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Islam: The Essentials (Pelican Introduction)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  20 reviews

The essential introduction to Islam by a leading expert

Hardly a day goes by without mention of Islam. And yet, for most people, and in much of the world, Islam remains a little-known religion. Whether the issue is violence, terrorism, women's rights or slavery, Muslims are today expected to provide answers and to justify what Islam is - or is not. But little opportunity ex

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Kindle Edition, 293 pages
Published March 2nd 2017 by Penguin
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Marc
In his introduction Tariq Ramadan writes that this is not an apologetic book, no defense of Islam against false accusations. And yet: on almost every page Ramadan corrects a wrong interpretation of Muslim practices, by the West or by Muslims themselves. So, without doubt, this is an apologetical book. But let us be clear: he writes with verve, and with - for me, as non-specialist - convincing arguments.

Ramadan clearly represents a very liberal interpretation of Islam. He constantly points to the
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Austra
Kā ievads laikam jau tīri ok, dod vispārēju priekšstatu par islāmu, tā vēsturi un pamatprincipiem. Bet. Boy, you can talk! Vietām riktīga atkārtošanās, nu tiešām tā, ka tieši to pašu, tikai citiem vārdiem viņš rakstīja iepriekšējā lappusē. Un lappusē pirms tam. Un iepriekšējā nodaļā. Jā, jā, atkārtošana - zināšanu māte, bet varētu bez tā iztikt šāda veida grāmatās, neesmu skolas solā. Otra lieta, kas kaitināja, bija tā, ka teksts brīžiem ir tik sauss un garlaicīgs, ka ir grūti neaizmigt, to laso ...more
Sakib
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summarising the essential components of Islam into such a short book is no easy task. Yet, Tariq Ramadan achieves this - and I am incredibly impressed.

He begins speaking about the essential components of Islam, and then deals with a number of contemporary issues that Islam faces. All are dealt with in clear, easy-to-understand English, with multiple Quranic references and a clear understanding of the evolution of Islamic thought. It's essential reading for anyone - Muslim or non-Muslim - who wan
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Mehwish Mughal
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very accessible. Answers those tricky questions that appear time and time again to condemn Islam. For example, meaning of Sharia, alcohol prohibition, Jihad, polygamy etc.
An important book.
I Read, Therefore I Blog
Professor Tariq Ramadan seeks to introduce readers to the various aspects of Islam in a comprehensive (if at times dense and slightly too intricate) book that approaches the religion from a liberal point of view and as such I think underplays the rationale behind a more literal interpretation.
Khansa Jan Dijoo
Over past few weeks, I have really struggled with finishing this book. It was not because of the content, it was because of the fact it was non-fiction. Even though the book covers the very basics of Islam- the religion, and many facts that I already know, it was still hard to read through. Nonetheless, I found the book informative in regards to addressing questions that are raised about Islam in the West and I found the writing style to be very helpful in explaining the various topics that come ...more
Mεδ Rεδħα
The question of the renewal of the Islamic sciences is at the heart of contemporary Islam. Muslims from East and West express an urgent need to rethink fiqh (law and jurisprudence). They wonder how to reconcile modern life and faith, often secondary in secularized societies. To do this, it is necessary to distinguish what in the texts is immutable from what is susceptible of change.
This approach is the product of a questioning about the nature of crises and blockages that paralyze contemporary M
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Ashfaq Farooqui
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
A concise, balanced, easy-to-read, introduction, to Islam, its historical landscape and the contemporary challenges.

Apart from the historical and factual side of the book, I personally find this book to be a simplified and more accessible version of Ramadan's earlier book Quest For Meaning; presented from an Islamic perspective.
David
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A bit dense at times, but a largely lucid and thoughtful exploration of the Islamic faith. Concludes with a lengthy, but excellent, chapter on the contemporary challenges facing Islam.
Spike Murphy
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed view into the world of Islam. Not only does this describe what it means to follow Islam but it also explores the history, cultures, and contemporary issues of Islam
Luke
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I'm not a Muslim – I'm not really religious in any meaningful way – but I've always had an interest in Islam. This interest is probably a mish-mash of things: the lingerings of Orientalist stories from my youth, and the fact that the belief seemed such a mystery to me.

I've lived in areas with plenty of Muslim neighbours, but I've not known much about what they believe. Certainly, there's a lot of investment in the West in presenting the faith as the origin of Everything Wrong With The World, so
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Bezuban Baloch
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best ever book has written on Islamic core principles and teachings. How precisely Mr. Rahaman cleared some most basic terminologies to us. Such as Kabba means Cub, Sharia:The literal meaning of the word ‘sharia’ is ‘the way that leads to a source of water’ and, by extension, ‘the path to be followed’. For the path that leads to water in a desert is the path of survival and salvation.
He forwards a lucid explanation of the most confusion hot topic of the day-"Jihad". He very plausibly has wri
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Naomi
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
As a Christian I found this book not so helpful in my journey as I try to understand the Muslim faith.

I was hoping to find a reason (even if it’s unconvincing) for the violence we witness (or are feed by the media) in the West particularly towards Christians in Muslim-majority countries.

This book seems to seek to distance the Islamic faith from the violence and extreme behaviour that results in lack of education and freedoms of people living Muslim majority countries, whether those people are
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Mario La Pergola
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rather than "The essentials", at times it felt like the title should have been "An apology for the wrong interpretations of Islam".
A high level overview of several themes across the whole time span from the foundations to the modern days.
The tone is at times academic. I personally found some of the considerations in the book to be very sensible, and were they to reach a large portion of the population it would surely reduce misconceptions for both muslims and non-muslims. I doubt, however, that
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Natasha Primaditta
An excellent introductory reading to understand the multi-faceted nature of Islam as a religion of peace. I must say that Prof Ramadan successfully encapsulated the history of Islam, the teachings and practice, as well as the contemporary problems it currently faced into this compact book. While it seemed superficial in parts, the overall context did not betray the whole purpose of the book to introduce the essence of Islam and stimulate further reading to gain an in-depth knowledge of the issue ...more
Syedsalmanbashir
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
being a reader of islamic history and thought what i appreciate, tariq ramadan trying not to impose like many other religious writers and thinkers. he ask again and again to criticise to study and do interpretation indepth of the scriptures.
and about book i will say it is not an easy job to cover so many topics in such a short book.... not more than 300 pages and it covers the fundamentals i.e faith and rituals, the evolution of islamic religious thought, relation of religion and culture and oth
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Rajiv Chopra
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book. Tariq Ramadan has done us all a favour by writing this book.

The structure is superb, and takes the uninitiated through the entire history. Then, he introduces you to the principles, and then the practises,

He ends with some of the challenges, and debunks many myths and distortions. Unfortunately, we live in the world of the distortions.

The book is well written, lucid, well researched and balances.

Kudos to him for a masterpiece
Shelly Dennison
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Concise and readable. Useful introduction to some of the key ideas of Islam.
Ida
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As much as the book giving me lots of insight about Islam, in some ways I feel like the author is trying too hard to make Islam looks like a modern and easily mingled with everything. It is true that Islam is Rahmatan lil Alamin, however, there are certain principles that cant be changed. For example, the author did not put a detail explanation on inter-religious marriage. In short, I lost my concentration after the mid-2nd part of the book.
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Tariq Ramadan is the son of Said Ramadan and Wafa Al-Bana, who was the eldest daughter of Hassan al Banna, who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Gamal al-Banna, the liberal Muslim reformer is his great-uncle. His father was a prominent figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and was exiled by Gamal Abdul Nasser[3] from Egypt to Switzerland, where Tariq was born.

Tariq Ramadan studied Philo
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