The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780028642338
Publisher: Alpha Books
Publication date: 11/01/2001
Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 7.38(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Yahiya Emerick is an American convert to Islam who has been involved in interfaith issues and education since 1990. He has a graduate degree in history, has authored 14 books for adults and children, and has been published in many magazines, including the Journal for Religion and Education.

Table of Contents


1. Why Has Islam Become So Important?

The Muslims Are Coming! Why Didn't I Learn More About Islam in School? Muslims, Muslims Everywhere! Is There Really a Clash of Civilizations? Bridging the Next Gap.

2. Food for the Soul.

The Core Beliefs of Islam. We All Have the Same God. The Universe Is Muslim! Aladdin Rubbed the Wrong Lamp. Touched by an Angel. Accepting the Burden. Soul Soup.

3. Looking at Life the Islamic Way.

The Three-Fold Journey. Sin and Redemption. The Last Payday.

4. All About Allah.

God and Hollywood. There Is Only One God. Islam on God. Pagan Arab Beliefs Before the Coming of Islam. Do Muslims Believe in Original Sin? How Close Is Close? Allah Has Many Names.


5. The Four Stages of Life in Islam.

Four Lives for Each Life. Life in the Womb. Life in the World. Careful! You're Being Watched. Life in the Grave.

6. Islam on Heaven and Hell.

Why Have a Judgment Day? Use Your Time Wisely. No Dancing with the Devil Here! Why Does God Punish?

7. In the Beginning… An Islamic Perspective.

The Creation of the Universe. Islam and Evolution. Adam and Eve: A New Perspective.

8. The Measurement of Life.

Destiny, Fate, or Free Will—Which Is It? It's Not Written in the Stars. What You Can and Can't Do.

9. From Adam to Armageddon.

No Tower of Babel Here. The Rise of the Prophets. The End Is Near! The Last Day.


10. Declaring Faith in Islam.

Introducing the Five Pillars of Islam. The Shahadah. And Muhammad Is His Prophet.

11. Understanding Muslim Prayers.

Supplication Versus Prayer. The Muslim Call to Prayer. Humble Pie. The Prayer Described. Remembrance of God.

12. Elevating the Soul.

The Burden of Wealth. The Fast of Ramadan. Welcoming Ramadan. The Month of Training.

13. Gathering in Mecca.

Introducing the Hajj Ritual. The Rituals of Hajj.

14. Uncovering the Real Story About Jihad.

What Is Jihad? Social Activism in Islam. The Myth of the Holy War. Islam on War. What Makes a Terrorist?


15. It's All in the Prophets.

All Prophets Are Brothers. Will the Real Prophet Please Stand Up. Introducing the Prophets in Islam. Looking at the Characteristics of the Prophets. The Books of God.

16. Jews in Islam.

The People of the Book. Judaism and Islam. The Qur'an on Judaism. The Only Muslim-Jewish War. Jews in the Muslim Empire.

17. Christianity and Islam.

Setting the Stage. Muhammad and the Monk. An Interesting Proposal. Christianity and Jesus in the Qur'an. Original Sin and All That. Interfaith Dialogue.


18. Exploring the Sources of Islam.

A Closer Look at the Qur'an. The Teachings of the Prophet. The Companions of the Prophet. The 'Ulema: Scholars of the Faith.

19. Living Islam.

Islam and the Family. Welcome to My Mosque. Ceremonies for Life. Islamic Holidays. Halal and Haram: What Can a Muslim Do?

20. Looking at Women in Islam.

Does Islam Teach Inequality? Myths About Muslim Women. Women's Rights in Islam. Divorce in Islam. Islam and the Dress Code.


21. Muhammad in Mecca.

Arabia: The Birthplace of Islam. Meet Muhammad's Parents. A Prophet Is Chosen. Muhammad's Night Journey and Ascension. The Great Escape!

22. The Victory of Islam.

The First Islamic State. The Desperate Times. The Conquest of Mecca. Confronting the Superpowers. Taking Another Look at Muhammad's Marriages. The Passing of a Prophet.

23. The Rightly Guided Successors.

Islam on Government. The Caliphate of Abu Bakr As-Sadeeq. Umar ibn al Khattab and Persia's Defeat. Uthman ibn Affan and the Great Conspiracy. Ali ibn Abi Talib.

24. Islamic Civilization: The Dynastic Period.

The Umayyads. The Abbasids and the Mongol Invasions. The Golden Age of Islamic Civilization. The Beginnings of Rival Muslim States. The Crusades.

25. Islam in America.

The Forgotten Religion of African Americans. The Rise of African American Islam. Muslim Immigrants and the American Dream. Caucasian Converts to Islam. Hispanic Muslims. Muslim Organizations in North America.


26. Discover the Influences of Islam.

Charting the Muslim Influence on Europe. Illuminating the Science Hall of Fame. Speaking in a Familiar Tongue. Uncovering the Unique Features of Islamic Civilization.

27. Meet the Islamic Sectarian Movements.

Sectarianism and Islam. A Quick Look at Early Sects. The Sunnis and Shi'as. The Sufi Path.

28. Islam in World Affairs Today.

The Death and Rebirth of Islam. What Do Muslims Want? The Establishment of Israel. The Iranian Revolution. The Satanic Verses. Islam, the Next Chapter.


Appendix A. The Islamic Calendar.

Appendix B. Common Prophets in the Qur'an.

Appendix C. Further Reading.

Appendix D. Glossary.


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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I got this book right after 9/11 to help me understand a faith I knew very little about-back when I didn't even know what an Imam was. One of my friends had just converted and I had so many questions. This is a great addition to a basic religion collection-it's clear, consice, and provides explinations of both day-to-day Islam and some of the more publicised aspects of it (the burkah, Hajj, and jihad, for example).
chodapp on LibraryThing 3 months ago
It's possible to be too simple. And this is a case of it. Not recommended.
Nana_V More than 1 year ago
Though not an idiot, I read this introduction to Islam shortly after 9/11 and found it informative, and even attractive. I come to this book repeteadly as a first-hand reference tool about the tenets of Islam and recommend its reading as a primer to anyone interested in finding out more about Islam from a Muslim-American convert's perspective. Now, despite the good intentions of the author, the book reaffirmed in my mind that Islamic morality is inferior, that the Ummah's or ulema's claims for Islam as a simple religion is disingenous or even misleading, and they - and the author - seem either unaware or uninterested of the wide body of Christian critical appraisals of Islam in existence. But, it's not the author's fault that the book didn't have a proselitistic effect upon me nor am I accusing the author of having proselytistic intentions in the book, at least not primarily. The author is not to be blamed for my free conscience exercising a choice for Christ and against Muhammad. The greatest praise I can give to Imam Yahiya Emmerich is that, if I didn't know who Jesus really is, and had grown in a home with little or no Christianity, before 9/11 I would've found his presentation intriguing and perhaps, persuasive. All these things considered, this book is a worth reading.
CSalah More than 1 year ago
Okay, even if you are not a complete idiot, this book is a must read. The author manages to present the faith of Islam as well as tackle the more sensitive questions in a thoughtful and factual manner. We need more like this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up in a very sheltered family and knew nothing about Islam.My Evangelical background tended to make me fear Islam and think of it as a religion vastly different from Christianity.Now I have a healthy and positive view of Islam due to the book. I have read some other books about Islam but I had to grow in knowledge slowly because of my background.It's a good book for those with negative sterotypes as I have had.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Extremely well written book which puts the reader at ease in understanding an often misunderstood religion in the West. Every American should read this book to overcome our preconceived notions and gain a sound understanding for one of the 3 monotheistic religions revealed by God.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only the most readable book on Islam, but one of the most informative book on Islam. I found it to be educational and entertaining. worth the money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good and concise book that covers a lot with boring the reader to death. Out of many writing styled that used by the author is most focused to presenting information in a manner understandable by the common person yet in depth enough for those who want to do further studies into the subject. I highly personally have gained a great insight into Islam and Muslim after reading this book. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is wonderful book! I was very happy with the easy reading and accuracy of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Defiantly a great introductory book on Islam. I found it to be very concise and clear, as well as to the point. If you want a clear look at Islam without reading huge wordy books, then this is your best bet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised about the great deal of information that the book (which was very readable) had concerning the faith of Islam and what Muslims believe in. The book is basically an overall review of the Islam and tells you a little bit about each part of their religion (beliefs, history, prayer, woman, Prophets, interfaith relations, ect¿¿¿.). I would recommend this book to those who want to gain some knowledge about the basic beliefs of Muslims and for those who are just curious about Islam.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book for getting the facts. Not too detailed,great for those who want to learn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be an excellent, clear and well-balanced report on Islam. For those who want to get a clear and easy look into understand Islam, then buy this book as soon as you can. I would suggest that this be the first book and you can follow it up with others like approaching the Quran.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful well-balanced book written by authors who come from various backgrounds. It is very easy to read and gives an open-minded view of Islam that is easy to understand. I would suggest everyone interested in the subject pick up this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Very clear and easy to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read and used other COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDES in the past and have found them extremely helpful and informative. I've even recommended the one on caring for aging parents on an Internet web site. So, my expectations when I picked up THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM were high. I thought I'd be reading a well-balanced book about Islam. But what I found was a pathetic, apologist's fluff piece between two paperback covers. For instance, in a section about worshipping idols, the writer says that the Taliban's destruction of 2000-year-old Buddhist statues was understandable because there hadn't been any Buddhists living in Afghanistan in a thousand years. This, despite worldwide concern and pleadings to the Taliban to preserve these historical icons. The sections on women will leave most enlightened people stunned. The author explains away the half-as-much-as-men-inheritance rules in a cavalier manner, saying that men must take care of the women. But in another part about divorce, he says that while it is relatively easy for men to obtain a divorce simply by reciting "talaq" three times and sleeping on the couch until such time as they're sure she isn't pregnant, women must go through the legal system and they stand to lose everything they have, including their children who are over 7 years of age. The author explains away polygamy (really polygyny because only men are allowed to indulge in this practice of multiple marriages) by saying that at least the poor woman has a part-time husband instead of none at all! And, of course, he must treat each of the four wives equally. So, if he's a rich man they will all live in opulance. But if he's poor, they will all live in hovels. He even glosses over the divisions within the Islamic religion. It is by no means united. There are the Sunnis and the Shiites (not to mention the Sufis, in which you don't even have to be a Muslim to participate), but he fails to mention the Wahabbis. They are, of course, the division that is the most conservative, belive in jihad (in the truest sense of making war on the enemies of Islam) and the sect to which terrorist Osama bin Laden and his followers belong. To ignore inclusion of the Wahabbis is to ignore that it is the sect followed by most of the people living in Saudi Arabia---hardly a small number of Muslims, to be sure. I hope the uninformed reader won't expect THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM to be a well-balanced, educational book. It isn't. I would not recommend it to anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book, the best thing for those who just want a non-biased simple over look of Islam.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a good introduction to the religion of islam as understood by muslims (not media and agenda minded scholars). it covers the basics as well as correct common misconceptions of islam and muslims.
Guest More than 1 year ago
hey this is a really good book. If you want to know about Islam then this is the book for you. i read a lot of books on Islam and this is clearly the best. It shows what Islam and muslims are truly all about.