Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America, and the world, with well over a billion followers. Since September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ongoing war against terror, the world has seemed to be heading inexorably towards greater confrontation between Muslim and non-Muslim cultures. At a time when communities increasingly tend to view each other with suspicion, this book cuts through the morass of misunderstanding and misinformation to give a true and timely overview of the universality and light of the prophetic message of Islam. It explains its history and development, the distinction between the original message and the traditions that have grown up around it, the life of Islam today, it's potential for bringing unity, and speculates on its future. Selections from key Islamic writings make this a classic introduction to the Islamic tradition for today.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Many books in English about Islam are written by western non-Muslims even if some of them are by Islamists and Orientalists in their own right. This book is written by a Muslim who has a non-Muslim, western readership in mind. The approach to Islam from its rapid and triumphant rise through its chequered history til ltoday is viewed keeping the distinction between the human element, often fallible and perplexing, and the spiritual message of Islam with its transforming power for all who are open to it. In six chapters, the author takes us through the rise of Islam, its essential inspiration, its fundamental tenets and practices and a short history of its development.
At the herat of Islam is the "transactional way of life" (Din). The full living out of the Din is in the inner purification of the heart and the surrender to Allah outwardly expressed in personal and social behaviour (Sharia). Islam transcends culture. Its unifying force, once translated into the arena of human life is ultimately neither social nor material but spiritual.
The book has timely correctives to many who still think that Muslims have a scant regard for women. It is not a book to be read just once. ~ , Westminster Interfaith
Thoughtful without being an academic textbook, Shaykh Haeri shows us the completeness of Islam and gives many insights. He distinguishes between foundatinos and practices, and describes the conflation of the Prophet's teachings into legal jurisprudence. He shows how deep are the roots of Shi' and Sunni different beliefs about authority and the state. He describes the Caliphate, the flowering of Islamic learning and invention. He outlines the imposition of occidentalist national boundaries by the orientalist west. Many passages warm the heart, enlighten the mind and inspire the spirit. Christians who love contemplative prayer/medititation will find plenty to enjoy. The Epilogue looks at global techno-economic differences. The collapse of communism, and the failure of materialism could encourage the transformative path of Islam and submission. the scope of this Thoughtful Guide is impressive. ~ , Sangha newsletter
about as timely as any book can be, should be read, and re-read, not only by so-called Christians but by many Muslims too. ~ , The Guardian, London