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1. Assassination Vacation
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2. The Assassins: A Radical Sect
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3. An Introduction to Shi'I Islam:
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4. The Martyrs Of Karbala: Shi'i
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5. Sacred Space And Holy War: The
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6. Roman Catholics and Shi'i Muslims:
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7. Principles of Sufism
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8. Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam
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9. The Most Learned of the Shi'A:
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10. Letters of a Sufi Master (Fons
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11. Religion and Politics in Iran
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12. Mary the Blessed Virgin of Islam
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13. Islam in Practice: Religious Beliefs
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14. Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat
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15. The Arab Shi'a : The Forgotten
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16. The Book of Assistance
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17. The Twelve Shia in Modern Times:
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18. The Just Ruler (Al-Sultan Al-Adil)
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19. Early Sufi Women: Dhikr An-Niswa
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20. Know Your Islam

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

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

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

Reviews (25)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam
by Bernard Lewis
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0465004989
Catlog: Book (2002-11)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 236857
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Assassins is a comprehensive, readable, and authoritative account of history's first terrorists. An offshoot of the Ismaili Shi'ite sect of Islam, the Assassins were the first group to make systematic use of murder as a political weapon. Established in Iran and Syria in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, they aimed to overthrow the existing Sunni order in Islam and replace it with their own. They terrorized their foes with a series of dramatic murders of Islamic leaders, as well as of some of the Crusaders, who brought their name and fame back to Europe.

Professor Lewis traces the history of this radical group, studying its teachings and its influence on Muslim thought. Particularly insightful in light of the rise of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. and in Israel, this account of the Assassins--whose name is now synonymous with politically motivated murderers--places recent events in historical perspective and sheds new light on the fanatic mind. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly treatise on the Assassins
Bernard Lewis's The Assassins is a supremely academic introduction to one of the most well-known and most feared sects within historical Islam.

The work, originally written in 1967, begins with a detailed explanation of the historical roots of the Assassins, a Nizari Ismaili sect within Shi'a Islam that used targeted killings in the Middle Ages to achieve political, military, and religious goals. Lewis uses a wealth of historical sources to untangle the myths of the Assassins and trace the group's history throughout Medieval Islam. While many people have a general knowledge of or interest in the Assassins, Lewis's book provides in-depth information about the inner workings of this secretive sect.

While the title and subject of this book may appeal to the general reader, the book is extremely scholarly. This is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness. Lewis's use of primary source material, much of it previously undiscovered or unused, lends an extraordinary authoritativeness to the book. Lewis is able to fluidly weave this historical source material throughout the book, making it invaluable for historians and regional specialists. However, the book's extensive use of historical sources and quotes limits its accessibility to the general reader. As someone with an academic background in the Middle East and Islam, I still occasionally found myself overwhelmed by the density and scholarliness of Lewis's writing.

The book is a must-read for Middle East/Islamic specialists and historians. It is a superb example of succinct, historical, scholarly writing. However, general readers looking for insights into modern day Islamic terrorism and fanaticism will likely find themselves disappointed and overwhelmed by The Assassins.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Timely History
Bernard Lewis remains one of the most respected Middle Eastern historians and is a name more Americans should be familiar with. "The Assassins" was originally published in 1967. This edition has been updated slightly but most of the text is unchanged. The work represents some of the best scholarly efforts of Professor Lewis, especially his work with original historical sources. Some readers may be disappointed with this book however, in that they may be looking for conncections with modern Islamic terrorism. Those connections are elusive. This is a history of sectarian divisions within Islam, particulary certain Ismaili sects of Shi'i Islam. Foremost among those divisions was a sect known generally as the Assassins (do not look for a direct connection between this fascinating religious sect and modern events...there is none). The Assassins began with the sinister Hasn i-Sabbah, and practiced religious and political murder often with the use of certain drugs (hashish for one which may have produced the Persian reference to this group). Oddly enough, most of the targets of the various orders of the Assassins were Sunni Muslims. Christians, such as the Crusaders, were only rarely singled out for their particular arts. As Lewis tells us the Ismailis were generally radical and the Assassins perphaps the most radical sect in Islam. This is a very readible volume, at a very affordable price. Although a scholarly work "The Assassins" is easily accessable to the general reader with an interest in the Middle East. As an undergraduate in college, this writer nearly wore out the single volume in the university library and is very happy to have a new edition in the bookshelf.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not a scholarly book: cut and paste brief history
This is not a bad book, but it is too short, fragmented, with few footnotes, and seems like a collection of thoughts more than a 'scholarly' book.

Keeping that in mind, it gets 2 stars. You can also surf the web and get the same information.

4-0 out of 5 stars The story of the assassins and their effect on modern life.
Bernard Lewis is a prominent Middle East historian whose current works focus on the causes and use of terrorism in this area. This is one of his first books and he details the rise of the assassins in the Shiite area of Syria and Iran. The Assassins practiced political terror, since they were a small sect which held little ground. The use of assassination gave them advantages over their larger rivals, since it instilled fear into the top polical level of their rivals. These rivals wanted to control the Ismaili territories, but could not due to their location and the threat which assassination posed.
Lewis's book is overly scholarly and the readability of this short book is difficult. Many complex Islamic names also hinder the reader's ability to comprehend some of this material. However, the book gives the story of the rise of the assassins and the history of the religion of the Ismailis and the Aga Khan.
This book is beneficial to the history of the Middle East.

4-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly and thought provoking
This new edition has come out in the wake of the Sept 11 bombings and and upsurge in interest in Bernard Lewis's works. Those expecting a "glossy," ripped-from-the-headlines history might be put off by this book... it is a slightly updated reprinting of his classic history written a half-century ago. While it may not be a popular coffee table book, it is a throrough, highly informed work on the group that gave its name to political murder. To be honest, I got much more out of it the second time I read through it... some of the names, medieval politics, and Islamic debates left me feeling lost. The second time through, more things fell into place and I appreciated the details a great deal more. Also, I greatly appreciated his incredible knowlege of the subject and the region as a whole, as well as his keen insights into Islamic thinking. Clearly, Lewis is one of the most important Middle East scholars in a long time. Those looking for a scholarly, de-mystifying, and on its own terms readable work on the Assassins will like this book. If you're simply curious about this mysterious group, you may get more out of this volume if you first read one of Lewis's broader introductions to Islam... click on the authors name and several good choices will show up. ... Read more


3. An Introduction to Shi'I Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'Ism
by Moojan Momen
list price: $23.00
our price: $23.00
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Asin: 0300035314
Catlog: Book (1987-02-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 286415
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Concise History & Beliefs of Shi'e
This is a book that I recommend to everyone who is interested in understanding the history of Shi'e split from Sunni faction(s) in Islam. The book, however, goes much beyond that, and provides insight to developments of Islam at Mohammed's time, and immediately after his death, as well as a detailed follow on to present day. It is written with a style that keeps the reader glued to the book, unlike most books in similar subjects.

There are two points that I have minor criticism: the book contains numerous Arabic (and Farsi) names, perhaps too many names are given in the book. This practice, even though it provides credibility for the content, makes the reading of the book difficult for even those who can read Farsi and Arabic.

The second point is this: a few of dates provided in the text (such as birth, death, start or completion of events, etc.) appear inaccurate, even if one accepts the information detailed on the same page where the dates are recorded.

All in all, an excellent book for both the novice, as well as informed individuals. This book can also be used as a reference source; it has nearly 100 pages of bibliography, index, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars A rewarding way to become acquainted with Shi'I Islam
I was surprised to find that I could not put this book down. I figured this would be a dry subject and picked it up because I wanted to have a better understanding of Shi'I Islam. Dr. Momen's book was very detailed yet the subject matter read like a story rather than a series of facts strewn together. The succession of the Imams and the tribulations entwined within that history were especially riveting. At the same time I always felt Dr. Momen was treating the subject fairly, giving a detailed and balanced account, especially in areas where the history is a source of controversy between the two branches of Islam.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most comprehensive book available about Shia Islam
I have read many books about the religious development and history of Shia Islam and have to say without any hesitation that this is the most detailed and objective book I have ever read on the subject. The author, Mr. Momen, has done a thorough job of accurately presenting its early history as well as it development up to present time. Very scholarly, with many footnotes and cross references. Based upon the information that I was already familar with, I recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining unbiasd information about the subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is an incredible introduction to Shiah Islam.
The author has created a remarkable book on Shiah Islam which will undoubtedly will serve as valuable reference guide for students in Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies, Iranian history. The author covers a vast range of history and theology, up to and including the 1979 Iranian revolution. Biograhies of prominent Iranian figures and theologians make this book a valuable aide in the field of Iranian studies. Yet it is enjoyable to read, written in a pleasant academic style that is not dry. For those seekign to understand contemporary Iran today, this is a useful reference book. ... Read more


4. The Martyrs Of Karbala: Shi'i Symbols and Rituals in Modern Iran
by KAMRAN SCOT AGHAIE
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0295984554
Catlog: Book (2004-11-30)
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Sales Rank: 155563
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Book Description

This innovative study examines patterns of change in Shi’i symbols and rituals over the past two centuries to reveal how modernization has influenced the societal, political, and religious culture of Iran. Shi’is, who support the Prophet Mohammad’s progeny as his successors in opposition to the Sunni caliphate tradition, make up 10 to 15 percent of the world’s Muslim population, roughly half of whom live in Iran. Throughout the early history of the Islamic Middle East, the Sunnis have been associated with the state and the ruling elite, while Shi’is have most often represented the political opposition and have had broad appeal among the masses. Moharram symbols and rituals commemorate the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE, in which the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hoseyn and most of his family and supporters were massacred by the troops of the Umayyad caliph Yazid.

Moharram symbols and rituals are among the most pervasive and popular aspects of Iranian culture and society. This book traces patterns of continuity and change of Moharran symbols and rituals in three aspects of Iranian life: the importance of these rituals in promoting social bonds, status, identities, and ideals; ways in which the three major successive regimes (Qujars, Pahlavis, and the Islamic Republic), have either used these rituals to promote their legitimacy, or have suppressed them because they viewed them as a potential political threat; and the uses of Moharram symbolism by opposition groups interested in overthrowing the regime.

While the patterns of government patronage have been radically discontinuous over the past two centuries, the roles of these rituals in popular society and culture have been relatively continuous or have evolved independently of the state. The political uses of modern-day rituals and the enduring symbolism of the Karbala narratives continue today. ... Read more


5. Sacred Space And Holy War: The Politics, Culture and History of Shi'ite Islam
by Juan Cole
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 1860647367
Catlog: Book (2002-10-04)
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
Sales Rank: 239516
Average Customer Review: 2.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Juan Cole examines Shi'i Islam as a world religion that has faced modernity on its own terms. He explores the little known history of Shi'i communities as far afield as Bahrain and India, giving attention as well to important centers such as Lebanon , Iraq, and Iran. He demonstrates the way in which the Shi'is have sought to define space and time as sacred, and to defend those spaces from encroachment by the Other, whether that other be Sunni Arab, Hindu, or European Christian.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars This man is an apologist for al qaeda
and should be investigated for further committments to terrorist groups.

1-0 out of 5 stars Deceptive Advertising
This poorly edited and abysmally proofread book is nothing more than a compilation of unrelated articles on obscure elements of the history of one Shia sect. There is no unifying theme, and the book fails utterly to live up to its promise. I bought it after being impressed by interview with the author on NPR's "Fresh Air" program. Clearly the interviewer made the running.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exellent book but not a primer on Shia
This book is an excellent exploration of a subject not well studied by Western scholars. While this book is well written, I would suggest reading a primer on middle-eastern or Islamic history first. The book is aimed at people who have a general understanding of the subject but are looking to add real depth to what they know. You will find few people who know the subject better than Cole. I suggesting listening to his recent interview on NPR ("Fresh Air with Terry Gross") which can be heard on-line. I can only hope that people in government who have to make critical choice based on their knowledge of the Middle-East will read books like this.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
The book appears to be a collection of disparate lectures or essays loosely tied together to take advantage of the spike in Islamic interest due to terrorism. The book title is deceptive, as it is actually the title of a single chapter in the book, which refers to the 1855 battle over the Ayodha mosque site in India. Although the book does shed light on Bahraini, Saudi and Indian Shi'ite communities (only the Twelver sect, however) it never provides a strong sense of Shia "politics, culture and history" as implied in the title. There is some relevant information on Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese Shi'ites, but not the level of detail I expected. You will learn something if you read this book, just understand going in that you will have to read another book if you want an understanding of modern Shi'ism. There has got to be a better organized, more focused and concise resource available. ... Read more


6. Roman Catholics and Shi'i Muslims: Prayer, Passion, and Politics
by James A. Bill, John Alden Williams
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0807826898
Catlog: Book (2002-03-18)
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Sales Rank: 592655
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Book Description

This timely work explores two influential religious traditions that might seem to have little in common: Twelver Shi'i Islam and Roman Catholicism. With the worldwide rise of religious fundamentalism, it is imperative that religious movements such as Christianity and Islam begin working harder to understand one another's history and beliefs. Myths and misunderstandings continue to prevail, and observers tend to focus on the differences between the two faith systems.

Without denying these differences, the authors of this book reveal a number of interesting linkages between Roman Catholicism and Twelver Shi'ism. They compare the histories of the two faiths, consider parallels between important figures in each, and highlight the doctrinal, structural, and sociopolitical similarities they share. Balanced in tone and carefully researched, the book helps explain the essence of both traditions while enriching our understanding of each.

There are an estimated 140 million Twelver Shi'is in the world today. The highest percentages live in Persian Gulf countries, including Iran and Iraq, and in Azerbaijan, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. Sizable numbers also inhabit Pakistan, India, and Turkey. The largest Christian denomination, Roman Catholicism is present across the globe, though its population of more than one billion people is concentrated in North and South America and in Europe. ... Read more


7. Principles of Sufism
by Al Qushayri, B.R. Von Schliegell, Hamid Algar
list price: $19.95
our price: $16.96
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Asin: 0933782209
Catlog: Book (1992-10-01)
Publisher: Islamic Pubns Intl
Sales Rank: 636247
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars True Sufism
For anyone interested in Islamic belief and practice on a deep level, here is the best explanation of real Sufism. It is inside Islam (way inside) and outside brittle confrontational attitudes of all religions. ... Read more


8. Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras
by Jonah Blank
list price: $22.50
our price: $15.75
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Asin: 0226056775
Catlog: Book (2002-03)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 355744
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Jonah Blank's important, myth-shattering book, the West gets its first look at the Daudi Bohras, a unique Muslim denomination who have found the core of their religious beliefs largely compatible with modern ideology. Combining orthodox Muslim prayer, dress, and practice with secular education, relative gender equality, and Internet use, this community serves as a surprising reminder that the central values of "modernity" are hardly limited to the West.


... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing and very authentic research
As a Daudi Bohra, I can attest to the quality of research the author has put in to his work to create this really interesting case study on our community. He has done it not from secondary sources but by living within the community, understanding its customs and learning its language.
I found this account very well structured and intellectual and it presents an example of how great leadership can transform a community to live harmoniously in this age and yet value their centuries old religious principles.
Great job Sir.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among the ...
Jonah Blank's book is well researched and written to appeal to both traditional Bohras and the second generation Daudi Bohras settled in the Western Hemisphere. The initial emphasis on the factual data and the rituals provides a credible introduction to the theme of the book. He discusses with decorum the intellectual controversies that have plagued the sect and exhibits non-judgemental finesse. The glossary, index and elaborate references are very helpful. Although his bias is implicit, he provides the readers with the varying view points. Further, although he worked with the "inner system" to come up with this book, he is limited by the lack of access he had, to the "batin" text. His discussion of the philosophy of the sect in the broader Shiite perspective provides a good balance and allows the readers to think through the nuances of orthropraxy, he frequently alludes to. However, a more in-depth comparison with the orthodox Shiite dogma and more elaborate a description of the Fatmid era and hierarchy would have been more enlightening. Maybe, a topic for future manuscripts! ... Read more


9. The Most Learned of the Shi'A: The Institution of the Marja Taqlid
list price: $55.00
our price: $51.80
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Asin: 019513799X
Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 574840
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10. Letters of a Sufi Master (Fons Vitae)
by Shaikh A. Ad-Darqawi, Titus Burckhardt
list price: $11.95
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Asin: 1887752161
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: Fons Vitae
Sales Rank: 575934
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A true Master
I could not think of a better title. The book is filled with discourses, I would have loved more but...Many spiritual healings of the heart and the mind can be found.

The book leaves you with one conclusion. You need a Shaykh to follow the path to Allah, you need a madthab to follow Sharia, and you can't use a book for either.

Wonderful!

5-0 out of 5 stars True Sufi Master!
This is one of the best books I have read about Sufism. The letters was from a master to advice his disciples concerning the sufi path. It is informative and helpful to all who are intrested to step into the spirtual path.

Al-Arabi Ad-Darqawi was follower of the Shadhili order which was founded by the great Shaykh Abu'l Hasan ash-Shadhili.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested to know about the practical way of Sufi path.

The translation is excellent and the authour shows true insight on the subject. ... Read more


11. Religion and Politics in Iran
by Nikki Keddie
list price: $37.00
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Asin: 0300028741
Catlog: Book (1983-05-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 2460734
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12. Mary the Blessed Virgin of Islam
by Aliah Schleifer, AliahSchleifer
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 1887752021
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: Fons Vitae
Sales Rank: 400615
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13. Islam in Practice: Religious Beliefs in a Persian Village
by Reinhold Loeffler
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0887066798
Catlog: Book (1988-08-01)
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Sales Rank: 1266522
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14. Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East)
by Matti Moosa
list price: $44.95
our price: $36.41
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Asin: 0815624115
Catlog: Book (1988-03-01)
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Sales Rank: 662466
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for the curious or scholarly
While this text may not completely satisfy critics from countries in which the Islamic perspective is dominant, for scholars and students from the West this volume is a rich resource, and is perhaps the only comprehensive work on this subject yet in print in English. Moosa explains in great detail, and with a large number of careful citations, many of the factors that have shaped this particular sect and informed one of the world's most intriguing religions. The scholarly discipline that Moosa brings to the subject should not be ignored, either. In keeping with Middle Eastern academic style, the author sees his subject through a rich and eclectic lens. Not only does he offer the historical perspective, but appreciates Shi'a in terms of literature, art, law and society, as well. While this could make for a dense work, it is neither dull nor obtuse. For Westerners, especially Americans, who want to know more about this influential religious movement than is offered by the often confused media, this work cannot be more highly recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars "Ghulat" Or Misunderstood?
"Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects," is a book that tried to deal with some very serious issues, but no success was accomplished. For example, the author made reference to things that were said in the call for prayer in Iran, and how AyatoAllah Khomeni's name was used in it, along with the testimony of Allah being the only god. However, the source he used was published by the Iraqi government during the war with Iran, plus other issues that won't be absent from the careful reader, which lessen the book's credibility. Another downfall in the book was the author's misunderstanding of certain ideas, such as the Prophet and thirteen members His family being the cause of existence, which is an idea that was referred to in many Shi'it traditions that were collected by some very respected scholars, such as Mulla Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlissi in "Bihar Al-Anwar" and Shaykh Al-Kulayni in "Al-Kafi." Instead, the author makes it sound as if the "Shaykhis" are the only people who hold that belief. It must be admitted that Mr. Moosa has touched on some very interesting issues, and no matter how much praise he's given, it is not enough, but the beauty of some parts was ruined by the rushed conclusions he had made. ... Read more


15. The Arab Shi'a : The Forgotten Muslims
by Graham E. Fuller, Rend Rahim Francke
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our price: $26.95
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Asin: 0312239564
Catlog: Book (2001-09-22)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 511715
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Is it time to reconsider how we look at the Shi'a???
"... the West demonstrates a dangerous tendency to equate Sunnis with secularism and Shi'a with Islamic Movements. Neither is accurate."

This book should be required reading for all Western heads of state, attorneys general, members of congress and parliament, AND journalists.

The authors' outlook is counter to decades of American posturing and shows how current policies to "contain" the Shi'a in the region by the US and allies is a downward spiral and the exact opposite of what needs to happen if there is to be stability for all in the region.

This is an excellent discription of of how the Arab Shi'a have been marginalized in the Arab world, including those countries such as Iraq and Bahrain where they represent the confessional majority. The authors go on to attack western fears of Iranian led Shi’a revolution in the Arab world by delving into the religious, social and cultural differences between the Persian Shi’a and the Arab Shi’a and how the Arabs have historically in each country chosen race and nationality over sectarian alliances when push came to shove.

More shocking, as they review the conditions of the Shi’a in each country where they make up significant parts of the population, is the treatment of the Shi’a by fellow Muslims and Arabs. Especially in those cases where they represent a numerical minority. In those places the Shi’a are oppressed but cannot claim minority status, even though their own Shi’a sect may be marginalized or even unrecognized by the Sunni majority.

They go on to describe how this marginalization is a far greater threat to regional stability and the West’s image in the region. The question is whether the Western countries can turn a blind eye to the treatment of the Shi’a and still tout themselves as focused on Democracy and Human Rights. This loss of “face” and continued support of oppressive regimes is a far greater threat than the threat of Iranian efforts to purposely destabilize regimes and the region. Although in the end, the oppressed may look anywhere for answers.

Finally, this book is extremely relevant in today’s world â€" even though it was written when Sadaam still controlled Iraq. Iraq is central to Shi’a culture and history. Iraq could easily once again by pass Iran as the center of influence of the world’s Shi’a. More importantly will be the Iraqi influence on the Arab Shi’a in Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon.

America and the West stand at a crossroad of being the actors who help the Shi’a majorities to achieve their just share and the Shi’a minorities to achieve justice.

As Fuller and Francke say:

“… an Iraq that that does not permit the Shi’a to play the role accorded to them by their demographic majority is doomed to failure, schism and manipulation by outside forces, especially Iran. Saudi and Kuwaiti objections to the establishment of democratic processes in Iraq should be ignored…”

Funny, we’ve been hearing the opposite for over 20 years. ... Read more


16. The Book of Assistance
by Imam Abdallah Al-Haddad
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1872038018
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Fons Vitae
Sales Rank: 505541
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Advice
The genius of this book is that it condenses the collected wisdom of centuries of Muslim spiritual doctors such as Imam-al Ghazali into a handy, brief manual. For centuries books like this have shaped men and women of all races, from Indonesians to Swahilis, into shining examples of godliness and beautiful conduct. Anyone who implements the advice here can become what Muslim mystics call a complete, perfected human being, characterized by everything from kindness and charity (including a cheerful countenance), to waking up in the middle of the night to worship, to inward states such as thankfulness and trust in God's will. Like all men of God, Imam al-Haddad's writing is clear, sober and eloquent. ... Read more


17. The Twelve Shia in Modern Times: Religious Culture & Political Culture (Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia)
list price: $114.00
our price: $114.00
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Asin: 9004118039
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
Sales Rank: 1069697
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18. The Just Ruler (Al-Sultan Al-Adil) in Shi'Ite Islam: The Comprehensive Authority of the Jurist in Imamite Jurisprudence
by Abdulaziz Abdulhussein Sachedina
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
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Asin: 0195119150
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 850854
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Islamic regime that came to power after the 1978-79 Iranian revolution justified the rule of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Shi'ite imams in general, on the basis of the doctrine that the Islamic jurist is best suited to rule with justice in an Islamic country.Arguing that this concept has no apparent parallel in Sunni Islam, this study explores its origins in the Sunni/Shi'ite schism, which took place after the death of the Prophet, and traces its evolution to the present day. Drawing on exhaustive research in the Islamic libraries of Iran and Jordan, as well as discussions with leading jurors and scholars in Iran, Sachedina presents the first in-depth analysis of an Islamic phenomenon of vital contemporary social and political significance. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Story of Muctehid in Shi'ite Islam
This book is a good history of development of the power of Muctehids in shi'ite Islam. Author takes from the time of fifth Imam to current day and explains the development of the concept of Vilayat. Various forms of Vilayat is discussed as they are developed in time due to socio-political and theological reasons. Author dwells consifdearly on few major Muctehids, Tusi, Hilli, Mufid and Al-Murtada, with whom all started. The current interpretation by Sabzawari, Burujurdi or Humeyni are not covered with necessary depth. At the end the book has a nice appendix regarding the Khums and whom it belongs. I wish the book was to finalaze more exposition of current conditions and rulings. the concept of Vilayat had too many dimensions and author covers all of them with patient. Time to time you think that you already read that concept in prior paragraph but they all have small nuances depending on their definition. One needs to read very slowly. The best part of the book is that, Author with full patient when he uses a phrase that has a concept associated in it and was covered before repeats same in brackets to remaind readers what it was, so you do not have to refer any dictionary in the back of the book. ... Read more


19. Early Sufi Women: Dhikr An-Niswa Al-Muta 'Abbitdat As-Sufiyyat
by A. R. As-Sulami, Rkia Cornell, As-Sulami, Rkia Elaroui Cornell, Muhammad Ibn Al-Husayn Sulami
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1887752064
Catlog: Book (2000-02-01)
Publisher: Islamic Texts Society U. S. A.
Sales Rank: 646448
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Where are the great women??
Where are they? Why aren't we like them? This ancient text leaves you with those questions, and has you drilling your heart over this final though...When will I become like them?

The introduction gives insight to the ancient text that was recored by As-Sulami Rahimullah. The life of him, and the basic orginization of his text Dhikr an niswa al muta 'abbidat as sufiyyat. The introduction is very useful to those who read english translated Sufi texts, because you must be trained formally and spiritually how to read a Sufi book. Why? Just because the book is old, translated into English and available does not make it a good rendering to the actual work itself.

Regarding thr format of the book, it is in a biogrophy style, with the Arabic text facing the English. The name of the women, her Kunya, or her name she was known by. Then the narration begins with the Isnad of how As-Sulami heard of the particular woman.

You are left with nothing but awe, love and want of the divine and at least left begging Allah for their qualities. these women were true devotees, they spent their time working hard for their akhira, and taking little from the dunya. May Allah give us all a glimpse of what these women had, for they had it (mar'ifa) at every waking momment! ... Read more


20. Know Your Islam
by Yousuf N. Lalljee
list price: $12.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0940368021
Catlog: Book (1987-01-01)
Publisher: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an
Sales Rank: 673079
Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mental Footnotes Required
This is not a bad book if you realize its inherent limitations, which may not be immediately obvious to the untrained observer.

First of all, the title is misleading; it should be called "Know your Shiite Islam." I have nothing against Shiites - far from it, I think that they are a valid and necessary manifestation of that sea of spirituality known as Islam - but calling this book "Know your Islam" is like calling a book on Lutheranism "Know your Christianity."

Secondly, I suspect that the book was primarily designed for people from a Shiite Islamic background who for one reason or another have become secularized, either due to long residence in the West or because they received a Westernized education. Seen from this point of view the book fulfills a useful niche.

But for the average Westerner the book is a bit of a chore to understand without some experience of Islam on the ground. Be advised.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for Shias and insight to others
I have read this book perhaps over 50 times and have enjoyed it everytime! This book is intended for those who practice Shiaism and is a great insight to those of other sects and denominations to get a glimps at the core values that surround Shiaism. This book is not making any attempts to focus on Sunni practices, it is clearly a Shia book containg prescribed methodologies for Shias. I cannot read Arabic fluently so the translations and Roman-English make this book very useful. This book is simple to read and well-rounded without getting too focused on theory and history. It sticks to the basics like how to pray, fast, pay alms, ect. I have had previous editions of this book. The reading is simple enough for a second/third grader to understand.

1-0 out of 5 stars Know your Lemons
Synopsis: Poorly written, many definitions not explained, NOT representative of Islam and all of its traditions.

This book touts itself as an authority on the subject of Islam as a whole, but its author has definate slants towards Shiism and makes statements that are biased, unsupportive, and in some cases directly contrary to stories detailed in the Qur'an.

When I thumbed through this book at the bookstore I realized that the text and format was not of high quality, but it did provide the reader with 'quick study' pages that shared the overall structure of Islam. Upon thorough reading, I found many arabic names, words, and traditions not translated making it difficult to figure out what the author was describing. Additionally, the author was incapable from seperating his personal viewpoints from factual content about Islam when presenting his case. The book is an editor's nightmare, and should have never been written.

This reader came away with a poor experience that painted Islam as narrow-minded, oppressive, and intellectually unrespectable - All of which it is not.

Spend your pennies on other sources.

4-0 out of 5 stars gives a very general knowledge of islam
this a good book for those who want a very general scope of islam and shiism ... Read more


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