Islam 101: Principles and Practice (Review)

August 25, 2010

Book cover for "Islam 101" by Arshad Khan.Title: Islam 101: Principles and Practice

Author: Arshad Khan

Publication Year: 2006 (originally published: 2003)

Pages: 155

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Purchased from Chapters a long time ago

From the cover:

Islam 101 teaches the basics of Islam and reviews its fundamental principles, beliefs, and practical aspects. It covers morals, good and bad deeds, personal characteristics, rights and obligations, women’s rights, Islamic law, sectarian differences, relations with other religions, as well as day-to-day issues. It also indicates how some Muslims, through their practice, have deviated from Islam’s true purpose and meaning.

If you’re looking for a basic primer on Islam, this is definitely the book for you.

Islam 101 lays out the fundamentals of the religion, using short paragraphs and lists of bullet points. This makes it really easy to follow, as well as to pick up on the main articles of faith and facts about Muslims and Islam. Khan doesn’t go into excruciating detail, focusing instead on giving a general overview of all of the important knowledge.

My only qualm is that there are a few points in the book where something is stated as a universal fact, when in actuality it is something that has some rather important variances among the different interpretations – such as a uniform belief that abortion at any time in the pregnancy is wrong. The book states that abortion is always prohibited unless the mother’s life is in danger; however, there are quite a few legal interpretations (including from fairly conservative scholars) that allow abortion up to a certain point in the pregnancy.

As an introduction to the religion, Islam 101 is about as clear and easy to understand as you can get. If you keep in mind that some things are more complicated than they are stated to be, and that there is way more detail below the surface, you’ll find yourself much more knowledgeable by the time you finish reading it.

Rating:


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.

4 Comments

  • Helen Murdoch August 26, 2010 at 7:26 am

    This sounds like a really good book for anyone wanting to get the basics. The fault you found with it (facts stated as universal truth) is a common problem when reading any book on religion: there really aren’t all that many universal truths since each person/sect/group does their own interpretations and brings their own culture into play. Thanks for the review!

    • Carina September 1, 2010 at 4:11 am

      Yup, I agree! As far as religious introduction books go, though, this one was fairly decent in terms of not making too many sweeping generalizations. Usually it was pretty good about keeping things open. 🙂

  • Amy August 26, 2010 at 9:12 am

    This sounds like a good overview, but I might skip it in favor of other works just because I’ve read some of the basics, and showing some things as hard facts when they aren’t would just confuse me as I wouldn’t know the difference!

    • Carina September 1, 2010 at 4:10 am

      Definitely. It’s more of a good overview for someone who needs a place to start.

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