It can be a difficult task to convey large amounts of information, in this case the aspects of the Islamic religion, in a meaningful and clear manner. However, The Straight Path by John. L. Esposito manages to do this very well. I approached this book with an open mind, and at the same time I had some ideas of what I was looking for already, considering the current material I have read and discussed in class with Dr. Yusuf and the class. The knowledge was basic, covering topics such as the pillars of Islam, articles of faith, and the direct origin of the Quran through the Prophet Muhammad, as well as information about Muhammad himself and some of his companions.
One of my habits when reading a book is that halfway through the reading, I go back to reread the Introduction (if it exists). The reason for this is to gauge whether or not the overall tone and scope of the book is accurately described by the authors original setup, or thesis statements, for the book. It is here that the author describes the need for a universal and worldwide understanding of Islam, because of it's status as a major world religion. To westerners, it hopes to dispel much of the negative attention Muslims sometimes receive, and hopes to educate them that they are more similar than different. The final sentence of the introduction sums this up, and is particularly striking. "Thus, to understand the world in which we live requires a knowledge of the straight path of Islam as a prerequisite for an appreciation of our theologically interconnected and historically intertwined Judaeo-Christian-Islamic heritage." I feel that the author has successfully maintained this tone throughout the book, and I agree with the assessment that knowledge in this area is necessary due to the large amount of Muslims in the world, which is more than likely more than a billion people, or 1/6 the population of the planet, making it the world's second... [continues]
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