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What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam Hardcover – Oct 15 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (Oct. 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195157133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195157130
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 14.7 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #717,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Islam is the second largest religion in the world (after Christianity) and will soon be the second largest religion in America. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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By M. A. Miller on June 9 2004
Format: Hardcover
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. It has allowed me to understand my muslim friends better.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
"What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam" is a wonderful starter text. It is written in the format of questions-and-answers. The book is excellently organised with a complete index, as well as a simple glossary. The questions asked (and answered) are importantly and relevant. Using this method, Esposito both introduces the readers to the termonology but also the scriptures, history, culture(s) and beliefs.
The book gets four stars because -- like others have said -- Esposito tends to glaze over a lot of negative aspects that are commonly critised instead of responding to it. However, I feel this is for brevity and not as necessary in this text as it would be in another introductory book.
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Format: Hardcover
Author John Esposito is a professor of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has written books about the subject of Islam before, and he writes this one with a keen sense of education in mind. Most people know very little about the religion known as Islam, and Esposito seems like he is on a mission, in this book, to help enlighten the world's people about the facts and myths regarding the world's second largest religion.
I think it's safe to say that most people know very little about Islam. Until I read this book, I didn't really know much either. I knew some of the most basic things, like that the Quran was the holy book of Islam; the prayers that Muslims say each day; and a few other things. But my knowledge level ended right there. When I picked up this book, I began to learn things that I had never heard of before. Probably the greatest surprise was the fact that the Islamic religion regards Jesus Christ and Abraham as the second and third most important men to ever walk the face of the earth (after, of course, Muhammad). The next surprise was when I discovered that Islam teaches that the virgin birth of Jesus was real, and the Quran makes mention of Jesus and Mary even more frequently than the Christian Bible. Other facts were noteworthy, but not as shocking, like the fact that the Quran allows a man to have as many as four wives provided that he will treat them equally and support them.
The issue of the day with Islam is whether or not its religious creeds are conducive to violence. There is a full chapter in this book that attempts to answer this question. According to the Quran, violence is acceptable in certain situations, like when a man's family and/or faith might be threatened. Here lies the problem with interpretation.
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By A Customer on Feb. 1 2004
Format: Hardcover
For those who's knowledge of Islam is very limited, this book can answer many basic questions for you. Very straightforward indeed. But I suggest one should also read the Quran(yusuf ali translation only!) to get an even better understanding. Nonetheless, very well-written clear book.
Also recommend; Idiot's guide to understanding Islam.
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Format: Hardcover
Well-written and friendly format, perfect for a small-group discussion.
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By A Customer on Nov. 16 2003
Format: Hardcover
John Esposito is a life-long "scholar" of Islam and he was totally surprised by September 11, 2003. The man had no clue that militant Islamic terrorists would do exactly what the same militant Islamic terrorists had publicly announced they would do: kill. Prior to September 11, 2003 Esposito argued that those who were alarmed by acts of Islamic terror were "ill-informed" "over-reacting" and responding to a "culturally limited definition of democracy." How does this guy keep his job?
In any event, he fails to mention in this book. as he always fails to mention, a passage in the Hadith known to every Muslim on the planet which states that "women are deficient in intellect." This is supposed to be a quote from Mohammed contained in what is regarded as the most reliable compendium of sayings of Mohammed, the Bukhari Hadith. Islam "honors" women by declaring them stupid, make no mistake about it.
Esposito is at best deluded and at worst, disingenuous.
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By A Customer on Nov. 14 2003
Format: Hardcover
With so much misinformation about Islam coming from the likes of Ibn Warraq, Daniel Pipes and many in the rightwing media it is hard to separate fact from fiction. Many critics of Islam take the beliefs of its most extreme members and present those extreme views as mainstream Islam. For example, most Muslims do not believe that they will spend eternity with 72 virgins, yet it is presented as a mainstream belief by critics. If you are confused about what Islam really teaches I recommend that you start with this book.
It is written in a easy to read FAQ format. There are questions like Where do most Muslims live? Why are some Muslims opposed to music? What does Islam say about abortion? What is Wahhabi Islam? Who are these Islamic fundamentalists? and so on. I liked the fact that the author often presents both conservative and progressive interpretations of many teachings. Many nonMuslims are not aware of the progressive, liberal and feminist movements within Islam, or aware of progressive thinkers such as Farid Esack and Zeeshan Hasan. It is important to represent their viewpoints.
I also liked the fact that he explained the two main ways of interpreting the Koran. Conservatives are literalists who believe if the Koran says something it must be followed without questioning. Progressives believe that many verses were said in specific contexts or referred to certain circumstances of the time. As context and circumstances change so should interpretation.
This book is definitely the best place to start if you want to learn about Islam because it is objective, unlike many other books on the subject.
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