idiot's Guide's formula of questions and answers, sidebars, and small, easy-to-digest essays, Emerick makes Islam accessible to anyone who is inclined to learn more about this influential religion. Readers have much to glean from this comprehensive and balanced guidebook--primarily that Islam is a prayerful, peace-loving religion that has been misused in the name of terror, just as Hitler and other extremists have misused Christianity throughout history. Emerick devotes an entire section to "Looking at Women in Islam," in which readers can sort through even more misconceptions. The Idiot's Guide title belies the integrity of the book, which is an important contribution for our times. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

    Reviews (61)

    4-0 out of 5 stars can be used as a reference book
    Like all of the Idiot's Guides I've read it has the cute drawings, humor, and is fairly easy to read. It contains a wealth of information about Islam throughout history, basic Muslim beliefs, sects in the religion, Islam in world affairs today, Islam in the U.S., etc. While I disagree with a few things that he mentioned in the women in Islam section and feel that he writes from a conservative point of view, overall it's a good book that will give you an idea about what Islam is all about.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read
    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam is a very good book. It lays out the brass tacks of Islam in a clear and concise manner. The structure and flow of the book are uniform and the topics covered are essential in eliminating common fallacies. However, one major drawback of the book is the 'evangelizing' tone. It seems as if the author is preaching in almost every paragraph. Another shortcoming is the fact that the author tries to compare Islam with Christianity and explains why Islam is a complete religion by pointing out the various loopholes in the Christian faith. Eventhough I'm a Muslim I was a little unnerved with this constant comparison. There are definitely other ways to educate people about this religion, the least effective of which is to undermine another's faith.

    The author's intentions were noble but his approach was flawed. If you can overlook these drawbacks, the book is definitely a must-read.

    2-0 out of 5 stars more opinion than fact in this book
    To give a balanced and equal report on Traditional Islamic beliefs vs. Radical Extremist Islamic beliefs, I read this book as well as 3 others. Each had their own take on history and facts about Islam. This book was the only one I read that I absolutely could not stand. The author whined about so many things and gave nothing but skewed opinions in most of the chapters. It made me distrust the factual writing that I know was buried under the opinionated garbage in here. I enjoy hearing both sides of the story, and although not Muslim myself, I feel bad for the history and problems Islamic people have faced and are facing but this book had the opposite effect on me. I'm sure that there are much better books out there if you are looking for black and white facts and not biased opinion. I gave this book two stars instead of one because the author did cover most of the major questions about Islam.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!!!! A MUST READ
    If you are a scholar of theology or a light reader wanting a brief glance as Islam this is a great book for you! Very easy to read yet amazing insightful. I would recommend this to everyone to add to their personal collection.

    1-0 out of 5 stars The title says it all!
    If you are a complete idiot you will believe that this book will explain Islam to you. This book is an excuse to whitewash the actions of muslim mayhem makers. Everything bad that happens is the fault of the Jews, Christians, Hindus, etc., certainly not the muslims. Careful choice of Koranic messages is used to deny responsibility and distort the actual passages as written in the Koran itself. This is a propaganda piece not an honest explaination of the truth of Islam. The true measure of the "goodness" of a religion is how it urges its adherents to behave toward others. Look around with open eyes and the truth is clear. Either the Islamic way or else; some choice! Read the summary near the end and it clearly states, in part, muslims want complete compensation for every real or imagined slight they have ever experienced (even when it happened because of their own actions). That was the truest statement in the book.
    Read instead, the Koran itself (in translation) and you will learn far more. ... Read more

    13. The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1591022495
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-31)
    Publisher: Prometheus Books
    Sales Rank: 11392
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "Robert Spencer has here assembled a collection of documents devastating to PC myth and multiculturalist wishful thinking. Anyone concerned about the dangers of politically motivated distortions of Islamic theology and history should not miss this explosive and enlightening volume." JEFFREY RUBIN, Editor, Conservative Book Club

    "A necessary corrective to the prevailing opinion fostered among academics by Karen Armstrong, Abou El Fadl, et al. that Islam is a religion of peace, justice, and tolerance. The work brings to light the total suppression of human rights in Islamic society, the true meaning of jihad (armed conflict against all nonbelievers), and the horrors of dhimmitude (life for Christians and Jews under Islamic law). It should be required reading for all those who seek a true understanding of the socioreligious basis for the rise of Osama bin Laden and his network of international Islamic terror." PAUL L. WILLIAMS, PhD, Author of OSAMA'S REVENGE: THE NEXT 9/11--WHAT THE MEDIA AND THE GOVERNMENT HAVEN'T TOLD YOU

    THE MYTH OF ISLAMIC TOLERANCE brings to light the deeply ingrained historical, cultural, and religious elements of a profound modern crisis--the violence, fanaticism, and contempt for outsiders that characterizes much of the Islamic world today. This wide-ranging group of essays clearly explains how these poisonous attitudes are rooted in laws and cultural habits that are connected organically to the concept of jihad and its corollary institution, dhimmitude--which are in turn a primary impetus for global terrorism today. The scholars presented in this essential volume come up with many surprising and disturbing conclusions. ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    1-0 out of 5 stars HOW LOW CAN ONE GO???
    Reading some of the other views I am shocked and amazed that amazon has even published some of them, especially when they're made up completely and utterly like OUT OF THIN AIR!!!

    For Example:

    "The September 11, 2001 murderers acted canonically" - As a muslim living in the west and no matter how much one hates america and her 814tch israel for all their heinous crimes against Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and the other contries THEY ARE PLANNING TO ATTACK THIS VERY MOMENT. I can assure you that the events on sept11 were not legitimate from an islamic point of view!!! Read the WHOLE (not just a few lines) QURAN and find out for yourself, make up your own minds, dont follow clowns who are out their to make money and cause hatred between groups of people.

    That apostasy is not today mentioned in the legal codes of most Islamic countries, Warraq notes, hardly implies freedom of religion for Muslims in those states; their penal codes are filled with Islamic laws. The myth of Islamic tolerance is defied by the massacre and extermination of the Zoroastrians in Iran; the million Armenians in Turkey??? **Is not Turkey a secular state??? banning the hijab going further against islamic law than most western countries???**

    the Buddhists and Hindus in India???**- Did you not see the events unfold where thousands of muslims were slaughtered openly in riots of gujarat, India???**

    the more than six thousand Jews in Fez, Morocco, in 1033; hundreds of Jews killed in Cordoba between 1010 and 1013; the entire Jewish community of Granada in 1066??? **keep spitting this b.s it aint gonna get you anywhere; everyone knows the extinction of jews from spain (where they were allowed to flourish and develop their own religion under islamic rule) was due to the reconquista where muslims were too slaughtered and forced to convert to christianity or die.**

    "The golden age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam," Bernard Lewis wrote in 1968 in the Encyclopedia of Islam. "The myth was invented in 19th century Europe as a reproach to Christians-and taken up by Muslims in our own time as a reproach to Jews...."**- PATHETIC, HOW CAN YOU LIE AND CALL SOMETHING A MYTH, WITH A MYTH OF YOUR OWN???**

    Until the late 19th century, Jews in North Africa, Yemen and other oriental Muslim lands, were obliged to live isolated, in special quarters, and "were constrained to wear distinctive clothing." **- JEWS LIVE IN THEIR OWN GHETTOES NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THEY SEE THEMSELVES INCOMPATIBLE WITH GENTILES**

    The International Institute of Islamic Thought was established in 1981 to Islamify Western history and thought. Western thinkers succumb to jihad and dhimmitude... **A FACT ABOUT A CREATED WORD DHIMMITUDE - JEWS IN AMERICA HAVE LONG BEEN WANTING TO GET SYMPATHY FOR THEIR PETTY CAUSE THAT IS ISRAEL, THEY CONJOUR UP ALL SORTS OF LIES AND TALES.**



    Only testimony can counter the pathological trends. Thus, Walid Phares and Bat Ye'or tackle the forgotten tragedy of the Middle Eastern Christians-10 to 12 million Egyptian Copts; 1.5 Lebanese Maronites, Orthodox, Melkites and others; 7 million Anglican, Protestant and Catholic southern Sudanese Africans; 1 million Christian Syrians; 1 million Iraqi Assyrians, Nestorians, Chaldeans, and Jacobites; 500,000 Iranian Persian, Armenian and Assyrian Christians; and perhaps 100,000 Christian Arab Palestinians. Patrick Sookhdeo and Mark Durie cover the rise of anti-Christian persecutions in Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan and Indonesia since Sept. 11, 2001. ** - THE LIES GO ON AND ON - (EG/ MASSACRE OF PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS??? THE ONLY SUCH THE WORLD KNOWS IS BY THE ITF - ISRAELI TERROR FORCE - WHEN THEY INVADED, SLAUGHTERED, RAPED AND STOLE EVERYTHING IN SIGHT, GO AND MEET A PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN AND ASK THEM!!!)





    5-0 out of 5 stars The legacy of dhimmitude
    "A thing without a name escapes understanding," warns preeminent Islamic scholar Bat Ye'or of jihad and dhimmitude-the Islamic institutions of, respectively, war and perpetual servitude imposed on conquered non-Muslim peoples. Both, Ye'or notes in an essay entitled "Historical Amnesia," are in the process of globalization.

    This is not the benign economic globalization that most Westerners laud. Islamic jihad and dhimmitude trade in every available means-military, political, technological and intellectual. And if the towering collection of 63 essays (including Ye'or's) contained in this new book is to be believed, these specific Islamic processes are globalizing at a disturbingly rapid pace. The book, courageously assembled by Robert Spencer, provides historical and contemporary profiles of jihad and dhimmitude.

    In six sections, the book delineates how Islamic ideology has affected non-Muslims both historically and in the contemporary world. The first three sections cover the myth vs. historical realities and Islamic law and practice regarding non-Muslims. The last three sections cover how the myth of Islamic tolerance has affected contemporary geopolitics, power politics at the United Nations and, finally, academic and public discourse. It is Ibn Warraq's forward and the latter 400 pages in which this book really shines. He explains:

    Islam is a totalitarian ideology that aims to control the religious, social and political life of mankind in all its aspects; the life of its followers without qualification; and the life of those who follow the so-called tolerated religions to a degree that prevents their activities from getting in the way of Islam in any way. And I mean Islam, I do not accept some spurious distinction between Islam and 'Islamic fundamentalism' or Islamic terrorism'.

    The September 11, 2001 murderers acted canonically. They followed Sharia, a collection of theoretical laws and ideals "that apply in any ideal Muslim community." This body of regulations, based on divine authority, according to devout Muslims "must be accepted without criticism, without doubts and questions." It sacrifices the individual's desires and good to those of the community.

    That apostasy is not today mentioned in the legal codes of most Islamic countries, Warraq notes, hardly implies freedom of religion for Muslims in those states; their penal codes are filled with Islamic laws. The myth of Islamic tolerance is defied by the massacre and extermination of the Zoroastrians in Iran; the million Armenians in Turkey; the Buddhists and Hindus in India; the more than six thousand Jews in Fez, Morocco, in 1033; hundreds of Jews killed in Cordoba between 1010 and 1013; the entire Jewish community of Granada in 1066; the Jews in Marrakesh in 1232; the Jews of Tetuan, Morocco in 1790; the Jews of Baghdad in 1828; and so on ad nauseum.

    Ironically, despite Islam's immutability, the myth evolved through the Western propensity to criticize its civilization. In 98 CE, Roman historian Tacitus in Germania compared the noble simplicity of the Germans with the vices of contemporary Rome. Michele do Montaigne (1533-1592) in circa 1580 painted noble savages based on dubious secondhand information in order to condemn his own civilization.

    Later writers substituted Islam for savages to condemn Christendom and materialism. In 1686-89, for example, Huguenot pastor Pierre Jurieu exclaimed that Christians had spilt more blood on St. Bartholemew's Day than had the Saracens in all their persecutions of Christians. Of course, Islam had claimed millions of lives-in 1399, Taimur killed 100,000 Hindus in a single day. But during the 17th century, and later the Enlightenment, writers perpetuated the "two ideal prototypes, the noble savage and the wise and urbane Oriental," substituting Turks for Muslims, and Islamic tolerance for Turkish tolerance.

    Actually, 18th century Turkey was no interfaith utopia. In 1758, a British ambassador noted that Sultan Mustafa III had non-Muslim Christians and Jews executed for wearing banned clothing. In 1770, another ambassador reported that Greeks, Armenians and Jews seen outside their homes after dark were hanged. In 1785, a third noted that Muslim mobs had dismantled churches after Christians had secretly repaired them.

    "The golden age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam," Bernard Lewis wrote in 1968 in the Encyclopedia of Islam. "The myth was invented in 19th century Europe as a reproach to Christians-and taken up by Muslims in our own time as a reproach to Jews...."

    Until the late 19th century, Jews in North Africa, Yemen and other oriental Muslim lands, were obliged to live isolated, in special quarters, and "were constrained to wear distinctive clothing." They could not carry arms (including canes), and could not give sworn testimony in Muslim jurisdictions. Even in 1968, an Egyptian sheikh explained at Cairo's Islamic University of al-Azhar, "the Jews... are dhimmis, people of obligation, who have betrayed the covenant in conformity with which they have been accorded protection."

    The International Institute of Islamic Thought was established in 1981 to Islamify Western history and thought. Western thinkers succumb to jihad and dhimmitude when we refuse to identify the Turkish perpetration of Armenian genocide, or (conversely) present Andalusia-complete with harems, eunuchs, and Christian slaves-"as a perfect model of multicultural societies for the West" to emulate in the 21st century.

    Only testimony can counter the pathological trends. Thus, Walid Phares and Bat Ye'or tackle the forgotten tragedy of the Middle Eastern Christians-10 to 12 million Egyptian Copts; 1.5 Lebanese Maronites, Orthodox, Melkites and others; 7 million Anglican, Protestant and Catholic southern Sudanese Africans; 1 million Christian Syrians; 1 million Iraqi Assyrians, Nestorians, Chaldeans, and Jacobites; 500,000 Iranian Persian, Armenian and Assyrian Christians; and perhaps 100,000 Christian Arab Palestinians. Patrick Sookhdeo and Mark Durie cover the rise of anti-Christian persecutions in Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan and Indonesia since Sept. 11, 2001.

    Western failure to recognize this subservient condition, much less its historical or contemporary results, has put democratic civilization in danger. All this and much more in this book can help to turn the tide.

    --Alyssa A. Lappen

    5-0 out of 5 stars A hard-hitting, critical assessment of Islamic teachings
    Original articles, primary source documents, and in-depth study contribute to The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, a hard-hitting, critical assessment of Islamic teachings and practices regarding non-Muslim minorities, exploring a human rights issue which rarely receives in-depth press. The world's leading authorities on the issue of Islamic religion and social history appear under one cover, exposing he legal superstructure which has treated non-Muslims in Muslim societies as oppressed peoples, and showing how the effects of discriminatory attitudes continue to affect Muslim societies today. Expertly compiled and deftly edited by Robert Spencer, The Myth Of Islamic Tolerance is a powerful, hard-hitting probe.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The mainstream media doesn't get it--- this book does
    I'm an expatriate American.My wife and I live in a Muslim neighborhood in the southern part of Thailand. We ourselves have never experienced a scintilla of censure or even tension from our Muslim neighbors -- among whom we shop and with whom we interact every day, on the friendliest of terms.

    But from our house we can hear the daily sermons broadcast fom the local mosque (in the Thai language --- very few Muslims speak the Arabic of the Q'uran) and what we hear is very disturbing.Local Muslims are told that all of Thailand (which is 75% Bhuddist) should become an Islamic state, and that loyalty to the King and/or Prime Minister is disloyaly to Allah.This does not happen every day --- but it happens too often to ignore.

    After the tsunami we found that several Muslim groups had used the disaster to evict Bhuddist beach vendors, preventing them from rebuilding their businesses.The Muslims are organized around and encouraged by firebrands from the mosque --- the Bhuddists have no such support organization, so are easy prey.

    I have read nearly all of Robert Spencer's books and articles.I have followed his detailed arguments online with Muslim scholars --- he is clear, reasoned, and precise. His books are more understated and balanced than his websites, which are ardent --- sometimes strident.Overall, his writings have encouraged me to do a little research of my own -- and I believe he knows what he is talking about.Read this book if you want to know what kind of future Islam has in mind for your children.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scarier than a Steven King novel
    The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims is much scarier than a Steven King novel, because it is true.

    I never expected any of this.I have believed too many of CNN and the liberal media's lies, no more.This book is required reading to understand the middle east conflict.
    ... Read more

    14. Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis
    by Bat Ye'Or, Bat Yeor
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $23.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 083864077X
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-31)
    Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
    Sales Rank: 7211
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (11)

    1-0 out of 5 stars ***ISLAMAPHOBIC ALERT***
    Although we're living in the 21st century a good millennia after the dark ages (European dark age that is!) it hurts to see authors that have the same mentality and vile repugnance in them forming their own outsider views on the truth that is Islam.

    Economic Jihad, Cultural Jihad...(blah, blah, blah) the author has blatantly conjoured up her own ideologies to support her disturbing views on a group of 1.5billion people.

    The truth is there is no Euro-Arab axis and there never will be, especially since the 21st century crusade (Quote Bush and his allies) was launched.

    Move on from the distasting conspiracy theories people, especially when they're created by an outsider trying to stir fear/hate amongst different groups of people.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A major new social reality defined
    Occasionally a book comes along that distinctly defines a social reality that has been developing before everyone's eyes and has gone previously undescribed. Samuel Huntington's ' The Clash of Civilization' is such a book, and Bat Ye'Or's Eurabia is another.
    I am not a scholar of European society nor of Islam but the massive evidence presented here and argued so persuasively suggests that she has truly hit the mark- and that Western Civilization must wake up to this new danger if it is to survive.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The pussification of Europe
    There is a concept in of its central tenants actually that demands its followers not only forcibly convert/enslave/kill all people in the world to Islam but to do so only when relatively strong compared to the enemy (anybody not-Islamic or not that particular brand of Islamic).When you are weak, it is demanded that you act friendly and try to insinuate yourself into their culture, waiting for an opportunity to attack.These are demands.Failure to comply carries the death penalty and no dissent is allowed.Luckily, the Islamics are so crazy that every single concentration of them weakens and fails, just like it does with ALL non-legitimate political movements.And Islam was NEVER a religion, any more than the moonies were a religion.The central founders had zero belief in what they profess and made the whole thing up as a tool for tricking gullible/evil people into helping them sieze power.

    In the modern age, the Islamics haven't gained much in the way of real power.Yes, they have economic power in the form of oil, but only because we (in we, I mean the civilized world) gave it to them in the hopes they would use it to drag themselves out of the muck and make something of themselves.Stupid idea that has lead to the current state of world affairs, but that's another story.What's important to note is just how messed up our good european allies are.Not learning their lessen from nearly being wiped out by the Nazis, they are once again in danger of being wiped out (and I'm not talking euphemism here....I fear for actual genocide) but not by a strong military force...oh no.But, by a weak one.Literally, they are rolling over with the slightest of provocation.You see this in all aspects of european society...from the tolerance of drug users, the refusal to prosecute serious violent crime, to huge gangs of thugs victimizing the innocent with impunity, to their economic and political policy.The whole thing is shameful.So shameful in fact that, when the inevitable happens.....when Islam attempts to formally take over europe and throw people into ovens, and Europe cries out once again to the Unites States for help.I say, tell them no.

    1-0 out of 5 stars May one has to consider the other side of the coin
    Rather than attributing the opinion that the Europeans harbor toward Israel to consipracy and alliance with the Arabs. One can argue that the European are more versed in current and past affairs and therefore know of Israel immoral treatment of the Palestinian and that why they abhore its policies not because they hate it per se. Also, take a look at the negative views that the Chinese, the Indians, the South Americansharbor toward Israel. Are all those driven by alliance with the Arabs.

    Sadly, the Zionists, like Ye'Or, want to dominate and dictate how people in the world view the issues in the Middle East the same way they have succeeded in the US, and every different point of view is treated as consipracy.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good historical writing, saddening conspiracy theory
    First, Bat Ye'or is clearly an important historian. Her previous work explores the history of Islamic conquests and the fate of non-Muslims under Muslim rulers. It is valuable work -- as important as any good research on the history of Christian oppression of non-Christians or heretics. But in "Eurabia", Ye'or turns to the present and future. And she sees only more of the same: Muslims will continue seeking to conquer the world. Not only that, Ye'or accuses that the jihadists have now turned Europe itself into their ally against Judeo-Christian civilization. As she explains, the jihadist "ideology, strategy, propaganda, and phraseology were conceived, formulated, and imposed on a reluctant European public opinion by a strong Arab and Western political and ideological alliance, including Third Worldists, Leftists, Communists and the Extreme Right". (p. 86)

    With a blizzard of facts and citations, Ye'or lays out her proofs of a new Euro-Arab Axis against Western values. Where many Muslims claim that a Jewish conspiracy controls America, Ye'or argues that Muslims are close to controlling Europe:

    "The strengthened EU framework has institutionalized a symbiotic Euro-Arab partnership preparing a Kafkaesque cultural and political totalitarianism, wherein Islamist jihadist values subvert the whole European conception of knowledge, human rights, and fundamental individual liberties." (p. 269)

    For Ye'or, all recent efforts toward "dialogue", "equality" or "justice" between Muslims and others have been a sham pretext for creeping cultural conquest by Muslims. The Westerners who promoted such accords have merely appeased insatiable aggressors. Since Muslims believe that only their religion comes from God and all others serve Satan, it seems there is no realistic prospect for good relations with these people. Ye'or advocates a different approach:

    "The EU financing plan for 2003 included several projects in the West Bank, Gaza, and Arab countries which, like Syria, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, are breeding grounds of anti-Western Islamic fanaticism. Without Europe's financial aid and know-how, those countries would hardly be able to feed their own growing populations. Europe could easily compel them to abandon their racist culture, instead of vindicating it." (p. 202)

    In interpreting recent events, Ye'or moves beyond solid history into the realm of conspiracy theory. Her arguments are compelling. Her indictments of hate crimes by Muslims are damning. Her knowledge is vast and her memory long. She does not forget a crime against her people. For Ye'or, it seems that the difficult path towards forgiveness and civil relations is closed till the war is done. ... Read more

    15. The Message of The Qur'an
    by Muhammad Asad
    list price: $48.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1904510000
    Catlog: Book (2003-12)
    Publisher: The Book Foundation
    Sales Rank: 102429
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A fresh look at Muhammad Asad's classic English translation and explanation of the Qur'an is offered in this redesigned and updated edition of his work. A new typeset and index is complimented with a prologue by the distinguished British Muslim Gai Eaton and original artwork by internationally renowned artist and scholar Dr. Ahmed Moustafa. Asad's translation is widely considered to be the foremost in conveying the meaning and sensibility of the original Arabic text, making this edition a must-have for English readers with a budding interest in Islamic studies and veteran scholars alike.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best

    I have compared key passages of Surah 2,40,36 and other important intepretations like dealing with al-muqattat as well as dealing with root words in forming the meaning of various translations they include:

    Professor Abdel Haleem (fatal mistakes in translating key words, which he does not reference to either explanations by the Prophet or any proper source).

    Al Amana version of Yusuf Ali and also Dar-Ul Furqan version
    (OK but once again has a lot of lakings and errors)

    Muhsin Khan (King Fahd's sanctioned and also Dar-us-salam).
    (This is a precise book, renders the Quran properly especially the abridged version).

    Majid Fakhry
    (Has errors and lacks depth in explanation; I guess due to it being the first edition)
    M. Shakir
    (stay away from this book, dont even touch it with a stick.)

    (Why bother when you can get Asad's translation).
    And finally to Asad:

    I find Asad's interpretation to be the most bona-fide and coherent, it is scrupulously referenced so he does not give his opinion rather quotes some of the greatest scholars after the manifestation of the Quran such as Zamakshari, Ibn Kathir as well as Qurtubi to name a few.

    Asad's translation is the the best, undoutedly this version supercedes all others. I have read this particular version and as I know there are various in circulation (esp with Yusuf Ali) I suggest you get this version.

    If you are interested in the Quran, or anyone for that matter even one who understands proper Arabic I still suggest you get this book. It is a key in understanding the Quran.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reaching the 'heart' of the Koran
    I was genuinely moved when I first read some passages from this translation.His personal background and life history is remarkable and is summarised by [...] Eaton in the introduction to this book.Many verses which did not carry the same gravity of meaning in the 'old English' style Korans suddenly seemed to have life breathed into them. The smooth flow of his translation shows his true mastery of English and Arabic. Above all for me ,I found his choice of language (and parenthesised additional wording for meaning), though occasionally differing in its angle from traditional translations, vastly more picturesque ( He has never the less been careful to use grammatically and accurate interpretations of the roots which I have consulted in some dictionaries of Arabic) . He has somehow captured the full 'Gravitus and beautiful eloquence' of the message without resorting to cumbersome or dated English.This is a genuine masterpiece of a translation and will I am sure become a modern world wide standard.
    Whole-heartedly recommended.Period.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Glorious Quran
    Mr. Asad's mastery of multiple languages ( Hebrew, Arabic, English, German and French) and his JudeoChristian BACKGROUND gives him the unique ability to expound on The quranic texts unlike other translators I have come across ( I routinely consult 4 other translations when I study the Quran ). His work desereves 10 stars!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An approach which fosters faith through understanding
    I have read many translations of the Quran, including Yusuf Ali, Ahmed Ali, Ling, Pickthal to name just a few. All being great accomplishments in their own right, only Pickthal and Asad provide the most clear and uncorrupted interpretations (most likely related to the fact that both were converts who accepted faith through an understanding reached at adulthood). Not being conditioned at an early age to understand certain verses in particular ways, they had a more direct approach to the true meaning then most muslims are capable of attaining, resulting in two translations which closely resemble each other. But Pickthal provided only a translation, and one which did little in attempting to recreate the tone, rythm, and overall feel which is present in the original Arabic. Herein lies the special contribution of Asad; a translation which draws equally upon Asad's mastery of English as much as it does of Arabic. From the form of the Quran to the placement of verses to the basic differences between the two languages, Asad does an excellent job of pooling together the information contained in authentic traditions, classical commentaries,and classical arabic dictionaries to give the most complete and direct approach to the english speaking individual. May God bless him for his contribution.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful translation for non-Muslims and Muslims alike
    I have read the translations by Yusuf Ali, Arberry, and Dawood.Muhammad Asad's translation and interpretations stands above all.It is the Quran translation I reccomend to non-Muslims to get a true (in my view) understanding of Islam.

    I am an American born Muslim (Pakistani descent).I have been raised here, and schooled here, and so have a western perspective of events and history.What I like about Asad's translation is that it is written by a "westerner," who was formerly a Viennese Jew.As such, he carries the gestalt of the West (rationalism, the Enlightenment, evolution, etc.).

    In contrast, Yusuf Ali, carries a certain cultural baggage derived from his experiences in India.The effects of British colonialism probably colored his world view, and my recollection (I read his translation many years ago) is that this coloring displays itself in his translation.I guess I would characterize his translation and commentary consistent with liberation theology-which is fine, but is of a certain view that many in the West may not identify.

    Asad's translation and commentary, on the other hand, incorporates many of our modern understandings of the world into his explanation.So for example, evolution is considered a natural process operating as part of the ordered universe just as the laws of gravity, electricity, etc.These are the signs of God, that Muslims are required to believe.Many Muslims who are not from the West, cannot reconcile modern understandings of science with faith.Just like the fundamentalist Christian community, they cannot integrate evolution (and its theological ramifications) into their faith (as a corollary, it is worthy to note that many scientists-call them darwinian fundamentalist- cannot integrate religion into science).In Islam, there is no separation between science and religion.All of your actions in physical reality are part of your Islam, and an expression of your religious faith.Obtaining knowledge through science is also part of your submission to God's will-your Islam.Asad's interpretation repeatedly affirms this.

    Asad's explanations and commentary are illuminating.He explains phenomenon, like miracles, in a way that don't require the reader to suspend his belief in the normal physical laws of daily experience.You are not required to believe in phenomenon that run contrary to objective experience.For example, in the Bible, Jesus is said to have healed the blind and raised the dead to the living.Ordinary experience tells us that physically these things are impossible, but you are required to have faith that these suspended laws of physical reality actually occurred.Asad's explanation is that in Islam, people who are closed to the God's spiritual message as relayed through the prophets, are blind to the obvious truth of God.They are spiritually dead.Jesus's miracle, was to pass his grace onto his followers, and make those whose hearts were hardened against God (blind and spiritually dead), to see the truth and to become spiritually alive.I find this explanation much more satisfactory than having to believe in a miracle.The explanation is far more simple and straightforward.

    I highly recommend reading the Asad translation in conjunction with William Chittick's book Visions of Islam, and the Self-Disclosure of God, to really appreciate the sublime spirituality inhering to Islam.To my mind, it bestows on the reader how your conduct today carries with it spiritual and metaphysical dimensions.

    In this post 9/11 world, where every "expert" on Islam opines on the violent nature of Islam as revealed through Quran, Asad's translation dispels these absurdities.Extremists in the Islamic world and the Western world would do well to read this, as well.For all reasonable people seeking to truly understand what Islam is about, read Asad's translation over any other. ... Read more

    16. Globalized Islam: The Search For A New Ummah (The Ceri Series in Comparative Politics and International Studies)
    by Olivier Roy
    list price: $29.50
    our price: $29.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0231134983
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-30)
    Publisher: Columbia University Press
    Sales Rank: 33868
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    17. Islam and Terrorism: What the Quran Really Teaches About Christianity, Violence and the Goals of the Islamic Jihad
    by Mark A. Gabriel, Mark A. Gabriel
    list price: $13.99
    our price: $10.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0884198847
    Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
    Publisher: Charisma House
    Average Customer Review: 3.44 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (41)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why The West Is A Target For Terrorism & Hatred.
    Presented by a Professor of Islamic History at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, this book provides the reader with an extremely valuable insight into what the Islamic holy book, the Quran, teaches about Christianity, violence & the goals of the Islamic jihad. We are also imparted with an in depth analysis into the Islamic faith, beliefs and traditions through a book which documents the identification between modern terrorism and Islamic theology.

    Written in the wake of the September 11th attacks, the book outlines how as a "Christian" society, we in the West have an extremely limited comprehension of what Muslims actually believe and what, if any, agenda the religion of Islam has.

    At the outset, the contents of the book go to great lengths to point out that "Islam is behind terrorism" and not "Muslims". Readers being encouraged to love individual Muslims but to be aware of what Islam teaches, pointing out that many Muslims themselves are not aware of all that the Islamic faith includes.

    Muslims being described here as falling into any one of three groups; secular, traditional and fundamental Muslims. Secular Muslims only believing in what they term the "nice" parts of Islam and who reject jihad. Traditional Muslims who have a stumbling block with the concept of Jihad and the latter group of fundamentalists who actually perpetrate the terrorism. More detail of this is included as the book progresses.

    The book begins with an autobiography detailing the writer's experience and knowledge of Islam and how he came to question his Islamic faith. This is followed by an account of his expulsion from University, his arrest and detention by the Egyptian secret police and his treatment/interrogation. The story extends to his conversion to Christianity and the main body of the book which deals with Islam and associated terrorism.

    The fundamentals of the Islamic faith are examined initially, with a description of Islam as being a "religion based on work" with "entrance to paradise" having to be earned. Muslims being described as having no "assurance of salvation". The only way of guaranteeing "entrance to paradise" being to die in jihad. What the book describes as the "perfect motive for suicide bombers". Something which is describing as encouraging Muslims to even leave their own nations to fight jihad in other countries.

    This study illustrates that the focus of jihad is to "overcome" people who do not accept Islam (page 33). A quotation from Surah 4;89 of the Noble Quran stating, "Those who reject Islam must be killed. If they turn back, take them and kill them wherever you find them".

    Many, many other quotations are taken from the Islamic holy books to substantiate this issue. Many readers may be disturbed by what they read. Indeed, the book proceeds to describe (with suitable references) that the ultimate goal of Islam is to establish Islamic authority over the entire World. The book also revealing what it describes as historical facts about the Islamic prophet Muhammad, his teachings and practices, that few Westerners have ever encountered.

    The book declares that Islam has been veiled in a vast sea of misinformation since September 11th , with many political and media elements falsely presenting Islam as a "religion of peace". Muslim spokespersons publicly proclaiming such an image are described as distorting the truth to make it palatable to Western ears and also with a view to attracting possible converts. Many Islamic leaders being cited here as each doing their part for jihad by deceiving the Western populace through the media, achieving the desired effect upon public opinion.

    We are also presented with Muhammad's own example of jihad and how others were encouraged to follow him. The ultimate goal of Islam is also examined. Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, the founder of Pakistan's fundamentalist Islamic movement is quoted as saying that Islam is not like the other religions in the World and Muslim nations not like other nations, because Muslim nations have a command from Allah to "rule the entire World and to be over every nation in the World". (Page 81).

    The book takes the reader on what it describes as a guided tour through 1,200 years of Islamic history where examples are illustrated that "justify" the killing of even women and children. The evolution of Islamic terrorism is also studied and how it has been brought to the West. The book describing how Islamic terrorism is no longer so intent upon targeting diplomatic figures or individuals, as random attacks upon the general public are more effective, as they terrorize the majority and spread fear in a larger way. Terrorism shown to have become a method of "political debate & dialogue". The depth of the Islamic hatred of Israel, the US, the West, Christianity and Judaism all being mentioned.

    The contents of this work also show that Muslims believe that "war means deception" and that lying is justified and indeed an important element of war in Islam. How this crucially affects countries dealing with Islamic nations in relation to so called "peace agreements" is also studied. The book describes how difficult it is for the Western public to accept and understand such a mind-set.

    I would respectfully recommend another book by Mark Gabriel entitled "Islam and the Jews; The Unfinished Battle". Thank you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quran: It's Cleansing Sword for Pagans
    The author of ISLAM AND TERRORISM cites specific Surahs(verses) in the Quran to show how Islam really doesn't "tolerate" Jews and Christians ("People of the Book/Bible") and pagans/infidels (non-monotheists). The Quran's Surah 9:5 is pretty clear: "Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them...."
    The author explains "Naskh": why contradictions appear to exist in the Quran. Some verses tell Muslims to respect Jews and Christians (but only if they pay a tax), while others urge a Jihad against them. What this author reveals is that Muhammad received different revelations from Allah at different times as to how the Jews and Christians were to be treated.
    The later revelations against non-Muslims reverse the earlier toleration commandments.
    This is the only book that I have found that extensively cites passages from the Quran to reveal how Usama/Osama bin Ladin's gang justify their killings of non-Muslims, including innocent women and children.
    The author notes that the Quran is not written in a straight timeline. Its chapters are not written in chronological order, but the largest chapters are followed by ever-smaller chapters. One needs to obtain another booklet to learn how scholars believe which chapter actually was revealed before the others. This is necessary in trying to understand Allah's "last" views as revealed to Muhammad. They changed; hence, one needs to know when each chapter was written in order to understand the which were the correct "last" or "most up to date" dictims from Allah: does he tolerate Jews or not? Allah must not, as Muhammad ordered the killing of so many Jews, and ordered Jews and Christians out of Arabia. (This explains why there are no Christian churches or Jewish synagogues in Saudi Arabia. As a U.S. solider in Saudi Arabia during Gulf War I to liberate Muslim-Kuwait, we were told not to wear Christian crosses on the outside of our uniforms. Also, when you check into a Saudi hotel, the registration card asks you your religion -- but the kind proprietor told me I really didn't have to note it.)
    Too bad the critics of this book don't explain what specific falsehoods they find in it. I looked up all of the citations in THE NOBLE QURAN (published by the government of Saudi Arabia) and found them to be accurate.
    A fine campanion book from this author is: ISLAM AND THE JEWS - THE UNFINISHED BATTLE.

    5-0 out of 5 stars For those with eyes that see
    This is an excellent book to better understand the source of the obvious; People dancing in joy over the death of innocent Muslims and non-Muslims by Muslims, daily explosions of people exploding themselves to kill what seems to be innocent people, the oppressive lives of Muslim women, kidnapping unarmed contractors and chopping their heads off, vast numbers of people in Afganistan with missing limbs, the starving and slavery of non-Muslim Sudanese by Muslims, the daily reports of killings by Muslims in Sudan, the Philipines, Malaysia, Iraq, Russia, Pakistan, Thialand, Israel, and on and on. The reason people buy and like this book is because it explains what anyone with eyes can see. It fits with what we see and hear - it rings true to those with eyes and ears. Those who argue against it with "scholorship" or "bigotry", etc. ring hollow to those who are daily shocked by the things Muslims are doing and no longer believe that Muslim means peace.

    1-0 out of 5 stars The reviews I'm reading here are not the reviews...
    You know what folks...
    I'm reading the reviews about this book and I have to state that most of them are just a useless and senseless trash. These are not reviews. These are only unbalanced thoughts and opinions of people who hate Islam and seek every argument they may use against it. They say that fundamentalists are true Muslims and the others are just Westernized Muslims. But every stick has two endings and it sounds so stupidly like would the saying that: the fundamentalist Christians are the true Christians and the others are just watered-down followers of Jusus' religion. I am writing it because, truly, I cannot stand people who are seeking some arguments against others without any, even basic, knowledge of the topic. There are many religons in this world. Most of people, and especially fundamentalists, do not follow the religious regulations. They follow some kind of spiritual pathology. In fact, there is no evil religion, but there are evil people. That's the point of the question. If everybody was the follower of their religion then all those priests, rabbis and imams would have been completely unnecessary. But look, they have hands full of job... God allows so many religions to co-exist in our reality because, in fact, it is the specific kind of tolerance test for us. And, unfortunately, many of us do not pass it... God bless, whatever name you call Him...

    5-0 out of 5 stars A true point of view
    This book was written by a former Muslim professor of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt who taught Islamic history. This guy knows what he's talking about. Sure, there are other interpretations of Islam, but his is the only one that makes sense of why the Quran first says to love your non-Muslim brothers and then later says to convert the infidel (non-Muslims) or kill them. It also shows you just how insignificant woman are in the Islam religion. Lastly, it goes through Islamic history and the rise of terrorism and how it all connects to the Quran.

    This is not a book of bigotry. This man sincerely wants to help Muslims find the right path, and not go on killing people. He believes the only way this will happen is if they turn away from Islam and convert to Christianity, because Christianity is a faith based on grace, hope and love. It's the complete opposite mindset of what Islam is. I agree.

    If one does not find that Mr. Gabriel wants to help them become different and pure people by the end of this book, and stop terrorism, then the reader is the only one deceiving himself/herself. He's a kind and loving Christian man. It's just that he's telling it how it is with Islam, and some people aren't going to like it.

    I recommend this book if all you've ever known about Islam is the Westernized point of view. This guy was a real Muslim, and an expert on the religion at that. He lived where Islam thrives and experienced it all first hand. So this book is worth the read. ... Read more

    18. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems
    by Coleman Barks, John Moyne, Reynold A. Nicholson, Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi
    list price: $28.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060604530
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
    Sales Rank: 350665
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    When Rumi was born in Afghanistan in 1207, it was a time of tremendouspolitical turmoil in the Near East. Paradoxically, it was also a time of"brilliant mystical awareness," writes translator Coleman Barks in The Soulof Rumi. This brilliance shines through in every passage, as Barkscelebrates the ecstatic nature of Rumi's poetry. Barks (The Essential Rumi) has beengiven much credit for leading modern Westerners to this astounding poet. Hissensitivity to the reader is evidenced in how he organizes the poetry accordingto themes. Since Rumi is often quoted at public gatherings, such as weddings andmemorial services, this makes referencing especially easy. In the sectionentitled "When Friend Meets Friend," readers find the poem "The Soul's Friend":

    The most living moment comes when those who love each other meeteach other's eyes and in what flows between them then. To see your face in a crowd of others, or alone on afrightening street, I weep for that….
    Barks offers a gracefully rendered introduction to each section, providingpersonal and historical background of the poetry. Elegantly designed and printedon cream-colored, heavy-stock paper, this is a delight for Rumi fans. --GailHudson ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best introduction to Rumi available
    If there is only one book of Rumi you purchase, this should be it. But warning, the purchase may send you into a frenzy to learn and read more.

    Barks' works as a translator here make poetry come alive, leap off the page and fly circles around your mind. A single poem can bring a person to great thoughts.

    The book begins with a great introduction to Rumi's life, work, culture, spirituality, but Barks also includes some history of Sufi poetry. Then Barks divides the poetry into logical sections. Some involve community, others involve love, some love of God, peace between religions, inner life, work, home, playing... The range of catagories Barks creates represent human life in a wholeistic manner. They make Rumi's poetry easier to grasp, much more enjoyable, and center on the needs of all human beings. Barks also introduces each section (usually no more than a page). Barks' intros are concise, clear, and point toward key ideas in the most notable poems of each section.

    This large collection of poetry is worth reading for a lifetime. Not to mention as Robert Bly asked of Barks years ago, Barks follows through in "releasing these translations from their cages."

    5-0 out of 5 stars The alchemy of RumiÕs vision brought to life
    Jelaluddin Rumi has become familiar to Western readers who seek out ecstatic poetry, as more and more translations and commentaries are offered on perhaps this greatest of mystical writers. But as they say, it takes one to know one, and Coleman BarksÕ masterpiece is the obvious product of an attuned heart and poetic soul.

    This volume is one of the clearest and most vibrant illustrations of the Ôwild heartÕ Rumi was and is. It is difficult to find superlatives which do justice to the beauty and towering vision this work contains. Every verse, every line seems to open, in some disarmingly simple way, vast new vistas of possibilities for the human spirit.

    How good is this book? The highest accolade that can be given Barks is that his brief section introductions, frequently fodder in other volumes exploring Rumi, here are powerful and transformative in their own right. Each one sets up the following verses in a natural and seamless flow. BarksÕ light shines brightly, even in the rarefied company he keeps.

    Get this volume and devour it. Then get another copy and give it to someone who is ready for the infinite freedom it open-handedly offers...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nice...
    When I first began to read this book, I didn't like it nearly as much as the essential rumi, some of the poems just didn't speak to me in quite the same way. But this last winter break, I read through the whole masnavi at the end of the book, and it gave me a very different feeling from anything I've ever read before. It was like there was a deeper message, or an understanding which is difficult to say other then just a deeper understanding of everything.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Love's Embodiment
    Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi. He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobia and perhaps homophobia.

    Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

    I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical men.

    In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment?

    Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Embodied Love?
    Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi.

    He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobic and perhaps homophobic.

    Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

    I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical, physical men.

    In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment.

    Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong. ... Read more

    19. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta : A Muslim Traveller of the 14th Century
    by Ross E. Dunn
    list price: $17.59
    our price: $17.59
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    Asin: 0520067436
    Catlog: Book (1990-04-01)
    Publisher: University of California Press
    Sales Rank: 55226
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Ross Dunn here recounts the great traveler's remarkable career, interpreting it within the cultural and social context of Islamic society and giving the reader both a biography of an extraordinary personality and a study of the hemispheric dimensions of human interchange in medieval times. ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best travel account in history
    This book is the travel accounts of Ibn Battuta a Moroccan traveler from 14th. century A.D. who traveled from Morocco to China bassing by North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Iran, Byzantine empire, South East Asia(During his travel he was appointed as a supreme judge in Delhy(India) and in Maldive islands(His journey lasted for more than 20 years). He also visited Spain, and West Africa. At the end he went back to Morocco and dictated his travel accounts to the script of the Sultan Anan al-Marini of Morocco.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A 14th century traveller who saw more than even Marco Polo
    In 1325 the young Morrocan Ibn Battuta left his home to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. On the way, he became enamoured with travel and travelled half the world, from North Africa to China, before returning to his home in 1349. His record of his journeys, the Rihla, is difficult to read and chaotically organised, leading historian Ross E. Dunn to present Ibn Battuta's story in a more accessible format. THE ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA is an extremely interesting book, and I recommend it highly to anyone interested in world history.

    Battuta's memoirs often lack detail, so Dunn has put his travels in context by bringing in outside information. Thus, before covering Battuta's travels over the steppe of Northern Asia, he explains how the Mongols came to acquire so much territory and then convert to Islam.

    Another interesting part of Battuta's story is how Europeans and inhabitants of the Middle East interacted in the 14th century. Battuta gives an anecdote about a stay in a Muslim town in the Crimean where Italian traders had an outpost. Hearing the Italian's churchbells, which sounded to him like a diabolic cacophony, he and his friends immediately ran to the roof and began to make the muezzin call to prayer. Luckily, there was no violent conflict from this culture class. Dunn's background information also gives interesting details of European activity in Asia during the late Middle Ages. I didn't know that Venetian and Genoese merchants travelled and resided as far east as Tabriz (in modern-day Iran) until I read THE ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A traveler with a charmed life
    So, what should we know about the Marco Polo of Tangier? The first thing is that the Marco Polo comparison, while of obvious utility, is really not a good one. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta is about Ibn Battuta and his world, and I think the story stands better on its own. Ross Dunn, the author, apparently thinks the same way, since the comparison is mentioned at the very beginning, but seldom after that. Battuta's travels through the world were done in a way only someone of his background could do them.

    So what did he do? Ibn Battuta was a twenty one year old scholar of probably modest talent who set out to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and managed to not return home for twenty-four years. He apparently liked to travel, and took quite a few detours whenever he wanted to see something, usually a noted Muslim city or holy site. He did stay in India for quite a long time, working as a qadi, an Islamic judge, at a time when foreigners were welcomed for just that sort of thing. Eventually he made it as far east as China (maybe), as far south as modern day Tanzania, and in a later voyage in his life, down to Mali.

    Structurally, the text works well. In each section Dunn provides a background on the region before we learn of how Battuta spent his time there. It helps to know that such and such an emperor had been around for so many years, and was having the following problems. This is not just for our curiosity. Since Battuta, particularly in later years, involved himself often in government affairs, it becomes essential for the reader to know something about what was going on. Though Battuta wrote (or provided information for another author to write) a travel diary after his return, that is not what we see here. Dunn only references Battuta's Rihla occasionally. More often he explains some historiography of the work, pointing out that the text is unclear, missing portions, confusing, or just plain impossible, such as Battuta's claim to have visited Peking, though he would almost have to travel faster than a human could in those days to have done so in the time available.

    Of course what makes the text really work is the story. Battuta is an interesting character. He was half rogue and half self-important egotist. It is an essential feature of his travels that he was an educated Muslim traveling in Muslim lands. So everywhere he went, he could present himself to local leaders as a wandering Muslim from far away, and get himself treated to meals, lodging, and gifts. And when I say everywhere, it really was just about everywhere. This is one of the reasons the Marco Polo comparison doesn't work well. In many places he could find Arabic speakers, if not as native speakers, then at least as a second language. Between Islamic custom for charity towards travelers and Battuta's apparently charming personality, he traveled quite far in some comfort and without excessive culture shock.

    There is a darker side to Battuta's personality that come out in many places. He was, to put it mildly, a religious bigot. He was condescending towards Shiites. The first time he heard Christian church bells in a mixed region of Muslims and Christians, he and a fellow traveler ran up to the top of the local minaret and began shouting the call to Prayer to try to drown out the sounds. When faced with local behavior in distant lands that he thought non-Islamic, he typically behaved rudely - he wouldn't even enter the house of someone if he thought he would see the wife speaking to other men. As a judge, he imposed full Islamic justice (for wine drinking for example, eighty lashes) on unsuspected locals. In China he was infuriated that the locals didn't want to discuss Islam with him at all. When his career in the Maldives (off south west India) came to a halt, he sailed to a neighboring kingdom on the coast and offered to lead a military expedition to invade them; it didn't happen. So although Battuta could be charming and pleasant, he reserved that honor for proper Muslims, and if he had something to gain from them, all the better. The closest modern day analogy I can think of to describe him would be an arrogant nineteenth Century English nobleman touring the British Empire and ignoring or belittling the natives. The passage of time and remoteness of Battuta to our own life makes the story fun and fascinating, however much of a bore and a rogue he may have been in his own life. So I would give high marks to this story of the Ibn Battuta of the Islamic world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great snap shot of the muslim world in the 14th century
    This book is a good snap shot of how the muslim world was in the 14th century. Ibn Battuta also represents the intellectual thought and how traditional islamic knowledge was taught back then. and excellent book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gets Better As It Goes On
    I suspect that the highly negative reviews of this book were written by readers who read the first 100 pages, found them tedious, and stopped. They should have stayed the course, for the narrative improves as Ibn Battuta makes his way eastward to India and the Far East.

    The reason it gets better is that Professor Dunn knows a great deal about that part of the world, and presents a fascinating discussion of its history and economics. While Europe was suffering through the Middle Ages, the Middle and Far East were the centers of civilization.

    The interesting question is "What went wrong?" Why did these same countries freeze, while Europe entered the Renaissance? But that's the topic of other books. ... Read more

    20. The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics Hardcovers)
    by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Muhammad Abdel Haleem
    list price: $27.00
    our price: $17.82
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0192805487
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Sales Rank: 23558
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