Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices by Nigosian Solomon A.
Indiana University Press — 2004 — 200 pp. — ISBN-10: 0253216273 / ISBN-13: 978-0253216274.
Solomon A. Nigosian (Univ. of Toronto) has written a remarkable book. Though one might quibble over the omission of any meaningful discussion of fiqh (at least it’s in the glossary) or object to glib treatment of some rather controversial topics (the influence of the Night Journey and Ascension literature on Dante is not as cut and dried as the author repeatedly asserts), this panoramic overview of Islam is refreshing in its conciseness and logical order of presentation.
Succinct discussions of complicated topics, such as the origins and development of Shi’ism, the causes of Ottoman decline, the phenomenon of jihad, moral and social behavior of Muslims, women’s religious duties, Islamic feminism, and observances and festivals, all merit especial praise. In addition, there is a seminal theological comparison of Islam to Christianity (normally not included in a work such as this), a discussion that does not gloss over important differences or sugarcoat the rough edges that religious traditions often exhibit.
There are a few misstatements of fact (the third surah of the Qur’an is not entitled Ali Imran). The occasional typographical errors, appearing mostly in relation to the author’s own system of transliteration, are relatively minor. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers and lower―level undergraduates.S. P. Blackburn, Hartford Seminary, Choice, November 2004
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