Islam: A Very Short Introduction

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1997 - Religion - 162 pages
19 Reviews
Islam dominates the news, often in stories filled with images of violence. Yet these disturbing images are at odds with a faith that most adherents--who now number over a billion worldwide--would regard as no less pacific than Buddhism or Christianity. Indeed, the word Islam in Arabic means "self-surrender" and is closely related to salaam, the word for peace. In this thoroughly revised new edition, Malise Ruthven offers a balance, compact, and reliable overview of Islam. An internationally recognized authority on Islam, Ruthven offers essential insights into this major world religion, examining such issues as why Islam has such major divisions between movements such as the Shi'ites, the Sunnis, and the Wahhabis, and the central importance of the Shar'ia (Islamic law) in Islamic life. He also provides fresh perspectives on contemporary questions: Why is the greatest Jihad (holy war) now against the enemies of Islam, rather than the struggle against evil? Can women find fulfillment in Islamic societies? How must Islam adapt as it confronts the modern world? For the new edition, Ruthven brings the text up-to-date, shedding light on some of the most significant changes in the Muslim world in recent years; from the emergence of al-Qaeda and the attacks on New York and Washington on 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Ruthven includes a new chapter on "Globalized Islam," which examines the effects of economic globalization, the impact of international events in Middle Eastern countries, the questions surrounding Islam and democracy, and the reception and perception of Islam in the West. -- Publisher description.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
0
4 stars
4
3 stars
10
2 stars
3
1 star
2

Review: Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #7)

User Review  - Daniel Wright - Goodreads

Those of us who are young enough to have gained our understanding of the world after 9/11 would do well to realise, and everyone else would do well to remember, that suspicion that Islam is ... Read full review

Review: Islam: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #7)

User Review  - Ryan - Goodreads

Very clear and succinct overview. Extremely informative, and while there is a little editorializing in the last few chapters, I think it's very fairly done and somewhat inevitable when trying to tackle a topic this broad. Read full review

References to this book

Politics and Religion
Steve Bruce
No preview available - 2003
All Book Search results »

About the author (1997)


Malise Ruthven is renowned as a commentator on Islam and the Arab world. A former scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Services, his previous publications include Islam in the World and The Divine Supermarket: Shopping for God in America.

Bibliographic information