Saturday, January 17, 2015

Islam: A Very Short Introduction

There are a lot of misconceptions in the world about Islam.  

The Arabic word "Islam" means "submission," particularly "voluntary submission to God."  

If our understanding of Islam is limited to the reports we see on the news or to the stories we hear on the radio, then we are liable to embrace false caricatures of a vibrant faith that has produced, among other things, some of the world's greatest poetry, literature, philosophy, art, architecture and music.  

We do not have to condone acts of terrorism, such as those perpetrated in the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, in order to appreciate, with holy envy, that which is a source of truth, hope and inspiration to millions of people.  In fact, Muslim leaders such as President Sisi in Egypt have called for a "religious revolution," holding Imams responsible before Allah for leading this revolution.

In the mean time, might I suggest a short, simple book that provides a basic outline of Islam and underscores some of the essential elements of the faith?  If you have more time, read the Qur'an and try to appreciate how such a book (and such a man as Muhammad) could have arisen from 7th century Arabia. (For more resources on this topic, click here)


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