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Book Review: Islam: An Essential Understanding

When the author, Dr. Manzoor Hussain, an American Muslim, found his fellow Americans laboring under many misconceptions and misunderstandings about the Islamic faith, he concluded that Islam was the most misunderstood religion in this country and he decided to do his part to help educate his fellow citizens about it. His response was to write a book titled “ISLAM: An Essential Understanding for Fellow Americans.” The book has recently been published by Vantage Press.

Some Americans have been led to believe that Allah is different from the Judeo-Christian God they worship, that Islam is a cult, or that Muslims are idol worshipers.  In this book, the author makes clear that Muslims, like Christians and Jews, are monotheists and they worship the One and the Only God, the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.  Dr. Hussain effectively points out the special relationship that Islam has with Judaism and Christianity, explaining that the Muslims believe in, honor, and respect all Prophets of God mentioned in the Torah and the Bible, and all Revelations from God, albeit in their original and unadulterated form.

The other subjects covered in the book include the Islamic beliefs, rituals of worship, the significance of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the moral and ethical values taught by Islam, and Islam’s contribution to civilization. He gives a summary of the history of Islam and how it has produced some of the greatest thinkers in astronomy, mathematics, physics, medicine, law, philosophy, and other disciplines.

The author does not shy away from discussing the most misunderstood and sometimes controversial subjects including the idea that Islam was  spread by the sword; the status of woman in Islam; terrorism, extremism, and Islamic fundamentalism; the real meaning of Jihad; the tragedy of 9/11; and the current wave of Islamophobia in America. All these issues are explored in a thoughtful and informative way, clarifying many misconceptions about Muslims and Islam.

The book is well-referenced with both Muslim and non-Muslim sources.  A well-organized glossary of Arabic terms is provided for readers.  ISLAM: An Essential Understanding for Fellow Americans is very educational for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, clearly explaining the faith of Islam in uncomplicated language. It aims to foster greater understanding, and it can be used as a textbook or a reference book for religious studies at the university level.   Additional information about the book and about the author is available on the website www.islamforamericans.com.

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