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Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World: Third Revised Edition Paperback – Nov 6 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Revised edition (Nov. 6 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452011604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452011601
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #994,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
A MUSLIM is one who believes that "there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
There's a lot of money to be made these days publishing spurious "information" about Islam and Muhammad.
How good it is to see this dispassionate, factual, objective, and pre-9/11 book is still in print! I recommend it highly to those who've only read the sort of books coming from Robert Spencer or Serge Trifkovic which appeal to post-9/11 anxieties, fears, and prejudices against Islam, as well as to those who share my concern for the long-term effects of such propaganda.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a little outdated but still an excellent and easy-reading book if you want to learn about Islam. The author might be a little biased but is not completely on one side or the other.
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Format: Paperback
The Koran does NOT grant men and women the same rights. It provides men with double the inheritance rights and denigrates the testimony of women. The testimony of a women is worth half that of a man. Mohammed confirmed this in the Hadith by his statement that "women are deficient in intellect."
Still the same formulas are repeated over and over.
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Format: Paperback
Many are snapping up whatever they can read about Islam, driven by our desire to know more about our enemies who are trying to kill us. This book won't help. It's more of a sympathetic, scholarly treatment of Islamic culture and practice, not a primer that is in any way helpful in gaining perspective on militant, radical Islam. If you want to know more about mainstream Islamic practices and tenets, but aren't looking for a satisfactory answer to why so many Muslims hate America, Jews, and Christians, then by all means, buy this book.
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Format: Paperback
There have been contradictory statements about Islam, indicating a pervasive ignorance about Islam in the United States. This book is an introductory discussion of Islam that should begin to clear up this confusion.
Thomas Lippman has worked for many years throughout the Middle East so he has extensive experience with Islam. Lippman starts by pointing out that Islam has no hierarchic clergy, there is no priest between a Moslem and Allah.
Lippman describes the five duties of a Moslem: The shahada, the profession of faith. The ritual prayer, done five times a day, facing toward Mecca. Zakat, donation to charity. Fasting during Ramadan, and the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
Then Lippman talks about Mohammed, who is not a saint, but only a man who brought the final word of God to man. Lippman continues with a description of the Koran, believed by Moslems to be the literal word of God.
Lippman explains how Islamic government is not separate from Islam or the Koran.
Even though there should be no one between the common man and Allah, members of the ulama sometimes tried to color the Sharia with their own interpretation.
Non Moslems often take offense to the Islam's apparent attitude toward women.
The Koran grants women the same rights as men, although this is not always followed in practice.
Lippman shows how, like all things Islam began with certain beliefs, but gradually time and use changed the way Islam was practiced. Superstition and cultural ideas and tradition grew. Some people developed power and influence contrary to the sharia. Attitudes and prejudices grew. Islam stagnated. Groups worshipping the same allah, following the same sharia developed into factions fighting viciously amongst each other. These later developments are faults of men, not Islam. Too often the western world sees only the faults and fails to see the original Islam.
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By JOHN GODFREY on Feb. 13 2002
Format: Paperback
I opted for the audio. If you know little or nothing about this religion of 900 million people, this is a good place to start. As a belief system, Islam & Christainity are not that different. But the differences between is illustrative & what I got out of this book.
The founder of Islam, Muhammed, is not worshipped as Jesus, the son of God is. He was a man, a warrior, a businessman, a father, husband & of course a prophet & dies as a man.
His life is to be emulated, not worshipped, for he had the faults that all men possess.
While Christainity is hierarchical, the pope & the bishops being very important, there is no similair structure in Islam. In Islam the Koran is the final arbiter. It is not as flexible as the Bible has been over the centuries, open to the interpretation as popular culture dictates.
Most important is the belief in separation of state & religion. It does not exist in Islam. The religion is part of the politics of the country. In many nations where Islam is the predominant faith, indeed it is the Koran, that becomes the final arbitor of foreign policy. Perhaps it is this last point that baffles & worries leaders of western civilization so much. I see a lot of hits on the reviews of this book before mine. There seems to be a lot of interest & thats a good thing.
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By A Customer on Nov. 27 2001
Format: Paperback
After 9/11, I punted "China" as my topic and moved to Islam, the other massive threat to the U.S. of A. in the 21st century. While some may complain that the militants aren't covered in any depth (they're not), Lippman paints a digestible picture of the Islamic world that gave the militants birth. In less than 200 pages, the general reader will get a well written backgrounder on the religion, the history, the major Islamic countries and the deals the current rulers have made to keep a lid on chaos at home.
Whereas I have "hope" for China to move towards the West, I come away from Lippman's book fearful that Islam will forever be a source of pain and conflict for the West. If a person really believes the Koran is the literal word of God, and more than a billion people do, then the violently inclined can mine the Book for enough statements justifying attacks such that the West will never be able to rest. Mohammed was a great warrior, lest we forget.
Also, Lippman clearly details that in Islam, there is no separation of Church and State. So, boys and girls, don't expect too many secular societies to take root. Despotism, sometimes benevolent, sometimes wicked, will likely remain the norm. I left the book informed, but also quite depressed. The Muslims need their own Renaissance. And the West needs to find ways to help it happen.
The Washington Post may have a leftist editorial stance, but they do have some damn fine writers. Lippman is one.
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