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A little over thirteen centuries ago, the prophet Muhammad converted a few Arab desert tribes to the belief in a single god, Allah, thus founding the religion of Islam. Within a century, that belief had created one of history's mightiest empires - and today Islam continues to shape events around the globe. This comprehensive guide offers an informative and insightful intro A little over thirteen centuries ago, the prophet Muhammad converted a few Arab desert tribes to the belief in a single god, Allah, thus founding the religion of Islam. Within a century, that belief had created one of history's mightiest empires - and today Islam continues to shape events around the globe. This comprehensive guide offers an informative and insightful introduction to Islam both as a religion and as a political-economic force. It tells the story of Muhammad - and the rise of Islam; outlines the sacred book, the Koran; explains "the five pillars of faith"; explores the interplay between religion and government; describes the differences that divide Islam; and, above all, shows the influence of Islam on world affairs. This second revised edition provides crucial new material on the Islamic community today, including discussion of the Gulf War and the Salman Rushdie affair; the rise and ebb of fundamentalist fervor in Iran, Algeria, and elsewhere; and the relationships among different factions of the Islamic faith. There are also updated descriptions of internal politics in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and other Islamic nations. Complete with glossary, bibliography. and index, Understanding Islam is engrossing, essential reading for both students and all who seek a clearer understanding of the world in which we live.


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A little over thirteen centuries ago, the prophet Muhammad converted a few Arab desert tribes to the belief in a single god, Allah, thus founding the religion of Islam. Within a century, that belief had created one of history's mightiest empires - and today Islam continues to shape events around the globe. This comprehensive guide offers an informative and insightful intro A little over thirteen centuries ago, the prophet Muhammad converted a few Arab desert tribes to the belief in a single god, Allah, thus founding the religion of Islam. Within a century, that belief had created one of history's mightiest empires - and today Islam continues to shape events around the globe. This comprehensive guide offers an informative and insightful introduction to Islam both as a religion and as a political-economic force. It tells the story of Muhammad - and the rise of Islam; outlines the sacred book, the Koran; explains "the five pillars of faith"; explores the interplay between religion and government; describes the differences that divide Islam; and, above all, shows the influence of Islam on world affairs. This second revised edition provides crucial new material on the Islamic community today, including discussion of the Gulf War and the Salman Rushdie affair; the rise and ebb of fundamentalist fervor in Iran, Algeria, and elsewhere; and the relationships among different factions of the Islamic faith. There are also updated descriptions of internal politics in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and other Islamic nations. Complete with glossary, bibliography. and index, Understanding Islam is engrossing, essential reading for both students and all who seek a clearer understanding of the world in which we live.

30 review for Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Shedou

    Good book. Not written the way a Muslim would write it, and believing Muslims won't like some details and conclusions here and there. However the writer is fair and objective, which I liked. Good book. Not written the way a Muslim would write it, and believing Muslims won't like some details and conclusions here and there. However the writer is fair and objective, which I liked.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    Excellent book. My worldview has been greatly enhanced, and now I feel that I can participate in real conversations about Islam without ignorance being any great obstacle. More on the blog. https://unklethan.wordpress.com/?p=1201 Excellent book. My worldview has been greatly enhanced, and now I feel that I can participate in real conversations about Islam without ignorance being any great obstacle. More on the blog. https://unklethan.wordpress.com/?p=1201

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shiela Rozich

    This is a history and an explanation of Islam from an outsider - Thomas Lippmann is not of the area though he may have traveled widely. It has much to offer, especially for those who know little to nothing about the topic. I wonder what an insider feels about this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    A good clear third party look at the world of Islam. Helpful insight into current issues and practices in the widely diverse Islamic world. Well worth the time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    S. Smiadak

    This is one of the more objective books I've read on Islam. It provides more than just the basics on the religion and highlights key points of context that more biased books ignore. This is one of the more objective books I've read on Islam. It provides more than just the basics on the religion and highlights key points of context that more biased books ignore.

  6. 5 out of 5

    May Ling

    I picked up this book on a lark at a Japanese Second hand store near the NYC Main Public Library. I realized that although I am knowledgeable about many religions, I do not know anything about Islam. Yet, what is happening with this religion, the roots of where it came from, has shaped much of foreign policy in the world today. For example, they call it the world's youngest religion as it post-dates Christianity. I did not realize the extent to which is is based on Judeo-Christian writings. Musl I picked up this book on a lark at a Japanese Second hand store near the NYC Main Public Library. I realized that although I am knowledgeable about many religions, I do not know anything about Islam. Yet, what is happening with this religion, the roots of where it came from, has shaped much of foreign policy in the world today. For example, they call it the world's youngest religion as it post-dates Christianity. I did not realize the extent to which is is based on Judeo-Christian writings. Muslims in fact recognize prior writings of this faith as the word of God, though not God himself. As Lippman describes, Islam was the religion of the minority and the poor of the time. He shows why it had such wide spread appeal. Lippman also discusses in detail how the violence that has come to be associated with this religion is not actually a part of the doctrine. He tells of the story of the hypocrites who find their root as posers of Muslim faith who were of a neighboring resentful tribe. He explains in these terms why the Jewish conflict has existed since that time, despite Muslim religion beginning with great respect for the doctrine of Jewish faith. He shows very clearly that, despite what has comet o be associated with Islamic faith, Muhammad did not persecute or clear the ranks of Hypocrites precisely because he did not want to set a precedent of blood bath. It saddens me to read how similar Islamic religion, Christianity and Judaism are and yet they can not resolve conflicts that have existed for over a thousand years. You would think the peaceful side of each religion would prevail. I will have to read the Koran some time so that I can better appreciate this area of the world.

  7. 5 out of 5

    taarak

    Another apologists view of Islam but less fawning. It does at least give the pretence of trying to present a fair balanced picture of Islam. Since the Gulf War, many have asked the question, "Why do Middle Easterners think and act as they do?" Of the 1.3 billion people who today follow the Islamic faith, all are profoundly affected by the teachings of Muhammad and by Muslim traditions that have developed over the past thirteen hundred years. This comprehensive guide offers an informative and insi Another apologists view of Islam but less fawning. It does at least give the pretence of trying to present a fair balanced picture of Islam. Since the Gulf War, many have asked the question, "Why do Middle Easterners think and act as they do?" Of the 1.3 billion people who today follow the Islamic faith, all are profoundly affected by the teachings of Muhammad and by Muslim traditions that have developed over the past thirteen hundred years. This comprehensive guide offers an informative and insightful introduction to Islam, both as a religion and as a political-economic force. It tells the story of Muhammad and the rise of Islam; outlines the sacred book, the Koran; explains the five pillars of the faith; explores the interplay between religion and government; describes the differences that divide Islam; and above all, shows the influence of Islam on world affairs. Lippman provides crucial material on the contemporary Islamic community, including discussion of Khomeini and the Salman Rushdie affair, of the rise and ebb of fundamentalist fervor in Iran and elsewhere, and of relationships among different factions of the Islamic faith.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cristina Oliveras

    Difficult to read since the writers vocabulary is a little more advanced than mine so I had I pull out the dictionary multiple times and re read sentences to make sense of things. I also had to do a lot of research on certain events and topics he mentioned. But overall I've learned so much through this book and have really changed my perspective on the worlds most misunderstood religion Difficult to read since the writers vocabulary is a little more advanced than mine so I had I pull out the dictionary multiple times and re read sentences to make sense of things. I also had to do a lot of research on certain events and topics he mentioned. But overall I've learned so much through this book and have really changed my perspective on the worlds most misunderstood religion

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I enjoyed this book, though it's a good bit out of date. I would have liked to get post 2001 analysis on how radical Islam has changed over the past few years. In general though, a decent primer on a major world religion that most westerners look at with a sense of suspicion and darkness. I enjoyed this book, though it's a good bit out of date. I would have liked to get post 2001 analysis on how radical Islam has changed over the past few years. In general though, a decent primer on a major world religion that most westerners look at with a sense of suspicion and darkness.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kahilidoc

    This is a decent review of muslim history and the arab world, though not in great detail. I'd recommend this for people who want cursory knowledge of muslim culture. Bernard Lewis is really my favorite author on this subject. This is a decent review of muslim history and the arab world, though not in great detail. I'd recommend this for people who want cursory knowledge of muslim culture. Bernard Lewis is really my favorite author on this subject.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This one wasn't as good as Armstrong's book, but there were a few gems of knowlege I appreciated getting from it...especially how it all went wrong between Jews and Islam. This one wasn't as good as Armstrong's book, but there were a few gems of knowlege I appreciated getting from it...especially how it all went wrong between Jews and Islam.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    I figured it was time to better understand this fascinating religion beyond it's western caricatures. This book does a pretty good job of sharing both its history and core beliefs. I figured it was time to better understand this fascinating religion beyond it's western caricatures. This book does a pretty good job of sharing both its history and core beliefs.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mariana

    Available, easy introduction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David

    Worthwhile overview of the religion and its practitioners, although somewhat, but not unjustifiably, apologetic.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Very informative. Historic in approach.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Bigham

    Narrated by Nadia May. 8 hours

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Seemingly well done summary of the history of Islam. A good source to start with in researching the topic!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    i thought it was an average coverage of Islam. nothing to get too excited about but not bad either.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Good history of the origins. As someone very unknowledgeable, this was a good primer.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Svenja

    Brilliant introduction to the Muslim faith and Islamic political thought.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Dry, but accessible description of the formation of Islam and what it looks like today. Good for an objective viewpoint and detailed religious, political, and historical information.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Buddy

    detailed (Lippman's way) detailed (Lippman's way)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Del

    A solid introduction to the basic tenets of Islam and some of the historical background of its creation.. Interesting and easy to read. Listened to the unabridged Audible.com audiobook version.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vegan Viajo

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Mervosh

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bret

  27. 5 out of 5

    Justin Carter

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Gafni

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Pinion

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