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61. What's Right with Islam : A New
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62. Inside Islam: The Faith, the People
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63. Reliance of the Traveller: The
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64. What the Koran Really Says: Language,
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65. Contemporary Debates in Islam
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66. Mystical Dimensions of Islam
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67. The North American Muslim Resource
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68. Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching-Stories
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69. The Light of Dawn : Daily Readings
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70. Even Angels Ask: A Journey to
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72. Islamic Historiography (Themes
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73. The End of Days: Fundamentalism
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74. The Mysticism of Sound and Music
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75. The Place of Tolerance in Islam
76. The Muqaddimah
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77. Message to the Blackman in America
78. Radical Islam's Rules: The Worldwide
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79. Struggling to Surrender: Some
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80. Is the Father of Jesus the God

61. What's Right with Islam : A New Vision for Muslims and the West
by Feisal Abdul Rauf
list price: $23.95
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Asin: 0060582723
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 33681
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of the most pressing questions of our time is what went wrong in the relationship between Muslims and the West. Continuing global violence in the name of Islam reflects the deepest fears by certain Muslim factions of Western political, cultural, and economic encroachment. The solution requires finding common ground upon which to build mutual respect and understanding. Who better to offer such an analysis than an American Imam, someone with a foot in each world and the tools to examine the common roots of both Western and Muslim cultures; someone to explain to the non-Islamic West not just what went wrong with Islam, but What's Right with Islam.

American Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's mosque was only twelve blocks from the World Trade Center when it was attacked on September 11. In the aftermath, finding a common ground between his country and his religion became a personal quest. He began by looking back to a time before such divisions, back to our common ancestor, Abraham. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim Abraham as their patriarch, and the ethic this forebear imparted is an ethic still shared by all three traditions. Imam Rauf skillfully traces the evolution of these foundational beliefs through the golden age of Islam in medieval Cordoba and Baghdad, as well as the development of democratic and capitalist principles in the West.

In stark contrast to thinkers such as Samuel P. Huntington and Bernard Lewis, who suggest the crisis is in Islam itself, Imam Rauf argues that what went wrong is the relationship between the Muslim world and the West. He offers a basis for rebuilding that relationship by arguing that Islamic principles actually support the fundamental values of a pluralistic, free society, uncovering the promise of a Muslim form of democratic capitalism within the Qur'an, the stories and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, and Islamic Law. Focused on finding solutions, not on determining fault, this is ultimately a hopeful and inspiring book.

Born to a long line of religious luminaries, Imam Rauf brings his extensive study of the sacred scriptures of Islam, along with his talent for storytelling and analysis, to bear on one of the most complex and critically important topics facing our world today. By tracing common philosophical roots and religious values, acknowledging the contributions of American democracy and Western capitalism, and by showing what Islamic culture can bring to a new reunion with the West, What's Right with Islam systematically lays out the reasons for the current dissonance between these cultures and offers a foundation and plan for improved relations. Wide-ranging in scope, What's Right with Islam elaborates in satisfying detail a vision for a Muslim world that can eventually embrace its own distinctive forms of democracy and capitalism, aspiring to a New Cordoba -- a time when Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all other faith traditions will live together in peace and prosperity.

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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars What's right with this book
What is right with Islam, is what is right with Religion, it is what is right with America, and it is what is right with this book. A book which should serve as a prerequisite to anything you ever read about Islam from this day forward.
For Muslims, this book will trigger a collective sigh of relief for unleashing the traditionally muffled moderate voice. Christians, Jews, and people of every religious and secular persuasion will sigh in relief at its rather straightforward message of hope and invitation to peace. Aspiring fundamentalists in every camp, who are too ill equipped to reach an end to their fanatical rationalizations and justifications, should sigh, that this book will put an end to extremist interpretations on their behalf. You cannot read this book and still retain any delusions about the middle east or modern west. It is a wake up call to both the cultured mind and the over zealous heart.
No matter how you set out to read this book, whether as an academician, or as a politician, or even a devout Muslim, you will surely conclude its reading as a humanitarian devoid of any academic, political, or religious aspirations. You will, against your own will, abort any preconceived notions you bring to its reading.
I suspect It will attract a wide audience, given its appeals to both our prudent sensibilities, while simultaneously advocating for a psychology of love without categorically yielding the final say, to either perspective. It is less an endorsement of a religion, then it is a plea to recognize and celebrate the commonalties which have united all religions in the past and can unite us once again. The frustrating irony which begs advertisement and public notice, is that Islam and western democracy are ideologically compatible.
Imam Abdul-Rauf reminds us that no one is immune to the compelling pressures which mobilize people to commit atrocities in the name of God. Pressures which are mediated less by religion and more by economic and sociological developments. In an effort to explain the motivations behind the prevailing trends towards fundamentalism In the Muslim world, Imam Abdul- Rauf, answers, with great clarity, those questions that many have been tempted to explain away as the fanatical rage of the disesteemed. Explanations which lend themselves to blanket generalizations about Muslims here and abroad. Generalization which have done nothing to facilitate our campaign towards attaining security and peace.
His is not a mission to justify, but rather to rectify the current circumstances which have plagued our nation. And he does so by arming the reader with a crash course education that is a culmination of both his scholarship and invaluable first hand experience. It is not based on rhetoric and flimsy assumptions, but on the forgotten precedence for pluralism and peace that was established by forefathers, prophets and messengers.
The scenario he paints demands representation as the most viable alternative to the "get them for they get us" mentality. Iman Abdul- Rauf, does not rely on conventional means of persuasion to demonstrate the conciliatory nature of Islam and democracy. He substantiates his claims with concrete examples, and more importantly, with suggestions for developing various mechanisms of implementation.
If it was not so heavily peppered with superb analogies and historical insights, this book would read like a peace manifesto for moderates in every faith tradition. It is not only a voice of reason and moderation, but of authority and much needed objectivity. It is the voice of an American who loves his country, and of a Muslim who loves his faith, and of an advocate of a brand of democratic capitalism which caters to the best parts of both these identities.

5-0 out of 5 stars 300 pages of information and inspiration
This book is a refreshing alternative to the happy go lucky books about Islam which are being churned out by less then qualifed Muslim types, and by agenda driven academic types.

Its feel good insights and inspiration are incorporated into the text without compromising the integrity of scholarship and factual information about Islam. Contrary to what some readers may suspect, this book does not make any concessions in the tenents of the faith to appeal to its audience, because it proves that no concessions are required.
Islam when truly studied and understood, speaks for itself. This book is a good first step in that study.
Imam Abdul-Rauf has successfully spoken on behalf of many Muslims, who no doubt, share his sentiments and vision. And anyone who is genuine about making a contribution to a peaceful Mideast and West will give these Muslims the platform they deserve.
A great book to gift to friends and collegues.

2-0 out of 5 stars Earnest, I think, but far too simplistic nonethless
I am a beginning student of Islam. I am also American. While initially excited by Immam Rauf's insights, they began to unsettle me in terms of their apologetic and overly simplistic tone. In trying to present a one-to-one correspondence-type analysis between Islam and American democracy, much of the complexity of Islam is either lost or ignored. America, in a sense, becomes the yardstick by which Islam is explained. I think this is a very dangerous approach. It gives people-Americans, especially-the impression that they understand Islam when, in fact, they do not. Islam must be explained on its own terms (complete with its profundities and its limitations), not the terms of an other political system and culture. While certainly not as harmful and aggressively wrong headed as Irshad Manji's, "The Trouble with Islam," I do not recommend Rauf's exegis as a place to begin the study of Islam. A far more productive and insightful book is Carl W. Ernst's, "Following Muhammed."

5-0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Insightful Book!
I fervently hope that the White House will read and understand the implications of this fine book!

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has written a work of extraordinary importance. Going far beyond the usual cliches about the Muslim world, he sheds fresh light on the history and origins of today's Middle East tensions. His thesis regarding the historic economic factors that have added to Muslim frustration - the Islamic rejection of interest, the Western invention of the corporation, etc. - makes fascinating and compelling reading.

Rauf picks up where Samuel Huntington left off; and in so doing, he offers a more complete and nuanced picture of how things "went wrong" between the Muslim world and the West. As an American Muslim who is clearly committed both to his religion and his country, Rauf's views are refreshingly fair and balanced.

If we are ever to create a world free from terrorism, understanding the wisdom in this book will be absolutely essential.

5-0 out of 5 stars Feisal Abdul Rauf Is A Visionary
Years ago my father told me that the spirit of Islam lies within the hearts of the Sufis and not the actions of the fanatics. Years later Reading this book I find out that my father was correct. The Sources that the author quotes, proves his points in ways that no fanatic nor any so called 'islam expert' or 'talking head' can dispute. It's amazing how going backl to the original source, a man like Abdul Rauf was able to get back to the heart of Islam. ... Read more

62. Inside Islam: The Faith, the People and the Conflicts of the World's Fastest Growing Religion
by John Miller, Aaron Kenedi
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 1569245681
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Marlowe & Company
Sales Rank: 257798
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Inside Islam offers an unprecedented and timely exploration of Islam in all its complexity—from the prophet Muhammad and the book of Qur’an to the sacred city of Mecca, the role of women in Islam, and the status of the modern faith in cities and countries throughout the world. This volume assembles fourteen accessible, insightful essays by many of the world’s preeminent writers, historians, journalists, and scholars who have addressed the subject of Islam:

Karen Armstrong * Bernard Lewis * Huston Smith * V. S. Naipaul * Ryszard Kapuscinski * Geraldine Brooks * Thomas Cleary * Akbar S. Ahmed * Michael Wolfe * Robert D. Kaplan * Geneive Abdo * Mark Singer * William Vollman * Fareed Zakaria

Organized into three sections—the origins of the Muslim faith, the people around the world who adhere to its tenets, and its historic and modern conflicts, Inside Islam is for everyone seeking new levels of understanding about the religion whose influence is being felt around the world now more than ever. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A cross- sampling of views
I think the intro by Akbar Ahmed articulates best that there will always be a debate as to why certain authors works were included in this book. I personally like the sections from Huston Smith, Akbar Ahmed, Thomas Cleary and Michael Wolfe.
The sections I find the most problematic were Women in Islam by Geraldine Brooks and to some degree "Why they hate us" by Fareed Zakaria. Ms. Brooks's essay deals with a family conflict which ends up in murder. For someone who want's know about Islam this is hardly the place to start. Similarly Mr. Zakaria is obective and presents some good information of "why they hate us", but there is a big problem in how eg he refers to the Quran. I will not even repeat what he says, but this is nothing but poisonous.

If someone does not know too much about Islam I would say tread with caution. If you want to get a sampling and decide which books to read further then obviously this is a one way to do it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fourteen accessible, insightful essays
Inside Islam is edited by John Miller and Aaron Kenedi and provides fourteen accessible, insightful essays by many of the world's prominent writers and historians, each of whom address the subject of Islam and its beliefs. Essential to an understanding of the region's sentiments and conflicts and especially recommended for young adult readers.

4-0 out of 5 stars A well rounded compilation of essays, politically correct.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the articles were both dignified and for the most part objective. A novice in my study of the Muslim faith, I found this book to be enlightening and informative.

However, I found what I believe to be crucial questions about the foundations of Islam to be unanswered, (for those of us who want to think the best of the Islamic faith). First, if (according to the Quaran and the Nation of Islam,) all White men are evil, how is it that we are "redeemable" at all? Does this explain the fundamentalist position that we are the infidel that needs to be destroyed? Of course, I realize that not all practicing Muslims believe this, but I would question my faith if such a system supported a notion so extreme. Is there a New Testament of sorts in the Q'ran that clarifies this, or are we all doomed?

Secondly, I would find it insulting to be called a nominal Christian, or a moderate. I am either a follower of Christ, or I am not. Recently, Muslims seem to want to be identified as "moderates". Is this a political position for fear of persecution, or to disquise a higher goal, which many fear?

Furthermore, the sensationalist rehetoric of the lead minister of the Nation of Islam does not go unnoticed, any more than that of other extremists who claim to want peace and equality. Many misguided souls blindly trusted Hitler, Lenin, and Jim Jones. Unfortunately such cases, the threat of death always follows the apostate. Who would choose such an oppressive life? How does the average Muslim account for such atrocious human rights violations supported by their holy book? A person's life must be consistent with his or her faith, or it is not true faith at all. Constantine smeered the Christian faith by forcing it upon his constituants. Islam punishes lack of loyalty with death. If your faith is inconsistent with your values and lifestyle, then perhaps your faith is misguided, but the Muslim religion tolerates no such disloyalty. Out of necessity it seems, moderate cells are cropping up all over the place. This is the part that many do not understand. To this day, all over the world, people are converted at the point of the sword. If one's faith is true, shouldn't he trust God to bring about a person's salvation in spirit and in truth? Political correctness will never address these problems.

There is a conflict that arises as the values of one's faith are juxtaposed against that of another, and underlying principles (such as true respect for women as God's creation, and Salvation through God's love and grace, and not merely anything we have done or can do to earn it)that we are asked not only to narrow our thinking, but to comprimise our values.

Personally, I have found that learning about other faiths and cultures solidifies and/or challenges my own. This is a good thing. "Inside Islam" does a fine job of contributing to such a goal. I'm just not sure that the world is ready to be as sympathetic with a militant religion as it is with the people who seem to be suffering so much under it-one that is notoriously cruel to it's most vulnerable people, the women and children.

Is it the capitalist's fault for the poverty of entire nations, or the greed of the few at the top who refuse to share their bounty with the rest? This issue was covered nicely in Inside Islam, "Why they hate us". People of all faiths have been guilty of using and abusing others in the name of their God. The crucial point is what the foundations of the religion are.

My goal in reading this book was to discover just what those foundations are. I discovered a complexity of philosohic thought about the Muslim faith and the culture of Islam, some of which bordered on justification of human rights violations based upon the secular idea of cultural relativism, and sympathy for the victims of abuse in the name of Islam. I share in the sympathy.

Another no less informative resource worth reading is "Behind the Veil...Unmasking Islam",written by Abd El Schafi.
This book directly quotes the Quran and through interviews with the most respected Islamic Scholars, builds consensus for what the real "creed" of the Islamic religion is, concerning women, "apostates", slavery (sexual and otherwise), marriage, prostitution, and divorce, attitudes toward nonmuslims, and the militant nature of the religion as the method by which fundamentalists (such as the Taliban)spread their faith. This book is not politically correct, but no less compassionate as a result. ... Read more

63. Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik
by Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib, Noah Ha Mim Keller
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0915957728
Catlog: Book (1997-07-01)
Publisher: Amana Corporation
Sales Rank: 155037
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The new edition of the in-depth manual of Islamic law based on the Shafi'i school of thought, with a detalied index and commentary on specific rulings. 1,200 pages in an exceptional binding with Arabic and facing English text in two column format with occasional diagrams. 'Umdat al-Salik wa 'Uddat al-Nasik (Reliance of the Traveller and tools of the Worshipper) is a classic manual of fiqh. It represents the fiqh rulings according to the Shafi'I school of jurisprudence. The appendices form an integral part of the book and present original texts and translations from classic works by prominent scholars such as al-Ghazali, Ibn Qudamah, al-Nawawi, al-Qurturbi, al-Dhahabi, Ibn Hajar and other, on topics of Islamic law, faith, spirituality, Qur'anic exegesis and Hadith sciences. It has also biographical notes about every person mentioned (391 biographies) , bibliography of each work cited (136 works), and a detailed subject index (95 pages). Of the 136 works drawn upon in its commentary and appendices, 134 are in the original Arabic. The sections and paragraphs have been numbered to facilitate cross-reference. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent all the way around
I won't comment on the actual material of the book, since the content is based on Imam Nawawi's work - Which basically says the text is about as good as it gets.

The content of the book covers the Shafi Fiqh. Basically, all rulings that could concern a Muslim. (ie. Sunnah of Wudu, Fard of divorce proceedings, etc.) It even has quick autobiographies at the end. (A nice touch for background on some of those scholars I had never heard of.)

As for the rest: The translation into English seems excellent, the book is hardcover with good binding: Excellent. And the cover is green and looks nice. The font is nice, and it even has the original Arabic text on the side. Most important, there are several seals on the first several pages indicating that the book has passed inspection from various large Muslim Universities. Something I don't see in other translations.


5-0 out of 5 stars A Criminal Justice Eye Opener
Reliance of the Traveller provides exceptional insight to Islamic values. The revised edition, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, is certified by al-Azhar University, the Muslim worlds most prestigious institution of higher learning with the following "...We certify that this translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community (Ahl al-Sunnah wa al Jamma'a)."

Legislators, Criminal Justice Officials, Educators, Scholars, Journalists, and ordinary citizens who value "truth" may find the passages contained in Book R, Section 8, Lying (pages 744 - 746) quite illuminating.

Lying is permitted in war, settling disagreements, and a man talking with his wife or she with him. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable by lying but not telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. (p. 745)

"When, for example, one is concealing a Muslim from an oppressor who asks where he is, it is obligatory to lie about him being hidden. Or when a person deposits an article with one for safekeeping and an oppressor wanting to appropriate it inquires about it, it is obligatory to lie about having concealed it, for if one informs him about the article and he then seizes it, one is financially liable (to the owner) to cover the article's cost."(p. 745) Law Enforcement Investigations looking for people or evidence may find this problematic.

"Whether the purpose is war, settling a disagreement, or gaining sympathy of a victim legally entitled to retaliate against one so that he will forbear to do so; it is not unlawful to lie when any of these aims can be obtained through lying. But it is religiously more precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression, meaning to intend by one's words something that is literally true, in respect to which one is not lying, while the outward purport of the words deceives the hearer, though even if one does not have such an intention and merely lies without intending anything else, it is not unlawful in the above circumstances." (p.745)

"Lying is permissible when there is a legitimate desired end. And the legitimate desired end may be a personal one." "One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie." (p.746)

Legal provisions for Giving a Misleading Impression (Book R, Section 10 Giving a Misleading Impression) is contained on page 748. "Giving a misleading impression is among the most important topics, being frequently met with and often abused. It befits us to examine the matter closely, and whoever learns of it should reflect upon it and apply it." "Giving a misleading impression means to utter an expression that ostensibly implies one meaning while intending a different meaning the expression may also have, one that contradicts the ostensive purport. It is a kind of deception. It often takes the form of the speaker intending a specific referent while the hearer understands a more general one, as when a person asks a householder, "Is So and so here?" to which the householder, intending the space between himself and the questioner rather than the space inside the house, replies, "He is not here." "Scholars say that there is no harm in giving a misleading impression if required by an interest countenanced by Sacred Law that is more important than not misleading the person being addressed, or if there is a pressing need which could not otherwise be fulfilled except through lying."

Slander, in the Western context, is the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation. Within the Sunni Islam tradition, slander means mentioning anything concerning a person that that person would dislike. The truth, then, becomes slanderous when an author or source mentions "anything concerning a person that that person would dislike."

The Reliance of the Traveller further discusses slander. "Slander means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissolution, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him." (p.730) 'Do you know what slander is?' They answered, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'It is to mention of your brother that which he would dislike.' Someone asked, 'What if he is as I say?' And he replied, 'If he is as you say, you have slandered him, and if not, you have calumniated him. The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not betray him, lie to him, or hang back from coming to his aid. All of the Muslim is inviolable to his fellow Muslim: his reputation, his property, his blood. Godfearingness is here (the heart). It is sufficiently wicked for someone to belittle his fellow Muslim." (p.730.) This passage has implications for objective assessments of those who do wrong. It may be "improper" to tell the truth and say they have done wrong.

Reliance of the Traveller gives insight to a wide variety of problems confronting the current era of law enforcement and a noticeable skewing of the truth in Islamic scholarship and news coverage. Local, state and federal officials, Criminal Justice officials, scholars, journalists, and those interested in the ongoing clash of civilizations will find the Reliance of the Traveller an invaluable tool in understanding some of the more problematic aspects of Islamic behavior. This book is an invaluable addition to any personal and professional library.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Reference when Studying Islam
I encourage anyone who wants to better understand Islam to buy a copy. This is where the ummah ultimately leads. Wonder how the mullahs in the Taliban constructed the model of their medieval society?- well, they didn't have to. It's all contained here in the Sunni shariah.

You cannot hope to understand "applied islam" without this text. This is THE book that the islamists do NOT want kufrs (infidels) to read. It absolutely identifies the outcomes of the establishment of Dar al-Islam and the extension of the ummah.

Note: Even this book contains inaccuracies in its translation- see, for example, the linguist Reverend Mark Durie's demonstration that the section on mandatory female genital mutilation is watered down in this English translation from the Arabic. Also, the distinction drawn between "greater" jihad and "lesser" jihad is also a translational fabrication.

However, in the absense of any other English translation, and recognizing the "Good (Islamist) Housekeeping Seal of Approval" on this translation, it really is an essential reference when dealing with Islam (of course, never forget, Islam is a trilogy of works: the Qur'an; the ahadith; and the resulting Umdat al-Salik.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is probably the Most comprehensive fiqh(Islamic Law) in the English Language. It cover the very basics of islam as well as other aspects of Islam, like purification of the soul, getting closer to God (Allah). It meat of the book of outer fiqh, but it also deals with inner fiqh (spirituality)..

So I highly Highly recommend this book. You won't be disappointed. In you are look for a good classical text book in Islamic Law.

2-0 out of 5 stars lotta hype
I don't understand all of the hype about this short sighted fiqh book. It doesn't take any position which would be really worthwhile to contemporary Muslims and the problems they face. It may have been a great work a few hundred years ago, but things have gotten a bit more complicated since then. I also take issue with the methodology employed in presenting the rulings. It is the same "I speak for Islam and no one else does" methodology employed by our despotic Wahabi brothers. Some of its positions on the woman are absolutely silly. This is just another boring Shafi'i law book. When will we get our heads out of this goofy stuff? We need fiqh answers to real problems, not ritual, sufi and covering the woman, topics which have been debated and are still as ambiguous as when they first entered the discourse. The 'core ideology' of Muslims who fantasize about this kind of undeveloped law must think that if they place a whole bunch of restrictions on their women that the ummah will be saved.... been there, done that, next ... Read more

64. What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text, and Commentary
by Ibn Warraq, Ibn Warraq
list price: $36.00
our price: $23.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157392945X
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Sales Rank: 142814
Average Customer Review: 2.84 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This collection of classical essays, some translated here for the first time, provide an objective, critical commentary on the traditions and language of the Koran, discussing its grammatical and logical discontinuities, its Syriac and Hebrew foreign vocabulary, and its possible Christian, Coptic, and Qumranic sources. Included among these essays are a comprehensive commentary on the discussion of the expression 'an yadin in Sura II; a discussion of the possible meanings of Sura IX.29, the longest sura in the Koran; and selections from the late Koranic scholar Richard Gell's INTRODUCTION TO THE QUR'AN and A COMMENTARY ON THE QUR'AN. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Hot Potato
Anyone familiar with Ibn Warraq's books readily knows why he is pretty much universally reviled by Muslim polemicists (he has several death fatwas outstanding against him - hence his use of a pseudonym for publishing). This book is no different. In it, Ibn Warraq presents a large collection of articles from scholars who spent their lives investigating the Qur'an and its history. This, in and of itself, will cause most Muslims and "pro-Islam" people in the West to view this book as a "hostile" source. Any collection of articles that deconstruct the Qur'an and which demonstrate flaws, imperfections, and inconsistencies in the Qur'an will be viewed as such.

Bad point: Much of the information in the book is very dated. We're talking about information first presented by the likes of Noldeke, Wellhausen, and Goldhizer in the late 19th century.

Good point: Much of this information is still relevant today, if only because of the relative paucity of scholars who are actually willing to critically examine Islam without slavishly seeking to substantiate the Islamic party line. Many of the linguistic arguments still have not been satisfactorily answered by Muslims or Westerners to this day (i.e. rebuttals based on circular reasoning such as relying upon the traditional Islamic view of the Qur'an to SUBSTANTIATE the traditional Islamic view of the Qur'an don't count).

If Muslims think that the essays in Ibn Warraq's book are "hostile", then they should acquaint themselves with the works of more modern researchers from the last thirty years like Crone, Cook, Nevo, Wansbraugh, etc. These and other investigators are even more "hostile" if only because they have a greater base of archaeological, numismatic, epigraphic, etc. data from which to assess the traditional Islamic historiography.

As we can see from some of the previous reviewers, those who don't like this book are generally a bit biased themselves. One from March 20, 2003 (below) barely addresses the actual content of the book, and spends up who-knows how much bandwidth giving us a screed about the "peaceful" aspects of jihad and how the Qur'an really promotes peace, love, harmony, and all that other good stuff. Another review (Edgar Hopida, Nov. 16, 2002) complains about bias in this book, using such objective terminology as "this book represents the one-sided, misleading, and dishonest evidence about the Qur'an, Islam, and its rich history" and "Orientalism, has for centuries attempted to deconstruct Islam, trying to give biased proof that the Occident is superior over the Orient." Would Mr. Hopida care to explain why "Orientalists" have been inclined towards trying to do the exact same thing with the Bible? Perhaps they were trying to give biased proof that the Occident is superior over the *Occident*, too?

Basically, this is a book which the reader will either appreciate for its factual content, or else will despise for its factual content, depending on whether Islamic presuppositions are brought to the table before reading it.

5-0 out of 5 stars What the %$&@%?
I don't get the one star reviewers. Some of them proudly say they haven't read the book and yet providing a review? Helloooo.... is that how you want others to provide reviews on books that are favorable to Islam? GROW UP.

The other breed on one starers maintain that the author is not "qualified" to write this book. Earth to Mars, he is an "editor". He's just compiled this book.

I don't think, personally, that its a 5-star book. Just giving it 5 to balance some of the reviews by bozos.

1-0 out of 5 stars Biased and not qualified
Ibn Warraq is not qualified to give an unbiased and educated critique on the Koran (Quran) for many reasons of which are the following:
1. He has no religious education whatsoever to my knowledge. He is not a graduate of a muslim seminary.

2. Writing about the Koran, like writing about the Bible, requires years of religious education.
Interpreting a monumental work like the Koran and understanding its true meaning is not the work of a layperson like Ibn Warraq but a religious scholar.
He was raised in a secular and not a religious household.

3. He has himself, in his own words,declared that he is very bitter and hostile toward Islam and therefore should be considered biased.

Recommendations: If you really want to read a true commentary on the Quran, I recommend reading the english translation of the Holy Koran called :
The Glorious Qur'an by Muhammad M. Pickthall. There is a Yusuf Ali translation also available.

1-0 out of 5 stars Once again!
Once again Ibn Warraq tries to discredit Islam by attacking the Qur'an. However, the Qur'an has always challenged people to question its validity. Muslims and non-Muslims have done just that. Among them is Jerald Dirks, graduate of Harvard Divinity School and an ordained minister, who after questioning the validity of the Qur'an came to accept it as a revelation and became a Muslim. He is the author of The Cross and The Crescent, in which he clearly demonstrates the validity of the Qur'an. You may read his fascinating life story at Here are the facts about the Qur'an:

MEANING: The word Qur'an means reading and recitation.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the Qur'an is to guide humanity to live based on the knowledge of the One who created them and knows their nature. "This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are conscious of God (pious, concerned about right and wrong). (Qur'an 2:1) "O mankind! There has come to you a counsel from your Lord and a healing for your hearts; and for those who believe, a guidance and a mercy."(Qur'an 10:57)

MODE OF REVELATION: The initial revelation was given by Angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad in 610 C.E. when he was forty. Many chapters of the Qur'an were revealed piecemeal over a 23-year period, changing Arabia from an ignorant, crime-ridden society of warring tribes into a sober, prosperous, and peaceful civilization. In some cases, though, an entire chapter was revealed in response to a question.

LANGUAGE: The Qur'an is a masterpiece in Arabic language, even though Prophet Muhammad was illiterate. Arabic is a living language of more than 250 million people.

PRESERVED INTACT: "Indeed We (God) have sent down this reminder, and We will assuredly protect it." (Qur'an 15:9) This verse was revealed when the very survival of Islam was in doubt. Non-Muslim historians, such as John Esposito (The Oxford History of Islam) and Karen Armstrong (Muhammad), testify that not one letter of the Qur'an has been changed. Two original copies exist today in Turkey and Tashkent.

EASY TO MEMORIZE: "Indeed We have made the Qur'an easy to remember." (Qur'an 54:40) Today, an estimated 10 million people have memorized the Quran. This is one reason the Qur'an has been preserved for more than 1400 years.

MIRACLES: God, in His wisdom, gave miracles to his prophets as proof of the authenticity of their mission-miracles that would be accepted by their people. At the time of Moses, sorcery and magic was the predominant art, so the miracles given to Moses were related to magic. In Jesus' time, medicine was highly appreciated: hence, his virgin birth and healing the leper. The Prophet Muhammad was the last messenger of God, who was to complete the message of Islam (lit. submission and surrender to God) taught by all the prophets from the beginning of time, in its universal form for all. His miracle could be appreciated by the people of his time, but also by all others until the end of time.

The Arabs were proud of their language. Thus, Prophet Muhammad was given a miracle in the form of a book. The beautiful language of the Qur'an and its wisdom led to the conversion of many. It was a miracle then and a living miracle for us to examine.

THE CHALLENGE: In the Qur'an God challenged those who do not believe it to be the Word of God to produce one chapter like it. And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a chapter of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful. Qur'an 2:23) No one has ever met this challenge. In response to a question the entire , Chapter 12, titled "Joseph," was revealed. It tells the story of the life of Prophet Joseph in its entirety, in a unique beautiful literary style that could not be matched by anyone! How could have Muhammad produced such a work on the spot from his own mind and challenged everyone to match it?

THE PROPHECIES: The prophecy regarding the preservation of the Qur'an has already come true, including the defeat of the fire-worshipping Persians at the hands of Christian Romans. This prophecy was called by Edward Gibbon, in his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, an unthinkable prediction, which appeared impossible to come true within the nine years prophesied in the Qur'an. But it came to pass. (See Chapter 30 of the Qur'an,)

SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES: After extensive study of the Qur'an, French medical scientist Dr. Maurice Bucaille concluded in his book The Bible, The Qur'an, and Science, "In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad's day, it is inconceivable that many of the statements in the Qur'an which are connected with science could have been the work of a man. It is, moreover, perfectly legitimate, not only to regard the Qur'an as the _expression of a Revelation, but also to award it a very special place, on the account of the guarantee of the authenticity it provides and the presence in it of scientific statements which, when studied today, appear as a challenge to explanation in human terms."

Dr. Keith Moore of the University of Toronto and author of The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, used at medical schools around the world, has an amazing analysis of the detailed description of the growth and development of human embryo as mentioned in the Qur'an. He considers the presence of such scientific facts discovered only a few decades ago proof that the Qur'an is a revelation from God. You can read and watch his analysis and those of other scientists at the following websites: Don't rely on Manji or the media, Read the Quran and judge for yourself. Just visit to learn about Islam and read the Qur'an. Recommended short chapters: 1, 13, 16, 19, 30, 39, 50, 67, 75-end

1-0 out of 5 stars a very unfortunate case of misguidance
I only hope to point out that through man's search for understanding, he tends to give his own interpretation for what seems logical to him at the time. What he can't understand is automatically assigned some explanation to suffice his own mind. We after thousands of years, still ask the fundamental question of why we are here?

Those not content with religion's explanation come up with their own. Years pass and the former explanations are retracted or changed to submit to "illuminated" and "scholarly" ideas to replace the former primative way of thinking. What seemed as "the thing to do" such as brutal hate crimes, now seems shocking and shameful. Medicines that seemed promising ended up causing cancer or other diseases. But again, it seemed like the way to go.

Trends in thinking, man's thinking that is, is useless, and can not hold up to scientific validation if we look at what we have hypothesized since our creation...nothing is as we thought. After all this time and effort, it still comes down to the same old ideas that we given to us, only if we have enough courage to believe that.

So, what I am saying here, our thoughts on these philosophical matters are really quite useless. If we can't understand something, it's better to be quiet. The illuminating ideas may turn out to be rather dull and who knows, may even be like 1 star in a whole huge black sky....which looking from afar only lights up a very small perimeter.

It's very unfortunate that one who is by far not qualified to write a book on this topic does so.

Just look at the history....both short and long...nothing is as it seems. We must look towards the constants, even if we don't understand those. It's our own feeble-mindedness, not that the Quran has flaws, for which it most certainly does not. One's inability to understand the Quran or Islam does not render it not the true Words of Allah Subhana'Allah wu Ta'ala.

So, based on this, I feel that it's a waste of your time and money to buy this book. If you feel you need to, go ahead. It's just that I think you could spend a lot of your precious time reading the actual Quran rather than a book that criticizes the Quran. I promise you'd get a lot more understanding if you've got courage for that.

After studying Islam for a number of years, I feel that it's a very unfortnate case of misguidance that the reader expresses in this book. After all of his study and explanations, he hasn't been able to express those accurately.

My purpose is not to critize but rather broaden the minds of those thinking to buy this book. ... Read more

65. Contemporary Debates in Islam : An Anthology of Modernist and. Fundamentalist Thought
list price: $69.95
our price: $69.95
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Asin: 0312215800
Catlog: Book (2000-07-07)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 1005972
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Book Description

During the second half of the nineteenth century, a group of prominent Muslim theologians began to critically examine classical conceptions and methods of jurisprudence and devised a new approach to Islamic theology. This new approach was nothing short of an outright rebellion against Islamic orthodoxy, displaying an astonishing compatibility with nineteenth century Enlightenment-era thought. In the 20th century this modernist movement declined, to be replaced by another cultural episode, characterized by the growing power of Islamic fundamentalism. This volume looks at these two very different approaches to Islam. The editors have selected the most prominent Islamic thinkers of modernist and fundamentalist viewpoints, diverse nationalities, and from both the late decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the 20th century. The writers discuss their own views with regard to such issues as philosophical and political perceptions of democracy, the state, the history of Islam, women’s rights, personal lifestyle, education, and the West.
... Read more

66. Mystical Dimensions of Islam
by Annemarie Schimmel
list price: $21.50
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Asin: 0807812714
Catlog: Book (1975-06-01)
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Sales Rank: 313966
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Contours of the Breadth and Depth of Islamic Spirituality
Where do I begin? This book, although old (and, some would argue - perhaps fairly - a bit dated), is an incredible scholarly work on how various mystics within Islam have understood Islam's central claim: "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet". According to Schimmel, all of Islamic mysticism can be summed up as trying to understand this core doctrine.

Unlike some scholars today who pay more attention to differences than continuity, Schimmel's book outlines the many, many currents of Islamic thought without coming to conclusions such as "Well, it is really impossible to say what is or is not Islamic mysticism". Instead, she looks at the historical development of mystical Islamic thought, noting both consistencies and deviations, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, the noble and the shameful. The ability to walk the fine line between excessive praise and excessive criticism of a given religious tradition - in this case Islam - is walked with great care and balance by Schimmel. She recognizes that the basic goal of the mystics of Islam was to be true witnesses to Islam's central claim but that this was not always achieved.

One of the most fascinating streams of mystical Islamic thought is the understanding of the soul. This topic is discussed many times as Schimmel notes the views of different mystics; for those looking for a way out of the dead end that much of secular psychotherapy has given us, the understanding of people as containing both higher and lower natures - as well as a fundamental need for God - is something that is worth chewing on. That this view is the same as that held by classical Christianity is worth noting (and Schimmel regularly notes similarities to other religious traditions throughout her work).

This book is a thick read - in fact, it is highly detailed and can become a bit confusing at points, especially when Schimmel begins to discuss yet another person by the same name; it will take time to get through. Nonetheless, it is a highly rewarding read and, for those that seek to understand the religion of Islam better, this book will help to paint *some* of that picture in a more detailed manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars BATINIS - THIS BOOK HAS SECRETS!
Attention all batinis - this book is a must-read!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Awe of the Sufi Path
Annemarie Schimmel is probably the foremost scholar on the Sufi poet Jelalluddin Rumi, whose poetry is suffused with love and awe of the Divine. In much of her book Prof. Schimmel projects the same love, love of Islam and its people, most especially its mystics, the Sufis. It is also extremely informative about the history of Sufism and the different branches of its mystical path. If you are interested in the history of Sufism, and want to understand mystical Islam, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a quick study, or a popular way to practice Sufism, this is not for you. ... Mystical Islam and orthodox Islam (as with most religions) are very different in practice and outlook, although there are conservative Sufis and out-there Sufis, as Prof. Schimmel aptly demonstrates. I loved this book and want to read more of her work.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mystical vision of Islam
What is the vision of Islam? That is a good question, I am not sure if anyone knows for sure. Depending on whom you talk to, you get a different answer. Taleban of Afghanistan has his version of Islam’s vision, Mr. Ben Laden would have his version of Islam’s vision, which is pretty much nothing other than “exploding” your way through life etc. The truth of the matter is that Islam, like any other religion, has no vision, never did, and never will. Quran is a source of confusion among Moslems and it has been from day one. Each group having their own interpretation and considering all others as false views. Even on simple matters such as music, after 1400 years, still Moslem scholars are in disagreement whether music is allowed or it is forbidden. There are contradicting views on matters such as nature of God, his names and what they signify, hell, heaven, can God be seen with normal human eyes or not, some say yes he will be seen by normal human eye and some say absolutely not, etc etc etc. There is rarely a topic of importance that the so-called scholars haven’t been disagreeing about and fighting each other for centuries. The sad thing is that all of them use Quran as their starting point, which indicates that Quran by its very nature is a confusing and confused book. Of course needless to say that the same is true for all other religious books as well. Even at the time of Muhammad himself there was disagreement on what Quran says and means. Muhammad himself was criticized in a number of occasions by his companions as not observing the command of God as is indicated in the Quran. In most cases however, during his lifetime Muhammad was the final authority as what the verses in the Quran meant, but after his death the confusion and fight began. The fact is that even if Quran had a transcendent and glorious meaning that would provide mankind guidelines till eternity, that meaning was buried with Muhammad himself and the wise thing would have been to burry Quran once and for all and save humanity from yet another source of confusion and self destruction which continues to this day. Just look at what [people]like Taleban are doing to our countries. Some of my Moslem friends tell me in response “ but Taleban isn’t really true Islam” but the fact is how the heck do they know what “true” Islam is. Who are they to Judge and what authority do they have? Maybe it is Taleban that represents “true” Islam and not these guys. How do we know? Everyone in history of Islam has pointed finger at others accusing their opponents as” not being Islam” but on whose authority did they get their “true” Islam. The word “true” Islam is as meaningless as the claim that Quran is a clear book, a light in the darkness etc. All I have seen by studying the history is nothing but disagreement, confusion and darkness, contradictory theories about God-Man and just about everything else in between, wars and killings with no end at sight. As I said I don’t know what the vision of Islam is, but I do know what the accomplishment of Islam has been for past 14 centuries and what Islam is doing to our countries like Afghanistan. I say if Islam had a vision for humanity, and that is a big if, that vision got buried with Muhammad and we will never know.

3-0 out of 5 stars Schoalrs discover a new dimension of Islam
I am not sure why everyone and their grand parents are writing books on Islamic Mysticism/suffism, but no doubt this too shall pass since it is, like many other things, a seasonal phenomena. I guess some western "scholars" who have been telling everyone for a couple of centuries that Islam is an unsophisticated religion for desert dwellers , now have "discovered" that they have been full of it and in fact Islam does have a spirituality aspect to it too, (duh! Is there a religion which doesn't), of course ordinary people like us knew that all along but it took scholars a couple of hundred years to catch up. But even now, there are those who wouldn't give a "D" about a few books written here and there, and they are not going to change their mind about anything. It took a few hundred years of solid observation to get them agree that earth isn't the center of the universe. Of course we appreciate books such as these which attempt to show a more gentle side of Islam, but as they say one religion's misery is another's fortune. Religions, or rather followers of religions are like wild animals, waiting for one to get wounded so the others can move in and finish him off, more territory and less competition for donations I guess. ... Read more

67. The North American Muslim Resource Guide: Muslim Community Life in the United States and Canada
by Mohamed Nimer
list price: $70.95
our price: $70.95
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Asin: 0415937280
Catlog: Book (2002-09)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 807779
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Book Description

This useful resource offers a synthesis of mainstream Muslim life in North America and provides basic information about Muslim Americans and Canadians.Coverage includes population statistics and analysis, as well as immigration information that tracks the settlement of Muslim people in the Americas.American Muslim participation in the political process is given special attention. Also, Islamic-American events over the past five years, especially the responses to the September 11 terrorist attacks, are also reviewed. The book contains contact information for mosques, schools, ethnic associations, charities, women's groups, community media, public affairs organizations, and research groups. ... Read more

68. Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching-Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years
by Idries Shah
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0140193588
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 66582
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A mysterious chest is buried unopened. A wondrous caravan brings fortune to a simple cobbler. An outcast princess creates a new life in the wilderness. Some of the 78 tales in this remarkable book first appeared in print over a thousand years ago, others are medieval classics. Yet, each has a special relevance for us in the 21st century. All are told with Idries Shah's distinctive wit and grace and the author's own commentary notes.

Although enormously attractive as sheer entertainment, dervish tales were never presented merely on the level of fable, legend or folklore.

They stand comparison in wit, construction and piquancy with the finest stories of any culture, yet their true function as Sufi teaching stories is so little known in the modern world that no technical or popular term exist to describe them. For centuries, dervish masters have instructed their disciples by means of these tales, which are held to convey powers of increasing perception unknown to the ordinary man.

These are teaching stories in the Sufi tradition. Those who probe beyond the surface will find multiple meanings to challenge assumptions and foster new ways of thinking and perceiving.

Sold all over the world in many languages, this is deservedly a classic and an essential reading for anyone interested in Sufi thought, the significance and history of tales, or simply superb entertainment. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ancient stories from a spiritual tradition
Many of these stories are quite old, yet all are given a modern and entertaining voice by the author, and each has its own applicability to specific problems. This is a very rich collection. It should not be overlooked by anyone interested in world literature or spiritual traditions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories as Tools
With each new projection of the Sufi impulse, the current exponent collects and organizes materials from the wealth accumulated during the over thousand years of works that are relavant the the current time and targeted people. It is cusomary for the potential students to study and become familiar with them so that the multiple embedded meanings may be later reveiled. This is the real, authentic, material, much of it available in the West for the first time. Since the point of these stories is function, a judgement based upon appearances, likes or dislikes, is of little value. It is far less important if a wrench is chrome or black than if it is properly designed and constructed so that it does its job.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jewels Of Spiritual Insight
Idries Shah presents a selection of stories from hundreds of years worth of Sufi literature and tradition. The stories are short, entertaining, and easily read, but also challenging since they are not so easily understood in many instances. Nevertheless, there are certainly jewels of spiritual insight to be gleaned from this book, regardless of any puzzlement one might experience in regard to its many obscurities. The patient reader will find that some stories which seem terribly obscure to begin with will, at some later reading, become perfectly obvious as to their relevance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dare to question everything
Stories that will shake your assumptions and strict belief in the established, conventional, trusted and safe relationship between cause and effect. These stories, if nothing else, open your mind to a different way of thinking. By doing that, it awakens parts of your brain that normally stay dormant. A fresh look at everyday occurrences, unquestioned practices and established thought-processes. It has an invigorating value. You don't have to 'believe' anything the author says: he is not selling anything, not even ideas. Just read and observe what happens to yourself, since these stories are about you.

1-0 out of 5 stars unbearable mumbo-jumbo
what's going on? what's the problem with people who consume such common sense useless material like this? ... Read more

69. The Light of Dawn : Daily Readings from the Holy Qur'an
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 1570625972
Catlog: Book (2000-10-31)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 305072
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it!!!
This book delivers the universal message that all spiritual beings yearn for in selected verses from the Holy Quran. The translations are easy to read and well written.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Islam and spirituality. ... Read more

70. Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America
by Jeffrey Lang
list price: $11.75
our price: $9.99
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Asin: 0915957671
Catlog: Book (1997-07-01)
Publisher: Amana Publications
Sales Rank: 100221
Average Customer Review: 4.94 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America, the author attempting to share the American convert's experience of discovering Islam. During his fifteen years of being a university professor on college campuses across the United States, he has met many young Americans of Muslim heritage who avoid or even reject Islam, being unable to reconcile their inherited faith with their acquired Western outlook. One of the principle assumptions behind this book is that even though the American culture has alienated these young people from the faith of their parents, they will be able to relate to what other Americans, of non-Muslim origin, have discovered in Islam. Talking with converts, like himself Dr. Lang found a shared common experience that approximates a characteristic path to the faith.

This book takes the reader along this path by discussing conflicts between faith and reason, difficulties associated with the decision to convert to Islam, obstructions to conversion erected by Muslims themselves, the indispensable experience of Islamic rituals, extremism within the Muslim community, and what the future may hold for American Muslims. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Even Angels Ask - A Journey to Islam in America
A precious gem. If you are looking for a book that approaches Islam in an intellectually-stimulating yet heart-warming manner, this is the book for you. It is difficult to get hold of a book on Islam written by a Western academician. Lang handled the challenge of writing such a book with brilliance. He wrote with sensitivity, honesty and open-mindedness on spiritual issues that beguile most non-Muslims as well as Muslims alike. May Allah reward him for his efforts in conveying Islam to humankind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Individualistic and completely remarkable!!!
Dr.Lang has done and absolutely wonderful piece of work! its unlike anything i've ever read before and something that I can absolutely relate to even though i'm neither american nor a convert. Just a muslim youth living abroad. I would recommend this book to Everyone cuz its something not to be missed. It shows islam in its true beauty and Dr.Lang, if you are reading this, please write more books :)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Marvellous
Even Angels Ask presents Islam from a modern perspective, to Americans as the audience. It explores some of the questions that usually concerns people who approach religion intellectually and answers them with impressive explanation not lacking spirituality itself. It's a balanced combination of faith and reason. Lang tries to address some questions considered taboos in the traditional Muslim minds, and discusses them according to his understanding. Compelling.

The book explains about the fundamentals of Islam and how the very basic of the tenets work together to provide a comprehensive guidance to the believers. Understanding the concepts and the virtues makes them more meaningful to practising Muslims. Very interesting. He stresses on the need to approach the Islamic practices for their universal values while adhering to the path, instead of taking everything literally without considering the applicability in the current context and situation. Pretty thought-provoking.

Lang talks about some of the things he found prevalent in Muslim communities, which either weaken themselves or even contradict the teachings of Islam. He suggests some actions to take in order to put Islam as the moving forces to the existing communities as well as the truthful way to be projected to new converts and to the non-Muslims.

I'm born Muslim, and indeed it is a humbling read. Although I'm not an American nor am I a resident, I lived in Ann Arbor in mid-90s. Some of the things he speaks of can be applied elsewhere too.

All in all, I'm very satisfied reading it. It's a gem.

5-0 out of 5 stars Humbling...
This is without a doubt a must read book for anyone raised in the West, specifically in America, who is intrigued by Islam as a viable spiritual path. In spite of the stereotypes and media bashing that takes place regarding Islam and Muslims there are many in the West who are converting. Mr. Lang is one of them.

The story of his journey is told humbly, cautiously, even reservedly. And this is the merit of the book. Strangely enough, his perspective allows for great conversation on the distinction between Islam's claims of absolute truth in a religious sense and those of the cultural edifice that surrounds Islam, often confused with the religious claims of Islam.

Mr. Lang is thus in a unique position to provide just critique from within the fold of Islam to goad Muslims to what is real and true within Islam. And his views are well articulated and crystal clear.

The story of his reversion to Islam is told in a heartfelt manner and is very touching. I have corresponded with him and he is a genuine seeker, one who is not satisfied with the status quo and the formal and ritualistic. This book expresses his longings both before and after is reversion. It is told in a very human and very heartfelt manner.

It is a must read for Westerners to understand the difficulty in understanding Islam and for Muslims outside of the West toward realizing what is and is not cultural when it comes to Islam's claims at universal truth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest Experience
This book is a living experience of an american who struggled to surrender. It's a must read to new converts, particularly to those who live in USA. ... Read more

71. A Border Passage: From Cairo to America-A Woman's Journey
by Leila Ahmed
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0140291830
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 154847
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In language that vividly evokes the lush summers of Cairo and the stark beauty of the Arabian desert, Leila Ahmed tells a moving tale of her Egyptian childhood growing up in a rich tradition of Islamic women and describes how she eventually came to terms with her identity as a feminist living in America.

As a young woman in Cairo in the 1940s and '50s, Ahmed witnessed some of the major transformations of this century--the end of British colonialism, the creation of Israel, the rise of Arab nationalism, and the breakdown of Egypt's once multireligious society. Amid the turmoil, she searched to define herself--and to see how the world defined her--as a woman, a Muslim, an Egyptian, and an Arab. In this memoir, she poignantly reflects upon issues of language, race, and nationality, while unveiling the hidden world of women's Islam. Ahmed's story will be an inspiration to anyone who has ever struggled to define their own cultural identity.

An Egyptian woman's "richly insightful account of the inner conflicts of a generation coming of age during and after the collapse of European imperialism." --The New York Times Book Review
... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply insightful woman's journey between cultures
A courageous trip in search of identity of a woman's inter and intracultural challenges. Growing up in an affluent Egyptian family where the British and European culture was "fashionable", she was confronted by the changes of the revolution, political turmoil and nationalism and its confrontation to the European imperialism. Leila Ahmed is courageously and insightfully analysing changes that influenced a whole generation and challenged her to search for answers. She travels in time from Egypt to England and finally as an immigrant in the US. She objectively and sensitively tries to unwind the entangled conflicts of politics, religion, and culture, through her personal experiences. As an Egyptian immigrant woman, although from a different generation, I have learned from this book about the modern history of Egypt and identified with some of her experiences as well. This is an eloquently written book and a fascinating journey!

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply insightful woman's journey between cultures
A courageous trip in search of identity of a woman's inter and intracultural challenges. Growing up in an affluent Egyptian family where the British and European culture was "fashionable", she was confronted by the changes of the revolution, political turmoil and nationalism and its confrontation to the European imperialism. Leila Ahmed is courageously and insightfully analysing changes that influenced a whole generation and challenged her to search for answers. She travels in time from Egypt to England and finally as an immigrant in the US. She objectively and sensitively tries to unwind the entangled conflicts of politics, religion, and culture, through her personal experiences. As an Egyptian immigrant woman, although from a different generation, I have learned from this book about the modern history of Egypt and identified with some of her experiences as well. This is an eloquently written book and a fascinating journey!

2-0 out of 5 stars Happy with not much
Is it because there are so few professional women who have been successful at crossing borders from the Muslim to the American realm that we apply different (low) standards to the work of someone like Ahmed? And are we applauding her simply for "getting out"?

Of *course* her English is "quite good" as someone else wrote in her/his review here; her training was in English literature. How she made the jump from there to becoming an expert in Women's Studies and then to being a historian of the medieval up to the modern Islamic world with no further ado speaks of the state of the field in writing women's history in general but especially about Muslim lands.

It appears sometimes that being born into a household where Grandmama spoke Arabic and being an ambitious female is enough to get published widely. Imagine the same thing happening in Jewish Studies. Just because she is a Jewish woman, anyone can write about Talmudic rulings on marriage and Yale will publish it? I don't think so. I realize these comments belong properly with L.Ahmed's _Women and Gender in Islam_ but they have a bearing on the autobiography as well. At least in the autobiography Ahmed is who she truly is.

I wish Dr. Ahmed well. Her _Border Crossing_ is a good read for anyone who has lived in Cairo. The elite were very Westernized in the 40-50's. The city was clean and orderly (and servants were cheap). The way she describes her home and the guests who come is vivid; the images are still with me months after reading the book. Dr. Ahmed has been on TV a number of times. She seems uncomfortable with her role as spokeswoman for intelligent Muslim women. When pressed, she (and many other women who formerly practiced their feminism *against* Islam) defends the Islamic tradition.

It is refreshing to read about kitchens, families and coming of age in a Muslim country in a pleasant style but I believe another generation will have to come who will be able to write in depth on Islam and gender in history. If those writers are highly trained, brilliant young women who perhaps have made the choice to observe Islam, *that* would be revolutionary.

5-0 out of 5 stars An eye opening account of what it means to be a Muslim
I thought that this book was amazing. I've read many books about Islam but I think that this book actually gave me a sense of what it means to be a Muslim. Sometimes when reading about religions we often only get an overview of the practices and beliefs of a religion but we rarely hear from believers of a particular religion and how they incorporate the beliefs of their religion into their everyday lives. For me, it was also interesting to read about Egypt during the 40's and 50's because it was something I have never studied before. It was interesting to see the religious diversity in Eygpt and how quickly that all changed with the rise of Nasser. Another thing I had never realized that Egyptians practically had the title Arab forced upon them, but most would never otherwise identify themselves as Arab. I think this book really exposed me to a world and a lifestyle that I had never known existed, and I think this is a must read for anyone who is open to seeing a new perspective on their world.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Border Passage
A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed is an interesting book and definitely worth your time. Within this book Ahmed confront issues of colonialism and differences between the Islam of women and that of men. The story is written as an autobiography as Ahmed recounts her childhood. The juxtaposition of the Egypt and England, where she goes to school, illuminates considerations of post-colonial loss of identity. A book that I strongly recommend for anyone interested in learning more about Islam. ... Read more

72. Islamic Historiography (Themes in Islamic History)
by Chase F. Robinson
list price: $22.99
our price: $22.99
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Asin: 0521629365
Catlog: Book (2002-11-13)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 363479
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Book Description

Chase Robinson's book is a timely introduction to Islamic historiography, from its origins in the seventh and eighth centuries to the fifteenth century. It covers the rise of the tradition, the historians' principal genres, assumptions and methods, and stresses the social and political functions of historical writing. It is an authoritative guide for students with little or no background in Islamic history or Arabic. ... Read more

73. The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount
by Gershom Gorenberg
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195152050
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 64619
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this provocative work, seasoned journalist Gershom Gorenberg portrays a deadly mix of religious extremism, violence, and Mideast politics, as expressed in the struggle for the sacred center of Jerusalem. Known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, this thirty-five-acre enclosure at the southeast corner of Jerusalem's Old City is the most contested piece of real estate on earth. Here nationalism combines with fundamentalist faith in a volatile brew. Members of the world's three major monotheistic faiths--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--hold this spot to be the key to salvation as they await the end of the world, and struggle to fulfill conflicting religious prophecies with dangerous political consequences. Adroitly portraying American radio evangelists of the End, radical Palestinian sheikhs, and Israeli ex-terrorists, Gorenberg explains why believers hope for the End, and why prominent American fundamentalists provide hard-line support for Israel while looking forward to the apocalypse. He makes sense of the messianic fervor that has driven some Israeli settlers to oppose peace. And he describes the Islamic apocalyptic visions that cast Israel's actions in Jerusalem as diabolic plots. The End of Days shows how conflict over Jerusalem and the fiery belief in apocalypse continue to have a potent impact on world politics and why a lasting peace in the Middle East continues to prove elusive. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ
After four decades travelling in Israel and reading everything I could get my hands on about Israel and the Middle East conflict, I thought I knew my stuff pretty well. Then I read this book. It not only provided me with a wealth of information that I had never read before, but it opened a dozen new windows onto the complexity of what's going on in Jerusalem. It is smart. It is beautifully written - crisp, concise, insightful. And it is stunningly sensitive to the multitude of religious conflicts colliding in Jerusalem's ground zero. So whether you're a Christian looking for some insight into the Christian dimension to this conflict, a Jew interested in broadening his or her view of the Temple Mount, or a secular person just trying to figure out why peace seems such an impossibility, you will have a real treat in store for you. Frankly, this should be the first textbook in current Middle East politics 101 since Gorenberg takes you right into the heart of what is going on today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow! A fascinating and informative book
I had no idea of just how complicated things were in the Middle East until I read this book. Although the book is only about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Gorenberg is able to show the ways in which it really distills all the major problems in the region in miniature. Essentially, he tells about the impact that the fundamentalisms of the three religions of the book--Islam, Judaism, and Christianity--has had on the Mount. This book ought to be required reading for anyone wanting to understand the political situation in the world today. It will also explain why in all the peace plans that are offered by Israel, Palestine, or the US, the Muslims retain control of the Temple Mount. If anyone even threatened to take control away, it would probably result in World War III, so passionately is Al-Aqsa held by the Muslim world. Some in the Christian world imagine that a Jewish Temple will be rebuilt on the former Temple of David, but the book explains why this is a pipedream.

A great book. I couldn't recommend it strongly enough.

3-0 out of 5 stars End of Reason
Gorenberg's book is certainly interesting and thought provoking. Although, while reading it, I couldn't help but feel I was reviewing a National Geographic article on some primitive tribe on the Amazon, not the great online bookseller, the river. Such was Gorenberg's rendering of the madness of the fundamentalists. Gorenberg is, first and foremost, a journalist; and his style is, naturally, journalistic. It makes for lively and interesting reading, but there is really little analysis and virtually no synthesis in the overall presentation.

One of the more interesting and important aspects that Gorenberg does develop well is the odd alliance of America's Christian Zionist movement with the Israeli religious right. Why is this alliance odd? Well, understanding of classic Christianity reveals that it is fundamentally at odds with Judaism, which is not a Biblical faith at all, but rather allegiance to the Talmudic Pharisees, the Kabbalah, and the Babylonian Talmud. This aspect is dramatically exposed in the support of misguided "Christian" zealots, such as Irvin Baxter, who support the terrorist founded and oriented Temple Mount Faithful movement of Gershom Soloman. Soloman's predecessor was, of course, Stanley Goldfoot, who was responsible for the King David Hotel terrorist bombing and the assassination of Count Bernadotte. Baxter supports said terrorist organization by influencing his misled radio and "ministry" followers to send money to various causes that further the insidious work of the terrorist "faithful". It is interesting to note, as Gorenberg insightfully observes, that Baxter has made rather a career of exciting his sleep walking followers to anticipate the imminent "End of Days" all the while sending emergency funds to his "ministry", such that news of the end can be promulgated with dispatch. If such reasoning appeals to you, perhaps you will really enjoy Gorenberg's book and Baxter's rather silly radio show.

Gorenberg ends his book by reciting a rabbinic story relative to the murder of Abel by his brother, Cain. This is a fitting end to his book, as it leaves to Talmudic jurisprudence and dialectic the guilt or innocense of Cain. In the end, it is not the Word of God that matters to such as Gorenberg and Baxter. It is the guile of the rabbis. The book ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very well-written !
This book is a must-read for someone who requires to know what role the prophecies in the Bible and Torah have to do with what is happening in the Mid-East today.
For the reader with no experience with Biblical or Jewish scriptures this book is a wonderful and very well written and concise summary of the content therein and how that drives the people who believe in it.
The writer portrays how religious fundamentalists can endanger the world we live in by following such prophecies.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Needs more in-depth study.
Having read all the reviews, most of which heap praise on this book, I picked it up with a sense of eager anticipation. Jerusalem being a city that I know so very well and love more than any other.

Only too aware of the immense religious and political significance of the Jerusalem's Temple Mount to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, I expected to read a serious, in-depth, respectful study of the relevance of the Temple Mount to all the parties concerned, particularly in relation to how all faiths view it's place in the end times.

Whilst these subjects are touched upon and there is much of merit in this book, I do not feel that the book does justice to this colossal subject.

I feel that time and again, the writer's personal opinions are allowed to taint this study. Whilst such should be respected, I fail to find any justification for deviating from essential & pivotal issues to personally attack and insult Christian evangelists for example, over their own personal appearances & histories, or to ridicule the differing personal opinions of others professing some knowledge of the Temple Mount. Accusations of certain beliefs/opinions as being 'myths' without any appropriate elaboration or explanation for such accusations leaves a lot to be desired.

Others might accuse me of 'nit-picking', but I feel that this is a subject that needs to be approached with the utmost respect. I consider that there is much destructive criticism within this book, smeared at times with arrogance, whilst constructive criticism and respect is unfortunately sometimes lacking, as is any real in-depth study to the issues concerned. Other reviews quite correctly state the immense signifcance and importance of the matters discussed here, but I am left feeling that this subject needs to be addressed with far more depth and far more respect.

There are better books out there on these matters. Might I respectfully suggest that interested persons read "Secrets Of Jerusalem's Temple Mount" by Leen & Kathleen Ritmeyer, "The Coming Last Days Temple" and "Jerusalem In Prophecy" both by Randall Price. Thanks for listening. ... Read more

74. The Mysticism of Sound and Music (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570622310
Catlog: Book (1996-09-03)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 102642
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful book
This book has honestly changed my life. I have always felt close to God; this book has brought me even closer. I can see more clearly now the obscure in the ordinary and a fascination with the familiar. I would reccomend this book to anyone who interested more in the inner journey. This book has filled me with music and tuned me to the music of the universe.
Sai Ram

4-0 out of 5 stars AAAAAHHHHHwesome!!
This book has fine tuned my perception, realligned my focus and I can feel its results every morning when I awake with a song in my heart. Buy it, Read It 'n' Suck It Up!! ... Read more

75. The Place of Tolerance in Islam
by Khaled Abou El Fadl
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807002291
Catlog: Book (2002-11-08)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 257230
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

We suddenly find ourselves with very little knowledge of a religion and culture that continues to have an enormous impact on our world. Through a close reading of the Qur'an, Khaled Abou El Fadl shows that injunctions to violence against nonbelievers stem from misreadings. Even jihad, or so-called holy war, has no basis in Qur'anic text or Muslim theology, but instead was an outgrowth of social and political conflict.

Reading the holy text in the appropriate moral and historical contexts shows that Islamic civilization has long been pluralistic, and even usually tolerant of other religions. Leading scholars of Islam offer nuanced commentary
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Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars position and counterpoint
An excellent essay and responses by numerous informed commentators to understand the very real place of tolerance in Islam - especially in theory and scripture. Worth reading thoughtfully to correct the common partial or out of context quotations and polemics by Islamphobes. Most informed on the History would recognize Islam has also been significantly more tolerant that Christianity (if not Secularism) whatever the numerous exceptions at various places and times. It would have be nice to have fuller development of some themes and some historical examples but that was not the task that authors set for themselves.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent book on the place of tolerance in Islam! And yes Islam just like any religion can be either tolerant or very oppressive depending on the believers interpretations. The reader/reviewer who gave one star wishes to imply that there is no tolerance in Islam and that it is just a violent religion. What childish notions, believers of all relgions have oppressed minorities and forcibly converted them. This is not an accusation that can only be leveled at just Muslims, but to all followers of any religion. Ther is ample evidence that shows contrary to popular belief Islam was NOT spread by the sword.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short Volume
This is an excellent short volume. The best thing about the book is that various viewpoints are presented. Fadl writes his opinion on how classical Islam is tolerant, and that it has only recently been perverted. In response we get to read other opinions ranging from those who feel that Islam is naturally anti-tolerant, to those who feel that Fadl is a "sell-out" for lack of a better word, for trying to fit Islam into a Western ideaology.

Excellent reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book
Finally a breath of fresh air , away from either cliche stereotypes of Islam or puritanical versions of it . A good book for both academics and lay persons wanting to learn more about some aspects of islamic theology and history and how they pertain to present day debate about Islam and democracy . All put forward in a simple and eloquent manner . The various essays in this book just prove that there is wide room in Islam for diversity of opinions sometimes mutually excluding one another . More importantly it goes to show that it is imperative to keep the doors of dialogue wide open . And this book has successfully achieved both .

5-0 out of 5 stars Does tolerance have a place in Islam?
What a refreshing departure from the largely vacuous and incredibly simplistic discussions about Islam in the mass media! In this remarkable collection of biting, pithy essays, a number of prominent academics and intellectuals conduct a lively debate on the question of tolerance in Islam in light of the horrifying, sobering events of September 11, 2001. Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, a scholar of Islamic law at UCLA, presents and defends his case for tolerance in Islam. Contributing essayists include Tariq Ali (an atheist and Trotskyite), Abid Ullah Jan (a rigidly conservative Muslim), Amina Wadud (a Muslim feminist), Stanley Kurtz (a rightwing American), Qamar-ul Huda (a partisan of Sufism), as well as such prominent academics as John Esposito, Milton Viorst, R. Scott Appleby, and others.

Abou El Fadl opens with a moving essay on the place of tolerance in Islam. He is resolute in his opinion that tolerance does indeed have a rightful place in Islam and that fanaticism, particularly of the sort propagated by such monsters as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, is the product of subjecting Islam?s sacred texts to totally ahistorical, decontextualized readings. He argues that extremist groups have always existed in the history of Islam. However, extremists had always been marginalized by the mainstream of Islamic legal thinkers, not a few of whom considered holier-than-thou terrorism an outright criminal offense against Islamic law.

Furthermore, classical Islam thrived on an astonishing diversity of opinions, largely made possible because doctors of the law were free of state control. "The reality," says Abou El Fadl, "is that when compared to the puritans of modern Islam, classical Muslim scholars look like raving liberals." It is only after the colonization of the Muslim world that traditional institutions of law were dismantled and that Islam's doctors of the law were absorbed into the power structure of the recently imposed nation-state system. Such an alliance between the state and the religious establishment effectively ruled out divergent legal opinions and superimposed an obdurately conservative and narrow interpretation of Islam. Abou El Fadl understandably attributes the suffocation of contemporary Islamic legal thinking to this unholy alliance between religion and power. Furthermore, he reserves decidedly acerbic criticism for Saudi Arabia's notorious brand of puritan Islam, Wahhabism.

Abou El Fadl introduces some startling facts about Islamic history, such as the classical debate concerning Islamic imperial expansionism and the poll tax. Apparently, the Prophet of Islam did not impose a universal system of poll taxes on non-Muslims and 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Caliph, made an agreement with certain Arab Christian groups for them to pay the zakat (charitable tax) just like Muslims.

The responses to Abou El Fadl's essay are equally engaging, but I only want to mention the more interesting of these. Tariq Ali expectedly relegates the role of religion to an inferior place, exuberantly foretelling the rise of agnosticism and atheism in Muslim countries, and focuses on geopolitics to explain the rise of Muslim fanaticism. Stanley Kurtz, of the (neo-) conservative Hoover Institute at Stanford University, seeks to blame the population explosion and economic failure of Muslim societies for the rise of extremism - an argument that conspicuously avoids addressing the disastrous role of US foreign policy on the Middle East. John Esposito presents a careful analysis of the struggle between conservatives and reformers in contemporary Islam, and observes the pressing need for Muslims to reappropriate religious authority from the fanatics by way of classical Islamic legal theories.

The most disappointing response of all is that of the Pakistani Muslim conservative Abid Ullah Jan. In his essay, audaciously titled, "The Limits of Tolerance", Jan turns the entire discussion upside down and directs belligerent questions about tolerance against the West instead. He absolutely rejects any designation of any Muslim group whatsoever as fundamentalists and puritans, insisting that they are all (he doesn?t bother to name them) engaged in "principled resistance", a rather bizarre description for what often constitutes terrorist activities. Jan also defends the integrity of the Taliban, without bothering to comment on their indiscriminate massacres of Shi'ite Muslims and their horrifying treatment of women, religious minorities, and foreign aid workers. Nowhere does he condemn the killing of innocent civilians by terrorist groups. He insists that Muslims who promote tolerance are simply self-hating, Anglophilic sellouts. It is not surprising then that Abou El Fadl returns the criticism in his concluding essay.

It is unfortunate that many conservative Muslims, of whom Jan is but acutely symptomatic, are psychologically incapable of self-criticism where self-criticism is long overdue. As John Esposito says, "If Western powers need to rethink and reassess their foreign policies and their support for authoritarian regimes, mainstream Muslims worldwide will need to address more aggressively the threat from religious extremists." Looking in the mirror is apparently the greatest challenge for everyone. The need for Muslim introspection is precisely where Dr. Abou El Fadl has played so impressive a role before and after 9-11.

Irrespective of whatever view one has on the question of tolerance on Islam, this book is a must read. A more diverse collection of essays on this topic, packed into so modest a number of pages, will be impossible to come by. This book highly recommended, no question about it. ... Read more

76. The Muqaddimah
by Ibn Khaldun
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691017549
Catlog: Book (1969-03-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 273636
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Muqaddimah, often translated as "Introduction" or "Prolegomenon," is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work laid down the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamicist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in America and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal's masterful translation was first published in 1969.

This new edition of the abridged version, with the addition of a key section of Rosenthal's own introduction to the three-volume edition, and with a new introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence, will reintroduce this seminal work to twenty-first-century students and scholars of Islam and of medieval and ancient history.

... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterful work that is good for all times

The English interpretation of Ibn Khaldun's historical works should be read by all those who wish to gain a better understanding into the currents that drive human civilization. The scholar's words, although they were written down over six hundred years ago, contain insights that are remarkable and wisdom that will provide the reader with a fresh outlook on the world around them.

The work deals with the various conditions that underly the rise, maintenence, maturity and decline of civilization and of the political entities that are created by people. The role of the "dynasty" (government) in the economy, the effect of taxation, the circulation of wealth, and other aspects of the political economy are set down in great detail.

Ibn Khaldun describes the stages that every civilization passes from the turmoil of the inception of political entities, through the stability of the "middle period," to the "senility" and decline. Where the pursuit of luxury and ease in a sociey dominates and results in the eventual death of the dynasty. His parallel of the life of a society and with the life of an individual is a thing that is thought provoking.

I hope more people will read this book and thereby experience the genius of Ibn Khaldun.


Sharif M. Sazzad

5-0 out of 5 stars The Newton of Social Sciences!
I first read this book as part of a history course, but I only appreciated it when I read it later at a slower pace (the first time was just some pre-exam cramming!). I like to use the analogy of ibn Khaldun being the Isaac Newton of social sciences since their contributions were similar in a way: they both took a very ordinary happenings that people take for granted everyday (the falling objects in Isaac Newton's case, everyday social life in ibn Khaldun's case), researched them and gave some marvellous findings. ibn Khaldun shows how societies and people group together to form communities, cities and eventually countries and nations. He shows through logical reasoning the relationship between social and economic circumstances within a society, plus many other fascinating findings that show that the medieval Arabs must have had some very organized researchers and thinkers. Definitely one of the best books ever written on social sciences.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dated in ways, but nonetheless carries some core truths
You can chisel out the sections on temperature and race, temperature and behavior, for these are silly and offensive. He compares Sub-Saharan Africans as just a hair above dumb animals, and he slams Arabs and Bedouin in other ways. However, his sections on economics and social politics are still valid, and he was a pioneer in areas that other Westerners tend to get credit for.

Before Adam Smith outlined the need for "Specialized labor" in a commercial society, there was Ibn Khaldun. Khaldun wrote of the pivotal role of "crafts" and specialization of crafts in a functioning human society. He even suggests that skills in crafts are limited, that is, if you're a master shoe-maker you in all likelihood won't be a master farmer. Therefore, master shoe-makers should make as many shoes as they can and farmers should farm as they can, so as to produce as many goods between the two of them than if they shared their time doing both. Before there was Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises, Ibn Khaldun implied the need for Rule of Law. Khaldun chastized the Bedouin who disrupted the social order through their raids, and sent the craftsmen packing. Some sort of consistent legal standard and social order is needed to ensure that specialized labor has the ability to perform its "crafts". Before there was Reaganomics and Arthur Laffer, there was Ibn Khaldun. You want more tax revenue? Cut taxes, which provides incentive for people to work harder and expand their enterprises. More business, more economic growth, more tax revenue. High taxes deter enterprise and shrinks tax revenue. Arthur Laffer? Yes, but Ibn Khaldun 300+ years earlier.

The issue Khaldun is most known for is "squadness", Group Feeling, Group Narcissism, Tribalism, whatever you wish to call it. Governments and regimes come and go based on the strength of the leaders to appeal to group cohesion. This could be religious, blood, nationalist, whatever, but regimes need ideological cohesion in order to survive. Once that group feeling is lost, the regime becomes weak and conquerable if not self destructive. Multiculturalism and Postmodernism would be signs of cultural disorder and eventual social crumbling to Ibn Khaldun. Crane Brinton, Erich Fromm, Erik Hoffer all touched on the "Group Feeling" themes in their own works, in different ways and emphases, and in many ways did it better (they had more historical examples to pull from, since history has dramatically accelerated since Khaldun's time), nonetheless, Khaldun was the one who first articulated this concept of political and social (dis)order.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone
Arnold Toynbee described this book as " Undoutedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever been created by any mind in any time or place ..." That is what convinced me to read the book, but I don't think it is for everyone.

In addition to being the "earliest critical study of history", the book is truely encyclopedic, coverying sociology, culture, theology, and economics , in addition to history. It covers the rise and fall of dynasties and civilizations ( you can see why Toynbee liked it), the necessary conditions for civilization to arise and what determines the level of civilization that will be achieved by a given population.

To pick one topic on which I have some backgroud, economics , the author sucessfully analyzes the effect of demand and supply on prices, the effect of population growth on the economy, the effect of low stable prices on commerce, and the different ways merchants make profits. All, long before these were understood in Western Europe. He also presents the case for Supply Side Economics ( the proposition that raising taxes will result in lower revenue) 600 years before Art Laffer and Ronald Reagan.

Although he refers frquently to God, Muhammad, and the Qur'an (Koran), and has an entire section devoted to theology , his approach is consistently analytical rather than religious. In many was he is influenced by Aristotle, whom he quotes favorably several times.

Unfortunately I found this a difficult book to read. Although I realize that the book has tremendous historical importance, and was highly original at the time it was written , reading it in the 21st Century I found much of the theory of history to be obvious. Not being familiar with Muslim history , I found many of his examples to be incomprehensible. Lacking a knowledge of Medeival Muslim society and culture, I found much of the institutional discussion to lack content and therefore interest.

I'm sure that for someone better read on early Muslim history and society, this is a great book.But if you are not, I do not reccomend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shockingly amazing. A real treasure of knowledge
I first came across this amazing gem of a book while browsing through the travel section of a Borders bookstore, while my friend shopped for his software books. Just a casual glance at a couple of pages were enough to take me by storm. I almost felt as if both 'my sensibilia and my intelligibilia' (commonly used words in this book) had taken the first sip of one of the most beautifully intoxicating drink.

I soon brought it home and read it, and I read it like a hog, literally. Although, the language is a bit archaic for me, I suppose the difficulty stems from the fact that I am from a totally different field, (I am a computer systems engineer); at every turn of a page, I wished and prayed that I could pour the entire contents of the book into my head in one moment. Very rarely have I had such a desperate feeling to read a book in it's entirety.

A.J. Toynbee has remarked quite aptly about this book. "Undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever been created by any mind in any time or place..."

And I totally agree with him.

Besides delving into great details on the science of history and sociology, Ibn-Khaldun has touched upon topics I could never have imagined a scholar of those times would even think of. Mind dazzling discussions on even distant subjects like the classification of sciences, alchemy, medicine, mathematics/algebra/geometry (conics! surds!), lexicography, grammar, politics, warfare, trade, customs duties, taxation, espionage, inheritance, astronomy, astrology, sorcery, magic, physics, metaphysics, agriculture, sufism, Islamic jurisprudence, tips for students and teachers, concept of perception and extra-sensory perception, and tons of totally amazing stuff.

He even indicates where we can get even more detailed information on these topics.

He provides a very close-up view of contemporary scholarly exercise and debates and controversies. Discusses ancient and contemporary scholars and their books, Arab as well as non-Arab (Greek, Roman, Persian, Syrian, Coptic,...), casually reviewing/criticising their works as he goes along (sometimes quite insensitively and also unfairly at times, though I assume it was ultimately a classic way of scholarly interaction acrosss space and time that exists in all ages - perhaps!). However, he does ultimately provide us with great insights into works of ancient and contemporary scientists, scholars and philosophers. He has already added a number of Greek, Arabic and Persian books to the list of books I MUST read now. Amazing book indeed. A must for anybody who is interested in the monumental works in the field of knowledge.

God is the best in Knowledge. ... Read more

77. Message to the Blackman in America
by Elijah Muhammad
list price: $14.95
our price: $12.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1884855148
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Secretarius Memps Publications
Sales Rank: 117908
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

According to countless mainstream news organs, Elijah Muhammad, by far, was the most powerful black man in America. Known more for the students he produced, like Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and Muhammad Ali, this controversial man exposed the black man as well as the world to a teaching, till now, was only used behind closed doors of high degree masons and shriners. An easy and smart read. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Knowledge of Self and God is the best knowledge
Message to the Blackman is the best book in the world. It gives to the Black man and woman in America to keys to open up the truths of who they are, who God is, who the Devil is and so much more. Many may dispute that this is not true Islam, but if you truly study scripture in Bible and Holy Quran you will see the truths come to fruition. Many truths have been locked away for countless number of years from the black man and woman, and the world in general. Many of what we as a society have been taught by white people has been lies due to white supremacy. Message to the black man is an eye opener that tells in plain english what was stolen from us for years and the true knowledge of what is going on in the world. Religion, beliefs and our righteous moral values and birthright was stolen from the black man and woman and Elijah Muhammad through Master Fard Muhammad gave black people back all of this and then some...All praise is due to Allah for these teachings.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best book for Brothers
This is a great book to read... As a black christain I would recommend that every brother / sister should read this book and then reread the bibke and holy quran....

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, Bad, Ugly.
Several people recommended this book to me. They were not shining examples of good character. They all have drug and/or alcohol addiction, they are unemployed and/or broke, and they are very racist against white people. They all seemed to think of themselves as superior to non-black races as well. They brag about the superiority of the black man and the originality of the black people. Meanwhile they chase as many white girls as they can possibly get. Then they make excuses for all their shortcomings and write it of as the imperfection of man yet they think they are God incarnate.

I read the book and got pretty much what I expected. Some aspects I admired like the call to self improvement and self determination. The racial and religeous bigotry I could have done without. It's ugly no matter where or who it comes from.

Reading this book reaffirmed my distaste for religeous and racial intolerance in all its forms. Life is more than race or religeon anyway. Hate consumes itself.

I take into account that this book was written in the era of segregation and it is a testament of the history of racism in America. Just take a look at what's going on on the planet now and you'll get sick at all the racial and religious hate going on from every direction.

1-0 out of 5 stars This is not Islam
It is unfortunate that throughout the ages countless numbers of persons have been mislead by those who claim to be messengers or prophets of God. The Quran, the final revelation to mankind (and this is attested to by the Quran itself, and by those who believe that it is the true words of the One God) states clearly that the Prophet Muhammad (the son of Abdullah, from the tribe of Quraysh, born in 570 C.E.) is the Seal of the Prophets; therefore no prophet or messenger will be sent after him to mankind. (Jesus, the son of Mary, will however return to the earth as one of the major signs of the last days.)

For you non-Muslims the above probably sounds like just more religious talk. For believing Muslims, however, it is imperative that we accept the Quran as true and complete. With this understanding we can easily distinguish false claims from the true. In the case of Elijah Muhammad, his assertions to being the "Messenger of Allah" are an obvious deviation from the truth, proven by the fact that his teachings are diametrically opposed the what true Islam teaches. I won't waste space going into detail on this, because most people who are reading the reviews of this book are probably familiar with his theological ideas.

The real suffering of black people in racist America aside, Elijah cannot be lauded for the "good" that he accomplished, for a structure built on a foundation of falsehood in the long-term bears nothing useful. If a person, regardless of his skin color or culture, is searching for the true faith, I recommend that he reads the Quran with an open mind and avoids such works as the book under review.

Peace be upon those who follow the right guidance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reading!!

This book is probably the most profound writing in the 20th century. The book reads simplisticly so that the average reader can understand, but yet it has such tremendous depth that a scientist can grow from Elijah's teachings. Some whites may be offended by his words, but they need not be. Because, he gives justice to blacks and whites in this book. He actually critizes blacks more in this book!
You must remeber Elijah was standing up since the 1930's. A time that blacks were hung for looking at or commonly called "eye balling" a white woman. Coupled with segregation, and only being maybe 100yrs from chattle slavery. Elijah the master psychologist put a mirror to white people with a writing on it labled devil, and did to whites what they had been doing to blacks since coming on the shores of America. He keep whites out of their Sunday meetings, which angered whites even though they kicked blacks out of their restaraunts and kept them out of their churches. And, at the same time he put up a mirror to blacks and labeled that mirror God. This was to give confidence and definition to a people who for 300yrs were oppressed by slavery, and 100yrs after slavery suffered church bombings, lynching, segregation etc.
So, after analyzing his teaching he was simply was putting in check white superiority, and putting in check black inferority. In essence, giving justice to both races. Some may disagree with Elijah's teaching of the making of the devil, but I say the truth is stranger than fiction.
The Nation of Islam often lambased for teaching a ghetto religion only verifies what Elijah was teaching, and what the Bible teaches. Jesus was not a rich man as a matter of fact he was from the ghetto. According to the bible the rulers at that time asked, "what good can come out of Nazareth." Historically, most if not all great leaders rise from the most oppressed people. Examples range from Jesus,Muhammad, Ghandi, Jesse Jackson, Moses, etc., etc.
Elijah also destroys typical beleifs of God being a spirt, or as he likes to call it a "spook". And, offers Quranic and Biblical references to his findings which challenges not only Christianity, but the Islmaic world also.
In conclusion, excellent reading for anyone regardless of race, religion, or ethic backgound. ... Read more

78. Radical Islam's Rules: The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Shari'a Law : The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Shari'a Law
by Paul Marshall
list price: $85.00
our price: $85.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0742543617
Catlog: Book (2005-03-28)
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Sales Rank: 577646
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Book Description

A major feature of the rise of Islamism in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and parts of the West is the current rapid growth of a starkly repressive version of shari'a , Islamic law. In this book, noted human rights activists and scholars trace the growth of such law in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Indonesia, show its threat to the status of women, religious freedom, and democracy itself, and suggest how we should respond. ... Read more

79. Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam
list price: $11.75
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0915957264
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Amana Publications
Sales Rank: 91755
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Intriguing Story of one man's path to Islam
Dr. Lang's story of his path to Islam is both amazing andheart-touching. This book presents a wonderful account of one's feelings as he/she comes to understand and recognize the truth of Islam. This book is great for Non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Dr. Lang also provides some facts and proof for the reasons he turned to Islam (as welll as some personal experiences that are nothing short of astounding). He gives the reader more than an overview of Islam. He takes the reader through a journey that speaks on life in general and its meaning.

5-0 out of 5 stars A true Approach to Islam
Dr Lang's approach to Islam is very thoughtful, knowlegeable and logical. Dr Lang has a grasp to the true teachings of Islam. He is able to discern the true spirit of Islam, from the inherited misunderstandings of this religion that prevails even today in the muslim world. This book will shed the light on the misconceptions that were carried out throughout the years, for muslims and non-muslims alike.This book is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Different prespective about Islam
Dr. Lang a professor of Mathematic of KU gives an account of his conversion. He gives a very unique prespective of ISLAM.The books is probably directed at American Muslims, but this book is great if someone wants to learn about Islam, Muslim or non Muslims

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding Islam ( for Muslims and Non-Muslims)
Struggling to surrender is a remarkable book. It is an easy and interesting read yet it is full of new perspectives and profound thoughts. Dr. Lang discusses many concepts that I myself have struggled with for years like faith and reason, why bad things happen to good people, destiny and fate, and the purpose of life. He also discusses controversial topics like the place of Prophet Mohammad traditions (Hadith), women in Islam, Jihad and apostasy. Throughout he presents his ideas in a knowledgeable and logical way and supports them with verses from the Holy Qoran. The English translation of the Qoran that Dr. Lang uses is also one of the excellent features of his book.
"Struggling to surrender", I believe, presents Islam in its original pure and uncorrupted form. This book will touch your heart, stimulate your mind and change your life because it will guide you to the true spirit and essence of Islam as manifested in the Holy Qoran.
Dr. Lang quotes one of the well-known Muslim writers as saying " Islam has the best religion and the worst believers". I think this is absolutely true. I have turned away from Islam at one point because of misconceptions that came from watching and listening to " Muslim brothers and sisters" preaching their version of Isalm. I have to say that it is the version that dominates the Arab/ Muslim world today (an extreme form was the Taliban). After years of struggling myself, my salvage came through the Qoran. It was God's mercy that led me to read and study the Qoran cover to cover and find true Islam.
Although this book is directed at American Muslims, I think it is a must read for all Muslims and also for Non-Muslims who want to learn about Islam.

5-0 out of 5 stars Experience, logic, and feelings for turbulent times
This book tells how one individual seeks a meaning to Life and finds it. He is not just narrating his personal experience, but also giving the reader years of true scholarly work and deep understanding of Islam. This book tells a familiar story but with a happy ending that is still going on. It tells of the journey of an individual through the craziness of the world. Dr. Lang found his safe harbor in a turbulent time. His journey while deeply personal can be taken by anyone and he draws the map for all. Dr. Lang's understanding of Islam is truly amazing. ... Read more

80. Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?
by Timothy George
list price: $12.99
our price: $9.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0310247489
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 128321
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An articulate presentation of the distinctive Christian understanding of God in the context of resurgent Islam, aimed at helping Christian believers speak and live the truth in love and learn how to interact with Muslim ideas in an increasingly pluralistic culture. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?"
I have just finished reading the book "Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?"
In my opinion it is a very good book for those of us that are searching for answers as to the differences in the two religions. I found it very helpful. The author went into great detail in his explanations but did so that these explanations were not beyond my understanding. I have purchased books on Islam, seeking to understand more than just what they believe, and have been disappointed in the material or its presentation. But I found this book to be interesting and informative. Thank you for making it available.
Wes Samsel - Harrisburg, PA

5-0 out of 5 stars Help those who interact with Islamic friends and co-workers
Timothy George presents fair and balanced description of Islam as well as a informative and effective comparison of the two faiths in this easy-to-read volume.

In particular, his focus on the doctrine of the Trinity, will be helpful to those of us who interact with Muslim friends or co-workers. The high light of the text (for me) is the informative and interesting chapter (or two) of Church history which discusses the early church's disputed teaching which led to the solidification of the Doctrine of the Trinity at the Coucil of Nisea (as stated in the Nicean Creed), many of which are the same, or similar, arguments that Muslims have with it.

The book is an "easy read" considering the depth of the subject matter, enjoyable, pratical, short and to the point. I highly recommend it! ... Read more

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