"What's Right With Islam"


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Indiana, United States
hello all.

i'm becoming more aware of my humbling lack of understanding concerning Islam, and have begun searching for material on Islam not put out by TIME or NewsWeek.

i've been reading a book by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf called "What's Right With Islam" and was wondering if anyone else has read it. what did you think of it? would you reccomend it as a good introduction to Islam for a non-Muslim?

thank you.

i have a translation of the Koran and have tried to read it... but i think that if i want to read it with any respect or depth i'll need more than just my confusion.

when trying to understand a religious tradition unlike one's own, it may be helpful to begin with an over view or introduction to that religion and not with scripture. this may not work for everyone, but i think it's where i need to start.
If the internet is anything to go by, then the problem you'll have with modern commentaries is an overwhelming bias for or against. The commentaries often seem to make sweeping generalisations that are hard to agree with either way - and all you seem to have is the option of taking on someone else's believe systems.

From a religious perspective, I really would recommend reading a good translation of Al Qur'an - there are some very readable translations out there.

From a historical perspective - I'd probably look for a book that covers the crusades from both the Christian and Muslim perspective. That should show you something not only of Islam in it's cultural heyday, but also the original source of the current Christian vs Muslim tensions that exist even today.
thank you, brian. and persona.

yes, i've seen some books about the Crusades from a non-christian perspective. there's another book i'd like to read called "covering islam" that looks into western media representations of muslim faith and culture.

you're right Persona, i should start with the Koran. but i want to be able to understand what i'm reading, as well. thank you both.
Apologies if that isn't so great a help - my own perceptions of Islam are generally gleaned from various historical works which rarely cover the issue in any particular detail. And I'm afraid I have no commentaries that I can particularly recommend. :(
thank you, Brian. no need for a distressed sad face. :D

i'll look into your suggestions, definately. i'm also finding the internet (i know, i know. if web sites aren't biased, what is? besides, you're not supposed to use the web this way. you're supposed to go to the original texts. yeah, i know...) to be helpful.

but Persona has a point, obviously...i'll go back to the Koran, as well.

thank you both.
There are no translations of the Qu'ran. Only interpretations.

As a religion it has a number of areas - perhaps most given it's teachings of how exactly to carry out actions in life and the methodology behind this.

I would recommend reading analyatical books rather than misreading original source texts - once one has the overall, processed view down, one can deconstruct these by reference to the original sources.

Which area of Islam interests you most? Religious observance? The spiritual side? The historical sociological context? It's place in the world today and implementation by the various sects? I'll try to give you some good book recommendations on some of those topics if you like.
Semantic- thank you for your very helpful response.

I am most interested in religious observance and spirituality in Islam, and Islam's perspective on our relationship to God- how we can encounter or become closer to Him.

Thank you-
Vision of Islam - William Chittick and Sachiko Murata would be a good starting point (those two have trained in both sunni and shia methodologies).

Islam and the destiny of man by Charles Le Gai Eaton may also be of interest with regards to this. In a similar vein, The Heart of Islam : Enduring Values for Humanity by Syed Hossein Nasr is also a good book which draws on the similarties between sects and religions and their interaction with the modern world - less to do with private observance, but perhaps easier to draw parallels with.

All three authors/books mentioned above work from a pereniallist motif, but do provide a taste of the variety present in the religion. For a more orthodox/traditional view, Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is excellent.

Those should last you a while and hopefully prove interesting..

'lo bananabrain.
Assalam-o-Alaikum(Peace be upon you all),
Just joined. Love the website

This particular post is for ISFP.
If you wish to read the Quran, then i suggest that you keep a Tafseer(explanation of the Quran) with you as well. You can refer to it whenever there are doubts or confusions. We muslims use them all the time. In this regard, the Tafseer of ibn-Katheer is often used as well as al-Qurtubi's. The former is available for online reading(in english) at the website below but i am not aware of any website for the latter. Hopefully, this will be quite helpful... it has been to me.

May God guide us all