Georgetown professor Esposito has written an excellent primer on all aspects of Islam. The question-and-answer format allows readers to skip ahead to areas that interest them, including hot-button issues such as "Why are Muslims so violent?" or "Why do Muslim women wear veils and long garments?" In his answers, which are anywhere from a paragraph to several pages long, Esposito elegantly educates the reader through what the Qur'an says, how Muslims are influenced by their local cultures, and how the unique politics of Islamic countries affects Muslims' views. All three elements contribute to a fuller understanding of Islam. For instance, in answering the question on veiling, Esposito accurately clarifies that though the Qur'an instructs believers to be modest, it does not require head coverings. He continues by describing how the custom of veiling gained popularity in and after Muhammad's time as a status symbol. He ends by pointing out how some women who veil today feel they are making a social protest against judgment based on appearance as much as they are fulfilling the modesty requirement. Occasionally Esposito excludes some key information. He says that jihad is sometimes called the "Sixth Pillar" of Islam without pointing out that Western critics propagate the centrality of jihad, not Muslims. In his discussion of Qur'an 4:34, which appears to permit domestic violence in a disciplinary capacity, he omits new translations by feminist scholars that change the meaning and mitigate the controversy. However, overall, this book honestly and clearly answers the questions most non-Muslims have about Islam.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"An excellent primer on all aspects of Islam. The question-and-answer-format allows readers to skip ahead to areas that interest them, including hot-button issues such as 'Why are Muslims so violent?' or 'Why do Muslim women wear veils and long garments?' In his answers, which are anywhere from a paragraph to several pages long, Esposito elegantly educates the reader through what the Quran said, how Muslims are influenced by their local cultures, and how the unique politics of Islamic countries affect Muslims' views."--Publishers WeeklySee all Product Description
I came into this book knowing nothing about Islam other than the image potrayed on tv after reading this book I learned a lot about this interesting religion. Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Michael Allen Miller
Esposito is one of my favourite authors of general books on Islam. This book is probably the ideal starter text for those new to learning about the religion. Read morePublished on May 4 2004 by Heather
For those who's knowledge of Islam is very limited, this book can answer many basic questions for you. Very straightforward indeed. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004
Well-written and friendly format, perfect for a small-group discussion.Published on Jan. 19 2004 by Robert L. Rose
The author immediately states that Islam is not a religion of violence or terrorism. He covers the Five Pillars well, gives some good background, and repeatedly makes it clear that... Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2003 by SPM
This is an essential guide to what Muslims REALLY believe, which we all ought to read in these troubled times. So why 4 stars? Read morePublished on Sept. 14 2003 by C. Catherwood
Take the mask off your eyes and read freely about what really Islam is. This is a FAQ book about Islam, what it really is and what has it become in the eyes of today. Read morePublished on July 19 2003
This is a great book! Fun to read. Informative. Balanced. It tells you not just the what but the why. It discusses the breadth of Islam not just the standard. Read morePublished on May 11 2003 by meerkat